b. 28/11/1891 Dunfermline, Scotland. d. 14/02/1965 Dunfermline, Scotland.
David Ferguson Hunter (1891-1965) was born on 28th November 1891 at Kingseat, Dunfermline, Scotland. He was a miner and joined the Territorials in 1910, serving with the 7th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Two months after the War began he volunteered for a Cyclist Battalion, later transferring to the Royal Engineers before serving in France in 1916. He was wounded and spent six weeks in hospital. In mid- September 1918 he joined the 1/5th Battalion, ( City of Glasgow) Highland Light Infantry, with whom he was awarded his VC – his service number with HLI was 43247.
In the second half of September 1918 the main objective of the British was to capture the outer defences of the Hindenburg Line. Corporal David Hunter was a member of the 1 / 5th Bn, The Highland Light Infantry and was in charge of a machine-gun outpost north-west of Moeuvres, west of Cambrai. During an attack by the enemy his post became isolated and overlooked. Two days later, when the division retook Moeuvres, they found Hunter and his six men still holding their post. By then they had virtually no ammunition, food or water left. David Hunter was awarded the Victoria Cross and his six colleagues the Military Medal.
On 16th/17th September 1918 at Moeuvres, France, Corporal Hunter was detailed to take on an advanced post which was established in shell holes close to the enemy. There was no opportunity for reconnoitring adjacent ground, and the following afternoon Corporal Hunter found that the enemy had established posts all round him, isolating his command. He determined to hold out and despite being exceedingly short of food and water this NCO managed to maintain his position for over 48 hours until a counter-attack relieved him. He repelled frequent enemy attacks and also barrage from our attacks, which came right across his post.
David Hunter was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 16th November 1918. Following his discharge, David Hunter returned to Dunfermline and took up his old job as a miner at Dean Colliery, Kingseat. In 1920 he attended the Buckingham Palace Garden Party for VC holders and the same year sat as a model for a bust being made by Jacob Epstein, commissioned by the Imperial War Museum. It was designed to represent all Scots who won the VC in the First World War, and was first displayed at the Royal Academy, then later in the Imperial War Museum, where it still resides.
In 1962, two years before his death, Hunter was prepared to sell his VC as he was finding it increasingly difficult getting about and his twenty-seven-year-old Morris car had recently failed its road test. His family urged him to sell the VC, but in the end this was not necessary, as a London car dealer provided a car on condition that the Cross was kept by Hunter and not sold. His old regiment, The Highland Light Infantry, had been quite prepared to purchase David Hunter’s VC group from him but he promised that he would leave it to them on his death anyway. He died on the 14th February 1965, at the age of seventy-three, and was buried in Dunfermline Cemetery. John Carmichael VC and John Hamilton VC both attended his funeral.
A ceremony organised by the Royal Highland Fusiliers, Mrs Mary Fairbairn of Abercorn Memorials, Edinburgh, and Union Lodge Dunfermline 250, took place on the 12th August 2004 in Dunfermline Cemetery, to place a memorial stone over the previously unmarked grave of Sergeant David Hunter VC. David Hunter’s funeral was well attended by the family and various organisations and it is not clear why a headstone was not erected over his grave. In accordance with his wishes, his medal group including the VC, Imperial Service Medal, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, King George VI Coronation Medal 1937, Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953 and the Efficiency Medal “Territorial” were left to the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum, Glasgow.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL HIGHLAND FUSILIERS MUSEUM, GLASGOW.
BURIAL PLACE: DUNFERMLINE CEMETERY, DUNFERMLINE. DIVISION E, GRAVE 7510
Thomas Stewart – Image of the Hunter VC Medal Group at Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum, Glasgow.
Mark Sanders – Hunter VC Medal Card.