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Remembered Today:

My great-uncle's role in the Great War.


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Matlock1418
27 minutes ago, knittinganddeath said:

The specific card pictured above by Busterfield is here: https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/542681/3/2/

 

Harlosh, if this is indeed your man, then he was captured at Monchy near Arras on 28.3.1918. The record says he was not wounded at that time.

Thank you for finding this!  Have searched and searched!!

Yes, that "Nicht Verw" [Nicht Verwundet] had already caught my eye too

So rather looking like not 'gassed' at that point

And "Gastritis" on that McPherson 15427, Cam Hldrs pension record is something completely different I understand!

;-) M

 

Edit: And puzzled as to why down as " 9 Royal Hdrs" ??? - Sorting that out, or Cam Hldrs, might perhaps help with a relevant War Diary

Edited by Matlock1418
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32 minutes ago, knittinganddeath said:

The specific card pictured above by Busterfield is here: https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/542681/3/2/

 

Harlosh, if this is indeed your man, then he was captured at Monchy near Arras on 28.3.1918. The record says he was not wounded at that time.

 

 

 

 

 

Many thanks knittinganddeath,

 

Another family link but I won't go into that : )

Very much appreciate your efforts.

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I assume the date of capture relates to Operation Michael, if I remember rightly from my reading.

 

I'll have a look at Monchy, many thanks.

Regards all.

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Matlock1418

7 Cameron Highlanders http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352796 - a busy day in the Front Line was 28 March 1918 near CAMBRAI ROAD / LES FOSSES FARM /  SHAMROCK CORNER - being attacked, including enemy gas shells

9 Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352790 were also busy being attacked and driven back 28 March 1918- in PELVES LANE / FEUCHY CHAPEL ROAD area

Those more familiar with the WF may perhaps be able to better determine which was perhaps more likely to be described as "MONCHY"

???

:-) M

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The Medal Index Card for Private S/15427 Donald MacPherson shows him as Cameron Highlanders. No other unit is mentioned and his medals appear to have been issued by that regiment judging from the roll references. He first landed in France on the 8th July 1915.

He was discharged to the Class Z Reserve on the 11th April 1919.

 

He actually has surviving service records.

 

A single man, aged 22 years and 3 months, he was working as a Sub Curator(?) when he enlisted at Glasgow on the 16th November 1914. His next of kin was his father, Alexander MacPherson, of 1 Ivy Buildings, Paisley.

 

He was recorded as 5 feet 8 inches tall and with no distinctive marks.

 

He joined the depot at Inverness on the same day as he enlisted and was then posted to the 7th Battalion. He went with that Battalion to France on the 8th July 1915. His initial conduct sheet records him being with “C” Company.

 

As a result of a Gun Shot Wound to the Abdomen on the 18th July 1916, he was medically evacuated to the UK, arriving on the 28th. He was then posted on to the strength of the Depot for pay and disciplinary purposes while receiving his hospital treatment. (Possibly the origins of his future Gastritis – the Ministry of Pensions certainly thought that condition was attributable to his service according to a memo in the service record).

 

On recovery he was posted to the 3rd Battalion on the 12th October 1916. He was 2 days late reporting from leave at the start of November 1916 and earnt himself 3 days confined to barracks. After refresher training and an assessment of his fitness for frontline service he was again sent out to France, arriving at 19 Infantry Base Depot on the 5th December 1916. However he doesn’t appear to have been posted back to the 7th Battalion until the 28th April 1917.

 

While with the 7th Battalion Cameron Highlanders he was posted missing on the 28th March 1918 – but it looks like it was the end of July before it was confirmed he was a Prisoner of War.

 

Repatriated to the UK on the 29th November 1918,he was posted to the Depot. He was transferred to Class Z on the 11th April 1919 and was recorded as still single. His home address was given as 47 Neilston Road, Paisley. He was fully discharged from the Army on the 31st March 1920. He was still living at that address when he signed for his 1914/15 Star on the 3rd July 1920.

 

So no reference to the Royal Highlanders anywhere that I could find.

 

Hope that helps,

 

Peter

 

Edit: - 7th Cameron Highlanders War Diary covering July 1915 to August 1918 is currently available for free from the National Archive here -

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352796

 

Edited by PRC
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Many thanks Peter,

 

That's the man as there is reference to and a photograph of 1, Ivy Buildings in Paisley in the family tree.

You and the other posters have ensured his efforts and troubles have not been forgotten.

If only I'd have been able to meet him!

Regards.

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, PRC said:

While with the 7th Battalion Cameron Highlanders he was posted missing on the 28th March 1918 – but it looks like it was the end of July before it was confirmed he was a Prisoner of War.

 

Dates may be just a co-incidence, but a significant number of allied troops captured unwounded during the various phases of the German Spring Offensive were kept in the battle zone and put to work as slave labourers - digging trenches, building roads, clearing the battlefield, unloading munitons and supplies - teams of men were even put to work hauling barges. The men and horses freed up were used to keep the momentum of the offensive going. The captives were given starvation level diets to keep them docile while carrying out heavy manual labour. While undoubtedly the administrative machinery was overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of prisoners, there was also an element of what we would now call plausible deniability. All of this work and treatment broke the rules of the Geneva Convention. By not passing on details to the International Commitee of the Red Cross of who these men were and where they were being able held, the Red Cross could not visit and report on treaty violations as a consequence. However the downside was that there would be no Red Cross food parcels or medical supplies for them.

 

These men, emaciated and often riddled with disease, particularly of the kinds associated with malnutrion, started to filter back to the camps in Germany and Poland from July 1918 onwards.

 

If Donald was subject to such treatment, on top of his earlier abdomen gun shot wound, it might well give him a life time problem with gastritis - after the initial interim pension award I think one of the minutes in his service file assesses him as 30% disabled.

 

Could it be that somewhere along the line chinese whispers have turned gastritis into suffering from a gas attack.

 

Regards,

Peter

 

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Peter, I can't thank you enough for all this information!

 

It sounds like he (and the others) had a very hard time. Perhaps him 'never being the same' has some foundation.

 

I guess you are right about the gassing.

 

My short time as a member of this forum has taught me not to believe everything in family trees nor what is handed down by word of mouth.

 

Regards.

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busterfield

Having moved things around here lately, I've misplaced Martin Middlebrook's The Kaisers battle. There may be some reference to the regiments part in that battle by some of the regiment involved. Or if not used in the book in his box of sources at the IWM.

 

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Just discovered "The History of the 7th Battalion The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders" by Col. J. W. Sandilands and Lt. Col. Norman Macleod is available on Project Gutenberg.

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/50301/50301-h/50301-h.htm

 

14 hours ago, PRC said:

As a result of a Gun Shot Wound to the Abdomen on the 18th July 1916, he was medically evacuated to the UK

 

Page 42

 

On the 18th July our Engineers blew up "Border Redoubt" at the junctions of "Riflemen's Alley" and "Alexandria Trench." Instructions had been given that after the explosion the far lip of the crater was to be consolidated. This proved a difficult job, but we were ordered to persevere with it. The explosion formed two craters, which were heavily bombarded with rifle grenades and aerial darts by the enemy, who evidently had no intention of trying to consolidate the crater himself. Three different attempts were made to get into the further crater, and within a few seconds, on each occasion, every man was a casualty, as the whole movement was under observation of the enemy. However, after many hours arduous work, lying flat on the stomach and scraping with an entrenching tool, a trench of sorts sufficient to hold the far lip of the crater was formed. The work was arduous and trying, as well as dangerous, but the officers and men stuck to it bravely. The following afternoon a Staff Officer came up with beautifully drawn plans for consolidating the near lip of the craters, a scheme which, if originally carried out, would have saved many lives.

CASUALTIES.

Killed: 1 Officer and 16 other ranks.

Wounded: 4 Officers and 12 other ranks.

 

(The Battalion were subsequently rotated into the Somme).

 

14 hours ago, PRC said:

While with the 7th Battalion Cameron Highlanders he was posted missing on the 28th March 1918

 

This action is covered over 8 pages, (118-125), and suffice it to say Donald was one of 299 Other Ranks posted missing.

The Killed is given only as four, including officers. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website lists 61 members of the Battalion as having died on this day. Most have no grave and are remembered on the Arras Memorial.

 

Cheers,

Peter

 

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12 minutes ago, PRC said:

Just discovered "The History of the 7th Battalion The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders" by Col. J. W. Sandilands and Lt. Col. Norman Macleod is available on Project Gutenberg.

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/50301/50301-h/50301-h.htm

 

 

Page 42

 

On the 18th July our Engineers blew up "Border Redoubt" at the junctions of "Riflemen's Alley" and "Alexandria Trench." Instructions had been given that after the explosion the far lip of the crater was to be consolidated. This proved a difficult job, but we were ordered to persevere with it. The explosion formed two craters, which were heavily bombarded with rifle grenades and aerial darts by the enemy, who evidently had no intention of trying to consolidate the crater himself. Three different attempts were made to get into the further crater, and within a few seconds, on each occasion, every man was a casualty, as the whole movement was under observation of the enemy. However, after many hours arduous work, lying flat on the stomach and scraping with an entrenching tool, a trench of sorts sufficient to hold the far lip of the crater was formed. The work was arduous and trying, as well as dangerous, but the officers and men stuck to it bravely. The following afternoon a Staff Officer came up with beautifully drawn plans for consolidating the near lip of the craters, a scheme which, if originally carried out, would have saved many lives.

CASUALTIES.

Killed: 1 Officer and 16 other ranks.

Wounded: 4 Officers and 12 other ranks.

 

(The Battalion were subsequently rotated into the Somme).

 

 

This action is covered over 8 pages, (118-125), and suffice it to say Donald was one of 299 Other Ranks posted missing.

The Killed is given only as four, including officers. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website lists 61 members of the Battalion as having died on this day. Most have no grave and are remembered on the Arras Memorial.

 

Cheers,

Peter

 

Many thanks Peter,

Even more for me now!

He was a lucky man and from Arras to the Somme, good grief.

Another occasion of when I could cry for them.

Much appreciated.

Regards.

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Hello all again,

Please excuse more questions re: Donald.

Would his family have been told he was missing or was it chaos given the Spring Offensive?

It must have been an anxious few months for them.

Regards.

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1 hour ago, Harlosh said:

Would his family have been told he was missing or was it chaos given the Spring Offensive?

 

I've been struggling to find him in the official casualty lists either in 1916 or 1918.

 

One of the other leads I tried following was looking at the few men of the 7th Battalion who have a known grave. One of these was Lance-Corporal S/16526 David Rintoul who was found in a battlefield grave at Map Reference Sheet 51b N.10.C.5.2. and moved to Wancourt British Cemetery. For comparison that Cemetery is shown as being at 51b.N.24.c.2.7.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes that Wancourt is a village about 8 kilometres south-east of Arras. It is 2 kilometres south of the main road from Arras to Cambrai.

 

The edition of the Strathearn Herald dated May 11, 1918 includes an item that David's wife had received official notification that he had been missing since the 28th March 1918. I suspect that is the kind of timescale when Donald's parents might have heard he was missing - and if the report that was subsequently received by the British Authorities from the International Committee of the Red Cross showed Donald serving with the Royal Highlanders then the parents may have waited a long while before they received official notification he was a prisoner. One can only hope Donald sent them one of the official postcards that were available to advise he was a prisoner.

 

One of the other reasons I was looking for the 1918 casualty list for was to check the missing against the ICRC records to get a feel for what sort of volumes were recorded as Royal Highlanders. Of course I can't be sure if this was a deliberate deception or a mistake on the part of their interrogators.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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