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Remembered Today:

Unknown Corporal 6th Bn, Gordon Highlanders in Artillery Wood


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There is an UNKNOWN Corporal of the 6th Battalion Gordon Highlanders in Plot 5 Row B Grave 10 in the Artillery Wood Cemetery. He has a cross on his grave, as did Private Bowman KIA 31 July 1917, found at the same location and in Grave 7.

There is only 1 Corporal missing that date and there are only 2 on the page with crosses:

Corporal Alexander Morgan #265087

I would say the odds are that is the man. There was another on 17 June 1917 Alexander Diack so it would be good if someone could check where the 6th Gordon Highlanders were on that alternate date.

doc1808616.JPG

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If you mean, where were the 1/6th GH on 17/6/1917, they were in billets at Ganspette Bleu Maison (between 9th and 21st) training. Not sure how Diack could be KIA unless accident training?

Mike

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If you mean, where were the 1/6th GH on 17/6/1917, they were in billets at Ganspette Bleu Maison (between 9th and 21st) training. Not sure how Diack could be KIA unless accident training?

Mike

Soldiers effects suggests Diak was 1st Bn - SDGW does indicate 6th though.

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Craig

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Diack's Medal Rolls says 6th , no mention of 1st Battalion. Click

Mike

Thanks Mike, looks like an error in the effects records then.

Craig

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Thanks Mike, looks like an error in the effects records then.

Craig

I suppose so. It says on his MIC he "died intestate" There's also a newspaper report he was wounded in 1916 but doesn't give battalion.

Mike

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Aberdeen Journal - Tuesday 03 July 1917

Killed in action on 17th June, by a sniper. Corporal Alexander Diack, Gordon Highlanders, aged 27.

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Aberdeen Journal - Tuesday 03 July 1917

Killed in action on 17th June, by a sniper. Corporal Alexander Diack, Gordon Highlanders, aged 27.

He must have been on attachment with another battalion.

Craig

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Diack's Medal Rolls says 6th , no mention of 1st Battalion. Click

Mike

The medal rolls don't always list movements between btns in same regiment, i'd go with the SER entry.

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The medal rolls don't always list movements between btns in same regiment, i'd go with the SER entry.

The 1st Bn were in action from the 14th - 19th.

Craig

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All the 1st battalion men killed in this period (14-19 June 1917) are on Arras Memorial. There is only one other 6th battalion man and he is also commemorated on Arras Memorial Click

Mike

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  • 1 year later...

Returning to dormant files, now that I have Ance$try International and access to the rest of the records.

 

First of all, this is Private John Bowman. He is on the same COG-BR page as our UNKNOWN CORPORAL, so they must have been in the area 28.c.8.a.8.9, about 300 yards southwest of Pilckem.

 

In the dates around 31 July 1917 (25 July to 5 August) there were 13 Corporals KIA, nine (9) of which have no known grave, one (1) of which is on the Tyne Cot Memorial (Bruce 8th/10th).

 

The only one in the 6th is Morgan, as recorded above KIA 31 July 1917. There are none listed for the 1st/6th.

 

If I have the details correct, the 6th Battalion  was in the 51st Division - at least that is what the Ance$try War Diaries tell me for June 1916 to September 1918.

 

The start of the July 1917 war diary is here (page 181 of 406). From the 11th to 23rd they are in the billets and Lederzeele training for the attack. I was able to get a fix on the area relative to "Von Werder's House" at 28.C.10.b.2.5, so we are in the correct area for the 1st/6th Battalion. THis is almost due north of Kitchener's Wood, about 1,500 yards northwest of St. Julien. The remains of the Corporal are about 2,000 yards west of that location (28.C.8.a.8.9).

 

It would appear to me that Corporal Alexander Morgan #265087 is our Unknown Corporal of the 6th Battalion Gordon Highlanders.

 

You have to go back to July 9th to find other 6th Bn. Corporals KIA and they both have known graves (CWGC Link). You must go back to June 17th to find another Unknown Corporal of the 6th Gordon Highlanders (CWGC Link: April-December 1917). That is Corporal Alexander Diack #266099, as mentioned in the first post. Craig also noted possible 1st Battalion, as noted in the Soldier's Effects. His Service Record did not appear in the Ance$try Search. In June 1917, the 1st/6th Battalion was in training in Arques (27.S.14) on the 8 June 1917 and Ganspette Bleu Maison (Page 180 of 406). There are no recorded casualties at that time, however 83 O.R. are reported "evacuated". (Note: Maison Bleu Ganspette, France is reported in the diary of Lieutenant Colonel William David Fraser for 9 June 1917. He commanded the 6th Gordon HIghlanders at that time. The diary also refers to the 6th Gordon Highlanders H.Q. at Minty Farm 28.C.10.c.1.5 on 31 July 1917).

 

Initially I thought  that Corporal Alexander Diack might have been with the 1st Battalion, not the 6th Battalion, as the 1st Battalion was being sniped throughout the day on 17 June 1917 (page 181 of 372). The problem with that is that the unit was at Hook Trench in the Roclincourt (Arras) Sector (51b.B.20.d.9.1). You can't eliminate him immediately, given that he is on the Menin Gate Memorial, as I do have Canadians killed in France on the Belgian memorial (Private John Montanelli #24267: 13th Bn. - on wrong memorial). If they thought he was with the 6th Battalion, and his remains were not recovered, they would naturally place his name on the Menin Gate Memorial - believing that was where he was at the time. That month, the 1st Battalion had 70 KIA, 188 WIA and 27 missing. His Medal Roll Index Card shows him previously as an Acting Serjeant with a Service Number 11834, which the Medal & Award Roll shows as with the 6th Gordon Highlanders when 11834 (many others similar).

 

 

Edited by laughton
updated information in last paragraph
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