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James Irvine

Tyne Cot Memorial. Ypres Salient. Flanders. Belgium. Falkirk District
Tyne Cot Memorial. Authors image

12577 Private

8th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, 20th Infantry Brigade, 7th Division.

Age: 36

Date of Death: Killed in Action 26.10.17

Family history: Son of Jessie Irvine, 11 Wallace Street, Falkirk. He had two sisters Anna and Jeanie. He was employed as a moulder in a local Iron Foundry before he enlisted. His name is shown as Irving in the military records.

The action leading to his death

On the evening of the 24th October the 20th and 91st Brigades relieved portions of the 14th and 37th Divisions astride the Menin Road west of Gheluvelt. This was in preparation for a diversionary attack to support the main effort to the North. Conditions defied description. The ground was a morass, to leave the duck-board tracks was likely to mean being swallowed up in some bottom-less pit of a mud-filled shell-hole. The task of the Division was to capture Gheluvelt and to secure the Tower Hamlets ridge East of the Basseville Brook. The Red Line, which ran from S.W. to N.E. through the western end of Gheluvelt, was the first objective. The Blue Line, which skirted the Southern and Eastern edges of the village and ran North towards Gheluvelt Chateau, was the objective of the 8th and 9th Devons and the Gordon’s. The attack began at 5.40am with a creeping barrage. Almost immediately the 8th Devons began to merge with the rear companies of the 9th Devons which had been impeded by enfilade fire. The 8th Devons sustained heavy casualties from the enfilade fire but had pressed on through the 9th Devons and entered Gheluvelt. One party cleared several pill-boxes on the line of Johnson Trench and got almost as far as Gheluvelt Church.

Linesman. Gheluvelt. Ypres Salient. Flanders. Falkirk District
Linesman. Gheluvelt

And another got near enough to Gheluvelt Chateau to try to rush it. Altogether quite a number of both battalions reached the village and they might have retained their gains but for the mud which had got into rifles and Lewis guns. With the German counter attack the survivors had to with draw to the original start lines. The attack had been an expensive failure. In total, the 7th Division losses in the attack on Gheluvelt came to 110 officers and 2,614 men.

The 8th Devons had 2 officers and 19 Other ranks killed, 9 Officers and 134 Other ranks wounded, and 4 Officers and 105 Other ranks missing.

Medals Awarded:

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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