Monday, 10 October 2011

Locals divided over commemorating Milton of Campsie submariner

From the Kirkintilloch Herald

THERE have been calls to pay tribute to a war hero born in Milton of Campsie.

Captain George Hunt sank more enemy ships than any other during World War II. Rammed twice, sunk once and bombarded with hundreds of depth charges, the steely-eyed submariner sunk 28 enemy vessels. He died on August 16 in Australia, aged 95.

Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Fiona McLeod has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament.

It calls on MSPs to mark his sad passing and to recognise “that he was a most skilled and brave naval officer, whose courage and determination earned him both respect and decoration”.

The motion also notes his full career in the Navy and British High Commission where he earned a reputation for “unsurpassed daring and brilliance, and, in light of what are considered his incredible achievements, supports the campaign for a permanent memorial”.

The Herald has been in touch with Australian author Peter Dornan, who wrote the book ‘Diving Stations – The Story of Captain George Hunt and the Ultor’. He is pleased that Captain Hunt is being remembered locally.

Campsie and Kirkintilloch North councillor David Ritchie said: “I was totally amazed by Captain Hunt’s naval exploits. This man received numerous decorations for his bravery and determination in defeating those who were intent in destroying our democratic way of life and he was truly an unassuming hero.

“To find out that he was born in the village of Milton of Campsie must be recognised by the council and I will be writing to the chief executive of East Dunbartonshire Council to ask what can be done to ensure that his memory lives on.”

However, Councillor Charles Kennedy said Captain Hunt had left Milton of Campsie at a very young age and it was unlikely that a memorial could be created for him in the village.

He said: “He was an incredible man and a man who served his country with great distinction and bravery, any community would be proud to call him one of their own, but I think it would be stretching it a bit for Milton of Campsie to claim him.”

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