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Watch presented to Highland hero winds up in Canada 95 years later

A watch presented to a Highland soldier "by the people of Sutherland" for his heroism in the First World War has resurfaced in Canada 95 years later - courtesy of a chance chat in a bar

A watch presented to a Highland soldier "by the people of Sutherland" for his heroism in the First World War has resurfaced in Canada 95 years later - courtesy of a chance chat in a bar

An off-duty Vancouver police officer was having a drink at a local pub when he overheard a conversation about an antique watch that once belonged to Vancouver Police Constable Robert McBeath.

He had been killed in the line of police duty in British Columbia's largest city in 1922, having survived the entire war.

The man told the policeman it had been the property of his late watchmaker father. He has since donated it to the Vancouver Police Department (VPD)

Lance Corporal Robert McBeath of the Fifth Seaforth Highlanders, had been raised in Kinlochbervie in north-west Sutherland and joined up in 1914 aged just 16. He was awarded the Victoria Cross four years later for "conspicuous bravery "in single-handedly attacking a machine gun nest at the Battle of Cambrai in France.

His conduct throughout three days of severe fighting "was beyond praise" according to his VC citation.

As a result he was granted leave in February 1918 to visit home. But heavy snow meant he could only make Golspie where the Seaforth Highlanders had their headquarters.

At a reception in the town he was presented with the gold watch. The watch went with him to Canada when he and his wife Barbara emigrated in August 1919.

He joined the police force in Vancouver and was fatally injured in 1922. He and his partner had pulled over a car being driven erratically. The driver shot him.

Mrs McBeath returned to Scotland two months later eventually marrying Robert's best friend Alexander MacDonald in 1924 and settling in Scourie.

As a native of Kinlochbervie some of his story was known locally, and in 2010 the pupils of Kinlochbervie High School built a memorial cairn to him near the village's war memorial.

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