On the 25th of September 1915, the 1/4th Battalion (TF) Gordon Highlanders participated in their second major action. Known as the Second Attack on Bellewaarde this action took place at the same time as the major offensive at Loos. The operational orders for the day are included below.


NOTE: Where words are illegible or ambiguous I have inserted (???).

SECRET

                                                                                                                                                Copy No 8

Operational Order No1

1.       The 8th Bde will attack the enemy’s position on the morning of 25th September 1915.

2.       3rd RA and HAR will bombard the front to be attacked from 3:50 to 4:20am. The support trenches will be bombarded from 3:50-5am and fronts and rear from 4.05 to 4.20am. Our mine will be exploded under the enemies trenches about J 13.C.0 and J 13.C.8.1. Two of these will be exploded at 4.19am and two at 4.19½ am. The assault will be delivered all along the line at 4.20am.  Absolute silence will be maintained during the assault.  Bayonets will be dulled in every way possible.  All ranks must be made to realise the importance of their not overrunning their respective  ??  line which must be made good and strengthened without delay with unremitting energy

3.       Objective From J.13.C.4.8  -- J.13.C.6.8—J.13.C.7.9.—J.13. a C76.19—J.13.a.2.2—J.13.a.2.1 all inclusive.

4.       ?? To Assembly

½ D Coy and 1 Platoon B Coy in C.2 & ½ C1 front line

½ C Coy and 1 Platoon of B Coy in half of C1 old front line – Appendix and New Trenches

Bombing squads distributed along front line according to where the trenches they are to bomb are situated – see bombing ???

½ D Coy in Half Moon Street

½ C Coy in C.1

3 machine Guns will assemble in this line

½ B Coy Pioneers and RE in C.1.5

A Coy in reserve in B.85

5.       Orders for Advance

½  B Coy in front line will move forward at 4.10am and get as close to the German front line as possible. Cutting barbed wire on the way. At 4.20am they will occupy the German front line from J.13.a.2.1—J.13.C.4.8.  Reserve bombers of this Coy will move on point J.13.A.2.1 and work along the trench towards J.13.A.2.2 and get in trench with 1st GA

½ D Coy and ½ C Coy move forward at same time and go straight for their objective.  3 machine guns will accompany this line.

The dividing line between C and D Coys will be J.13.C.3.9 – J.13.A.6.0 both points inclusive to D Coy.

All company reserve bombers will keep together in parties of 4 and will be used as bombers if necessary to clear German CTs  Bombers also to deal with any dug-outs etc

These bombers will not use bombs unless absolutely necessary and will be fully armed and carry 6 bombs each, which if not required when position is secured will be passed to Bttn Bombers in front.

½ B Coy in C.1.8 will at 4.20am reoccupy our old front line from juncture of old C.2 to Piccadilly Circus.

?? ?? Coy will dig a CT from this point to German Trench near J.13.C.?.9.  This will be done as soon as attack has secured objectives

The Pioneers and RE will at once open up CT from APPENDIX to near J.13.C.4.8.

6.       ????? ????? Bombers

½  Section to Bombing??? Will accompany ½ B Coy making for point J.13.C.3.9 and will bomb up towards J.13.C.4.8

??? 2nd Line

½ Section J.13.A.2.1—J.13.a.1-J.13.a.?.2

½ Section J13.a.2.0 bomb towards J.12.a.5.0. divide at J.12.a.5.0 to J 13.a.5.3.- J13.a.6.1.

??? Squads will not get into German CTs until J.13.a.?.1 & J.13.a.- is ??? as possible

½ section ??? advance with the second line to J.13.c.4.9 from which they will move towards trench junction 30 yards south of J.13.C.4.8-J.13.C.6.8-J.18.c.6.9

½ section ?? there ½ J.13.c.7.9 ??-to J.13.a.7.1

Two minutes after third line has started ½ section Gordon Hrs from Bomb Store in next trench carrying bombs will make for J.13.C4.d 1/2 Section ???? from bomb store on Piccadilly Circus will make for J.13.C.3.9 these squads will move backwards and forwards to bring up bombs.

Economy of Grenades is to be strictly enforced

Bomb Stores will be established at

                  Piccadilly Circus

                  New Trench

                  Centre of CIP

Reserve Store at Bn Headquarters

7.       The 3 Machine Guns will follow up 3rd line to J13.a.2.0 and J.13.C.3.9 – J13.C.4.8 and will take up approximate positions J.13.a.5.0 , J 13.a.6.0, J.13.c.6.9

1 Machine Gun will remain in CY from New Trench to C1

       One in reserve in rear of CIR M.Gun reserve ammunition in New Trench

8.       Signallers. The following permanent stations will be established.

1         ????

1         In Advanced ??? 10 yards ??? to ???? C1 & C1.8

1         Station Piccadilly Circus

1          Station will advice with 3rd line and establish station at J.13.C.3.9

9.       Reserve Ammunition  nr Battn Hd Qtrs also in front line trenches.

10.    Company Commanders will ?? out their lines at every opportunity 

11.   Reserve Sandbags and Tools will be dumped at Piccadilly Circus and sides of CT to New Trench

12.   Every man in the attack will carry 3 sandbags in back of waist belt 1 in 3 will carry a tool in proportion of 6 shovels to 1 pick

2 Platoons  - B Coy in C.15 will all carry tools

13.   All CTs leading from the captured trenches to the enemy’s lines will be closed by bombers posts

14.   ½ of B Coy in enemy’s front line will ??? CTs ??

15.   Supports – RE stores at West end SANCTUARY WOOD and in rear of C1

16.   Men will carry their ?? rations in their haversacks.

17.   Watches will be set to the correct time at an hour given later

18.   Battn Dressing Station in rear of B.8.3

19.   ??? in rear of B .8.? During bombardment and attack all messages will be sent to advanced Hdqtrs 10 yards south of junction of C.1. and  C.1.8

(Cd) SR McCLintock – Capt

                                                                                      Adj, 4/Gordon Highlanders

Not to be taken forward of your dugout. To be returned here today.

Copy No1 8th Inf Brigade

Copy No2 OC A Coy

Copy No3 OC B Coy

Copy No4 OC C Coy

Copy No5 OC D Coy

Copy No6 OC M/Gun Section

Copy No7 OC Bombers

Copy No8 Sgt  Snipers


Operation Order No 2                                                                             Copy No 8

By Lt Col A Lyon

Commanding 4th Gordon Highlanders

  1. ½ B Coy in front line.  MG and bombers will be in position by 2.45am.

All others by 3am except ½ of B Coy RE and Pioneers in C15 who will be in position by 3.15am

  1. Arrangements should be completed prior to this hour for trench ladders to be placed, sandbag steps made and any other contrivance made to ensure easy exit from our trenches
  2. Men bust be warned to move silently to their places of assembly.  Great care being taken not to show themselves on their way there, or when there special care being taken to conceal bayonets.
  3. OC C and D Coys will arrange that our wire in front of their trenches is cleared by midnight.
  4. Rifles will be inspected before dark
  5. Attention is again drawn to the order that the assault is to be done in silence
  6. Reference O. Order No1 para3 erase J13 and 7.1 and substitute J.13.C.6.9 and J 13 A. 6.1 It will be see n that point Y1 is not included in your objective.

Copy No1 Retained

Copy No2 OC A

Copy No3 OC B

Copy No4 OC C

Copy No5 OC D

Copy No6 OC Bombers

Copy No7 OC MG

Copy No8 OC Snipers

24/9/15                                   J.R. McLintock Capt/Adj

                                                4th Gordon Highlanders

__________________________________________________________________________

Two months previously, during July, the British had lost ground in this area, particularly around Hooge. It is noted by the official historians that it was in this fighting in July that the Germans introduced flamethrowers. Some ground, up to the stables of Hooge Chateau, was regained in August. The September attack while subsidiary to the Loos offensive, was designed with limited goals; to recover the remainder of the lost ground, as well as to provide a diversion from the main attack and tie up German reserves.  Though not for want of bravery and effort, neither objective was achieved. German losses were comparatively light -- losses to the 1/4th severe. The Regimental History (Life of A Regiment Vol IV by Cyril Falls p69), drawing upon the Battalion War Diary records the casualties as:

 

Killed

Wounded

Missing

OFFICERS

2

7

6

OTHER RANKS

24

148

147

However, examination of post war records of Soldiers and Officers Died (see below) indicate that the true number of fatalities was significantly higher. Well over half of those posted as “Missing” in the Battalion War Diary (most from C & D Coys) were subsequently reported killed. Why this was not reported in the regimental history published in 1958 is unclear. The final count of those killed appears to be 7 officers and 90 O/Rs. The wounded are far harder to account for precisely, but if the figures used by Falls (above) drawing on the War Diary are accurate, then the total of killed or wounded is 245 out of a “strength into the line” (several days earlier) of 641 (McConachie reports 657). This represents an almost 40% casualty rate.

Like their comrades at Loos, most of the attacking forces of the 3rd Division appear to have run up against thick and almost totally uncut wire and intact defences. The 1/4th however, did find or create sufficient breaks in the wire to assault the German trench line successfully. Indeed it appears two companies (C & D) initially made very good progress towards their objective the German Third Line.  At this point, German artillery laid down an accurate and prolonged barrage on their own (now occupied) forward trench line and no man’s land.  This barrage, coupled with heavy rifle and machine gun fire from above the Menin road, prevented the digging of communication trenches to afford some cover across no-man’s land and thereby critically limited the ability to resupply the advanced units of the 1/4th with ammunition and particularly bombs. Although several German counterattacks were repulsed by rifle fire from the trenches held, eventually as ammunition and bombs ran low the position became untenable. As German infantry attacks from the North and bombing attacks along the front-line trenches increased the 1/4th were forced to withdraw back over the ground they had taken, returnig eventually to their starting positions.  The two most advanced groups (elements of C & D Companies) appear to have been cut off and overwhelmed. While at least one man was later reported as a prisoner, a very large number were subsequenty reported killed. The numbers involved appear to indicate that there was fierce fighting, either in initially taking the Third Line or subsequently as the Germans counterattacked.  The Battalion War Diary records the events thus;

              Battalion War Diary Entry :Transcribed from WO/95/1421

SANCTUARY WOOD

24/9/1915

 

In trenches in SANCTUARY WOOD busy getting everything ready for attack.  Copy of operation orders attached.

 

25/9/1915

1:30am

3:50am

4:05am

4:10am

4:18am

4:20am

4:50am

4:50-12:00 noon

5am – 5:30

About

11-12 noon

1pm

1:30-2 pm

9pm

A small ration of coffee distributed in Dixies to men; immediately afterwards all ranks moved into assembly positions, everyone in correct positions by 3:40am

Our bombardment commenced. Almost at once Germans started bombarding our trenches, mostly with  (HE?)  causing some casualties mostly in CI 5 and Half Moon Street

Our bombardment lifted off German front line trenches

½ of B Coy crawled forward to German line

½ of D Coy and ½ of C Coy advanced and the other half advanced from our second line trenches.

Our 1st and 2nd line got into German trenches with little loss. Found many Germans in it most of whom bolted.

3rd line advanced over this trench and along with second line, advanced to objective. Certain amount of confusion. Germans met with in considerable numbers in the open and in the trenches and a good bit of rifle fire and hand to hand fighting but all were soon captured, killed or escaped.

Reports gradually got back saying the objective had been gained.

At the same time 1 off and 9 RE attached and 25 Battalion pioneers under Lt.  Waddell started to work on CT from Appendix to German line, but after a short time had to stop owing to heavy fire from artillery several of the pioneers being killed.  They went forward to help consolidate the furthest line taken by us.

Germans started heavy bombardment of captured trenches in redoubt, reports came back telling of this and asking for shovels and sandbags to strengthen trenches.  Some were sent up but did not arrive owing to shelling.

It was almost impossible to get up bombs etc to the furthest line held by us as the German CTs were blocked by shell fire and anyone coming out into the open was fired at by rifle and machine gun fire coming from North of the MENIN ROAD.

Reports came back from Capt Hopkinson that he was at point J.13. A 6 and that a field gun had been captured there. Sgt Forbes was killed at this point by a shell.

Lieut. Henderson now in command of C Coy (Capt Reed having been wounded in the middle of the redoubt and carried back to our own lines by his servant) reported that he was at point J13 C 79 with 6 men he was afterwards driven back from this by shellfire.

Heavy shelling from Germans all the time. Reinforcements were asked for by Coys in German 3rd line and half of B Coy under Capt Watson were sent up. Capt Watson was wounded in Appendix by a shell.

One half of A Coy in reserve in B.8.S was sent to take the place of B Coy in C1 as supports.  All our old trenches were being fairly heavily shelled by whiz bangs which made it very difficult to get up supplies of bombs etc even as far as the Appendix but it was done alright and a bomb reserve was made in German first line at point S13 C 3.9 but it was found almost impossible to take them further forward than there.

Germans collected North of the Menin road and at about 11:30 – 12noon attacked from N and NE with bombing parties up the trenches and others over the open.

Our bombers with some of the 1st GH who were isolated from their own battalion were driven back for want of bombs and the German bombers working along their old front line from the North forced out men to retire, but not before they had opened rapid fire on them killing a good many.

Our men retired to the Royal Scots trenches and across the open through the wood to Appendix 2 B 8 where they were collected and lined the parapet of Appendix C1 and B8. They were well handled by 2 Lt Bain. The Germans 4 times tried to advance from their own front line into C1 and Appendix but each time were stopped by accurate fire of these men.

The men of C and D coys who were in the German 3rd line were cut off and are missing

The remainder of A coy was at once sent for to reinforce and hold our old front line all this time the Germans were accurately shelling our trenches with field guns, inflicting several casualties.

The brigade was at once informed of the situation and asked to send reinforcements.

1 Coy of the 49th Middlesex Regt was sent to relieve men in appendix C12B8

Men in C1 B8 were relieved and went back to Middlesex dugouts in Sanctuary wood. One machine gun in new trench not relieved until later when it was relieved by 2 MG of the Suffolks

Battalion marched back to rest billets near OUDERDOM

Casualties as far as at present known:

Officers

Killed

Wounded and Missing

Wounded

Missing

2nd Lt GP Dawson

Lieut AR Henderson

Capt  CD Setiskain

Capt S Hopkinson

   

Capt C Reed

Lt J Morrison

   

Capt LE Watson

Lt RD Coutts

   

Lt C R Branden

2LT WJC Sangster

   

2Lt ER Watts

2Lt W Addison

   

2Lt W Inkster

2Lt G Low

   

2 Lt EM Tennant

 

NCOs and Men

A Coy

B Coy

C Coy

D Coy

TOTAL

Killed

 3

10

6

4

 23

Died of Wounds

 1

-

-

-

    1

Wounded

23

43

36

46

148

Wounded & Missing

-

-

  4

  2

    6

Missing

  5

 19

65

52

141

TOTALS

32

72

111

104

319

Total of all ranks 334

Copies of operation order No1 and 2 attached

Casualty List: 25/9/1915 (compiled from Soldiers Died in the Great War and Officers Died in the Great War)

Officers:

COUTTS

Robert Disher

LT

Killed in action

Probably part of 2 Companies (C and D) cut off. Initially posted as missing

25-27/09/15

Action At HOOGE

Son of Mrs. E. M. Coutts, of 33, Dalhousie Terrace, Edinburgh, and the late Mr. R. A. Coutts.

Grave/Memorial Reference:Panel 38.

Memorial:YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

HENDERSON

Alexander Rennie

LT

Killed in action

C Company.

Initially posted as “wounded and missing” Probably part of 2 Companies (C and D) cut off

25/09/15

Action at HOOGE

Son of Alexander R. Henderson, of 46, Beaconsfield Place, Aberdeen, and the late Elizabeth J. Thomson Henderson. M.A., Aberdeen University, and Teacher at Aboyne Higher Grade School, Aberdeenshire.

Grave/Memorial Reference:Panel 38.

Memorial:YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

DAWSON

John

 

Killed in Action

25/09/15

Action at HOOGE

11th Bn Attached 4th

Panel 115 to 119.

Memorial:LOOS MEMORIAL

HOPKINSON

James Garland

CAPT

Killed in action

Probably part of 2 Companies (C and D)  cut off. Initially posted as missing

25/09/15

Action at HOOGE

Panel 38.

Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

INKSTER

Walter

2/LT

Killed in action

BN diary records as wounded

25/09/15

Action at HOOGE

Panel 38.

Memorial:YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

LOW

George

2/LT

Killed in action

BN diary records as missing

25/09/15

Action at HOOGE

Son of Jessie Low, of Dyce, Aberdeen, and the late William Low.

Grave/Memorial Reference:Panel 38.

Memorial:YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

MORRISON

James

LT

Killed in action

Probably part of 2 Companies (C and D) cut off. Initially posted as missing

25-27/09/15

Action at HOOGE

Son of Alexander and Ellen Sarah Baker Morrison, of Turriff, Aberdeenshire.

Grave/Memorial Reference:Panel 38.

Memorial:YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

Morrison, James, Civil Engineer. 4GH. Lieut. Served F & F. Reported missing after Battle of Hooge 25th Sept 1915.,p 91, War Book of Turriff

SANGSTER

William John Campbell

2LT

Killed in action

BN diary records as missing

25/09/15

Action at HOOGE

Son of William Sangster, J.P., and Mary Sangster, of 62, Rubislawden South, Aberdeen. M.A. (Aberdeen). Medical Student.

Grave/Memorial Reference:Panel 38.

Memorial:YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

Other Ranks

NAME                                                                        Birthplace                             Number / Rank        Date KIA      Burial / Memorial

  1. Leslie, Frederick,
 

3647, L/Cpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Alexander, William,
 

2983, Pte., C Coy

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Alexander, William,
 

3340, Pte., D Coy

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Anderson, James,

b. Rathven, Banffshire,

1229, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Beattie, Robert,
 

2550, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Blackwell, George,
 

3988, Pte., C Coy

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Booth, Alexander,

b. Aberdeen

1128, Cpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Brown, Robert,
 

3902, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Burgess, Alexander,

b. Aberdeen,

1934, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Burnett, Stuart,

b. Aberdeen,

1364, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Caie, John,
 

3146, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Campbell, David,

b. Aberdeen,

994, Cpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Christie, Adam,
 

3578, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Clark, George,

b. Old Machar, Aberdeenshire,

842,L/Cpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Clark, Peter,
 

2563, Pte., B Coy

?9/25/1915?

CWGC LINK

  1. Connon, George,
 

2478, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Cooper, John,

b. Old Machar, Aberdeenshire,

1911,Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Cormack, Adam,
 

3471, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Coutts, George,
 

2362, L;Cpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Cruickshank, James,
 

3901, Pte., C Coy

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Cruickshanks, Thomas,
 

3894, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Dargie, James,
 

4119,Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Donald, James,
 

3814, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Donald, William,

b. Marnoch, Banffshire,

1601,Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Douglas, Gordon,
 

3920, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Eggo, Peter,

b. Montrose, Forfarshire,

1246, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Erskine, Alexander,
 

3284, Pte., D Coy

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Ewen, John,
 

3001, Pte., D Coy

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Ewen, Robert,

b. Aberdeen,

2061, A/Cpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Findlater, Alexander,

b. St. Cuthbert's, Midlothian,

1573, A/L/Cpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Forbes, John,
 

2820,  A/Sgt

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Forsyth, Alexander,

b. Old Nachar, Aberdeenshire,

1325 Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Fraser, Edward,

b. St. Machar, Aberdeenshire,

155cCpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Fraser, Harry,

b. Old Machar Aberdeenshire,

518, Cpl., C Coy

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Frost, James,
 

2714, A/cpl

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Gerrie, Harry,
 

2428, L/Cpl., D Coy

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Glass, David,

b. Blairgowrie, Perthshire,

1873, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Haggerty, Charles, (Haggarty)

b. Banff,

1878, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Haig, William;

b. Lonmay, Aberdeenshire,

1025,L/Cpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Harrison, James,
 

2997, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Joss, Alexander,
 

3879, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Laing, Robert,
 

3906, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Leiper, John,
 

3941, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Leith, David,

b. St. Rollox, Lanarkshire,

1456, Pte.

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Low, George,
 

3141, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Lowe, Barclay,
 

3880, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Lumsden, Allan,
 

1992, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. MacGregor, Duncan,
 

1442, L/Cpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. MacKenzie, Duncan ,
 

2157, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. MacKenzie, Robert,

b. Huntly, Aberdeenshire,

2141,Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. MacLennan, Roderick,
 

201395, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Mason, John,
 

2193, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Mathers, Murdoch,

b. Old Machar, Aberdeenshire,

1605, L/Cpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Matthews, James,

b. Methlick, Aberdeenshire,

1432, Cpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. McDonald, WiIliam,
 

3263, Pte., D Coy

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. McIntosh, John,
 

2563, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. McKenzie, John,
 

3917, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Meff, Robert,
 

3022, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Merson, Lawrence,
 

2513, L/Cpl.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Milne, Thomas,
 

3253, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Milne, William,

b. Trinity, Aberdeenshire,

1906,Pte., B Coy

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Monro, William,
 

3884, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Murray, John,
 

2370, Pte.,  C Coy

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Prain, William
 

1559 Pte.

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Quin. Robert,

b. Newcastle-on-Tyne.rland,

1925, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Riddler, James,
 

4015, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Ritchie, John,
 

 3531, Pte., C Coy

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Robbie, John,
 

3959, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Robertson, Alexander Simpson,

b. Belbelvie Aberdeenshire,

2080, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Robertson, William,
 

4236, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Ross, Alexander,
 

2882, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Saunders, George,
 

1701, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Savage, James,
 

 3876, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Shanks, John,

 b. Aberdeen,

1738. Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Shiach, John,
 

3570, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Silver, Alexander:

b. Stonehaven, Kincardineshire,

1611, Pte.

9/25/1915

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  1. Smart, John,
 

2297, Pte.,

9/25/1915

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  1. Stevenson, Edward,
 

3523, Pte.,

9/25/1915

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  1. Thompson, Matthew,
 

2620, Pte.,

9/25/1915

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  1. Thomson, Frank,
 

3589, Pte..

9/25/1915

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  1. Thomson, John,
 

2651, Pte., C Coy

9/25/1915

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  1. Thomson, Walter,

b. Aberdeen,

1440, L/Cpl.:

9/25/1915

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  1. Thomson, Willliam,
 

3963, Pte.,

9/25/1915

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  1. Turner, ,James,
 

4262, Pte.,

9/25/1915

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  1. Urquhart, Robert,
 

2471, Pte., D Coy

9/25/1915

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  1. Walker, James,
 

3277, L/Cpl.,

9/25/1915

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  1. Watt, John,
 

3130, Pte.,

9/25/1915

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  1. Williamson George,
 

2842, L/Cpl

9/25/1915

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  1. Wilson, William,
 

3912, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

  1. Young, Robert,

b.. Old Machar, Aberdeenshire,

1259, Pte.,

9/25/1915

CWGC LINK

Much is often rightly made of the localised impact upon communities of the casualties sustained on the Somme in July 1916, in particular amongst those units organised as Pals Battalions. Because of the very localised recruiting of the Territorial Forces, a similar and no less dramatic effect can be seen with the casualties from battles in 1915 like that at Hooge/Bellewaarde.

THIS CASUALTY MAP

plots the 1/4th Gordons casualties from this battle, on the basis of the addresses noted in the CWGC database. Although perhaps only 2/3rds of entries have addresses, the concentration in such a geographically small area is marked. The impact on the local community is obvious. It should be noted that other battalions of the Gordons were also in action (1st at Bellewaarde and the 2nd, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th at Loos.) Based on the incomplete age data held in the CWGC records, the average age of O/Rs killed was 22 years and 5 months, this is skewed upwards slightly by the presence of a couple of individuals in their later thirties.

One of these slightly older men was J.K. Forbes. A/Sgt 2820 aged 32. Somewhat unusually for the Battalion Diary, the entry describing the battle notes where and how he was killed (J.13.a.6 - shellfire). Forbes, who was in charge of the sniper-section, is mentioned on several previous diary entries as having provided excellent intelligence as a result of his forays out into no-man's land. After his death, the surviving sections of his diary were retained (by William Taylor and Peter Diack) and published in the form of a posthumous memoir entitled: "Student and Sniper-Seargent a Memoir of JK Forbes" (Hodder and Stoughton)

Forbes was also a member of U-Company. U Company was the Aberdeen University Company of the 1/4th and has the distinction of being the only university company to remain together and serve in one group as part of a battalion. U Coy became part of D Coy when the companies were "doubled", thus many of the men lost in the advanced group which was cut off appear to have been from the University Company. The story of this company - unusual to some extent in that numeous undergraduates and university graduates served, not as officers but as enlisted men, is well recounted in John McConachie's book "Student Soldiers" (Moravian Press 1995). In addition to Forbes' memoire and McConachie's look back, there is also a detailed account of this period in Alexander Rule's "Student Under Arms" (Aberdeen University Press 1934).

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