b. 11/09/1891 Gibraltar. d. 04/01/1975 Kilcreggan, Dumbartonshire, Scotland.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 02/04/1917 Curragh Camp, Ireland.
Albert James Hutchison (1891-1975) was born on 11th September 1891 in Gibraltar, where his father, James, was a Colour Sergeant in the Black Watch Regiment. He had served in Egypt, Sudan and Malta before his posting to Gibraltar soon after his marriage to Jinnie Mann. A few months after Albert’s birth, the family moved to Cape Town, South Africa, where his sister Ethel was born. Thereafter in around 1896, the family moved to India until 1903 when they returned to Scotland.
James had left the military and took a job as a Church Officer in a large area of Glasgow, and Albert and Ethel were educated there, before Albert took up an apprenticeship as an electrical engineer at the age of 16. He studied at night school at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow and finally qualified as an Electrical Engineer. He began employment soon after with the Local Authority Electricity Department.
On the outbreak of World War I, he enlisted with the Highland Light Infantry, with whom he served throughout the Great War until he was demobbed in 1919. On 2nd April 1917, he was serving at Curragh Camp in Ireland, when, during bombing practice, a live grenade hit the parapet of the trench and fell at the feet of the thrower, who was too terrified to move.
Hutchison, seeing what had happened, tried to pick up the grenade but was obstructed by the thrower. The fuse had already been burning for 4 seconds when Hutchison managed to push the man out of the way, pick up the bomb and throw it over the parapet, where it immediately exploded. But for his coolness and bravery, the man would have been killed.
Albert was awarded the Albert Medal in Bronze on 4th January 1918, but his war experiences were not memories he liked to remember. After being demobbed, he returned to Glasgow to resume work for the Electricity Department, and his two favourite hobbies, scouting and the theatre.
In 1926, Albert moved to Bradford, Yorkshire to take charge of the Street Lighting section and the following year married his school sweetheart Mabel Steel, and they soon had a daughter, Morag. The theatre was however, not far from his mind, and he ran a Concert Party which did shows and pantomimes in the church and continued with his acting and writing. He wrote a prize-winning play called King Lud about the Luddites in Yorkshire.
He worked for the Yorkshire Electricity Board for over 30 years finally retiring in 1957. One of his main roles was the management of the Domestic Consumer Department. After much discussion, they decided in retirement to return to Scotland, and they settled in the small village of Kilcreggan on the Firth of Clyde, where he bought a house. In 1971, Albert chose to exchange his Albert Medal for a George Cross. He donated his Albert Medal to the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum in Glasgow. Albert held the George Cross for less than three years, passing away in Kilcreggan on 4th January 1975, and he was cremated. Albert’s medals including the GC, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19 and Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977 were donated by his daughter Morag to the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum in Glasgow, where the originals are held in a bank.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL HIGHLAND FUSILIERS MUSEUM, GLASGOW
BURIAL PLACE: CREMATED.
Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum – Image of Hutchison GC.