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Thomas Lapsley

27737 Private

11th Battalion Royal Scots, 27th Infantry Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division

Age: 22

Date of Death: 15.10.18

Buried: Cement House Cemetery XVII.D.21

Family history: Son of Andrew and Ellen Lapsley, Foredale terrace, Carriden. He was unmarried and lived with his parents. He had five brothers Walter, James, Andrew, Alexander and William, and two sisters Violet and Hannah. They all lived at home. Prior to enlisting he was employed as a miner.

He enlisted on 3 December 1915, with the 14th Battalion Royal Scots and was then transferred to the 16th Battalion and went to France on 8 June 1916. He was wounded at the Battle of the Somme, gun shot wound to the abdomen. On 23 March 1917, he forfeited 17 days pay for absence and on a second occasion on 9 May 1917, he was sentenced to 96 hours detention and forfeiture of 14 days pay for absence. On returning to France on 19 May 1917, he joined various Royal Scots Battalions.

(National Archive Thomas Lapsley. showing the various Battalions of the Royal Scots in which he served)

Throughout 1917, he was bothered by an ingrowing toe nail and was finally treated at 45 Field Ambulance in December 1917, and was transferred to hospital in Liverpool for treatment being discharged Class I on 15 January 1918. He joined the 11th Battalion Royal Scots on 5 April 1918.

(National Archives. Hospital admission to treat his ingrowing toe nail)

The action leading to his death

The Battalion was involved in the final breakout from the Salient and the Battle of Courtrai (named Kortrijk today). The 11th Battalion, along with the 12th Battalion Royal Scots, were tasked with taking Hill 40 and the village of Steenbeek, these objectives having stemmed the advance of the 28th Brigade on 14 October. At 9am on 15 October, the 11th Battalion advanced under the cover of a smoke screen against Hill 40. The late hour of the attack and the heavy British barrage of artillery and machine gun fire took the enemy by surprise. Nevertheless, the Battalion suffered heavy casualties from German machine gun fire from the direction of Laaga Cappelle Wood. They managed to overcome this resistance and moved towards Hill 40. The delay in moving forward allowed the Germans on Hill 40 time to prepare and their fire blocked the advance of the Battalion. Corporal Elcock of the Battalion won his VC when he rushed forward with a Lewis gun and killed th two men manning the machine guns, and then diving into their shelter killed the other group. This heroic action allowed the Battalion to move forward and take Hill 40.

(Linesman Map. Modern day map showing the area the 11th Battalion fought and Saint Eloois-Winkel were Thomas was originally buried)

Thomas was buried in Winkel St Eloi Churchyard with three other members of his Battalion. Their bodies were exhumed after the Armistice and reburied in Cement House Cemetery.

(Graves Registration Report showing the four men from the 11th Battalion buried at Winkel St Eloi Churchyard)

Exhumation Report Form for Thomas and showing his reburial at Cement House Cemetery


The British War Medal, Victory Medal


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