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Remembered Today:

Royal Scots - Unknown Battalion


eltoro1960
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In Joseph Persico's book 11th Month, 11th Day, 11 Hours, page 264 he came out with a statement that surrendering in number was safer than in small numbers and quotes this incident.

"Earlier in the second summer of war, a badly mauled regiment, the Royal Scots, had finally overcome their tormentors near Ypres and reportedly slaughtered 300 prisoners."

There is no identification of date or the battalion concerned, or indeed the location where it apparently occured, or the German unit concerned. He also does not quote a source as to whom it was reported by. I have absolutely no doubt that men were executed on the battlefield by all sides, but 300 men seems barely plausible. His statement also appears to contradict his theory , if true.

Can anyone shed any light, I doubt an incident of this magnitude could be overlooked / covered up. The 1st and the 9th were in the Ypres area but I can find nothing to suggest they were involved at all, the 8th had also transferred to the 51st by this time as their Pioneers so again unlikely. The 11th 12th and 13th were fresh over to France,the 4th / 5th and 7th were at Gallipolli. On 29th September, 1915 the 2nd were in and around the Hooge area and involved in heavy fighting, along with the 4th Middlesex and 2nd Suffolks, the official history states "Owing to the confined area in which the struggle took place, no quarter could be asked or given, and after an hours's gruesome fighting the Royal Scots had won back only ten yards of trench."

I would welcome your thoughts.

John

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I wouldnt have thought that this Incident would have made it into the Battalion War Diary or the Official History.Maybe the Germans who were allegedly Executed were not Killed En Masse,but more than likely in isolated Groups,if indeed this incident did take place,which i wouldnt be overly surprised if it did.

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I guess we will never know now, personally I think the 300 dead will include the casualties from the battle, it's nearly a third of a battalion of men and I would reckon they would either fight on or run for it rather than be shot/bayonetted where they stood.

John

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Have you checked out the German War Diaries for the Time Period ???.As a Foot Note,i feel sure that there would have been Many German Units that would have fought to the Last Man and Bullet,likewise many Allied units also.

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What exactly is alleged to have happened, John? Were men in captivity murdered? Were men who sought to surrender, killed instead? 300 German prisoners killed by one battalion of British troops would be by far the greatest atrocity of this nature on either side in the whole war. I don't see how this could possibly have happened and not be well known. To take 300 prisoners over a period of a couple of days would have been a noteworthy feat. To take them and slaughter them would have been trumpeted far and wide by the German propaganda machine.

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Being honest Tom I don't exactly know, the quote from the book is all he says on the matter. Being honest I am very, very dubious about the whole thing. Who reported it? Exactly where and when did it happen? What battalion was involved. The Germans would definitely have found out about it, there are always survivors from these sort of things, and would you fancy being a Royal Scot for the rest of the war? I wouldn't, they would be slaughtered without mercy by the Germans. I also agree with PBI, the Germans would have fought to the last man if they thought this would happen and inflicted huge casualties on the RS.

Persico does not list any sources, which makes me think...I can sme.....I think you know the rest Tom ;)

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