Charles Jarvis, VC

Charles Jarvis, VC

Charles Jarvis was awarded one of the first Victoria Cross medals of World War One for his gallantry at the Battle of Jemappes. On 23 August 1914, under heavy fire and in full view of the enemy, Jarvis worked for ninety minutes to demolish a bridge. Jarvis was born in Fraserburgh in 1881, but lived much of his early life in Carnoustie. His father had served in the coastguard in Carnoustie and later became janitor at Carnoustie Public School, living at Salisbury Terrace until his death.

Jarvis trained as a plumber with J McAndrew, Dundee Street, Carnoustie before joining the army at about 16 years old. He had reached the rank of Lance Corporal in the 57th Field Company Royal Engineers at the outbreak of the First World War. The news of his VC was the first his sister, or the town, had heard from him in a few years. The town celebrated by flying the flag at his old school and hoped his success would be a boost to local recruiting.

Jarvis visited Carnoustie in mid December 1914, staying at the Panmure Hotel before travelling to London to receive his Victoria Cross at Buckingham Palace. He returned together with fellow Carnoustie VC George Samson on 29 October 1915 to a hero’s reception in the YMCA Hall where they were presented with gifts. Both VCs were members of the Holy Rood Episcopal Church and both had attended the same school in the town. Jarvis died in Dundee in 1948. Jarvis Place in Carnoustie was named in his honour in 1966.

Jarvis destroying the bridge at Jemappes
Jarvis destroying the bridge at Jemappes
Charles Jarvis, VC, Carnoustie