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David Burt

S/1816 Private

10th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 27th Infantry Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division.

Age: 19

Date of Death: Killed in Action 15.10.15

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 42 & 44

Family history: Son of Mrs Janet Burt of 12 Port Downie, Camelon. He had two brothers, Thomas was wounded at Loos and taken prisoner and was in Switzerland awaiting an exchange as a Prisoner of War. His other brother James was serving with the Royal Warwicks. In addition, he had a half-brother who lived in Manchester and three sisters, two of whom lived in Camelon and the other in Glasgow. His father is not known.

David Burt was employed as a Moulder at the Port Downie Iron Works before he enlisted on 17 August 1914 in Stenhousemuir. He was sent to France on 11 May 1915. He was posted missing on 15 October 1915 and his death was not officially confirmed until August 1917. His mother was notified of his death in a letter in October 1915 from his friends recorded in the Falkirk Herald on 1 September 1917: ‘….received word from some of his chums that he had been in a trench that was mined and blown up by the enemy’

Visit to Thomas Burt in Switzerland

Mrs Burt visited her son Thomas in Switzerland on 2 July 1917 and the story of her visit was printed in the Falkirk Herald. The visit was made possible by the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association and the Red Cross the party travelled across France not leaving the rain except for meals. On arrival in Switzerland she met her son and stayed in a house with him for ten days. He had been wounded in the chest and leg with his knee cap being shattered. When in hospital in Germany there was talk of amputating his leg however, a German doctor, who had been in Edinburgh Infirmary before the War, saved his leg. Thomas had spent one year as a PoW in Germany and a similar time in Switzerland awaiting exchange of prisoners.

David Burt - The action leading to his death

On the 10 October 1915, the Battalion held the trenches numbered 27, 28 and 29 at the Bluff. This was one of the best places in the Salient for observation and was therefore one of the first places that mine warfare developed. The Ypres-Commines canal runs south from Ypres and the spoil from the canal works was thrown up on either side to form what became known as the Bluff and further along Spoilbank. The trench lines were established in the area between Verbrandenmolen and the Bluff at the end of 1914 by French troops. The trenches here being numbered rather than named when the British took over.

The dispositions of the 10/Argyll’s saw three companies ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ occupy trenches the trenches and ‘D’ company was in reserve in dugouts at Spoilbank. ‘A’ company had two platoons in the firing line and two platoons in support in dugouts on the Bluff. On the evening of 12 October, the Battalion was relieved by the 6th Battalion Royal Scots fusiliers who took over trenches 27 and 28 leaving 10th Argyll’s holding trench 29 with ‘A’ company and the other companies in reserve in Canal Bank and Spoilbank.

Sketch Map from 10th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders War Dairy October 1915. showing the trenches they occupied at the Bluff.

At 6am on 13 October the Germans exploded a mine underneath an old crater in trench 29 and the War Diary records:

David Burt was one of the casualties and is listed on the Menin Gate Memorial.

Medals Awarded:

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