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George Gardner

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

5648 Private

2nd Battalion Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, 81 Infantry Brigade, 27 Division

Age: 30

Date of Death: Died of Wounds 24.4.15

Buried: Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery II.L.45

Family history: Son of David and Mary Gardiner, Lock 16, Portdownie, Camelon. He was employed as a grinder by R & A Main at their Gothic Foundry in Camelon. He had a sister who lived at George Terrace, Camelon.

He had previously served in the Cameron Highlanders, seeing service abroad, and was a Reservist when he was called up in August 1914. He was wounded on 25 September 1914 and had spent some time at home in Camelon before he rejoined the Battalion in March 1915.

Hill 60

This is an artificial mound created from the spoil excavated when the nearby Comines - Ypres railway was being constructed. It was known as Hill 60 from the ring contour marking it on the maps. During the early part of 1915 Hill 60 was the centre of the fighting around Ypres. It had been occupied by the French in December 1914 and the British took over this section of the line in February 1915. The British blew one of the earliest mines here on 17 April 1915 to assist the attack by 5th Division. Writing about this attack in his diary ’Armageddon Road’ Billy Congreve wrote on 21 April 1915: ‘.. I believe that to date we have lost about 60 officers and 1,700 other ranks in five days on a place about the size of the centre of Trafalgar Square.’ Both sides were determined to wrest control of this important area and the bitter fighting of April and May 1915 saw the Germans eventually prevail until the Hill was retaken on 7 June 1917 when the British blew one of nineteen mines across the Messines Ridge including the Caterpillar Mine at Hill 60.

(Linesman Map showing trench lines at Hill 60)

Action leading to his death

On the 23 April the 2nd Battalion Cameron Highlanders relieved the 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment at 1.30am and took over the trenches numbered 38 to 45. The War Diary recorded that it was fairly quiet up to 10am when the Germans launched a barrage with Minenwerfer (trench mortar) and howitzers on the right ands centre of the line with the British replying with intermittent artillery fire. There were many casualties and damage to the trench lines from the German fire. The fire died down and in the evening bombers (grenade throwers) form the Dorsets and Devons came up with sappers, the sappers to repair the trench lines with the help of the 2nd Cameron’s. The War diary records that water carts could not get up to the front line and that water had to be carried from the Zillebeke Tank. During the German shelling on 24 April George was wounded again his left arm was amputated at No.5 Casualty Clearing Station, Poperinghe and he succumbed to his wound.

(War Diary casualty list naming George)

(Hill 60 today. Authors image)

Medals Awarded

1914 Star and Clasp, British War Medal & Victory Medal

The index card incorrectly shows his date of entry into France as 13 September 1915.

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