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James Young M.M.

12532 Lance Serjeant

1st Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), 19th Infantry Brigade, 33rd Division

Age: 21

Date of Death: 13.4.18

Buried: (Royal) Berkshire Corner Memorial Panel 5

Family history: Son of Ellen Dunsmore, Palace Cottages, Bothkennar and the late Adam Young, Hundalee Smithy, Jedburgh. Following the death of his father his mother married Thomas Dunsmore.

He attested in September 1914 and landed in France on 24 March 1915. He was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery on the 21 March 1918.

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. The 33rd Division had been in the Salient in early April and was beginning a move to the Third Army area, west of Arras, when the Germans launched Operation Georgette. The move orders were cancelled and the division was ordered to move, mainly by rail, to Caestre and Strazeele.

(Linesman Map)

The 19th Brigade was ordered to guard the approaches to Meteren. This was important ground as the ridge, which runs from Strazeele through Meteren, gives good views to the south over open relatively flat ground. The battalion arrived in Meteren on the 11 April and patrols were sent out on the 12 April to Merris and Strazeele and the 1 Battalion Queens took up defensive positions south of Meteren. This battalion now came under great pressure from the large German force that was moving against their positions and 1st Cameronians sent ‘B’ company to support them. The remainder of the battalion took up positions to their right and the line westwards from Strazeele was held by 92nd Brigade reinforcements and the remnants of the 31st and 34th Divisions with the 4th Australians in support.

On the 13 April the Germans launched an attack against the 19th Brigade under the cover of dawn mist and the battalion fought off the attacks throughout the day. At times the Germans had broken into the battalions lines and attacked from the flanks with the company’s standing firm and fighting until they were almost overrun before retiring to support lines.

Medals Awarded

Military Medal, 1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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