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David Christie

35588 Private

24th Company, Machine Gun Corps, 24th Brigade, 8th Division.

Age: 35

Date of Death: Killed in Action on 31 July 1917

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial, Panel 56.

Family history: He was the son of Mr John Christie and was married to Jane with whom he had four children. They lived at 27 Standburn, Avonbridge, near Falkirk. Before enlisting on 4 November 1915, he was employed as a miner at Muiravonside and Redford Collieries.

He joined the 3rd Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders but transferred to the Machine Gun Corps on 10 May 1916, going to the training camp at Grantham. He embarked at Folkestone for Boulogne on 25 June 1916 and joined the Base Depot at Camiers on 26 June 1916. He was posted from here to the 24th Company, Machine Gun Corps, 24th Brigade, 8 Division, on 19 December 1916 who were in camp at Fresneville.

The action leading to his death

31 July 1917, the 24th Machine-Gun Company were located at Half-Way House in the Ypres Salient in the Hooge sector and waiting to go forward. They were in shell holes with the 1st Worcestershire Regiment at Kingsway Support trench. The official history states ‘The 24th Machine-Gun Company, commanded by Capt. A M Pratt, had been activitely engaged since the night of the 23rd/24th July. From that time until 31st July harassing fire was maintained each night by eight guns in conjunction with the artillery; fire was opened by day on the occasion of practice artillery barrages, and support was given as required to the raids both of the 8th and of adjoining divisions. During this period all machine-gun emplacements were shelled by the enemy; but as the guns were always in action in shell-holes some distance away, casualties were minimised.’

The official history again takes up the story, ‘For the attack itself four machine-gun companies were available. These companies had been detailed to move forward from their assembly points between fifteen and thirty minutes after ’zero’, and to take up successive barrage positions in the captured territority, in order to cover the various advances from one objective to another. This programme was carried out in its entirety until after the Black line was captured. As they moved forward considerable casualties occurred as the enemy barrage was far stronger, it was dark and difficult to spot the weak spots in the enemy fire and the line was too long and difficult to manouvre. The company advanced through James Trench in Chateau Wood and further casualties were incurred. They then took up defensive positions at the western end of Jabber Avenue at 1230pm on 31 July. During this action on 31 July David Christie was killed.

Linesman map

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