Contributed by: Robert Morrison, on 2008-11-03
|Year of Birth||1888|
|Year of Death||1917|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Lossiemouth, Moray|
My great-Grandfather enlisted at Fort George on 4 August 1914. He joined the conflict on 23 August 1914 and served until 23 August 1917 (three years to the day), at the start of the 3rd Passendaele campaign, where he died from wounds received on 22 August 1917, a few miles east of Ypres. He was serving with the 8th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders at the time.
"Like so many he died for our freedom in Flanders Fields", Robert Morrison, Great-grandson
The war diary for his battalion had quite a full entry on 22 August. They were placed at right battalion, left section, right sector, xix corps and the entry was as follows:
12.30am - The battalion was in position as detailed in appendix 22.
4.45am - This was ZERO hour. Bn moved forward in co-operation with troops on each flank. Objectives were as per app. 22.
6.40am - 11th A & SH on right reported they were back in original front line.
7.30am - Enemy retained objectives (IBERIAN, BECK HOUSE) and drove back all troops except 'B' Company who met little resistance, and passing between IBERIAN and BECK HOUSE, were cut off.
7.45am - Bn was substantively back in original positions. App 23. All attention was now directed to consolidation. Enemy sniping became very troublesome and many casualties resulted.
Two company commanders wereby now killed. Capt Thornton ('D' Coy) and Lieut MacMillan ('B' Coy). One was wounded - Capt Murray. In all three officers remained with the Coys:- 2/Lts Blackwood, Jackson and Henderson. The signalling oifficer, Lt Todd took command of a mixed body in 'Support', while 2/Lt Blackwood and 2/Lt Jackson took charge of the front line.
12.00noon Enemy artillary quiet.
3.40pm - Enemy counter attacked left didvision.
6.30pm - Enemy began to dribble forward from ZEVENCOTE.
7.05pm - This movement became suspicious and artillery barrage was called for.
7.30pm - Heavy enemy barrage was dropped from FREZENBERG and POMMERN.
8.50pm - Enemy barrage ceased. An attack took place. Our barrage very heavy.
9.50pm - Orders were received and issued for a raid at midnight on the mornings objectives.
11.50pm - Verbal orders came to alter ZERO hour to 1.30am. Weather fine.
My great-grandfather was wounded sometime during the action that day and he must have been moved back to a field hospital for treatment. Unfortunately his wounds proved fatal and he died on the 23rd. He was buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetry, plot XV111.A.3A. This is near Poperinge which is on the opposite side of Ypres from where he was wounded. His final journey would not have been very pleasant, to say the least, if he was still conscious at the time.
I am in possession of his medals and the 'Dead Man's Penny' that my great-Grandmother received and will always treasure them.
He is remembered in the Morayshire Roll of Honour and, along with all the other Seaforth Highlanders who fell, in a book of remembrance in Fort George Chapel.