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Red Cross worker honoured by statue

Published Friday, 09 February 2018

(l-r) Hamilton Town House Librarian Scott Main, Chair of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture David Watson,  Sculptor Frank Casey and Sculptor’s Assistant Laura Robain

Hamilton man John McIntosh was the first Red Cross worker to be killed on active service.

And now, 148 years after his death on active service a bronze bust of John has been unveiled in the Hamilton Town House Library.

John was just 19 when he died from diptheria during the founding year of the British Red Cross, 1870. He had been sent to Germany during the Franco-Prussian war to dress wounds after volunteering with the Red Cross on the 10 October. Just six weeks later on the 23 November 1870 he died in the German town of Saarbrücken on the northern border of France.

The new bust in the library has been gifted by sculptor Frank Casey, who is originally from Hamilton but now lives in St Albans. Mr Casey said: “I had actually been researching the story of another Red Cross volunteer in another war when I came across a mention of John McIntosh. There was very little information but it did say that like me he was from Hamilton so I was intrigued.

“I contacted Low Parks Museum and Hamilton Town House Library and the staff there helped uncover a wealth of information and a quite tragic family story that ends with John’s widowed mother outliving all her children and the McIntosh line ending with her.

“With nobody left to tell John’s story I felt his selfless idealism needed to be recognised. I hope I have done him justice.”

Councillor David Watson, the chair of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture, said: “We are very grateful to Frank for creating this tribute to John McIntosh and for generously gifting it to be displayed in the library.

“John McIntosh showed remarkable heroism to voluntarily travel from Hamilton to a European war, not to fight but to deliver vital medical aid to the wounded. His story is all too tragically short but the message it carries about human spirit resonates down through the years.”