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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

C Coy 1/8 Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders 1916


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Hugh McArthur was a signaller in C Coy 1/8 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. I have a transcript of his diary for 1915 (the original is lodged with IWM archive) and am trying to fill in as many of the gaps as I can from Dec 1915 to the date of his death on 9th August 1916. He died of his wounds in one of the casualty clearing stations in Mericourt L'Abbe and is buried in Heilly Station Cemetery. My understanding is that he is likely to have sustained his wounds during the 51st Division's involvement in the Battle of the Somme, between 21st July and 7th August ... maybe in the area of High Wood(?). I haven't yet had an opportunity to visit the PRO to try and locate the unit war diary. Any information, or pointers would be gratefully received.

I know that Hugh was born at Kildalton, Argyll and enlisted at Ardbeg. His unit was mobilised at the 8th Batt HQ in Dunoon on 6th August 1914 and travelled South to Bedford from Stirling on 21st August. The unit stayed in Bedford until the end of April 1915 when it moved to France. During his stay in Bedford, Hugh contracted and survived measles during an epidemic that killed a large number of his comrades. Hugh entered the trenches for the first time on Thursday 20th May 1915 at Richebourg St Vaast.

I'd also be interested to know what badge Hugh is wearing over his breast pocket


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First,welcome to the Forum.

I am sure the more knowledgable will come forward shortly but in the meantime I can confirm the 51st Division were in the High Wood sector during the dates you quote.

The Pioneer Battalion(8th Royal Scots) reached Mametz Wood on the morning of 21st July and on the 22nd part of the Battalion "went forward in the afternoon to dig a trench from "High Wood" but the enemy barrage was so deadly that it prevented any work that night".

The history sums its time on the Somme thus."Never before,and probably not afterwards,had the Battalion been called upon to endure such a nerve-racking and trying time as that to which it was subjected during its fifteen days engagement in the first Battle of the Somme"

It might be worth using the Forum Search engine e.g. "The Hell they called High Wood" which is a Book written about the battles for the Wood.

I am sure you will receive many more helpful pointers.


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The badge is the Imperial Service Badge denoting that the man had volunteered for Overseas duty, if such was required by the Army. These were the first Territorials to be sent overseas during the War.



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Many thanks for your warm welcome and the advice, it's much appreciated. I'll follow up re: the book.



Thanks for the information. Much appreciated.


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  • 4 weeks later...

For what it's worth, Kildalton / Ardbeg are on Islay, and it is likely he'll be on the war memorial which is right on the harbour in Port Ellen.........

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Thanks. Hugh's name does appear on the memorial at Port Ellen. Our latest research confirms that he worked at the Ardbeg distillery before he went to war.

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