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Archibald Barclay

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

276348 Private

10th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 97th Infantry Brigade, 32nd Division.

Age: 22

Date of Death: Killed in Action 8 March 1918

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial Panel, 141 to 143 & 162

Family history: The son of Mr John and Mrs Mary Barclay of 33 Etna Building, Grahamston, Falkirk. He had four sisters. Before enlisting on 20 May 1915, he was employed as a fitter in Grahamston Iron Works, Falkirk.

The action leading to his death

He was posted initially to 1/7 Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, a Territorial Battalion and then to the 10th Battalion on 11 August 1917. The Battalion transferred from 9th (Scottish) Division on 15 February 1918 to the 32nd Division as part of 97th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Corps, IV Army. The Battalion was in Boesinghe Camp on the canal bank. The 32nd Division was in the line on the edge of Houthoulst Forest.

On the 3 March the battalion moved by rail into support with C & D Companies on Corps line, ‘B’ Company at Chaudiere, which was the location of Battalion HQ, with ‘A’ Company at Colonels Farm. On the 7 March the battalion took over the right sub-section of the Division from the 11th Border Regiment. B, A & D Companies in the outpost line with ‘C’ Company in support. At 3.55am the Germans attacked posts numbers 14–18 on the left front of the battalion sector, these posts were held by two Platoons of ‘D’ Company under Lt Wallace and Lt Rose. The Germans put down a heavy trench mortar barrage and attempted by enfilade fire to cut off posts 14 & 15 from the posts in the wood (16, 17, 18 & Post E). All posts immediately stood too, Post E was Platoon HQ, Lt Rose was wounded at Post E, which was a Pill Box. Lt Wallace was dressing the wound when he heard the sentry shout ‘the Bosche are coming over’ he attempted to fire the SOS but it failed to explode. A party of Germans were then seen in front of Post E with the nearest man appearing to hold something in his hand and Lt Wallace and several men received a douche of liquid in the face and clothes. Lt Wallace then observed by Very Light that the enemy had taken posts 14 & 15 and with little room around Post E and fearing a direct hit from a Trench Mortar he withdrew the garrison some 20 yards behind Post E. They put down heavy fire that prevented the enemy gaining any further ground and a runner was sent back to the support lines to bring up reinforcements. Lt Wallace and his party of 12 survivors fought on until dawn when they withdrew as an organised party onto Veldhoek Post were Lt Wallace placed himself under the orders of Captain Bonnyman who had reinforced with a Platoon from the Sapper Company. Lt Wallace had 56 casualties of which one was Archibald Barclay.

(Linesman Map. British positions 6 March 1918)

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