Adam Archibald VC

b. 14/01/1879 Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland. d. 10/03/1957 Leith.

Adam Archibald (1879-1957) was born on 14th January 1879 at Leith, Midlothian, Scotland. He was the son of Rennie Archibald,  a Plasterer, and Christina Archibald, of 24 Shaws Street, Edinburgh. He lived at 53 Balfour Street with his wife and four children, and before he joined the Army in 1916 he had been Outside Foreman with Stewart’s Granolithic Co Ltd of Duff Street. In his younger days he had been a keen footballer and had had a trial with StBernard’s FC.  He was also a bowler and at the time of his enlistment he had been President of the Eastfield Bowling Club. Another of his hobbies was gardening and he had won prizes at local flower shows. He was a freemason belonging to the Elgin and Bruce Lodge at Limekilns in Fife.

Adam Archibald VC

He enlisted with the 7th Durham Light Infantry before transferring to the 218th Field Company, Royal Engineers during the second battle of the Sambre.  At the age of 39, he was awarded the Victoria Cross for action while his unit was attempting to bridge the Sambre–Oise Canal.  

On 4th November 1918 near Ors, France, Sapper Archibald was with a party building a floating bridge across the canal. He was foremost in the work under a very heavy artillery barrage and machine-gun fire. The latter was directed at him from a few yards distance while he was working on the cork floats. Nevertheless, he persevered in his task and his example and efforts were such that the bridge which was essential to the success of the operations was very quickly completed. Immediately afterwards Sapper Archibald collapsed from gas poisoning.

He received his Victoria Cross from King George V at Buckingham Palace in May 1919. After his discharge he returned to his job with Stuart’s Granolithic Works in Edinburgh, eventually rising to a position as manager of their Duff Street works. He passed away at his home in Leith on 10th Marrch 1957 at the age of 76. He was cremated at Warriston Crematorium, Edinburgh. His name is on the memorial there. His medals are on display with those of Major Waters at the Royal Engineers Museum, Gillingham, Kent.