A special paving stone is being laid to commemorate the sacrifice of an Innellan-born soldier who won the Victoria Cross and gave his life to save his men during the First World War.
George Henry Tatham Paton was the first Grenadier Guards officer since the Crimean War to win the Victoria Cross – the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry that can be awarded to British forces.
He was born in Innellan on 3rd October 1895 and joined the 17th London Regiment Grenadier Guards in September 1914 after the outbreak of war.
As an acting Captain, he was 22 years old when he was awarded the VC. On 1st December, in Gonnelieu, France, a unit on Captain Paton’s left was driven back, leaving his company virtually surrounded. Under considerable fire, and within 50 yards of enemy, he walked up and down adjusting the line, personally removing several wounded men. He continued this during four enemy counter-attacks, springing onto the parapet and deliberately risking his own life to stimulate and rouse his troops. Ultimately, he was mortally wounded. He died aged 22 on 1 December 1917 and the paving stone will be unveiled on the centenary of his death in battle.
He is buried at the Metz-en-Couture Communal Cemetery in France and his VC is on display at the Guards Regimental HQ at Wellington Barracks, London.
Argyll and Bute Council is part of the VC Commemorative Paving Stones programme, which runs from 2014 to 2018, as the centenary years of the First World War, and this commemoration is the second of four VC paving stones to be laid in Argyll and Bute .
The unveiling of the paving stone takes place at 11am on Friday 1 December, at Innellan War Memorial, Shore Road, Innellan. Members of Captain Paton’s family will be in attendance along with representatives from the Grenadier Guards, his regiment.
Provost of Argyll and Bute Council, Councillor Len Scoullar said: “Captain Paton was a very brave and courageous young man. He put his life before others on the front line to ensure their safety and his heroic efforts helped to save the lives of many of his comrades.
“The unveiling of a special commemorative stone in his home town is a lovely way to pay respect to Captain Paton and to honour his gallantry.”