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Thomas Rae

41228 Private

‘A’ Company, 16th Battalion Royal Scots, 101st Infantry Brigade, 34th Division

Age: 38

Date of Death: 22.10.17

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 11 to 14

Family History: Husband of Joan Rae, West Park, Main Street, Stenhousemuir. They had a son James born on 19 March 1914. Thomas was the son of the late James and Christina Rae, Hawthornden, Roslin. He was born in Ballnigall, County Galway, Ireland. He had a sister and brother and two step brothers. On his death his wife was awarded a pension of 20/5 per week for herself and their son.

Prior to enlisting on 6 December 1915 he was employed as a postman. He was posted to the Army reserve and mobilized on 19 June 1916 where he served at home with the 3rd Battalion Scottish Rifles until posted to France on 15 March 1917, embarking at Folkstone landed at Boulogne and then to Etaples training camp and where on the 30 March 1917 he was transferred to the 16th Battalion Royal Scots. He joined ‘A’ Company in the field on 20 April 1917.

The action leading to his death

The 34th Division were engaged in the Third Battle of Ypres and were in the northern sector of the Salient at Aden House near Poelcapelle. On the 21 October, the 16th Battalion Royal Scots were in the line holding a series of organised shell holes. On the 22 October both the 15th and 16th Battalions, royal Scots, were to advance against the German positions. The Second-in-command of the 15th Battalion described the positions: ‘Our positions were simply a line of shell holes full of water. The conditions were past speaking about, mud and filth up to the neck.’

(Linesman Map)

While forming up near Aden House the 16th Battalion were heavily shelled by the Germans, who used HE and gas shells, and also by the British barrage and suffered heavy causalities that left only enough men for one wave. These advanced at zero hour. 5.35am, with ‘A’ and ‘D’ Companies leading and ’C’ and ‘B’ reaching their final objective of the pill-boxes at Six Roads where they came under heavy machine gun fire. A Lewis gun team pressed on and captured a pill-box and six prisoners however, all trace of them was lost. At 7am the Germans mounted a strong counter-attack however, this was repulsed by the battalion and they managed to hold their ground until they were forced to retire to positions east of Egypt House were, during the night of 22/23 October, they were relieved by the 11th Suffolks and moved back to Kortebeek Farm.

Medals Awarded

The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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