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James Gardiner

37609 Private

10th/11th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, 46th Infantry Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division

Age: 28

Date of Death: 9.4.18

Buried: (Royal) Berkshire Corner Cemetery Extension Panel 9

Family history: Husband of Jessie Gardner, 28 Grange Street, Stenhousemuir; father of James; son of James and Allison Gardiner, 4 Lorne Place, Larbert, previously of Bensfield, Kinnaird; brother of Mrs Liddell, Binnie’s Land, Stenhousemuir, brother of John and Henrietta Cowan, Longdyke; brother of George and Jemima Whyte, USA. James was employed as a miner at Carronhall Colliery before he attested in April 1917.

The action leading to his death

Operation Georgette, to the Germans, or the Battle of the Lys to the British, opened on 9 April 1918. This was a large scale battle with a front line of some 37km’s that stretched from the La Bassee Canal almost to the gates of Ypres. Casualties on the British and commonwealth side totalled 82,000 dead, wounded, missing or taken prisoner. Georgette was carried out by the German 6th Army and part of the German Fourth Army and its main objective was to seize the rail head at Hazebrouck from where the British 2nd Army in Flanders was supplied. To the east, it would reach the Steenvoorde to Poperinge road which also supplied the 2nd Army in the Ypres Salient.

(Linesman Map. This is a modern map of the area but it is little changed from April 1918)

The 10th/11th Battalion Highland Light Infantry (HLI) were at Nouveau Monde along with the 14th Battalion HLI they were essentially in reserve on the river line. ‘D’ Company and half of ‘B’ Company of the 10th/11th HLI were ordered to take up a line between Cockshy House, where it would link up with 151st Brigade of the 50th Northumbrian Division, and Levantie East Post. All six Platoons advanced and were never heard of again. The conclusion being that they had advanced on their objective and were annihilated as they had advanced into the full force of the German advance. The rest of the Battalion took up a support position between Muddy Lane Post and Levantie North. And here it came into contact with the Germans and heavy machine gun fire. By 1pm they were reporting large waves of Germans advancing on Levantie North and attempts to reinforce them were impossible and what was left of the battalion withdrew across the river at Nouveau Monde late in the afternoon.

Medals Awarded

The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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