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William Geddes


34241 Private

13th Battalion, Royal Scots, 45th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division

Age:

Date of Death: Killed in Action on 1st August 1917

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial, Panel 11

Family history: Born in Carnwath, Lanarkshire, he was the son of Archibald Geddes of 49 Standburn, Avonbridge. Before enlisting he was employed as a miner at the Muiravonside and Redford Collieries.

The action that lead to his death

On 1 August 1917, the 13th Battalion was located in the line at Beck House, Frezenberg Ridge. The battalion was to have been relieved on the night of 31 July/1 August by the 10th Scottish Rifles. It was 3.15am before the first of the relieving troops arrived. As there was not enough time to carry out the relief before daylight, Colonel Hannay, O.C. 13th Battalion, sent them back, and continued to hold the line with the troops he had there. When dawn broke on August 1st it was found that the line held by the Seaforths ran along the road from Frost House southward, just east of the Black Line, and 500 yards behind the position held by the 13th Battalion, thus leaving a gap between the two battalions which the Germans exploited. At 2.20pm the Royal Scots at Beck House reported that the Germans were penetrating the gap. Captain Christie at once collected every spare rifle he could find, and formed a defensive flank facing south from Beck House. An hour later Captain Christie’s, Royal Scots, party held out until he was wounded, and then, as the other company commander, Captain Logan, had been killed, and they were being overwhelmed and exposed to very heavy machine-gun fire, they were forced to give way, and the enemy occupied both Beck House and Borry Farm.

(Linesman Map)


On the evening of the 1 August the Battalion was relieved by the Argyll's and withdrew to the old British front line and Cambridge Trench. The strength of the Battalion was 11 Officers and 126 other ranks.

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