Robert Gordon McBeath

1898 - 1922

Soldier who won the Victoria Cross. Born in Rosehearty (Aberdeenshire), McBeath was adopted by a family living in Kinlochbervie (Sutherland) and was raised in that village. He was educated at the school in nearby Inchegra. He enthusiastically volunteered to join the Seaforth Highlanders at the outbreak of the First World War, aged just sixteen, and went on to win a Victoria Cross for his bravery during the Battle of Cambrai in France (1917). He single-handedly attacked a nest of German machine guns and captured 30 enemy soldiers and three officers.

After the war, McBeath married and emigrated to Canada, where he joined the Vancouver Police Department in 1921. Just over a year later, while involved in trying to arrest a drunk driver, he and his partner were shot. McBeath died minutes later.

His funeral was one of the largest ever seen in Vancouver, with thousands paying their respects. McBeath lies buried in Mountain View Cemetery in the city. There is a street named in his honour in Kinlochbervie and a memorial was unveiled in 2009, following an initiative by pupils at Kinlochbervie High School. The Vancouver Police Department have a patrol boat named the R.G. McBeath.

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