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Andrew Baird

Updated: Feb 4

28631 Private

2nd Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers, 13th Infantry Brigade, 5th Division.

Age: 26

Date of Death: Killed in Action 8.11.17

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 66 to 68

Family history: Son of John and Elizabeth Baird. He had three brothers Archibald, John and Robert, and a sister Elizabeth. The husband of Agnes and the father of Richard who was born on 11 June 1915. Agnes remarried following Andrew’s death.

The action leading to his death

The 5th Division was involved in the Third Battle of Ypres known by the all encompassing name of the Battle of Passchendaele. They were in fact taking part in the Battle of Passchendaele II which began on 26 October and dragged on till 10th November 1917.

The 5th Division was making a determined effort to take the Polderhoek Chateau. The conditions were indescribable. The difficulties were made worse by hostile barrages, pill-boxes, inundations and mud, endless mud. The Battalion was in close support of the attacking Battalions and were called on for support at 5.20am on the 26 October. The chateau was taken but was subsequently lost and by the end of the day the British were back in their original lines. On the 27 October the Battalion was relieved and withdrew to Bedford House. In the action of 26 October the Battalion losses were one officer wounded, one gassed, 14 Other Ranks killed, 90 wounded and 7 missing. Some were known to have drowned , not an uncommon occurrence. The Battalion was again called into action on 5 November.

(Linesman Map showing trench positions at 5 December 1917)

The action of 5 November

On the 5 November a further attempt was made by the 95th Infantry Brigade to take the impregnable Polderhoek Chateau and once again the 2nd Battalion KOSB were in support. The attack failed and the Battalion relieved a sector covering two companies of the Devons and two of the East Surreys. The ground conditions were appalling with mud well over men’s knees, with some of the men from the 95th Brigade pulled from the mud by ropes after being marooned for 36 hours. One man from the 1st Devons was submerged up to his neck for 48 hours before he was rescued. Exposed to view by day, the Battalion clung on in miserable conditions until relieved by the 39th Division on the night of 11/12th November.

The 2nd Battalion, KOSB, Medical Officer, Captain W A Murphy had been wounded when a shell scored a direct hit on the Dressing Station dugout. Battalion casualties for the period from 5 November to when they were relieved on the night of the 11/12 November were, 90 men with trench foot, 65 Other Ranks killed or wounded. Andrew was one of those killed.

Medals Awarded

Family plot in Muiravonside Cemetery

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