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James Small

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

S/19998 Private

10th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 26th Infantry Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division

Age: 32

Date of death: Killed in Action 12 October 1917

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 165

Family history: He was the husband of Annie Small and they had four children. They lived at 17 Standrigg, Polmont. He enlisted on 20 April 1917. Before enlisting he was a shot firer at Manuelrigg Colliery, Maddiston. He had five brothers and two sisters. He landed in France on 15 July 1917.

The action that lead to his death

The Battalion was in the line with the Lekkerbotterbeek on the left and in touch with the 55th Brigade, 18th Division, and to the right in touch with 8th Battalion, Black Watch of the 26th Brigade.

The forming-up positions were heavily barraged with gas and H.E. by the enemy’s guns. At 5.35am the British barrage opened, but was thin and ragged. The ground in front of the Argyll’s was in places impassable, and as a consequence they were unable to keep pace with the barrage. The right Companies ‘A’ & ‘C’ kept direction but ‘B’ & ‘D’ Companies drifted to the left into the 18th Division.

The Battalion was held up by a ‘Pill Box’ in front of Burns Houses but with support from elements of the 5th Camerons, 11th Royal Scots, and 6th KOSB a rush was made on the Pill Box and it was taken. The enemy showed a white flag but continued to fire so the occupants were all killed. Several unfortunate men had been drowned in the deep, water-filled shell-holes. The line taken up by the Division at the close of the battle ran from the Cemetery near Wallemolen in front of Inch Houses, thence to Oxford Houses and back to the original front system.

(Linesman Map)

Battalion HQ moved to Burns House, congestion here as this was also being used by 11th Royal Scots and 5th Camerons. It was turned into a Dressing Station, the Pill Box was 20 foot square and could accommodate 40 persons. Sleep was snatched standing up. On the 13th October at 8.30pm the Battalion was relieved by the 4th South African Battalion. Battalion casualties were 5 Officers and 54 OR’s killed, 6 Officers and 154 OR’s wounded, and 23 missing.

Medals Awarded

British Medal, Victory Medal

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