ON MARCH 22, 1918, eight months before Germany and her allies capitulated in World War I, John Crawford Buchan of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders lost his life in France.

Second Lieutenant Buchan had been born in Alloa on October 10, 1892, the third son of the then editor and owner of the Alloa Advertiser David Buchan and his wife Margaret.

Educated at Alloa Academy, he was apprenticed to Charles Thomson, the town clerk, but he moved the Advertiser in 1912. He enjoyed mountaineering and the outdoors which he wrote about for The Scotsman.

After war broke out in August 1914, he volunteered and was assigned to the Army Medical Corps.

Two months later, he joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 7th Battalion.

Being in action in France, on March 21, 1918, he and his platoon were fighting near the village of Marteville on the Somme, part of the Spring Offensive. Enemy forces had almost surrounded him and his men.

He was injured earlier in the day, but he refused to leave his troops. In fact, he went round visiting the posts, 'in utter disregard to his own safety', encouraging them and cheering them on, under the intense bombardment of shells, and despite the loss of men.

He continued this following a second but accidental injury he received that day.

He gathered his platoon and prepared to fight his way back to the supporting line. However, by this time, the Germans had managed to creep round by his right flank, and rushed towards him, shouting out for him and his men to surrender.

"To hell with surrender", he shouted back, defiantly, opening fire on the front line of the attacking force. He managed to hold them off and they retreated.

He and his detachment fought their way back, but where he was situated it was impossible to get communication to him to withdraw as they were cut off.

He held out until dusk when he fell back, as orders finally reached them. Despite his injuries he refused to go to the First Aid Post for treatment, putting his men before himself.

He was captured by the Germans soon afterwards and died the following day. He was buried at Roisel Cemetery in France.

Buchan was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for "most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty".

He was also cited as being an officer who had carried on the "the highest traditions of the British Army".

According to his men, he would never have asked anything of them that he would not have done himself.