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Remembered Today:

2nd Battalion Royal Scots Regiment


londonscot
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My Grandmothers brother was in the 2nd battalion Royal Scots and was killed on the 3rd May 1917 at Monchy le Preux,has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial so i am particularly interested in seeing this place and finding out information about any battlefield maps,locations of the regiment on this date or battlefield diaries.

I would apreciate any information,assistance or guidance which is available.

Ian

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Hello Ian,

welcome to the great war forum, there were 91 men killed on that date if you give his name that would help the forum find more information. Also have you read through the LLT ( the long long trail ) that's the best place to start your research!!!

http://www.1914-1918.net/

http://www.1914-1918.net/royalscots.htm

http://www.1914-1918.net/3div.htm

these links will give you some information

best regards

Ian

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Dear Ian.

Thank you for the kind reply and my apology for not posting his name as i wasn't sure if it should be here or on one of the other sections.

His name was Andrew Craig number 27724.

I have his papers which i obtained back in 2000 from Kew and so i am really wanting to see what information i can glean as an overall view of the regiment's location.

I will have a look on the links that you posted and thank you for these.

Ian

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Hi Ian I glad I could help, Here is Andrew Craig details from the SDGW

Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment)

2nd Battalion

Private 27724

Craig Andrew

Born & Enlisted in Dundee

Killed in Action on 03/05/1917

France & flanders

regards

Ian

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Ian

The 2nd R Scots war diary reads: ' (Trenches, Monchy) Zero hour was at 3.45am and the attack was carried out with A and B Companies in front supported by C and D Companies. The attack unfortunately made little progress, the 9th Brigade and Division on our right also failing to get forward owing to the intense hostile rifle and Machine Gun fire which was not silenced by our barrage. A line of advanced posts was however established and at night and during the following nights men gradually made their way in - the casualties however were heavy. Captain McGill who was in command of C Company being most unfortunately killed.'

I hope this helps

Kind regards

Colin

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Dear Ian.

Thank you..

I knew the brief details of Andrew Craigs enlistment from his documentation but it is good to have this confirmed.

Dear Colin.

Thank you for giving me the information confirming the time of the attack as i had trawled the internet late last night looking for details.

You mention that A and B Companies went in first supported by C and D behind so i will have a dig in the documents that i have and see if they mention which company he may have been in.

From what i know the troops as you say came under heavy rifle and machine gun fire,were hit hard with many casualties and had difficulty succeeding in their objectives.

From a letter in my file from the Royal Scots Curator back in 2000 he suggested that he may have been one of those unfortunates stuck in no mans land during that long hot day and may have been shot while waiting for night to fall.

I recall that one of my cousins told me a story passed down through the family that he was shot by a sniper so this may tie in with the information you gave.

It would be nice when i get the opportunity to see a copy of any battlefield maps that may be available covering this aprticular period.

Kind Regards

Ian

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  • 4 months later...

My grandfather's brother was also in the 2nd battalion of the Royal Scots and was also killed on 3rd May 1917 at Arras. He too was not found and his name, David McFetridge,No 34290, is also on the Arras Memorial. I have been advised by a very helpful person at Edinburgh Castle that as his rgt. no. is quite low, he probably enlisted around August 1914. He also gave me a copy of the war diary for that day and his medal card. We intend visiting Arras this spring and I would be very grateful if there was any possibility of finding out when David was sent overseas and where he served before 1917. I have tried the National Archives, and other Forces websites without success. He came from Thornliebank and I will try the local library for local newspapers of the period but any information at all would be very much appreciated. Thank you

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Hi Sheena

I have seen the medal card for your great-uncle, and it doesn't have a date for his arrival in Europe. Since he didn't qualify for the 14/15 star we can tell that it was certainly after the beginning of 1916, but there is no way of being more exact than that because his service record does not appear to have survived (as you have found), so he may have arrived anywhere between Jan 1916 and April 1917: like many battalions, 2nd RS was constantly receiving drafts of men from Britain to replace casualties, and there is no independent record of who arrived when. His five-digit regimental number doesn't look particularly early to me, but you may find someone who has special expertise in Royal Scots serial nos. who may know otherwise.

There may be newspapers with an obituary (he was a Glasgow man, so look there as well as Edinburgh) - have a search through the Great War Forum (using the search facility), because I think that there is someone who has lots of Royal Scots newspaper obituaries.

The 2nd battalion Royal Scots was a Regular battalion in the Third Division (8th Brigade), and if you search The Long Long Trail (see link at top-left of page) you'll be able to find out the battles that they were involved in - as a regular Division the 3rd was one of the heaviest-used ones: they were engaged in some desperate fighting on the Somme at Bazentin Ridge in mid-July 1916, then over the winter at Serre, and then suffered huge casualties at Arras.

William

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Sheena,

This site gives details on Army numbers and associated join dates for the British Army:

http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/royal-scots-1st-2nd-bns-1881-1914.html

From this you can see that 11562 joined in Feb 1914

From Ancestry, Service numbers around 34239 and 34284 started service around about July 1916.

I therefore estimate his enlistment as being sometime in the first week of July 16.

Note that he would have attested some months earlier and then would have been called in to do medicals etc etc before being posted to start training and from there posted overseas to join the 2nd Bn probably late 1916.

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Hi James

Thanks for drawing attention to the army service number website. Hitherto I had thought that understanding army service numbers was something of a black-art, but now I shall bookmark that website, and study it in odd spare moments so that I can quote service numbers knowledgeably.

William

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William,

No problem - I got it from someone on here in the first place.

Still something of a black-art though with all the variations that the individual regiments and batalions managed to include.

James

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Hi James,

Thank you for your reply which I appreciate. I have followed the link you provided and have learned a lot recently. I think I must have misheard what was said to me on the phone as regards the regimental number. I think the comment must have concerned David's brother James who enlisted with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in August 1914. I would like to say how impressed I am with this site and the information available. I am very grateful.

Sheena

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Hi William,

Thank you for your reply which is very interesting and helpful. I would be grateful if I could ask some further questions. If David did not arrive in France until the end of 1916 would he have been involved in all three battles of the Scarpe? Was a whole division employed in each of these battles and how many men were in each division and how many were in a company and each battalion?

David's older brother James enlisted with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on 28th August 1914 and was sent to France on 1st June 1915. He was wounded in 1915 and discharged 4th November 1916. At some point he became a Lance Corporal. His Rgt no. is S/3235. According to information from the A&SH museum Thornliebank was a recruiting area for the 6th Btn. However I have discovered that the Glasgow Mitchell library is currently updating the Glasgow Evening Times newspaper Roll of Honour. This gives names of POWs, those missing, in hospital, wounded and killed. James is noted as being in the 10th. I have tried the usual websites but can find no pension records for James or anything concerning when he became a l/cpl or the date or the name of the battle where he was wounded. An assistant at the Mitchell library was able to retrieve the newspaper article on James which was published on 7th Oct. 1915 which included the fact that he had a leg amputated , his home address and his father's name but nothing else. Any suggestions you may have to assist in obtaining this information would be very gratefully received. Thank you.

Sheena

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Sheena,

The 2nd Royal Scots (2RS) was a part of the 8th Brigade (8Bde) 3rd Divison (3Div). During the Battle of Arras this Division was in the VI Corps part of 3rd Army through out the battle.

It took part in the 1st Battle 9th to 14th April 1917, the 8th Bde only took part in the 2nd Phase 23/24th April, the Battle of Arleux 28/29th April and finaly the 3rd phase 3/4th May.

So yes he would have been involved in the whole of the Battle. This does not mean that he was constantly going over the top every day of the battle only a small proportion of units were in the first line of an attack:

The make up was as folows:

At this time a Division usually consisted of 3 Brigades each of 4 Battalions. The Battalions consisted of 4 Companies and an HQ element containing specialist troops such as Machine guns etc. About 1000 men in the Bn. Each Company consisted of 4 Platoons of 4 Sections. A company would be nominally 140/150 men.

In addition the Division had specialist units such as a pioneer Battalion, 3 Medical units, Aritilery, machine gun companies (Later Brigades) etc etc In total some 19 to 20,000 men.

During Operations the Division would normally operate with 2 Bde in the front and 1 in reserve. Of the 2 Bde in the Front they were usually aranged with 2 Bns in front and 2 in Support or Reserve. When holding the line a Brigade spent about 10 days at a time in the front before rotating back to reserve, which more often then not meant supplying continual working parties to carry supplies dig and improve trenches etc etc. This meant thet each battalion would spend about 8/10 days in the front Trenches each month.

During an attack the above format was usually followed ie 2 Bde Forward 1 reserve, 2Bns Forward 2 Support.. The Assaulting Battalions would be followed by the next 2 Bns which would pass through once the first objectives had been achieved and would in turn try to gain the next objectives. As Casualties mounted the ability of units to carry on would be seriously compromised so Commanders would commit their reserves to carry on the attack allowing the original first wave units to recuperate slightly before being commited again.

I don't know enough about 3 Div but 15 Div was in the same corps and spent the latter part of 1916 being brought up to strength and training for Arras, However on the 9th April its strength was 433 Officers and 11499 other ranks, by the 29th April some 6313 were casualties (Killed Wounded or Missing).

Preparations for the Battle were very detailed and the opening phase one of the most sucessful for the British Army to date.

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Sheena,

James's army number is prefixed by an S which indicates that he joined as part of the 'New Army' or Kitchiners Army as it was known. These units were known as Service Battalions. The 6th was a Territorial Battalion so it is unlikely that he served with them. The 10th however was a service Bn which would be more likely. The 10th were a part of the 9th Scotish division and went to France May 1915, they took part in the Batlle of Loos which is probably where he was wounded. LOOS (25Sept 18th October 1915)

The Service records from the First World War were nearly all destroyed by a German Bomb during the Blitz of 1940. Only a few records survive now known as the burn't collection so it is not surprising you cannot find any information on him. Unfortunately without personal diarys or letters you will be unlikely to be able to fill in the blanks as to his service.

James

PS If you havn't done so already follow the links to the LLT at the top of the page - this has loads of usefull information.

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Sheena,

Further to above the 2RS war diary is available at the National Archives, unfortunately they have not yet available online so you will either need a holiday to visit or a kind member who is visiting and willing able to copy /look up on your behalf. There may be someone with a copy already. Alternativly Regimental HQ may have a copy which would probably be a lot esier to arange. This is very unlikly to give an individual soldiers name but would give an outline of the operations the unit was involved in. Look as well and see if there is a regimental history availble (again RHQ)

The same aplies for the ASH

2RS war diary refrence is WO95/1423

The 10 ASH is available online this link should help:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/details?Uri=C4554923

James

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Hi James and William,

Thank you both very much for all your help with my enquiries. I have learned so much and wish my Dad could have had access to this Forum. He would have been so proud off his uncles. Sheena

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