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John Friars

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

8678 Private

1st Battalion Scots Guards, 1st Infantry Brigade, 1st Division

Age: 22

Date of Death: 26.10.14

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 11

Family history: The eldest son of John and Helen Friars, Richmond Terrace, Bo’ness. He had two brothers William and David and sisters Jeanie, Elizabeth and Mary. Prior to enlisting on 27 August 1913, he was employed as a labourer working with this father at the chemical works of Thomas Ovens and Sons, Corbiehall.

The action leading to his death

On the 26 October the 1st (Guards) Brigade were told to go up the Menin Road as far as Veldhoek, two kilometres west of Gheluvelt, as the Corps Reserve.

(Linesman Map)

The 1st Battalion Scots Guards War Diary:

The fighting was savage and can best be described by a Private Osborne in this incident: ‘… Losses on both sides were staggering. During one of the attacks I saw one of our fellows (Charles Burtenshaw) make a right lunge at a big German’s throat, and as the bayonet was entering the fellows neck, Charles, to make sure of his man, shot him - a sort of makeweight.’* When asked later, while they were resting, why he had done it L/Cpl Burtenshaw could not remember anything at all. Osborne commented that Burtenshaw had a gentle disposition. John Friars was killed in this action and his body lost. He is listed on the Menin Gate Memorial.

*Taken from ‘Till the Trumpet Sounds again, Vol.1. P.149, Randal Nicol


1914 Star & Clasp, The British War Medal, Victory Medal

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