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Alexander Muir

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

6798 Private

2nd Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers, 13th Infantry Brigade, 5th Division

Age: 34

Date of Death: Killed in Action on 18 November 1914

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 22

Family history: Family history unknown. He originally enlisted in 1899 and saw service in South Africa where he was wounded in action. He was on the reserve list from 22 October 1907. He was employed at the Nobel Explosive Works in Polmont and Kilsyth. He rejoined his Regiment and landed in France on 16 September 1914.

In a letter home that was featured in the Falkirk Herald under the heading 'DUG IN LIKE RATS' LAURIESTON MAN KILLED, he wrote of the conditions when the battalion was in the trenches at Nonne Bosschen. He had been wounded at some point and mentions this however, it could not have been a serious wound as he was still in the trenches: 'I will be glad when my wound is better. I am still in the trenches. We have dug into the ground like rats. The Germans have been shelling us for ten days, but have done little damage as we are too well dug in. If a shell, however, bursts where I am just now it will certainly bury us. You would really think that God was guiding the shells past us. There has been a terrible slaughter of the Germans in this neighbourhood, and their danger is increased by the fact that they are not entrenched here.'

The action that lead to his death

The battalion was in the line at Nonne Bosschen, nearly a mile east of Hooge and three miles east of Ypres. There they were subjected to severe, at times almost continuous shelling, not only by guns but by Minenwerfer, trench mortars. It was on the 18th that the first of these ‘Minnies’ as they were known, commenced operations. At anytime their ball like projectiles could be launched. They flew slowly through the air and could be watched as they exploded on the trenches. Blowing in the trench and the men into bits. Without ‘funk-holes’ or hope of swift revenge by S.O.S. calls to the gunners, the men in the trenches dreaded them almost worse than the guns. Casualties are recorded as 5 dead and 15 wounded.

Map from the War Diary showing the location

Medals Awarded

1914 Star with Clasp, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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