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John Middleton


2692 Private

28th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), South African Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division

Age: 20

Date of Death: 20.9.17

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 154 to 159

Family history: Son of Allan and Jessie Middleton, 245 Thornhill Road, Falkirk. He had five brothers, William, Duncan (killed in action on the Somme in 1916 while serving with the Royal Scots), James, Allan, and Robert, and two sisters, Catherine and Mary. John lived with family friends, the Murdoch’s, who lived at Braehead in Bo’ness. Prior to enlisting he was employed as a fitter.


He enlisted, age 17, on 5 December 1914, in the 7th Battalion Royal Scots, and spent the first two years of his service on coastal defence duties before volunteering for overseas service. He landed in France on 8 January 1917 and was posted to the 28th Company, Machine Gun Corps.


The 28th Company, Machine Gun Corps was formed on 3 January 1916 in the 9th (Scottish) Division. On 6 May 1916, it was transferred to the South African Brigade (within 9th (Scottish) Division), and on 1 March 1918, transferred into the No.9 Battalion, Machine Gun Corps.

The action leading to his death

The Division was engaged in the Battle of the Menin Road, Third Ypres, and was in the line preparing for the attack on 20 September. The South African Brigade was tasked with talking the strong points at Beck House and Borry Farm. The 4th Regiment had taken its objectives while the 3rd Regiment had sustained several casualties from the strong point known as Potsdam. The 1st and 2nd Regiments reached their objectives, the Yellow Line which included the Bremen Redoubt, and the Green Line from the Frezenberg - Zonnebeke Road to the Zonnebeke stream. However, the 2nd Regiments had to fight nearly every step of the way and when they eventually took the Zevencote and Bremen Redoubt, a defensive flank was thrown out to the south bank of the Zonnebeke stream. So heavy had been the South African Brigades casualties they had to be reinforced by the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders. At night fall the Divisions gains were secured and consolidated.

(Linesman Map)


Medals

The British War Medal, Victory Medal


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