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William McCartney

29746 Private

12th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, 106th Brigade, 35th Division

Age: 22

Date of Death: Killed in Action on 29 September 1918

Buried: Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Zillebeke, II.B.17

Family history: He resided in Standburn and before enlisting in April 1917 was a miner at Redford and Muiravonside collieries He was the son of James and Martha McCartney of Legegrane, Glenravel, Co Antrim. He had a brother, James, age 23, who was a Trooper with the Household Cavalry Regiment and who died of wounds at Honstead Military Hospital, London on 24 November 1917.

The action that lead to his death

The battalion was in Brigade support from 16 September to 26 September at Kruisstraat and were engaged in reorganizing and refitting. They experienced some intermittent shelling most of the day and night from heavy guns located in the direction of Gheluvelt. The battalion provided various working and carrying parties.

The War Diary:

27 September, 10pm Battalion passed the starting point on the Light Railway west of Ypres-Kruisstraate Road and proceeded via the Dolls House to forming up position 100 yards west of Manor Farm. 28 September at 5.25am the battalion advanced in eight waves under cover of barrage. There was some slight opposition from hostile M.G.’s in Zillebeke but this was cleared. At 6.45am Hedge Street Tunnels were cleared and the battalion was now right up against the barrage and had to hold back to avoid casualties. When the barrage lifted the advance continued, Tor Top and Canada Tunnels were passed over and the line carried forward 500 yards east. By 7.30am all objectives had been gained and consolidation begun. The 18th Battalion HLI passed through the line to continue the advance at 8.15am. The Battalion organised the defensive line about Gloster Drive through Clonmel Copse and just east of Dunbarton Track.

(Map shows final positions of the line Clonmel Copse, Gloucester Drive. this extract is from the trench potions at 6 June 1918 i.e. before the attack)

(Linesman Map)

The battalion had taken 5 officers, including a Battalion Commander, and 200 other ranks prisoner. Along with three 77mm guns, two trench mortars and more than a dozen M.G.’s. The battalion casualties for the action were 3 officers killed, 2 officers wounded, 20 other ranks killed, 176 wounded and 12 missing. William being one of the killed in action.

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