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James Morrison

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium

34899 L/Cpl

8th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment, 57th Infantry Brigade, 19th Division

Age: 20

Date of Death: 20.9.17

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 124 to 125

Family history: Son of John and Isabella Morrison, 1 Bo’ness Road, Grangemouth. He had four brothers and two sisters. He was a traction driver before he enlisted in the 1/3rd Field Company, Royal Engineers, a Territorial Company, in Linlithgow on 6 October 1915, with the service number 5190. He transferred to the 8th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment on 7 January 1917 with the rank of Private and the service number 34899. He was promoted to the rank of L/Cpl unpaid on 28 January 1917 and then paid on 15 August 1917.

The action leading to his death

The battalion was involved in the Battle of the Menin Road which lasted from 20 September to 25 September 1917. The southern flank from the Ypres - Comines canal north to Groenenburg Farm, a distance of 1,600 yards was the responsibility of the 19th Division. Two brigades were to be used in an advance to the first objective of some 600 yards with a further advance of 400 yards to the final objective. The 58th Brigade was to advance to the southern edge of Hessian Wood and the 57th Brigade to the south east of Belgian Wood.

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
Linesman Map

The 57th Brigade attacked with the 10th Worcestershire Regiment, 8th Gloucestershire Regiment, and the 8th North Staffordshire Regiment. They went forward from the line of Jehovah Trench and attacked the German line across heavy ground towards Belgian Wood. They encountered heavy cross fire from machine guns positioned at Wood Farm south of Belgian Wood, and also from the wood and dugouts near Top House north of the wood. This held up the Gloucesters and the North Staffs, they were also held up by the heavy, muddy ground and they lost the rolling British barrage. Despite this they managed to reach the first objective, the Red Line, which was about 100 yards from the wood, and here they established a defensive line in the shell-holes.

While they consolidated the defensive line the British put down a protective barrage along the edge of the wood approximately 150 yards from the Red Line. The Gloucester and Worcester Regiments advanced to the right of the wood and the North Staffs to the left. The Germans were driven out of the wood and the brigade secured their final objective which was just east of the wood at 8am. The Divisional casualties were 2,000 men. The division was to suffer a further loss at midday when the commanding officer, Major-General Bridges, who had gone forward to offer his congratulations to the brigade commanders, was severely wounded, losing a leg.

Medals Awarded

Victory Medal, British War Medal

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium

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