Leith Local History Society

Leith Heroes

Over the years Leith has had many heroes both in peace and in war.

Two have won the country‚Äôs highest decoration for valour, the ‘Victoria Cross’.

Archibald Adam born at 49 Couper Street, Leith, on 14th January 1879, the son of David, a dock porter, and Elizabeth Adam.

During WW1 he was serving as a Sapper with 218th Field Company Royal Engineers.

His citation reads: On 4th November 1918 near Ors, France, Sapper Archibald was with a party building a floating bridge across a canal. He was foremost in the work under a heavy artillery barrage and machine-gun fire. The latter was directed at him from a few yards distance while he was working on the cork floats. Nevertheless he persevered in his task and his example and efforts were such that the bridge which was essential to the success was very quickly completed. Immediately afterwards Sapper Archibald collapsed from gas poisoning.

He died in Leith 10th March 1957.

William Henry Johnston was born 1880 at 2 Madeira Place, Leith.

The son of William, an Army Riding Master (Major) and Mary Johnston.

He joined the Royal Engineers and at the outbreak of war was a Captain serving with 59th Field Coy. Corps of Royal Engineers.

His citation reads: On 14th September 1914 at Missy, France, Captain Johnston worked with his own hands two rafts on the River Aisne. He returned with wounded from one side and took back ammunition. He continued to do this under heavy fire all day, thus enabling an advanced brigade to maintain its position across the river.

He later attained the rank of Major with the Royal Engineers attached to the 15th Infantry Brigade.

He was killed at Ypres, Belgium, 8th June 1915.

Does anyone know of a commemorative plaque in Leith to either of these men?

If so please let us have details.