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Remembered Today:

HLI - 16th Battalion "Glasgow Boys Brigade"


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I have just found out (from this brilliant site) that my great uncle Hugh Cairns pictured below was in the Highland Light Infantry 16th Battalion know as the Glasgow Boys Brigade (because many of them joined from the Boys brigade). He died on 2/12/1917 and is on the memorial in Tyne Cot Begium. I would like to find out more about the the HLI and the 16th and it's history where it was etc. I also wondered if it was possible to find out more about Hugh Cairns himself? Is it possible to find out when he enlisted, or how he died at all? Does anyone know where I might go for such information?

Many thanks for any help.

Joanne

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HI Joanne,

Look on the main site here under the Highland Light Infantry and it will tell you about the 16th and its movements. As for how your relation died and where he enlisted that would be in the Soldiers Died series which I do not have for the HLI. But I am sure some kind soul will find him for you in their copy.

Really pleased that it seems to be coming together for you. Good luck.

All the best,

TIm

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Take this the right way Joanne - I love looking at old pictures of soldiers - and 'wee Hughie' up there looks as if he'd 'cleave the head clean aff ye' ... as they say! Boy, is he a hard lookin' wee man! I reckon he did a bit of boxing in his time .. look at the nose. He was hard as nails. IMHO - but what can you tell from a picture? What do you think?

des!!

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Ralph J. Whitehead

According to SDGW Hugh Cairns age 20, Private, 350220, killed in action 2/12/17 France and Flanders. Per the CWGC he is listed on Panel 131 to 132, TYNE COT MEMORIAL. Son of John Cairns, of 41, Crossburn St., Glasgow. Unfortunately I do not have any details regarding their history or any personal details.

Good luck with your search.

Ralph

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Thanks Ralph,

It was really good to find him on the Commonwealth War graves site, when we only had a photo all these years. It is also good to know he is comemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium. Many thanks for looking him up.

If I can I would like to find out more about his battalion... the 16th of the HLI, there is the museum in Glasgow I intend to visit as a starting point. And there is some information about their division here on the Long, Long Trail.

If I can I would like to know where and when he enlisted and how long he was in the war etc. My mum reckons, she recalls adults speaking when she was a child that he joined late in the war and was shipped off very quickly and died very quickly. I would be keen to perhaps verify some of that or find the truth. If that is possible after all this time.

Thanks again and best wishes.

Joanne

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Joanne,

History of the 16th HLI by Thomas Chalmers is available from Naval and Military Press Cat No 7000, @ £18.00 it has a Roll of Honour and list of awards and lists of all who embarked for France.

See www.naval-military-press.com

Aye

Malcolm

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Joanne,

16th (Boys Brigade) Battalion, HLI

Why not try the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum, 528 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow. The researchers there will be able to give you lots of info on the battalion and even perhaps, Hugh Cairns. The war diary of the 16th (Boys Brigade) is held there along with the other Glasgow HLI 'Pals' battalions. (Tel. number : 0141 332 5639 )

The museum is on three floors and traces the history of the three regiments -The Royal Scots Fusiliers, The Highland Light Infantry (including the pals battalions of the 15th (Tramways), 16th (Boys Brigade), the 17th (Chamber of Commerce) and the Bantam battlalion of the HLI (the 18th battalion) and the 74th Highlands from which the RHF are descended.

The Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum

( Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow & Ayrshire Regiment )

incorporating

The Royal Scots Fusiliers,

The Highland Light Infantry

518 Sauchiehall Street

Glasgow

G2 3LW

Tel: 0141 332 5639

E-mail: reg.sec@rhf.org.uk

website www.rhf.org.uk (they have 6 VCs on show)

Good luck, sunflower

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Hey Sunflower,

Again I'm very much endebted for your kindess. Thank you so much for your help. It's good to know where the museum is and what they hold there, and that they have researchers there too, who might help. I'll email them, and hopefully go over in the next few weeks. I was also really pleased to know that the 16th war diary is there brilliant!. Can't wait to go to the museum now...sounds a fascinating place.

Thanks again.

With best wishes

Joanne

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Joanne

I am going to Ypres very soon and will be visiting Tyne Cot for the first time. I will get you a photo of Hugh Cairn's name on the memorial panel. I have the number from the cwgc website.

Will post it when I get back.

;)

Sunflower

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest thiepval

Hello

Can anybody help. My great uncle James White of 16th HLI died on 1 July 1916 on the Somme. I'm trying to find our what their objective was on that fateful morning.

Any help greatly appreciated

Thiepval

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They were part of 97th Brigade, attacking from the south-eastern corner of Thiepval Wood, and the Brigade was to attack the German line between the Leipzig Salient and Thiepval. Their first objective of the 16th HLI was the "Wunder Werk" and they were supposed to end up at Mouquet Quarry, well over a mile away from their start point. They came under heavy machine-gun fire almost immediately and had no choice but to fall back.

Tom

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16/HLI amd 17/HLI led the assault of 97th Brigade. They had a 800 yard front, facing Lepizig Redoubt, south of Thiepval.

On this page, fourth photo down, you can see the site of the redoubt today. 16/HLI were attacking left to right across the photo, up a considerable slope.

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Guest thiepval

Chris and Tom

Thanks to you both.

James White was in C Company so I'm going to try and see if there are any details in the Battalion war diaries.

Incidentally another relative was in the 1/7th Batt HLI and he died later in Aug 1918. I think they were fighting at the Scarpe!

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Hi Thievpal

It was just to say, it's really worthwhile getting Thomas Chalmers book on the 16th Battalion, if you haven't already got it. (It was suggested earlier by Malcom). It deals quite a bit with the Battalion's role in the Somme, although written in sort of 1930s language which seems a bit strange but very useful.

I intend to go to the HLI museum myself probably this weekend or next, I 've emailed the researchers to ask if I can get certain info about my relative too and to see if I can see the war diaries. So good luck. I wondered can you tell me how you knew your relative was in C company? Do you know when he enlisted? Did he go off with the battalion initially in November 1915? My great uncle Hugh died on 2/12/1917 but went out later than November 1915. I would like to find out when and trace the movements of the battalion.

The Chalmers book gives the names of all those who left for France in Nov 1915 but not after but I've just noticed there is a Private J White service no: 14466 who proceeded to France in Nov 1915 - is this the same James?

Anyway, best of luck in your research.

Joanne

PS. Chris many thanks for the photgraphs and explanations.

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Guest thiepval

Hello Joanne

I've got an old photograph and its marked C Company on it.

The J White you found is my relative his serv number was 14466. I dont know when he joined up but I suspect he went France in Nov 1915. I've got a couple of postcards from his training camp.

Good luck at the museum it will be interesting to find out what you find in the diaries. I'm also thinking about buying the book.

best wishes

Thiepval

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David_Bluestein
Hi Thievpal

It was just to say, it's really worthwhile getting Thomas Chalmers book on the 16th Battalion, if you haven't already got it. (It was suggested earlier by Malcom). It deals quite a bit with the Battalion's role in the Somme, although written in sort of 1930s language which seems a bit strange but very useful.

I intend to go to the HLI museum myself probably this weekend or next, I 've emailed the researchers to ask if I can get certain info about my relative too and to see if I can see the war diaries. So good luck. I wondered can you tell me how you knew your relative was in C company? Do you know when he enlisted? Did he go off with the battalion initially in November 1915? My great uncle Hugh died on 2/12/1917 but went out later than November 1915. I would like to find out when and trace the movements of the battalion.

The Chalmers book gives the names of all those who left for France in Nov 1915 but not after but I've just noticed there is a Private J White service no: 14466 who proceeded to France in Nov 1915 - is this the same James?

Anyway, best of luck in your research.

Joanne

PS. Chris many thanks for the photgraphs and explanations.

Hi Joanne,

Could I trouble you to check and see if either of these two soldiers are shown in your book:

1398 Pte. HUGH MAIN WILSON, "A" Coy. 16th Bn. Highland Light Infantry

Killed July 1, 1916

14145 Pte. GEORGE DUNCAN, 16th Bn. Highland Light Infantry

Killed July 1, 1916

Much thanks in advance

David

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Martin Middlebrook 'The First Day one the Somme' - get it and see the entire perspective.

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Ralph J. Whitehead

Hello Thiepval, I might have a short account of the fighting on July 1st that involved the 16th HLI. I sent you a message off forum, just let me know if you would like to see it, thanks.

Ralph

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Hi David

No problem, happy to look up the two men. Pte Hugh Wilson 1398 and and Pte G Duncan 14145 proceeded to France with the battalion on the 23rd Nov 1915. They are also in the memoriam section.

All the best

Joanne

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Hi Thiepval, David

I just wondered if you have any photos of the 16th HLI ..would it be possible to post them here at all? I'd love to see them.

Many thanks...and good luck in your reseach. (Brilliant Forum eh?)

Joanne

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Hi Thievpal

According to the chalmers book. The 16th HLI were in training early Dec then they replaced the 6th Seaforths on 9th Dec on a front near Thievpal Wood. Their first loss came on the second day Pte A Kitchen. They then were relived and had 10 days rest from the line. It was back to the trenches on Christmas Eve...The 97th Brigade was in charge of policing a part of the Front near a salient called 'The Nab'. From Dec to Feb the Battalion held sector F2 of this area alternately with the 2nd K.O.Y.L.I. At the end of Feb the Battalion moved to Albert (Picardy) and suppied 'digging parties'. At the begining of March it was back to the trenches on the Albert Front when th 97th Brigade relieved the 14th. The 16th HLI were in trenchs in Sector E2. On the 27th March after a raid the trench was overwhelmed by shell fire 15 were killed.In April and May they seemed to have been in the Thievpal sector. During May and June Chalmers comments that the Battalion went though an intensive period of training and preparation, with particular emphasis on building physical fitness.

On the 1st of July (Somme)- 10 minutes after zero hour it was estimated that the 16th lost half the Battalion. At the end of the day they lost 20 officers and 534 men, four-fifths of it's officers and two thirds of the men. Hope this helps.

In memory of all those who died on the Somme and the Great War.

Joanne

In memory of Hugh Cairns Died 1/12/1917

In memory of Robert Kilpatrick Died 15/03/1915

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David_Bluestein
Hi David

No problem, happy to look up the two men. Pte Hugh Wilson 1398 and and Pte G Duncan 14145 proceeded to France with the battalion on the 23rd Nov 1915. They are also in the memoriam section.

All the best

Joanne

Thanks Joanne,

Thats great, I will update their files.

David

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