war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper

World War II



Surnames V

Virtue, H.
Harry Virtue, 3051805, was a Private in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He was the son of James and Annie Virtue, of Berwick, and the husband of Mary Margaret Virtue, née Shipton, who came from the Orkney Islands.

The Regiment moved to a new base in Dover in 1931/32. The family settled in Dover, living at Glenfield Avenue, and Mr Virtue left the army, working as an engineer. The family had three children; Robert, born 1932, and, born in Dover, Henry, born 1935 and Maureen, born 1940.

When war broke out Mr Virtue was called up as he was on the Reserve list. He saw action in Belgium with the British Expeditionary Force before being stationed in the St.Valery-sur-Somme region to keep the enemy advance at bay whilst evacuation continued through the port of Dieppe. The church tower in Franleu churchyard was a lookout post for the Argylls. Scores of enemy Panzers were seen from the church tower as the enemy swept towards the coast.

The day Private Virtue died, on 5 June 1940, when he was 30, became  known as the blackest day in the history of the battalion. Two dozen officers and over 500 men were wounded, killed, or missing.

Private Virtue is buried in Franleu Churchyard, Franleu-en-Somme, France; descendents of his family often visit. He is also commemorated in the Book of Remembrance in Edinburgh Castle.

Mrs Virtue remarried in 1942, to Edward Batty. She had three more children and remained in Dover for the rest of her life. Mrs Shipton, her mother, also settled in Dover.

with thanks to Gary Virtue
the picture of Harry Virtue was taken when he was about 17-18 years old

Copyright 2006-12  © Marilyn Stephenson-Knight. All Rights Reserved