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Andrew Kidd Chesney

2344 Private

‘B’ Company, 1/7th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 10th Brigade, 4th Division

Age: 21

Date of Death: 29.3.15

Buried: Strand Military Cemetery VIII.I.7

Family history: Son of Andrew and Elizabeth Chesney, 2 Munro Street, Stenhousemuir. He was employed as an apprentice engineer in ‘E’ Department in the Carron Iron Works. He enlisted in the local Territorial Battalion in September 1914.

The action leading to his death

On 15th December the Battalion boarded the ‘Tintoretto’ and sailed for Le Harve disembarking, after a short delay in the approaches to the port, and on the 19th they departed Le Havre by train bound for St Omer arriving there on 20 December and from St Omer they marched to billets in the village of Helfaut. They stayed here until the 3rd January 1915, when they moved onto Hazebrouck on 4th January, Bailleul on 5th and arrived in Nieppe on 6th January The battalion joined the 10th Brigade, 4th Division on 6 January 1915 and immediately began trench instruction and training. This instruction was from the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders a regular army battalion and they were in ‘training’ until the end of January.

(Linesman Map)

Writing home to his brother, Captain James Forbes Jones, commanding ‘B’ Company, gave a description of life in the trenches that first day of instruction. His letter was featured in the Falkirk Herald on 16 January 1915. ’… marched 4 miles to get to the trenches along road full of immense holes caused by large shells… and little harvests of wooden crosses here and there.’ He was taken to the firing trench located some 70 yards from the Germans ‘.. It is death to put ones head over for more than a second.

He was to be wounded in action on 25 April during the 10th Brigade attack at St Julien.

Private David Thomson, ‘A’ Company, wrote to his parents on 12 January 1915, his letter featured in the Falkirk Herald with the heading of ‘A Wee Picnic’ ‘We were only 200 yards from the Germans. We were all quite right till a house at the back of us went on fire…. The rain was fearful and it was very cold… In the morning, before it was daylight, we had to go into the trenches for the day. It was just a wee pic-nic… We were only twenty-four hours in the trenches the first time… we go back in two days, and the next time we will stay in the trenches for four days.

From the 1st February the battalion was given a length of line to defend in this period they sustained their first casualties. On 17 March the battalion took over the line opposite Ploegsteert Wood, forever known to the ‘Tommies’ as ‘Plugstreet’ with battalion HQ being located in the Piggeries and Grand Manque Farm.

In a letter from Lieutenant John Sherriff, his Company commander, to his parents he wrote that their son had been shot through the cheek by a sniper on March 29 and died almost instantaneously. Lieutenant Sherriff was to be killed in action on 25 April during the 10th Brigade attack at St Julien.

Medals Awarded

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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