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John Ballantyne

S/40442 Private

11th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 45th Infantry Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division

Age: 34

Date of Death: Killed in Action 31.7.17

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 42 & 44

Family history: Husband of Christina, 21 Lime Road, Camelon. They had six children born between 1903 and 1915. A veteran of the Boer War he was employed in a chemical works in Camelon before he enlisted in September 1914. He had three sisters. His brother and four brothers-in-law were also serving. While in camp at Contalmaison in January 1917, he was injured and hospitalised when cooking his bacon and the hot fat was spilt onto his left leg.

Action leading to his death

At 3.50am on the 31 July 1917 the Third Battle of Ypres began with the British offensive. The 15th (Scottish) Division was leading the attack on Frezenberg Ridge. The 44th and 46th Brigades, supported by the 45th Brigade, led the attack. At 7.30am the 45th Brigade commenced filing up the tracks to Cambridge Road and took up position. At 9am the 45th Brigade began its advance and it was deployed to cover the whole of the Divisional front, with the 6/7th Royal Scots Fusiliers on the right and the 6th Cameron Highlanders on the left. In support of the Royal Scots Fusiliers were the 11th Argyll’s. The leading battalions reached a belt of wire 10 yards deep and two feet high just east of Beck House and they managed cut through this and keep up with creeping barrage and eventually reached their objective of the Green Line. At 11.30am the Brigade was consolidating on the Green Line with the 11th Argyll’s digging in some 400 yards west of Potsdam, with a company in support on the right ready to form a defensive flank along the railway. At dusk on the 31 July, the Argyll’s sent two platoons with Lewis-guns to the south side of the railway to forma defensive flank between the 15th (Scottish) Division and the 8th Division, the front line of the latter being some 200 yards behind the former. At 8.30pm the 44th and 46th Brigades were ordered to relive the 45th Brigade during the night however, the heavy rain, mud, and the churned-up state of the ground made this a difficult task. It was 3.15am before the first of the relieving troops got into position and it was decided to cancel the relief owing to insufficient time before daybreak. Battalion Other Rank casualties were 13 killed, 31 wounded, and 33 missing.

(Linesman Map)

Medals Awarded:

The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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