Hector Lachlan Stewart MacLean

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Hector Lachlan Stewart MacLean
Hector Lachlan Stewart Maclean VC.jpg
Born 13 September 1870
Bunna, North West Frontier, British India
Died 17 August 1897
Nawa Bali, Upper Swat
Buried Guides Cemetery, Mardan
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
British Indian Army
Rank Lieutenant
Unit Northumberland Fusiliers
Staff Corps and Corps of Guides
Battles/wars Chitral Expedition
Malakand Frontier War
Tirah Campaign
Awards Victoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png Victoria Cross

Hector Lachlan Stewart MacLean, VC (13 September 1870 – 17 August 1897) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.


Hector MacLean was the eldest son of Margaret MacQueen (née Bairnsfather; 1846-1921) and Major-General Charles Smith MacLean CB CIE (1836-1921).[1] Hector was born in a tent on the hill of Sheikh Budin, in the Northwestern Provinces of India, now Pakistan.[2] He was educated at Fettes College in Edinburgh. He was 26 years old, and a lieutenant in the Indian Staff Corps and Corps of Guides, Indian Army during the Tirah Campaign when the following deed took place for which he was posthumously awarded the VC.

On 17 August 1897 at Nawa Kili, Upper Swat, British India, Lieutenant Maclean, with fellow officers Robert Bellew Adams and Viscount, Alexander Edward Murray Fincastle and five men of the Guides, went under a heavy and close fire, to the rescue of a Lieutenant Greaves of the Lancashire Fusiliers who was lying disabled by a bullet wound and surrounded by enemy swordsmen. While the wounded officer was being brought under cover he was killed by a bullet. Lieutenant Maclean was mortally wounded. His citation read:

During the fighting at Nawa Bali, in Upper Swat, on the 17th August, 1897, Lieutenant-Colonel R. B. Adams proceeded with Lieutenants H. L. S. MacLean and Viscount Fincastle, and five men of the Guides, under a very heavy and close fire, to the rescue of Lieutenant R. T. Greaves, Lancashire Fusiliers, who was lying disabled by a bullet wound and surrounded by the enemy's swordsmen. In bringing him under cover he (Lieutenant Greaves) was struck by a bullet and killed — Lieutenant MacLean was mortally wounded — whilst the horses of Lieutenant-Colonel Adams and Lieutenant Viscount Fincastle were shot, as well as two troop horses.[3][4]

Bruce Bairnsfather was his maternal cousin.

His nephew, Vice Admiral Sir Hector Charles Donald Maclean, was the maternal grandfather of actor Rupert Everett.

The medal[edit]

His VC is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.


  1. ^ 1881 Scotland Census has him resident at 16 North Bell Street, St Andrews and St Leonards, Fife
  2. ^ Sinclair, Rev A MacLean (1899). The Clan Gillean. Charlottetown: Haszard and Moore. p. 423. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "No. 26908". The London Gazette. 9 November 1897. p. 6143. 
  4. ^ "No. 27986". The London Gazette. 15 January 1907. p. 325.