DINNER with the mayor, a wreath-laying ceremony and a minute's silence were all held in honour of a Tillicoultry man's veteran uncle who died during the Great War.

Archie Drummond, 70, has been left gobsmacked by the whole experience, which started after he discovered a painting of a church in Joncourt.

The artwork was completed not long after Archie's uncle, John Robertson, was killed there on September 30, 1918, while serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Archie told The Advertiser: "The painting, which I bought, was such a lovely find, but the rest was just kind of magical really."

Keen on visiting the church, Archie asked a civil servant working in Tillicoultry's twin town of Crèvecoeur le Grand if she could help arrange him access to the building.

He said: "She got back to me to say that not only was it OK to visit the church, but the Mayor of Joncourt, Jean Paul Bahier, had invited us to join the village's celebration of the centenary of the Liberation of Joncourt."

Amazed by the offer, Archie and his daughter travelled to France, and were given a special tour of the town on September 29.

He said: "My daughter and I met with a bunch of people at the church and went off on a planned walk around the village and the liberation story was narrated to us.

"A lot of the physical structures from the war like bunkers are still there – dilapidated, but still there.

"It was such a fascinating, interesting and emotional three and a half hours."

Then, incredibly, the mayor made a gesture which left Archie with a tear in his eye.

He said: "The mayor is an ex-military man, so, respectfully, he kneeled down and placed a wreath at my uncle's grave, then commanded a minute's silence.

"That was heart stopping. I didn't know that was planned.

"A lot of people from the town had turned out for the event too; most of them were strangers and had come out just to do this."

Archie and his daughter were also treated to a dinner with the mayor, who he described as his "best mate".

To repay the favour, Archie gifted the town his painting of the church, along with a commemoration to his uncle.

He said: "The commemoration is hanging on a wall in Joncourt.

"My uncle's now an eternal part of of their history."

Archie is now encouraging others from Clacks to make the trip to Joncourt, after discovering graves of other soldiers from the Wee County during his trip.

He said: "There's an amazing amount of history over there, and it's still waiting to be discovered."