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Remembered Today:

Palestine Campaign H.L.I questions


Sjack91

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Morning,

 

As stated on another topic I am travelling to Israel next month to visit three graves of interest to me. One of the men James Steel 280636 is interred in Jerusalem cemetery and was killed 20/4/1917. Would I be right or wrong in saying that he was possibly wounded at the second battle of Gaza on the 19th? Also was his regiment the H.L.I attached to the 52nd Lowland Company? Any ideas of his last moves in the Gaza battle?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I know quite a lot about his family life back home but the only military information I have of him is his CWGC certificate, medal index card and his effects. I also have a document from his home in Scotland stating he was heading for Egypt in late 1914.

 

Best regards

 

Stuart

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Morning Stuart,

 

Unfortunately the War Diary for the months of February to May 1917 appear to be missing,

 

SDGW records that he was KiA which appears to be correct as he is 'missing' and on the Jerusalem Memorial and not buried anywhere in a known grave.

 

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1647163/STEEL, JAMES

 

Hopefully someone may be able to post more,

 

Regards,

 

Graeme

 

 

 

Edited by GraemeClarke
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Graeme really appreciate the response. I was not aware that he did not have a grave and was 'missing'. I totally missed the CWGC stating he is remembered on a panel. To busy chasing up other information and missed it.

 

Regards,

 

Stuart

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Here are some details of the fighting on the day of his death from the 52nd's Divisional history page 330

 

“A Turkish counter attack was anticipated, but the night passed with only spasmodic bursts of fire. The enemy had evidently suffered severely and were exhausted. Both the 7th HLI and 5th A&SH dug unceasingly throughout the night, but the ground was very hard and the trenches of the former were only two and a half feet deep by dawn. …................. When day broke the Turks opened on the trenches of both sides of the ridge with machine guns, rifles and later with trench mortars. …...........There is no space to even mention all the gallant deeds of this battle...............how some of the 7th HLI were killed trying to get water forward to exposed trenches, all of which were completely cut off by the enemy fire during daylight, and so on. The 7th HLI lost thirty-four men by sniping on the 20th.”

Edited by michaeldr
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To be honest, I do not know this battle well, but reading the divisional history I would say that the action at the time of this man's death was centred around Lees Hill with attempts to move forward past the Burnt Tank to Outpost Hill and Middlesex Hill. Just before the passage quoted above there is -

 

“Lees Hill was held, and this had an important bearing on the remainder of the operations, as from it Mansura could be attacked in enfilade.

After midnight the RSF who were still holding points on Middlesex Hill fell back.....”

 

This map is from October 1917, however it shows the area of interest here and you will note that one of the trenches is named after the HLI

 

5900506387838_MapGazaBurntTankcropii.jpg.145e94f71e0bacd530f7d3f3b0d29748.jpg

Edited by michaeldr
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This is great information Mike. Helps me to build a story about the man.

 

Interestingly to note that next to the H.L.I trench there is a road marked The Spinney. In the town where James was from is a road on a very steep hill known as The Spinney. Possibly a coincidence but strange all the saying.

 

Thank you.

Edited by Sjack91
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