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Alexander F Buist

1355 Private

1/7th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 10th Brigade, 4th Division

Age: 22

Date of Death: 24.5.15

Buried: White House Cemetery III.C.8

Family history: Son of Thomas & Maggie Buist, Carronhouse, Carronshore Road. Husband of Jessie Ferguson Buist, Carronhouse, Carronshore Road. They had two children Thomas born on 26 July 1913 and Alexander who was born on 1 August 1915, tragically three months after his fathers death.

Before mobilization Alexander was employed as an engineer by G & J Weir of Cathcart, Glasgow having served his apprenticeship in the engineering department at the Carron Company. He went to France with the battalion on 15 December 1914.

The action leading to his death

On the 24 May the Battalion relieved the 1/Royal Warwicks in the line extending from Wieltje to St Julien road some 400 yards south with the 2/Dublin Fusiliers on their left and the 1/Royal Scots Fusiliers on their right. The 5/Border’s, attached to the Argyll’s for trench instruction, provided fifty per cent of the battalion strength.

(Linesman Map)

At 2.15am the Germans released gas which was accompanied by a heavy artillery barrage which was kept up for a few hours. The Germans attacked the British line and took the trenches held by the 2/Dublin’s on the left. Some of the newer Border men retreated when the gas attack began but the more experienced and majority of the Border men held the line, although the causalities were very heavy. Major McCracken, commanding ‘D’ Company, was sent back to La Brique for the battalion Medical Officer and to bring up support in the form of ’B’ Company of the 2/Seaforth Highlanders. Casualties from the shell fire had continued throughout the day, many of the casualties occurred amongst the men who had retired when the gas attack began. They had become further gassed by the moving gas cloud and had been caught in the German barrage that had moved from the British front line to the support line. The battalion trenches were now also subject to enfilade fire and in the early hours of the morning of 25 May they withdrew to new trench lines some 300 yards to the rear.

In a letter to his wife Colour Sergeant Major Harley, ‘B’ Company, wrote that Alexander had been wounded by a shell fragment and had died at the Dressing Station located at St Jean. He also informed his wife that her brother, George Ferguson, was at the Dressing Station suffering from the effects of gas and was subsequently sent down the line to be transferred to Lundwood Hospital in Barnsley.

Medals Awarded

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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