Important new WW1 item now on show at Bailiffgate

Posted: 13.09.14

Bailiffgate Museum, currently holding an exhibition relating to World War One has had an exciting boost. A watch presented to a soldier who was awarded the Military Medal for extreme bravery at the front has been donated to, and is on show at the museum.



Private James Fairbairn of 2nd Battalion the Highland Light Infantry won his award for action in October 1918, just as the German army was putting up its last bitter resistance before capitulation in November of that year.

His citation states that his award was:

“For marked gallantry and good work near Vertain on 23rd October 1918. He was one of a daylight patrol which pushed out to gain touch with the enemy. The patrol came under sudden heavy fire and was forced to take cover, from which it could not move until dusk. Two men had already been wounded in trying to get back when he volunteered to take the message back to company headquarters. He not only took back the message but returned with another. This position was 800 yards in front of our lines, and his pluck encouraged the patrol to keep off the enemy”     Source London Gazette 2 Dec 1919.

Jane Mann of Bailiffgate Museum said “We are really thrilled and grateful for this kind donation, which came from a house in Shilbottle. The engraved watch was presented to Private Fairbairn in February 1919 as you will see from its picture. Our current exhibition in the Museum is all about the local men who fought and died in 1914, and we will be running timely events through the 4-year period of the war. This new donation was, however something that we wanted to let people see immediately. To have a new local connection to a Military Medal winner is something special”

World War One – “Lest We Forget” is on at Bailiffgate Museum until 31st August 2014