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Alexander Sneddon

Menin Gate Memorial. Authors image

S/6632 Private

11th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, attached 45th Machine Gun Company, 45th Infantry  Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division

Age: 22

Date of Death: 31.7.17

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 42 and 44 

Family history: Son of John and Mary Sneddon, of 26 Blackbrase Rows, Falkirk. He was employed as a miner before enlisting in November 1914.

Alexandar had a problem with military discipline. He was tried by Field General Court Martial (FGCM) on 13 July 1916 for ‘Disobeying a lawful command given by his superior officer’ and found guilty. He was sentenced to 60 days imprisonment with hard labour however, this was commuted to 60 days Field Punishment No.1. He was tried again by FGCM on 13 January 1917 and found guilty of the charge of ‘Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline.’ He refused to go on a patrol when in the trenches on 25 December 1916. He was sentenced to 56 days Field Punishment No.1.

He was attached to the 45th Machine Gun Company on 4 May 1917.


The action that lead to his death

At 3.50am on the 31 July 1917 the Third Battle of Ypres began with the British offensive. The 15th (Scottish) Division was leading the attack on Frezenberg Ridge. The 44th and 46th Brigades, supported by the 45th Brigade, led the attack. At 7.30am the 45th Brigade commenced filing up the tracks to Cambridge Road and took up position. At 9am the 45th Brigade began its advance and it was deployed to cover the whole of the Divisional front, with the 6/7th Royal Scots Fusiliers on the right and the 6th Cameron    Highlanders on the left. In support of the Royal Scots Fusiliers were the 11th Argyll’s. The leading battalions reached a belt of wire 10 yards deep and two feet high just east of Beck House and they managed cut through this and keep up with creeping barrage and eventually reached their objective of the Green Line. At 11.30am the Brigade was consolidating on the Green Line with the 11th Argyll’s digging in some 400 yards west of Potsdam, with a company in support on the right ready to form a defensive flank along the railway. At dusk on the 31 July, the Argyll’s sent two platoons with Lewis-guns to the south side of the railway to forma defensive flank between the 15th (Scottish) Division and the 8th Division, the front line of the latter being some 200 yards behind the former. At 8.30pm the 44th and 46th Brigades were ordered to relive the 45th Brigade during the night however, the heavy rain, mud, and the churned-up state of the ground made this a difficult task. It was 3.15am before the first of the relieving troops got into position and it was decided to cancel the relief owing to insufficient time before daybreak. Battalion Other Rank casualties were 13 killed, 31 wounded, and 33 missing. Alexander was posted as died of wounds received, missing on 31 July 1917.



Medals Awarded:

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.


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