Dick-Cunynigham was the youngest son of Sir William Hanmer Dick-Cunyngham, 8th Baronet of Prestonfield and Lambrughton.
He was 28 years old, and a lieutenant in The Gordon Highlanders in the British Army during the Second Anglo-Afghan War when, for the following deed which took place on 13 December 1879 during the attack on the Sherpur Pass, Afghanistan, he was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC):
For the conspicuous gallantry and coolness displayed by him on the 13th December, 1879, at the attack on the Sherpur Pass, in Afghanistan, in having exposed himself to the full fire of the enemy, and by his example and encouragement rallied the men who, having been beaten back, were, at the moment, wavering at the top of the hill.
In 1899 he was appointed in command of the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders, which was sent to South Africa for the Second Boer War.
While in South Africa, he was killed in action at the siege of Ladysmith on 6 January 1900.
A cairn was erected on the spot where he fell, with every man in the battalion contributing a stone. The inscription reads:
On this spot Lieut Col W.H. Dick.Cunyngham VC commanding 2nd Gordon Highlanders was mortally wounded on January 6th 1900.
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