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John McVitty

Tyne Cot Cemetery. Tyne Cot Memorial. Ypres Salient. Flanders. Falkirk District.
Private John McVitty. Authors image

28700 Private

7/8th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 46th Infantry Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division

Age: U/K

Date of Death: 31.7.17

Buried: Tyne Cot Cemetery XLIV.B.8

Family: Husband of Rebecca and father of John who was born in July 1914. They lived together at 21 Corporation Street, Falkirk. Prior to enlisting John was employed as a labourer.

The action leading to his death

On the night of the 30/31 July 1917 the battalion had taken up position for the attack on the opening day of Third Ypres. At 3.50am, zero hour, the battalion moved forward in four waves with a Company of Scottish Rifles between the first and second waves as moppers up. The battalion was subjected to enemy shelling and opposition encountered up to the Blue Line was slight with the exception of machine gun fire coming from the Redoubt. They took several prisoners and on arrival at the Blue Line the battalion was mixed up and took time to reorganise due to the number of officer casualties. On reaching the crest of the Frezenberg Ridge the battalion was held up by enemy machine gun fire from concrete emplacements and shell holes on either side of the Ypres-Roulers Road. With coordinated action and the use of rifle grenades and the supporting Tanks these obstacles were overcome. The battalion lost the supporting creeping barrage however, the rush to the Black Line was achieved by Platoon rushes. With the Black Line secured the battalion began to dig in behind Frost House however, the heavy casualties sustained, the battalion 14 out of 20 officers and 45% Other Rank casualties in the attack, prevented them from constructing further trenches. Battalion HQ was established in Iberia Reserve Trench and the 45th Brigade passed through the battalion line. The battalion continued to be subjected to sniper and machine gun fire that had missed by the moppers up.

Trench Map Battalion War Diary showing battalion position on the Blue Line 31 July 1917

John's body was reburied at Tyne Cot having been exhumed from a battlefield burial site.

Medals Awarded:

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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