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Preston Fleming

Updated: Nov 12, 2023


Mendinghem British Cemetery. Ieper. Ypres Salient. Flanders. Falkirk
Private Preston Fleming. Mendinghem British Cemetery

S/40399 Private

8th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 152nd Infantry Brigade, 51st (Highland) Division.

Age: 24

Date of Death: 20.9.17 DoW

Buried: Mendinghem British Cemetery V.D.10 https://www.theypressalient.com/post/mendinghem-british-cemetery

Family history: Husband of Shirley and they lived at 19 Gowan Avenue, Falkirk with their two children Ethel and Preston. He was employed as a moulder with Lane and Girvan Iron Foundry, Bonnybridge before enlisting on 1st May 1915. He arrived at the Base Depot at Etaples in France on 2 August 1916 and was posted to the 11th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. he was admitted to hospital on 16 November 1916 with pneumonia and was sent back to the UK to number 18 General Hospital from were he was discharged on 23 January 1917. He went back to France on 5 March 1917 and on the 23 March joined the 11th Entrenching Battalion before being transferred on 15 April to the 8th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.


The action leading to his death

At 5.40am on the 20 September 1917 the 154th Brigade attacked the German positions on the Langemarck - Gheluvelt Line. The 9th battalion Royal Scots attacked on the right with the 4th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders on the left with the battalion boundaries on the Lekkerbotterbeek. On taking their objectives on the dotted Blue Line the 7th Battalion Argyll’ and the 4th Battalion Gordon’s were to pass through and capture their objectives at the Blue Line. The 8th Battalion Argyll’s were in reserve to reinforce the main attack from the 154th Brigade.

Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. Ypres Salient. Flanders. Falkirk
(Map showing the objectives of the 154th Brigade on 20 September 1917. Taken from the 1/7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders War Diary.)

Linesman. Ypres Salient. Ieper. Flanders. Belgium. Falkirk
Linesman.

The right battalions of the 51st Division were in contact with the division to their right, the 58th Division, however, the 51st Division were not in touch with the 20th Division on their left as this division had failed to take its objectives and this allowed the Germans to enfilade the 51st Division. At 10.15am ‘A’ Company, 8th Battalion Argyll’s were ordered to send forward one company to reinforce the 4th Gordons on the left sector near Pheasant Farm Cemetery. At 11.45am the Germans counter-attacked on the left of the 51st Division and ‘B’ and ‘C’ Companies went forward in support. The attack was repelled. The Germans attacked again on a line from Pheasant Trench to the Steenbeek at 5pm supported by an intense concentrated barrage moving down the Poelcappelle spur and this attack was also held up by rifle, machine gun, and artillery fire. However, in the centre of the 51st division’s line the ammunition ran out and this necessitated a withdrawal allowing the Germans to form a salient in the British line. On the Lekkerbotterbeek a flank company of the 7th Argyll’s, two platoons of the 8th Argyll’s, and a company of the 9th Royal Scots held the line, and on the Poelcappelle road flank the 8th Argyll’s and the 4th Seaforths held the line. The 154th Brigade was relieved by the 152nd Brigade on the night of the 21/22 September with 8th Battalion Argyll’s consolidating shell holes.

Preston died on admission to the Casualty Clearing Station at Mendinghem on the 20 September from a gun shot wound to the face.


Headstone

Private Preston Fleming. Mendinghem Military Cemetery. Ieper. Ypres Salient. Flanders. Falkirk
Private Preston Fleming. Mendinghem Military Cemetery.

Medals Awarded:

The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Mendinghem Military Cemetery. Ieper. Ypres Salient, Flanders. Falkirk District.

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