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David Craig

WW1-The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium

1940 Private

2nd Battalion, Royal Scots, 8th Infantry Brigade,

3rd Division

Age: U/K

Date of Death: 14.12.14

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 11

Family history: Son of Catherine Craig of 47 Silver Row, Falkirk.

The action leading to his death

The battalion was to become involved in one of the last actions of the year of any importance on the northern front. It was to be a mainly French operation with the British 3rd Division and its 8th Brigade on the French right taking part. The plan was for the attack to spread south with the ultimate aim of capturing Messines Ridge. The 8th Brigade, with 9th Brigade in support and 7th Brigade in reserve, attacked with 1st Gordons on the right attacking Maedelstede Farm and 2nd Royal Scots on their left attacking Petit Bois.

At 7am the British bombardment of Petit Bois, the object of the battalions attack, opened. At 7.45am ‘C’ and ‘D’ Company’s advanced in two lines with a 20 yard interval between them. They had to advance through a gate in the British lines on account of a large thick hedge in front of their own trenches. The advance of 150 yards was made under very heavy rifle and machine gun fire. The Royal Scots got into the German front line and took one officer and 60 other ranks prisoner as well as capturing two machine guns. They held on throughout the day and were relieved by the 2nd Suffolks at 5.30pm. The Royal Scots had a total 110 killed wounded or missing. Killed was Captain The Hon. H.L. Bruce and 24 other ranks. There were five officers and 47 other ranks wounded and one officer and 26 other ranks missing. David was one of the 24 killed that day and his body was not recovered and listed with the other missing of the Salient on the Menin Gate Memorial.

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
Linesman Map

An account from a Royal Scot featured in the Falkirk Herald under the heading ‘A SUCCESSFUL ATTACK’

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium

The Gordon’s suffered grievously. Captain Billy Congreve, ADC to General Haldane, 3rd Division, wrote in his diary of the Gordon’s: ‘Imagine sending a battalion alone to attack a strongly wired position up a hill and over mud a foot deep, under frontal and enfilade fire. It was a regular Valley of Death. The losses were, of course, very heavy. They lost seven of nine officers and 250 men. Such was the attack ordered by Sir John French. Next day, I read in a paper: British troops hurl back Germans at Wytschaete. A beautiful epitaph for those poor Gordons who were little better than murdered.

The French failed to make any ground and during the two following days of 15 and 16 December, the operations carried out were of a half-hearted nature degenerating into demonstration.

Medals Awarded:

1914 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium

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