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Robert Thornton Fernie

965 Sgt

‘C’ Coy, 2nd Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 98th Infantry Brigade, 33 Division

Age: 23

Date of Death: Killed in Action 25.9.17

Buried: Hooge Crater Cemetery IXA.H.17

Family history: Son of James D and Maggie Fernie. Husband of Dorothy Stubbs (formerly Fernie) of 13 Sefton Avenue, Congleton. His wife was the eldest daughter of Captain Bogie, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, and it was not uncommon for women to remarry. He was a regular with five and a half years service in August 1914, he was drill instructor at Woolwich and then transferred to Edinburgh in the same role. He went to France in September 1915, was wounded at the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 and at the Battle of Arras in April 1917. His three brothers were also serving, John who was a Sergeant in the Argyll’s and James who was a Company Sergeant–Major in the same Regiment. The younger brother Thomas was in training with the Seaforth Highlanders having previously been employed as an apprentice by Mathieson & Son (bakers), High Street, Falkirk.

The action leading to his death

The battalion was in the line as part of the planned attack by the 33rd Division on a line running from the South across the Tower Hamlets Ridge, thence across the Reutelbeeke, and to the East of Cameron Copse.

(Linesman Map)

At 3.30 pm on the 25 September the Germans opened a severe barrage on the British rear areas. Following up their bombardment the Germans counterattacked and pushed the British front line back some 250 yards, the 1st Middlesex taking the brunt of this. One platoon of ‘C’ company became involved and the War Diary records this action:

At 12.25pm the O.C. 2/Argyll’s received a Brigade warning that the 1st Middlesex would be counterattacking and that the Battalion would be required to support this action.

The War Diary:

At 3pm the Battalion consolidated the line. The Battalion was relieved by the 4/Suffolks. Battalion casualties were:

Medals Awarded:

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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