Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

1st Bn. Royal Scots Fusiliers


Recommended Posts

I was hoping that someone may be able to give me some advice or help please. After reading the post on people who join the forum and don't make any posts I have finally decided to ask a question !!!

My great grandfather was Pte. Henry Smith (202590) of the 1st Bn. Royal Scots Fusiliers. Unfortunately nothing was known about him within our family as his son (my grandfather) died before I was born.

I have found some info. from the CWGC and also from The Scottish National War Memorial. I now know that he was killed in action F&F on 26/9/17 and is buried at Tyne Cot.

Could anybody help me or point me in the right direction as to how I could find out in what battle he died. I wondered if he may have died in the battle of Passchendaele - although this is just a guess as I am new to this.

Any help would be gratefully received.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

26th September 1917. Battle of Polygon Wood.

3rd Division attacked at 5.30am with 76th Brigade and 8th Brigade.

8th Brigade attacked in a ground mist. The 2nd Royal Scots and the 8th East Yorks led with the 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers and the 7th KSLI in support. The Scots with their right flank on the railway, took the first objectives. The East Yorks came across some particularly marshy ground and were forced to split up to by-pass the flooded area.However, their objective the Red Line, was reported taken by 7am. The Royal Scots Fusiliers and the KSLI took over the advance and went on to take the western slopes of Hill 40, just short of the Blue Line. An unsuccessful attempt to take Hill 40 was made at 6.30 pm.

The enemy counter-attacked but were repulsed. Another counter-attack forced back the leading troops but a British counter-attack was made by 12th East Yorks who retook nearly all the ground lost.

From Passchendaele - the day - by - day account.

The area of Hill 40 is NE of Frezenberg.

Possibly a casualty of this action.

Anyone else say what the SDITGW says?. kia, dow?? He was from Leeds.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


The 1st Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers formed part of the Fifth Army, 3rd British Division, 8th Brigade in the Battle of Polygon Wood (26 September - 3 October 1917).

I have attached a very simple map for 26 September 1917 which shows some of the names and features mentioned in Malcolm's post. This map is taken from the book by Robin Pryor and Trevor Wilson titled Passchendaele: the untold story.

Several maps of the battle area can be found on the Paths of Glory website, here. See Frezenberg-Zonnebeke Sept. 1917; Zonnebeke/Broodseinde (Tyne Cot-Celtic Wood) Dec 1917; and Zonnebeke-Broodseinde Sept. 1917.

An account of the battle will be available in the official British History. The maps from the history are available on CD, and hopefully other members may be able to provide a copy.

The 4th and 5th Australian Divisions were also involved in the Battle of Polygon Wood. An account of their involvement, which includes reference to British Divisions, is available online from the Australian War Memorial. See Volume IV, Chapter XIX http://www.awm.gov.au/cms_images/histories/5/chapters/19.pdf

Lastly, 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers suffered many casualties on this day. The Scottish National War Memorial lists those who died. See the link here.

Hope this assists.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...


It is several years since you posted your enquiry, and you may now have all the information you need about your great grandfather, Pte. Henry Smith, killed in The Battle of Polygon Wood 26th Sept 1917. But if you are still looking...

My grandfather was Captain Stuart Revels who commanded one of the two companies of the 1st Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers that held Hill 40 (just Northwest of Zonnebeke Station) for 24+ hours, 26th-27th Sept 1917. He was one of only eight officers in the battalion not killed or wounded in the battle.

I have the map of the Zonnebeke area that he used in the battle on 26/27 sept, marked up for the attack in coloured pencil by Intelligence, several ariel photos of Zonnebeke taken by plane just before the battle, and also the official report of the action by the battalion commanding officer. (Alas, as usual no soldiers are mentioned by name - only officers).

I would be happy to e-mail you scans of all these (or post you photocopies if you prefer) if you would be interested. The same offer is open to anyone else who is interested in the activites of 1st Battalion RSF in 3rd Ypres.

Best wishes,

William Revels

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...

From the Book THE ROYAL SCOTS 14-19.

At zero hour 5:30am, when the attack began a grey mist hung over the ground so dense that even the outline of the railway embankment could not be distinguished and when the men plunged onward into the sticky gloom they had great difficulty in preserving direction. The German barrage late in coming down passed over the attacking troops and fell heavily in the valley behind our old front line and around battalion HQ. A capital start was made by C and D companies (2nd Royal Scots) pushing on rapidly and capturing some prisoners and gained the objective by 8am. There they began to consolidate while the Royal Scots Fusiliers prepared to pass through and attack Hill 40. But the success was not maintained as the battalions on the flank had lost direction in the obscuring mist and the 1st RSF were unsupported when they began their attack on the hill. The defenders were vigilant and by accurate fire pinned the RSF to the ground where they held a line of shell holes nearly 250 yards short of the brigade objective.

At 5:30pm, orders were received that the whole brigade would carry out a further attack at 6:30pm. There was no time to issue more than verbal instructions and they reached only a few officers who had no opportunity to communicate them to more than a few men in their neighbourhood. Accordingly when the hour of attack arrived just a mere handful of officers and men went forward. At the same time the Boches began a counter attack from Hill 40. Both sides wavered. Our men seeing that most of their comrades had not left the shelter of the shell holes turned to go back to their positions that they had just left. This unfortunately caused a momentary panic and men began to dribble back from the centre of the line. Bu the flanks stood firm and through their unflagging resistance the Boche counter attack collapsed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...