b. 24/11/1891 Buckhaven, Fife, Scotland. d. 30/01/1916 Mazingarbe, France
Robert Anderson Dunsire (1891-1916) was born at East Wemyss, Buckhaven, Fife, Scotland on 26th November 1891. His father was Thomas Dunsire, a coal miner by trade, who later became a coal manager. Thomas first married Elizabeth Lonie in 1874 in Aberdour, but sadly, Elizabeth died the following January. Thomas remarried on 10th January 1876 at Buckhaven to Elizabeth Anderson nee Warrender, a mill worker. Thomas and Elizabeth had thirteen children, with Robert their ninth child. He had six brothers and six sisters.
Robert was educated at Pathhead Public School, Kirkcaldy and was then employed as a miner at Rannie Pit of the Dunniker Colliery, Kirkcaldy and later at Rosie Pit, Buckhaven of the Wemyss Coal Company. He was a talented musician, playing solo cornet and violin with the Dunniker Colliery Band. Robert married Catherine Pitt on 22nd July 1914. They would have no children.
Robert enlisted on 6th January 1915 and was described as 5ft 5 and a half tall and was posted to France on 9th July 1915. Within two months of being in France, he would be awarded the VC. On Hill 70, Loos on 26th September 1915. Private Dunsire went out under very heavy fire and rescued a wounded man from between the firing lines. Later, when another man considerably nearer the German lines was heard shouting for help, he crawled out again with utter disregard to the enemy's fire and carried him in also. Shortly afterwards the Germans attacked over this ground.
He returned to Britain and received the Freedom of Kirkcaldy on 29th November 1915. He was presented with his VC by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 7th December 1915. He returned to France in mid January 1916 and went into the trenches at Hulloch with his unit on 23rd January. His leg was blown off when his dugout was hit by a trench mortar bomb on 29th January. He was taken to 46th Field Ambulance at Mazingarbe, but died of his wounds a few hours later on 30th January. He was buried in Mazingarbe Communal Cemetery Extension.
In addition to his VC, Robert was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19. His VC is held by the Royal Scots Museum, Edinburgh Castle.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL SCOTS MUSEUM, EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND.
BURIAL PLACE: MAZINGARBE COMMUNAL CEMETERY, MAZINGARBE, FRANCE.
Robert Dunsire's medals at The Royal Scots Museum
(Picture - Thomas Stewart).
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
War Memorial, Kirkcaldy, Fife
Royal Scots Club, Edinburgh (Thomas Stewart)