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William Haire


16071 Private

1st Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division

Age: 28

Date of Death: 25.9.15

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 19 & 33

Family history: Husband of Janet Kirkbride Haire, Larbert. They had one son born in 1915. William was employed as a miner in Plean near Bannockburn. His wife remarried Robert Bruce on 13 December 1916.

The action leading to his death

On 25 September 1915, the British launched a major offensive south of the Salient at Loos. In order to prevent the Germans from sending any reinforcements to the battle area three diversionary attacks were made in other areas the most important being the Second Attack on Bellewaarde. On 30 July the British had lost Hooge when the Germans attacked the line with flamethrowers, first used against the French at Verdun, and pushed the British back down the ridge for a distance of some 500 yards to the edge of Zouave Wood/Sanctuary Wood. On the 9th August the 6th Division had regained the lost ground and the line was now established from the Hooge Chateau stables to the west.

The attack on 25 September at Bellewaarde was carried out by the 3rd Division astride the Menin Road and by a brigade of the 14th Division on their left. The British bombardment of the German trenches began at 3.50am

(Linesman Map showing the area of the attack on 25 September 1917)

At 4.20am the British blew a mine north of the Menin Road and the infantry began to advance. The 14th Division Brigade attacked towards Bellewaarde Farm, and the 3rd Division to the German positions north of Sanctuary Wood. The 1st Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers led the attack of 3rd Division with ‘A’ Company and took the German frontline positions with the support of a bombing party. This was done at a heavy cost. ‘C’ Company followed in support and by 7am the position was consolidated.

At midday the Germans counterattacked along the trenches and the open and the 1st Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers held their positions despite fierce artillery and hand grenade attacks from the Germans. With the battalions on their left and right falling back they had to retreat back to their start lines.

The aim of the attack, to pin down large numbers of German troops who may have been moved to Loos, had failed. The Germans had been able to contain the attack with local reserves which would not have been moved south in any case. The battalion casualties were, 3 officers killed, 6 wounded and 1 missing. Other ranks 30 killed, 120 wounded and 161 missing.

Medals Awarded

1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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