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John Laverie


10895 L/Cpl

1st Battalion, Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, 1st Brigade, 1st Division

Age: 28

Date of Death: 29.10.14

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 38 & 40

Family history: Eldest son of John and Robina Laverie, Muirhall Road, Larbert. He was employed by Babcock and Wilcox in Glasgow before he enlisted in August 1914. His two brothers, were also serving in the army. Joseph, 2nd Battalion, Black Watch, received a shell wound to both thighs on 19 May 1915 and on recovery was transferred to the Labour Corps. William served in the Army Service Corps.

John had been wounded in early October 1914 and had returned to his battalion later that month. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission incorrectly spell his name as Lavery.

The action leading to his death

The Battalion was heavily engaged in the fighting known as the First Battle of Ypres. On the 28 October the 1st Division held the line facing Becelaere between Reutel and Poezelhoek.

(Linesman Map showing the 1st Division position)

The German Army Group Fabeck was massing for an attack on this front at Gheluvelt were the 1st and 7th Division joined. The British had some warning of the attack as a German radio message had been intercepted from the German Fourth Army to the XXVII Reserve Corps on the afternoon of the 28 October. The weight of the German attack would fall on the Gheluvelt crossroads where the Menin Road crossed that between Kruiseecke and Poezelhoek.

The 1st Battalion Cameron Highlanders faced the Germans in this area who were some 300 yards from their trenches. On the 28 October the battalion evacuated their original front line trenches, due to heavy enemy shell fire, and moved to new positions. On the 29 October they were warned to expect an attack from the Germans on the right of the line at 5.30am. The Germans moved to attack the battalion lines and the battalion War Diary records: ‘We mowed them down with rapid & machine gun fire.

On their right the German attack on the Black Watch and the Coldstream Guards had, initially, been held. However, problems arose when two British machine guns placed to cover the crossroads jammed and a large number of rifle cartridges proved too large for the rifles. By 6.30am the Germans had penetrated the 7th Divisions line and captured most of he Black Watch and two of the Coldstream companies so getting in behind the 1st Brigade line. The situation was retrieved when the 2nd and 3rd Brigade counter attacked and restored the line.

The battalion losses for the period 14 October to 31 October were 38 Officers and 1,000 other ranks, dead, wounded or missing.

Medals Awarded

1914 Star & Clasp, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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