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Jeffrey Wood McLay

Clyde Z/4024 Able Seaman, Nelson Battalion, 189th Brigade, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division

Age: 19

Date of Death: 28.10.17

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 2 to 3

Family history: Son of William and Margaret McLay, 49 Hamilton Street, Camelon. He had four brothers and two sisters. He enlisted, age 17, on 20 April 1915 and saw service at Gallipoli. Prior to enlisting he was employed as an apprentice blacksmith in the R & A Main Foundry. He had a period of hospitalisation with ‘ICT left foot’ essentially tendonitis from 19 March to 2 May 1917 when he rejoined the battalion.

His brother William, serving with the Royal Scots, was killed on the Somme on 16 July 1916. Another brother, Thomas, was serving in the Royal Navy.

The action that lead to his death

The Royal Naval Division, 188th and 189th Brigades, was to take part in what became known as the Second Battle of Passchendaele with the planned advance to go beyond Poelcappelle and towards Westroosebeke. The Division was to attack along a 1,500 yard front, across ground which got gradually worse towards the north and being virtually impassable near the Lekkerboterbeek stream.

(Linesman Map)

Their first objective was along a line between Varlet Farm and Banff House, approximately 300 yards in front, and the final objective lay across the Paddebeek stream some 500 yards further on. The ground was a shell holed quagmire and both Generals Gough and Plumer wanted the offensive brought to an end however, Haig insisted on pressing on until the Passchendaele Ridge had been secured. On the 24 October the Royal Naval Division relieved the 9th (Scottish) Division and prepared for the attack on the 28 October. AB Jeffrey McLay was to be killed in this fighting.

Jeffrey was initially posted as missing and his death was confirmed in the Falkirk Herald in June 1918.

Medals Awarded:

The British War Medal, Victory Medal

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