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William Main

Menin Gate Memorial. Ieper. Ypres Salient. Flanders. Falkirk District
Menin Gate Memorial. Authors image

11150 Private

1st Battalion Royal Scots, 81st Infantry Brigade, 27th Division

Age: 21

Date of Death: 26.2.15

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 11

Family: Son of John Main, 14 Melrose Place, Falkirk. Prior to enlisting he was employed as a moulder with the Callendar Iron Works. He went to France on 19 December 1914.

The action leading to his death

On the 24 February 1915, the battalion relieved the 2nd Battalion Cameron Highlanders in the line at St Eloi. This area was a mining hot spot with each side blowing mines and countermines. The front line ran through the houses of the village. By the end of 1915, 33 mines and 31 camouflets had been blown by both sides around The Mound, the high ground that stood to the north of the village, and was formed by the spoil from the old brickworks, was ten metres high and 100 metres across.

Read more about the mine warfare at St Eloi here

Linesman map showing the mine craters at St Eloi and the Mound in 1916.

The War Diary records that the battalion worked on trench improvement and improving the defences of the Mound working alongside the Royal Engineers. They were relieved by the 2nd Cameron Highlanders on 26 February and the War Diary records that they had ‘11 men killed, 18 wounded in the two day’s they were in the line.’ William’s grave was subsequently lost and he is listed as missing on the Menin Gate Memorial.

IWM Q 52004 A British trench in the ruins of St. Eloi, May 1915.

Medals Awarded:

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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