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Remembered Today:

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23rd March




Frank Gibson who had arrived in France 3 years ago on the 23rd March 1915 was fighting with the 5th Battalion The Cameron Highlanders.  They had been in action since early on the 21st  when they came under bombardment as they occupied the frontline trenches just North of the ruined French village of  Gouzeaucourt.  Whilst they with the other Battalions in the 9th Division had held the Germans back units south of them had been unable to resist the German attacks and fell back to the West and South.  To maintain a consistent front they retreated throughout the 22nd of March and part of the 23rd South and West to a position west of the village of Manancourt where they set out  a defensive line and fought off several German attacks through the night.  It’s likely that it was during these actions that he was killed.  The Battalion spent the following day retreating as the division attempted to maintain an intact line under sustained German attack as a result his  body was never recovered from the field and he is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial.

Richard Robertson of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Scottish Fusiliers  had been a regular soldier and re-joined at the outbreak of war and had been in France since the 14th of August 1914. He  fought at Mons, the British Army’s first battle of the war.  The 1st RSF were part of the 8th Brigade in the 3rd Division and they were due to be relieved on the 21st of March but that change over never occurred.  The 1st RSF were in “Brigade Support” in a series of trenches named after birds, “Egret Loop” and “The Nest” on a hill  about 1km behind the front which was held by the 2nd Battalion The Royal Scots.  Through the 21st and 22nd of March they endured some heavy and accurate artillery bombardments as the Germans tried to force the 2RS out of the trenches in the valley below  but as units to the South and North fell back the 3rd Division was forced to withdraw.

On the night of the 22/23rd of March they moved about 2miles West and took up a position just to the North West of a small village called Henin sur Cojuel on either side of the road north out of the village where some trenches  had been pre dug.  Newspapers reports say that he was killed by a bomb dropped by an aircraft but the various war dairies don’t mention a specific air attack on the 23rd but German aircraft are described as harassing British troops  throughout this period.  Unusually  for this part of the war he was buried (many men’s bodies were lost as the British retreated) which suggest his death occurred behind British lines and his  body could be safely recovered. He is buried in Wailly Orchard Cemetery, about 12km north west from where he died. This large distance may mean that he survived for a while after he was injured and died during his evacuation.

Richard Robertson lived at 130 Scott Street with his wife.



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