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Matthew Russell

Updated: Jan 9

344401 Gunner

42nd Heavy Artillery Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery

Age: 19

Date of Death: 15.7.17

Buried: Poperinge New Military Cemetery II.D.27

Family history: The son of William and Annie Russell 140 Main Street, Falkirk. They had two sons Matthew and Samuel.


The action that lead to his death

The Heavy Batteries were employed behind the front line and their role was to destroy enemy artillery, supply routes, railways and stores and putting down fire on strong points. They were equipped with Howitzer guns firing large calibre 6, 8, or 9.2inch shells in a high trajectory. Some batteries were also equipped with huge 12 inch railway or road mounted howitzers. Casualties came from counter-battery fire, aircraft attack or even faulty ammunition exploding in the breach.

Linesman map showing gun positions near Zillebeke Lake

Despite searching the National Archive and the document WO-95/5494 it has not been possible to identify where in the Salient Matthew’s battery was located. However, there were extensive artillery positions located in the countryside around Elverdinghe and Vlamertinghe.


Medals Awarded:

The British War Medal, Victory Medal.


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