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Remembered Today:

Pvt Alexander Scott Watt AIF


sunflower
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I have got info on Prvt Watt (a friend's grandfather) from Mapping Our Anzacs website, which give full details on his service record. He is listed on Villers Bretonneux Memorial.

What I would like to know if anyone knows where he might have been killed.

He served with the 28th Battalion and was sniped through the head on 5th Nov 1916.

(Copy of D16)

'Pte Watt was a member of the Battalion Observer's and as detailed on 5.11.16 to guide a company into postion in the front line preparatory to an attack. Whilst carrying out this duty Pte Watt was sniped through the head. No record is held by this Unit of the burial of Pte Watt.'

Give we know his battalion and his date of death and they were preparing for an attack, is it all possible to try and locate where he might have been killed?

Appreciate any help with this one.

Thanks, Sunflower :)

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As far as I can see the 28thBn were in support of a general attack and were on the right flank of the Durham Light Infantry which were attacking near Eaucourt l'Abbaye. The 2nd Div AIF were in the vicinity to the left of Geuedecourt and with Flers behind them.The 28th attacked Gird Trench. The 28th lost 52 killed and 171 wounded - a disaster really. This was still the dying scenes in The battle of the Somme.

Len

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Andrew P will be back on line tomorrow ... I will send him the link (he has the 28th Bn history apart from knowing heaps about WA units)

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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Sunflower,

On 5th Nov 1916 the 28th Bn was on the left flank of the 2nd Division and adjacent to (right of) the 8th Bn Durham Light Infantry, 50th (Northumbrian) Division, in the first attack on Gird Trench. The area in which he would have been sniped was about 1000 yards NE of Eaucourt l'Abbaye and about 1000 yards SE of the Butte de Warlancourt . See sketch map on p 910 of Bean's Official History Vol III. The 28th Bn attacked astride the road running NE from Eaucourt l'Abbaye to Le Barque. It failed. I have just been doing some work on the action.

Hope this helps

Cheers

Chris

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Many thanks to everyone who posted on my enquiry. This is great info and almost precise to the spot where he must have been killed.

Thanks to Scott for the war diary for Nov for the 28th Btn. I have typed it up for my friend (couple of words I was not sure about) so she could see what happened to her grandfather's battalion. They certainly had a very tough time of it.

28th Infantry War Diary for November 1916.

1916

Nov 1,2,3,4,5

In billets at Dernancourt

Moved to camp at Montauban

Advance parties sent off to reconnoitre front line

Took over front line from 53rd Battalion AIF

Trenches in very bad order and mud from 12 inches to 3 feet deep

Location M24A Gueudecourt map

Usual work improving front trenches and preparing for attack on next day

The Battalion in conjuction with 27th Battalion and companies of 25th and 26th Battalion who were on our right and the British division on our left made an attack on the German line know as Gird Trench.

Owing to the inaccuracy of our artillery fire, through lack of observation, the enemy were not kept down in their trenches by our barrage and the advancing troops were subjected to very heavy rifle and machine gun fire which prevented them from reaching the objective.

Our losses in this attack were officers (Lieut. W R Moore) and two wounded (Lieut. Mullen, Lieut A. W. Curran)

Previous to this attack four officers were wounded, Capt R C Phillips, Lieut M G Hammond, Lieut C C Flower, Lieut R H Gill. The casualties of other ranks were as follows. 58 killed, 166 wounded, 50 missing. 27 other ranks were evacuated to hospital suffering from effects of wet and exposure.

Nov 6, 7

Relieved by 18th battalion. Troops on relief moved back to Montauban camp reaching there at intervals during the day. The journey out was most trying for tired troops and all were in a fatigued condition. Everyone very wet and covered in mud.

Nov 8 to 14

Remained at Montauban supplying various fatigue parties and refitting and replacing shortages.

Nov 15, 16

Took over front line at M24A from 19th and 25th Battalion. Relief completed at 2.15 hour. Small portion of Gird Trench was re????. 5th East Yorks held 100 yards on our left with that flank in the air whilst our right flank was in the air. 3 Coys A.D & C in front line, B coy in support in jumping off trench.

Nov 16

At about 4.30 pm enemy launched a heavy bombing attack on East Yorks on our left in Gird Trench and drove them out on to us. Our left and centre Coys attempted to counter attack and resisted until forced to withdraw by very heavy fire and a flanking movement. All Coys in front line withdrew to jumping off trench and took up defensive positions there. S.O.S. was sent up but not observed by artillery.

Lieut A Brown was wounded whilst reorganising a counter attack to recover ground lost by E. Yorks. Lieut R Barber was also wounded whilst carrying on this work and is missing. Our casualties on this afternoon were officers, 1 wounded, 1 wounded and missing. Other ranks 7 killed, 32 wounded, 41 missing, 1 officer and 18 OR (other ranks) to hospital suffering from cold and exposure.

Nov 17

Moved to left handing over jumping off trench up to Turk Lane to 27th Bn. Trench on left improved as much as possible but ground was very wet and broken up.

Nov 18

Ground frozen hard. A slight fall of snow followed by rain. Relieved by 18th Bn. Relief completed 5.10 am

Nov 19

Moved back to Fricourt camp. Men arrived at irregular intervals during the day. The long march in heavy going was very hard on all.

Nov 20

Remained at Fricourt camp.

Nov 21

Moved to billets at Bieure.

Nov 22 to 28

Remained at Bieure doing general fatigue work and refitting.

Nov 29

Transport marched out at 2 pm for Vignacourt

Nov 30

Re-entrained at Bieure at 2.12 pm for Vignacourt, detrained there and marched to St Vast en Chausee arriving at 8.30 pm.

The casualties for the month of November were as follows

Killed 1 officer, 65 other ranks

Wounded 7 officers, 200 other ranks

Missing 1 officer, 91 other ranks

Hospital 5 officers, 141 other ranks

Total 14 officers, 497 other ranks

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Thanks Andrew.

do you know if there are many identified in the cemetery? My friend's grandfather might be one of the unknown burials.

sunflower

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Sunflower,

This is your man. An unknown I'm afraid, hence commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneaux memorial.

Cheers

Chris

Name: WATT, ALEXANDER SCOTT

Initials: A S

Nationality: Australian

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Australian Infantry, A.I.F.

Unit Text: 28th Bn.

Date of Death: 06/11/1916

Service No: 3318

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Memorial: VILLERS-BRETONNEUX MEMORIAL

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Hi Sunflower

If his body was recovered but could not be identified then there would be a chance I guess. I visited this cemetery in 2007 and from memory there were a few graves that had unknown of the 27th & 28th Battalion on them.

A relative of mine in the 27th Battalion was killed in this battle and was not 'knowingly' recovered so I was looking out for the unknowns at Warlencourt & AIF Burial Ground Cemetery

Cheers

Andrew

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