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Honour for VC hero

Private Henry May has been remembered at a special ceremony outside the People's Palace.

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Henry May VC paving stone A paving stone in memory of the Bridgeton soldier was unveiled by the city's Depute Lord Provost Gerry Leonard outside the museum that chronicles Glaswegian lives.

It is the second in a series of stones to be laid in the city as a permanent reminder of the valour of Glaswegian servicemen awarded the Victoria Cross during the Great War as part of Centenary events across the country.

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for gallantry a British or Commonwealth serviceman can receive.

Mr May's grandson and great-granddaughter, James and Jennifer McInnes witnessed the unveiling ceremony alongside lost cousins including Eileen Brown, another grandchild of Henry May.

May, was a reservist with The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) when he braved a "hail of lead" to rescue first one soldier and then another at La Boutillerie, France on 22 October 1914.

Modest about his actions, May later said: "I just did what any man in the regiment would have done to bring in a wounded man."

 He received a hero's welcome on his arrival home at Central Station when he was carried aloft by well wishers.

King George presented the VC to May on 12 August, 1915.

Henry May was discharged from the Army on 28 August 1915, when his regular engagement of 13 years had expired. He rejoined in 1918 and attained the rank of Lieutenant. After the war, he resumed his work in textiles in Bridgeton, where he had been born, and lived with his wife and children. He is remembered in a series of granite paving slabs at Bridgeton Cross, inset with local VC holders' names.

Depute Lord Provost Gerry Leonard said: "Henry May is more than a local hero. He ranks among the very few men in the Great War who survived while carrying out the ultimate act of valour, risking his life to save the lives of comrades including a platoon commander.

"His bravery then a century ago was lauded and well documented by the media. He deserves our utmost respect and it's a real honour to meet with his relatives who have been reunited thanks to the council's appeal for family to come forward to mark this important event.

Jennifer McInnes said: "We are very proud of my great grandfather Henry May's amazing courage and valour during the First World War. I hope his story will inspire other Glaswegians both at home and abroad to delve into their own family's war history.

"It's wonderful that the centenary of the start of the First World War has sparked so much interest in the stories of veterans and ordinary people."

Glasgow received money from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a database of Glasgow's First World War stories, as well as, an educational programme to encourage school children to learn about the names behind the war memorials in their local areas.

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