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Peter Campbell

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
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9440 Guardsman

2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, 20th Infantry Brigade, 7th Division

Age: U/K

Date of Death: 16.11.14

Buried: Ploegsteert Memorial Panel 1

Family history: He was married to Jane and they had four children. Peter was iron moulder in a Falkirk iron foundry before he reenlisted on 22 August in Stirling. He landed in France on 22 September 1914 as a reinforcement and was sent up the line on 12 November.

The action leading to his death

The 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, along with the rest of the Brigade, had moved south marching through Bailleul and Steenwerck and over the River Lys. They crossed at Bac-St Maur. The 7th Division were now responsible for a front covering a distance of seven thousand yards from a line facing east opposite Rouges Bancs on the Sailly-sur-la-Lys to Fromelles road to on the left, Bois Grenier, south of Armentieres. The 20th Brigade were in the line at Rouges Bancs with the 1st Grenadiers on the right, the 2nd Scots Guards in the middle and the 2nd Borders on the left. The 20th Brigade had taken over this section of the line from the 19th Brigade who had occupied the line for three weeks without doing anything to improve the trenches or the wire defences. The 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers, as part of 19th Brigade, had been in the line here and Private Frank Richards, in his book Old Soldiers Never Die wrote: By this time we were as lousy as rooks. No man had washed or shaved for nearly a month, and with our beards and mud we looked a proper ragtime band of brigands.

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
Sgt Pilkington 2nd Bttn Scots Guards digging trenches nr Zandvoorde Oct 1914

Compared to their time in Ypres the Scots Guards did not encounter much in fighting. Trench warfare and the trench routine had set in. One observation was that had the line been set back by a mile the Germans could not have observed the British line and engaged in sniping. The Germans had the best of the ground tactically, overlooking the British from Aubers Ridge, which rose gradually up behind Rouges Bancs by about ninety feet. Fromelles was located on the lower slopes. The Royal Welch had begun to dig a line of trenches on the flat ground to the west of Rouges Bancs. The Scots Guards had their Battalion HQ at La Cordonnerie Farm which was a few hundred yards back from the front line. In one place on the right of the line, the Scots Guards line was less than one hundred yards from the Germans. They got closer as the Germans sapped their way towards the British line. German sniper activity accounted for much of the casualties. They accounted for five men on 16 November, one of them being Peter.

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
Modern map showing the area.

Medals Awarded

1914 Star and Clasp, Victory Medal, British Medal

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