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James Gordon


2541 Private

‘B’ Company, 1/9th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 81st Infantry Brigade, 27th Division

Age: 24

Date of Death: 10.5.15

Buried: Menin Gate Panel 42 & 44

Family history: Son of James & Margaret Gordon, Barnhill, Cumbernauld, brother of Maggie, Ann, William, Francis, Agnes, Jane & George. Father James Gordon Kirkwood He was employed as joiner before he enlisted on 11 September 1914 in Dumbarton.

His brother Francis enlisted in August 1914 in the 8th Battalion Gordon Highlanders, number S/8124. His Battalion, then 8/10th Battalion Gordon Highlanders, was involved in the attack on Frezenberg Ridge on the opening day of Third Ypres. Francis died of a gunshot wound and pneumonia at the Base Hospital in Boulogne on 3 August 1917.

1/9th (Dumbatonshire) Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

The 1/9th was part of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Brigade in the Highland Division. Moved to Bedford and then left the Highland Division before going to France on 19 December 1914. In February 1915, the Battalion came under the orders of 81st Infantry Brigade, 27th Division, transferring to 10th Brigade, 4th Division and amalgamated with the 7/Argyll’s on 27 May 1915. In July 1915, they resumed their identity as 1/9th and left the 10th Division to become Corps troops in VI Corps. From February 1916 they became a draft supply and labouring unit in the Rouen base.

James landed with the Battalion in France on 19 December 1915.

The action leading to his death

The Battalion was engaged in the Second Battle of Ypres and in particular the Battle of Frezenberg Ridge. On the 9 May the Germans attacked the 27th Division, which had already been in some heavy fighting alongside the 28th Division who were on their left. At 5.30am the Germans shelled the line from Zwarteleen to the Ypres – Roulers Railway, which was the entire area covered by 27th Division. Their main effort was directed at 81st Brigade which was in the line at Sanctuary Wood with the aim of forcing the British back on the 28th Division who were west of Verlorenhoek in the middle of the Salient. The Germans employed guns of all types in their not so subtle attempt to break the British line and soon the positions became untenable with many trenches blown in and men buried alive. As the German infantry attacked the British trenches the defenders welcomed the opportunity to fight back and soon they had repulsed the attacks.

At dawn on the 10 May the German barrage continued with the focus on the join between the 80th and 81st Infantry Brigades around the Menin Road. The intensity of the shelling continued and at 1.30pm the Germans commenced their attack with the added use of gas . The 2nd Camerons held the line across the Menin Road and they were supported by the 1st Royal Scots and by the 9th Argyll’s who moved forward to support the Camerons. It was during this action that James was killed in action.

(Linesman Map showing the area of the fighting. The trench lines show the positions after July 1915)

Medals Awarded

1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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