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Andrew Reid Adam Johnston


Larbert

275869 Private

10th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 26th Infantry Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division

Age: 20

Date of Death: 12.10.17

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 141 to 143

Family history: Youngest son of John and Mary Johnston, Livingstone Terrace, Larbert. Before enlisting in November 1914 he was employed as a moulder at Dobbie, Forbes & Company, Larbert.

He had been with his battalion on the Western front since April 1916, except for a few months when he was invalided home with enteric fever.

The action leading to his death

The scene of the battle was the low, flat country near the northern end of the Passchendaele Ridge. Along the left boundary of the Division was the Lekkerboterbeek stream, and the whole area was studded with fortified farms and houses. There were three objectives; the first two, the Yellow Dotted and the Blue Dotted Lines, were to be taken by the Highland Brigade, with the final objective, the Purple Doted Line, to be taken by the Lowland Brigade. The leading battalions of the 26th Infantry Brigade, the Black Watch and the Argylls, each on a two company front, were to capture a subsidiary objective, the Green Line, and the Yellow Dotted Line, after which the Seaforths and Camerons were to pass through and go on to the blue Dotted Line. The attack was on a wide front for a brigade and was supported by a barrage that was to move 100 yards every eight minutes, with a pause on the first and second objectives, and sixteen Vickers Guns were to form a machine-gun barrage in support of the infantry. The attack was to begin at 5.30am.

(Linesman Map)


On the 11 October the weather broke down and the march to the assembly positions was made under torrents of rain along slippery duckboard walks. The assembly positions and back areas were heavily shelled with HE and gas shells and many of the taping parties were killed or wounded and all had to wear their respirators.


On the left, the Argylls, who were in touch with the 55th Brigade, 18th Division to their left, had been unable to keep pace with the barrage due to the impassable condition of the ground. The two right companies ’A’ and ’C’ and its supporting company had maintained direction, but ’B’ and ’D’ had swung to the left and some men, crossing the Lekkerboterbeek, so churned up by shell fire that it was unrecognisable, had entered the 18th Division sector. ‘A’ and ‘C’ companies encountered a Pill Box, not marked on the maps, near Burns Houses and were held up with machine-gun fire and sniping. With the support of elements from the 11th Royal Scots, 6th KOSB and 5th Camerons they rushed the Pill Box. The occupants had waved a white flag but had continued to fire. All the occupants, some forty in front and another twenty trying to escape, were killed. Four machine-guns were captured. With the capture of the Pill Box ‘A’ and ‘C’ companies moved forward 150 yards where they consolidated shell holes. A platoon of ‘B’ Company had crossed the Lekkerboterbeek and had gone about 80 yards when they had come under heavy machine-gun fire and sniping from Beek and Meunier Houses and could go no further. Both ‘B’ and ‘D’ companies formed a defensive flank and gained touch with 18th Division on its old front line. The line taken up by the 9th (Scottish) Division ran from the Cemetery near Wallemolen in front of Inch Houses, to Oxford Houses and back to the original front line.


Private G Summers a friend, also from Falkirk, wrote home to his parents: ‘Andrew and I passed each other just as the advance started, and that was the last I saw of him. He was smiling and quite cheery then. We were held up for some time by machine guns and snipers, and Andrew was hit by a sniper or machine gun bullet.

Medals Awarded

British War Medal, Victory Medal


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