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Neil McCallum Stanners

40462 Private

13th Battalion Royal Scots, 45th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division

Age: 35

Date of Death: 22.8.17

Buried: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery XVIII.B.17A

Family history: Son of Thomas and Christina Stanners, Hopetoun Terrace, Bo’ness. He had four brothers, Gilbert, Thomas, James, and Alexander, and four sisters, Julia, Janet, Christina and Margaret. He was married to Isabella and they had a son Thomas and lived at 7 Bruntsfield Avenue, Edinburgh. Prior to enlisting he was employed as a Sales Representative by McVittie and Price, Biscuit Manufacturer, Edinburgh.

Neil had been a regular with the Scots Greys seeing service in the Boer War before joining the Reserves at the completion of his service. At the outbreak of war he was called up as a reservist and rejoined his Regiment. He was transferred to the Royal Scots joining the 13th Battalion. Two of his brothers were killed during the war, Gilbert in 1916, and Thomas, his younger brother, killed in 1918.

Iron Rations

McVittie and Price, as with other biscuit manufacturers, were given government contracts to produce biscuits for the soldiers rations. These biscuits, known as iron rations, were used for other purposes by the soldiers, such as messages home to loved ones, as the biscuits could not be bitten into.

The action leading to his death

The 22 August found the division preparing for an attack on the German positions at Frezenberg Ridge. For five days prior to the attack, harassing fire was kept up every night by both the artillery and machine-guns and in addition all known strong points had been targeted by the Heavy and Field Artillery. The attack was launched on 22 August at 4.45am under the cover of a creeping barrage and fire from thirty-two machine guns. The Germans very quickly replied with counter fire and with heavy machine gun fire which met the assaulting battalions of the 45th Brigades. On the right of the attack the fate of the leading companies of both the 13th Royal Scots and 11th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders would never be known. Two hours after the attack had started the left front company of the Royal Scots had been reduced to nine men and one Lewis gun team. The few remaining men of the Royal Scots and Argyll’s were rallied in a line north-west from Railway Dump along the road running to Beck House. The Royal Scots made repeated attempts throughout the day to get forward by jumping from shell-hope to shell-hole but without success. The battalion being relieved after dusk on 23 August.

Neil died of wounds received, during the action on 22 August 1917, at the Casualty Clearing Station at Lijssenthoek.

(Linesman Map)


The British War Medal, Victory Medal


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