The Great War story of two Dunbar heroes, Sister Violet Fraser and Rev James Kirk
Dunbar’s exciting, ‘nearly new’ theatre group, the Battery Theatre Company, will be performing ‘Homecoming’, written by Edinburgh based playwright Sophie Good, appropriately in Dunbar Parish Church where Rev Kirk was minister from 1913 to 1918. The director is Andy Corelli, the actors and producers are Kirsten Maguire and Philip Kingscott, with music composed and sung by Karen Dietz. The play intertwines the Great War stories of Rev Kirk, and nurse Violet Fraser whose relations were tenants of East Pinkerton farm, near Dunbar.
Nurse Fraser, born in Glasgow, raised in Canada, nursed in London and came to Dunbar as a volunteer to work in Dunbar’s Battery Hospital in 1916. In 1917 she volunteered to serve with Unit 6 of the Serbian Relief Fund, initially as a cook, and died in March 1919 in Predejane, Serbia, where her gravestone bears the inscription in Serbian “Herein lies the Englishwoman (sic) who gave her life fostering Serbs”.
Rev Kirk served two tours of duty on the Western Front, mainly with the Seaforth Highlanders, and was ‘Mentioned in Despatches’ and awarded the Military Cross. Returning for a third tour in January 1918, he was severely wounded on 27 March while going forward to administer last rites to dying soldiers. Kirk died in hospital in Wimereux, Pas-de-Calais, and is buried in Wimereux Communal Cemetery.
Both Sister Fraser and Rev Kirk are remembered on Dunbar War Memorial and on headstones in Dunbar Parish Cemetery only a few yards from the Parish Church.
Dunbar Parish Church, 7.30 pm, admission £5 (tickets from Crunchy Carrot)