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Robert Ford

S/1952 Private

1/7th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 154th Brigade, 51st Division

Age: 32

Date of Death: Killed in Action 20.9.17

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 141 to 143

Family history: Son of Jessie Ford of Alloa. Husband of Esther Ford (nee Clifford), 165 Grahams Road, Falkirk. They had four children. Before enlisting he was employed as a Bottle Blower. He also had three brothers and two sisters all of whom lived in the town of Alloa. On 10 January 1915, he was deducted 3 days pay for missing parade while on active service. He joined 176 Tunnelling Company from 10/A & SH from 28 July 1916 to 29 September 1916, when he was hospitalised sick on 29 September 1916. He rejoined the 10/A & SH and he was wounded on 12 October 1916, a gun shot wound to the left hand and hospitalised in England 'Cambria'. On the 10 April 1917 to 16 May 1917, he was hospitalised with Gonorrhoea at Glencourse Military Hospital.

He was discharged from hospital and posted on 19 May 1917 and joined the 7/A & SH from the Base Depot 4 June. Following his death, Elizabeth was awarded a pension of 29/9 per week for herself and the children from 8 April 1918.

The action leading to his death

154th Brigade were allocated the task of securing a satisfactory ‘jumping off’ place for an attack on Poelcappelle, and to secure positions in the valley of the Steenbeek from which artillery could cover the attack. Two objectives were selected, the first being the dotted Blue Line, the line of the Stroombeek continued in a northwest direction to Delta Huts. The final objective, the Blue Line, was line through Quebec Farm, Bavaroise House, Church Trench, Delta House.

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

The plan of attack was that the two leading Battalions, 9th Royal Scots and 4th Seaforth Highlanders should take as far as the Blue dotted line; the 7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and 4th Gordons to then pass through to capture the final objective. Both the Gordons and Argyll’s suffered heavy casualties when caught up in the fighting around Pheasant Trench. ‘D’ company of the 7th Argyll’s also suffered heavy casualties from shell-fire when advancing from the old British front line.

The 7th Argyll’s reached the Blue Line after having overcome, chiefly by means of rifle grenades, Flora Cot, Quebec Farm, and Bavaroise House, capturing 30 prisoners, four machine-guns, of which one was turned on the Germans. The Blue Line was thus consolidated, as had been intended, as far as Rose House, and the line then bent round towards White House.

Medals Awarded:

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal

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