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Charles Bell Craig


Larbert

114536 Private

49th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 49th (West Riding) Division

Age: 35

Date of Death: 29.4.18

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 154 to 159

Family history: Son of John and the late Isabella Craig, of 5 Schaw Cottages, Carnock, Cowie, Bannockburn. Before enlisting he was employed by the Alloa Coal Company as an engineer at the Carnock Colliery.

The action leading to his death

On the 10 April 1918 the Germans launched the second part of their Spring Offensive in Flanders ‘Operation Georgette’ The attack was carried out the Sixth Army and part of the Fourth Army and had the objective of breaking through to Hazebrouck and to seize the complex of railways feeding the British Second Army in Flanders. A little further to the east the Fourth Army would also reach the Steenvoorde to Poperinge road along which supplies were moved to the British Second Army. The plan here was to annihilate the British forces and open the way to the Channel Ports of Calais and Dunkirk.

The German advance caused the British to abandon the key railway depot at Borre, just outside of Hazebrouck, and the loss of Kemmelberg Hill an importance bastion of defence in Flanders, and also led to the reluctant but necessary withdrawal from the Passchendaele line won at such great cost in 1917. Involved in the desperate defence against the German onslaught was the 49th (West Riding) Division and the 49th Machine Gun Battalion. The 49th Battalion War Diary records for the 25 April that:


‘C’ Company was ordered to join the 147 Infantry Brigade at Ouderdom with ‘B’ Company joining 148 Infantry Brigade and to take up defensive positions on the Cheapside Line near Wytschaete. On the 26 April an attack by the 147 and 148 Infantry Brigades with the support of the French was ‘not very successful’ according to the Battalion War Diary.


(Linesman Map showing approximate frontline on 13 May 1918. elements of the 49th Machine Gun Battalion were in the line here during late April 1918 & it is where Charles Craig was killed in action)


On the 29 April the War Diary reported that:



The Battalion casualties were reported as ‘5 O.R. killed. 14 O.R. wounded’ Charles being one of the killed.

Medals Awarded

British War Medal, Victory Medal



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