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Michael McGowan

38232 L/Cpl

‘B’ Company, 8th Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 70th Infantry Brigade, 23rd Division

Age: 24

Date of Death: 25.8.17

Buried: Perth Cemetery (China Wall) II.B.35

Family history: Son of Daniel and Robina McGowan, Foredale Terrace, Bo’ness. He had two brothers, Andrew and Denis, and three sisters, Jenny, Fanny and Robina. He was employed by the Forth Shipbreaking Company at Bridgeness.

He enlisted in the 5th Battalion Royal Scots in 1915, and landed in France in the summer of 1916. He was wounded in the autumn of 1916, and after recovering from his wound he returned to France in early 1917, and was posted to the KOYLI.

The action leading to his death

On the 24 August a German counter attack drove back the 14th Division some distance between Glencorse Wood and Inverness Copse. The 70th Brigade was held in readiness as a reinforcement, and the 23rd Division was ordered to relieve the 14th Division astride the Menin Road. On the 25th August the 41st Brigade, part of 14th Division, was to come under the command of the 23rd Division and remain in occupation of its past of the line. This Brigade would be supported by two Battalions from the 70th Infantry Brigade. On the morning of the 26 August the Germans attacked four posts the left flank of the British line using flamethrowers, they had used this weapon for the first time at Hooge on 30 July 1915, and with a supporting artillery barrage. They had forced back one of the posts. Michael was killed in this action.

(Linesman Map)

In a letter to his parents his Company commander wrote that: ‘… he died instantaneously and suffered no pain may be some help to you in your great sorrow.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record his death as 25 August however, the Concentration of Graves & Reburial Form shows he died on 26 August 1917. His body, along with four of his comrades, was exhumed and moved to Perth (China Wall) Cemetery on 14 March 1919. This cemetery was used as a concentration cemetery after the Armistice.

At his time of death, only one front line cemetery was in use, Gordon House Cemetery No.2, ZILLEBEKE, at Gordon House, which contained the graves of 30 soldiers from the United Kingdom who fell in 1915 and 1917.


The British War Medal, Victory Medal


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