very fine man indeed - one of Scotland’s elite.” That was how Rev
Dave Whiteman described Matt Dunnachie at his funeral service last
week. He continued, “Matt was one of the loveliest people you could
ever hope to meet. He was truly an amazing man who lived the most
amazing life, a man who was held in the highest esteem by all who
knew him.” “Matt was a founder member of Carrick Speakers Social
Club,” said Mr Whiteman, “but I really got to know him when I became
his parish minister three years ago, and you know, a finer man you
could never hope to meet. Matt was neither up nor down, he always
had that wonderful smile of his on his face; and such a quit wit.
Matt had such an inner strength, it really was a privilege to have
“Matt was a
Miniboler through and through, born at Pat’s Corner in 1922, one of
10 children. His father worked on the farms at Culroy and Drumellan,
and for a time Matt went to Kirkoswald primary, but most of his
education was at the Cairn. He worked on the farms with his father
and he had a real love for the farms, he loved working with the
animals, in fact Matt always had a real love for, and interest in,
anything to do with nature, and he especially loved working with
horses. Matt was to train as an engineer but his father took ill and
Matt left school to work. He left for the army at the age of 18, and
he joined what he described as the finest regiment in the world - he
was very proud to be part of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders.
He served his
country with great distinction during the war, he was at Dunkirk and
he landed on Gold Beach at the Normandy landings where he was
wounded. After the war Matt was home for only two years when he was
called up again to go and fight in Korea with the Royal Artillery.
He joined the 170 Independent Mortar Battery in C Troop.
Battle of Injim in April 1951 Charlie Troop were giving support to
the Glorious Gloucesters and the troop were captured and taken
prisoner and it took them six weeks to walk to the prisoner of war
camp.” Mr Whiteman then said, “Now, this is where I find it
difficult because Matt did not want to talk about what went on in
these camps, and the ill treatment they went through. Matt would not
want me to go into any detail today.
But I will
say this much; Matt was given the choice, either accept communism
and have a fairly easy life in one camp or refuse to accept it and
have a very difficult life in another camp. Matt never accepted it,
he was determined, he never gave in to them. He was a man of
principle. It’s enough I think to say here today, knowing what I
know, that Matt was one of the bravest men I have ever known. A man
of tremendous courage, he truly was one of Scotland’s elite, a well
When Matt was
released he weighed 6½ stone. He was awarded a Presidential citation
for his service. He was designated an Ambassador of Peace by the
Korean government. You will have seen at the door a certificate from
the Burgh of Maybole, a citation signed by Monty himself, a letter
from the president of Korea, a certificate from the Royal British
Legion for 50 years service, and, of course, Matt’s medals It
is truly a distinguished career, and he went back to Korea because
he wanted to see that beautiful country.
thinking yesterday that Matt lived a full life to say the least, but
I think he crammed several lives into his one lifetime. He worked as
an electrical linesman at one time; as I said he worked on the
farms; and he worked at Maybole Tannery. Matt went off to college at
Hull to retrain as an aircraft detail fitter; he worked for Jack’s
as an electronic welder, moving on to Wallacetown Engineering,
finishing work in 1976 due to ill health. Matt had nine heart
attacks and four strokes in his life; two of his heart attacks in
the Club of which he was a founder member.
I said my
goodbyes to Matt on more than one occasion. He told me one day that
he had had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra. That was Matt - what a
sense of humour he had in adversity. He was getting physiotherapy
one time in hospital; I said ‘How’s it going, Matt’, he shook his
head and said, ‘Oh I think they are going to succeed where the
Germans and Chinese failed. Matt had the most amazing sense of
humour. And he loved the kids, he loved having children around him
especially his own grandchildren; he was so proud of them.
his garden, he was a great gardener; he loved everything to do with
nature; and he was a keen fisherman at one time. He enjoyed music,
instrumental music, and reading, sometimes devouring four books a
week, watching nature programmes on the telly, and horses, Matt
loved horses all his life. Another great hobby of Matt’s was his
ironwork, Matt made most of the gates at Culzean Castle downstairs
in his workshop. There are many of Matt’s gates around the town of
Maybole, it was a hobby he really enjoyed.
Matt was a
member of the original Maybole branch of the British Legion and he
attended Ayr branch for a while, joining Maybole branch when it
reformed. Matt was a very faithful member when he was well enough,
leading us in Binyon’s lines at the services. He never missed a
meeting; he was so interested in the work of Earl Haig, Hollybush
House and Erskine, and Koreans Veteran Association.
Matt was a
fine man, he had a great sense of humour, a very dry wit, he was
never slow to speak his mind but always in a nice way. He had a
great love for people, a great love of his country, a great love for
his church, and was a man of faith.”
After the service at Ayr
Crematorium there was a collection for Rachel House.
year Matt and his wife May celebrated their Golden Wedding in
Fairknowe House where he had been resident. They had met at Carrick
Academy and known each other for 72 years. Mr Whiteman added that he
knew Matt thoroughly enjoyed the lovely celebration of their 50th
wedding anniversary, and he also paid tribute to the care Matt had
received. Matt is
survived by wife May, his son Edgar,
daughter-in-law Lorna, and grandchildren Graeme, Heather and Andrew.
Other articles on the Maybole
website regarding Matt Dunnachie
AN old soldier from Maybole was honoured by
comrades in the local branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland. Matt Dunnachie
(80) is a veteran of both the Second World War and the Korean War, serving
as a gunner in the Royal Artillery.
A MAN who was told he was ‘living on borrowed time’ 28 years ago used his
80th birthday to raise cash for a school for handicapped kids. Matt
Dunnachie was a prisoner of war for two years and nine months during the
Text of Awards and Citations in text format
2991468 Gnr Dunnachie,
M.E. 81 Fd. Regt. RA.
It has been brought to
my notice that you have performed outstanding good
service, and shown great devotion to duty, during the
campaign in North West Europe.
I award you this
certificate as a token of my appreciation, and I have
given instructions that this shall be noted in your
Record of Service.
B. L. Montgomery
Commander in Chief, 21st
“AMBASSADOR FOR PEACE"
Mr Matthew Dunnachie
It is a great honor
and pleasure to express the ever-lasting gratitude of
the Republic of Korea and our people for the service you
and your countrymen have performed in restoring and
preserving our freedom and independence.
We cherish in our
hearts the memory of your boundless sacrifices in
helping us re-establish our Free Nation.
recognition of your dedicated contributions, it is my
privilege to proclaim you an ''AMBASSADOR FOR PEACE"
with every good wish of the people of the Republic of
Korea. Let each of us reaffirm our mutual respect and
friendship that they may endure for generations to come.
24 October, 1987
The Korean Veterans
June 25, 2000
Dear Veteran Mathew E Dunnachie
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the outbreak
of the Korean War, I would like to offer you my deepest
gratitude for your noble contribution to the efforts to
safeguard the Republic of Korea and uphold liberal
democracy around the world. At the same time, I remember
with endless respect and affection those who sacrificed
their lives for that cause.
We Koreans hold dear in our hearts the conviction,
courage and spirit of sacrifice shown to us by such
selfless friends as you, who enabled us to remain a free
The ideals of democracy, for which you were willing to
sacrifice your all 50 years ago, have become universal
values in this new century and millennium.
Half a century after the Korean War, we honor you and
reaffirm our friendship, which helped to forge the blood
alliance between our two countries. And we resolve once
again to work with all friendly nations for the good of
humankind and peace in the world.
I thank you once again for your noble sacrifice, and
pray for your health and happiness.
President of the Republic of Korea
The Army Council have
approved of the publication of the following citation
which appeared in General Orders, No. 286 of the Eighth
United States Army Korea (EUSAK), on 8th May, 1951, on
behalf of C Troop, 170th Independent Mortar Battery,
Royal Artillery and the 1st Battalion, The
"The IST BATTALION,
GLOUCESTERSHIRE BEGIMENT, BRITISH ARMY and C TROOP,
170TH INDEPENDENT MORTAR BATTERY, BOYAL ARTILLERY,
attached, are cited for exceptionally outstanding
performance of duty and extraordinary heroism in action
against the armed enemy near Solmari, Korea, on the
23rd, 24th and 25th April, 1951. The IST BATTALION and C
TROOP were defending a very critical sector of the
battle front during a determined attack by the enemy.
The defending units were overwhelmingly outnumbered. The
83rd Chinese Communist Army drove the full force of its
savage assault at the positions held by the IST
BATTALION, GLOUCESTERSHIRE BEGIMENT and attached unit.
The route of supply ran southeast from the battalion
between two hills. The hills dominated the surrounding
terrain northwest to the Imjin River. Enemy pressure
built up on the battalion front during the day, 23rd
April. On 24th April the weight of the attack had driven
the right flank of the battalion back. The pressure grew
heavier and heavier and the battalion and attached units
were forced into a perimeter defence on Hill 235. During
the night, heavy enemy forces had by-passed the staunch
defenders and closed all avenues of escape. The
courageous soldiers of the battalion and attached unit
were holding the critical route selected by the enemy
for one column of the general offensive designed to
encircle and destroy 1 Corps. These gallant soldiers
would not retreat. As they were compressed tighter and
tighter in their perimeter defence, they called for
close-in air strikes to assist in holding firm.
Completely surrounded by tremendous numbers, these
indomitable, resolute, and tenacious soldiers fought
back with unsurpassed fortitude and courage. As
ammunition ran low and the advancing hordes moved closer
and closer, these splendid soldiers fought back
viciously to prevent the enemy from overrunning the
position and moving rapidly to the south. Their heroic
stand provided the critically needed time to regroup
other 1 Corps units and block the southern advance of
the enemy. Time and again efforts were made to reach the
battalion, but the enemy strength blocked each effort.
Without thought of defeat or surrender, this heroic
force demonstrated superb battlefield courage and
discipline. Every yard of ground they surrendered was
covered with enemy dead until the last gallant soldier
of the fighting battalion was over-powered by the final
surge of the enemy masses. The IST BATTALION,
GLOUCESTERSHIRE BEGIMENT and C TROOP, 170TH INDEPENDENT
MORTAR BATTERY displayed such gallantry, determination,
and esprit de corps in accomplishing their mission under
extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as to set
them apart and above other units participating in the
same battle. Their sustained brilliance in battle, their
resoluteness, and extraordinary heroism are in keeping
with the finest traditions of the renowned military
forces of the British Commonwealth, and reflect
unsurpassed credit on these courageous soldiers and
BY COMMAND OP
LIEUTENANT GENERAL VAN FLEET.
(Signed) LEVEN C.
Major General U.S.
Chief of Staff."
22525803 Gnr. M.
Was with “C” Troop,
170th Independent Mortar Battery, Royal
Artillery at Solma-Ri, Korea and for his services in
this action is entitled to wear, at all times on the
appropriate occasion, the emblem of the United States
Matthew E. Dunnachie
Matt enlisted for
service in the Second World War on 25th October 1940 at
the age of 18 years. He served originally with the
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, later transferring to
the Royal Artillery in 1942 where he took part with the
liberation forces, landing on Gold Beach in Normandy on
D. Day plus 4 and on through France, Belgium and Germany
where he was awarded the General Montgomery Certificate
for gallantry on the field.
After a short period
at home after his demob, he was recalled for service in
the Korean Campaign. His experiences during that time
are listed below.
I am sure that most of
our members will know Matt and May Dunnachie, but I
wonder if you know much about Matt's experiences in the
Korean War. Matt first enlisted in the army on the
25th of October 1940 and served with the Argyll &
Sutherland Highlanders. At the outbreak of the
Korean War Matt again rejoined the ranks but this time
in the Royal Artillery, he subsequently joined 170
Independent Mortar Battery who were equipped with 4.2"
Mortars, and in particular "C" (Charlie) Troop of that
battery. During the battle of the Injim in April 1951
Charlie troop were giving close support, remember the
maximum range of the 4.2" Mortar was 4100 yards, and so
close support it really was. The Chinese overran the
Troop and Matt was taken into captivity. Matt and
his fellow captives arrived at camp number 2 near
Pyoktong near the Chinese border. The journey took
some 6 weeks due to the fact that movement initially was
restricted to night marches for fear of being spotted by
friendly forces and of course the whole thing was a foot
slog, no comforts here! After the initial period of
indoctrination by the Chinese who were of the opinion
that the War was very much a struggle between "Bosses "
and "Workers", they fully expected that all British
soldiers would come over to their side and those that
did listen to their propaganda were taken to a camp with
much improved facilities. Matt did not agree, would
not accept the Chinese policy and was classed as a
reactionary and taken away to a labour camp and there he
became a lumberjack, felling trees and chopping wood
from sunup to sundown 7 days a week regardless. Upon
the return to camp each day Matt and his fellow
lumberjack had to face an additional humiliation, they
each had to kill 200 flies a day and present them to the
guard before they were allowed to have their evening
meal which consisted mainly of rice which was
supplemented by whatever they could steal and fish which
they cunningly harpooned from the nearby river. The
humiliation with the flies was short-lived as they saw
the guards put them in a bin and thereafter as Matt said
"We just lifted them out again and from then on they
were counting re-cycled flies" Matt also suffered at
the hands of his captors when during one of the normal
"bed checks" Matt was awoken from a deep sleep and sat
up suddenly sending the guard sprawling through the
doorway. Matt was arrested and taken to a cell
where he was ordered to confess to assaulting the
guard. When he refused to do so he was kicked and
beaten about the head and body, threatened with a loaded
pistol but still refused and was then thrown into
solitary confinement in a cell with no toilet facilities
and where he was regularly beaten up until he did agree
to confess. He was then paraded before the whole
camp where his confession was made and he also had to
give a guarantee of his future good behaviour and agrees
to accept any punishment that his captors would deem
necessary should he break his word.
Upon his release from
captivity Matt weighed just six and a half stones and
the ordeal has left him with ongoing health problems, 9
heart attacks, the odd bout of malaria but through all
this Matt has never lost his sense of humour and I am
sure has many amusing comments which he could make on
his military career. Matt and May make a perfect couple
and it is our privilege to have them as members of
For the part played by
"C" Troop 170 Independent Mortar Battery in the Injim
battle they, along with the Glorious Gloucester's was
awarded the United States Presidential Citation. The
Battery became known as 170 "Injim Battery" and still
As a fellow "Mortarman"
I have the greatest respect for Matt, though our time in
Korea was in time months apart and no doubt had little
effect on the War itself, we can share the experiences
common to all 4.2" Mortar crews and have no doubt that
many an infantryman has had cause to thank members of
170 Independent Mortar Battery followed by 120
Independent Mortar Battery and subsequently 61st
Light Regiment Royal Artillery.