A Scot's detective work has led to the rediscovery of the long-forgotten final resting-place in France of a major hero of the 1745 Jacobite Rising.
Mr. Julian Hutchings, who lives and works in France, made it a personal quest to trace the grave of the Cameron clan chief known as Gentle Lochiel, who tried to talk Charles Edward Stuart out of the ill-fated venture.
Various French towns had been put forward as the place where Donald Cameron, younger of Lochiel, died in October 1748. By then, he was colonel of a French army regiment, the Regiment d'Albanie, which included many Culloden survivors.
Now Mr. Hutchings has come up with documentary proof that the nineteenth chief of the clan must have died in Bergues, a small town in near Dunkirk.
With the aid of a local historian, Pierre Bonduelle, he has uncovered receipts for goods supplied to the regiment by tradesmen, showing it was based in Bergues, a walled fortress town, at the time of Lochiel's death at 53. He has also located a surviving part of the chief's private lodgings.
The unmarked cemetery in which he would have been buried has been pinpointed on the town's outskirts. The grassy, untended area has become a "lover's walk" and an unofficial play area.
The discoveries have excited Clan Cameron officials in Scotland and plans are now being prepared to erect a plaque in Bergues.
Mr. Hutchings, president of the Orleans-based Alliance France-Ecosse, said at the weekend: "We have the agreement of the provost of Bergues for a plaque to be erected. There is a strong possibility that it will be on the building where Lochiel stayed.
"The idea is to arrange a ceremony during October, the 250th anniversary of Lochiel's death."
Edinburgh writer John S. Gibson, author of Lochiel of the Forty-Five, is delighted with the outcome. He said the findings has been accepted officially by the inspector-general of the French archives.
The detective work was finished in time for inclusion in a book by Mr. Gibson about Lochiel, to be published this year in connection with the opening of the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
He said "For 100 years or so, a town with a similar name - Bourges - was thought to be the place where Lochiel died but I have always felt that was not right and that it was Bergues."
Scottish clan president Allistair Cameron, and his wife, Margaret, the secretary, will now inform members world wide in an appeal for funds for a plaque.