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William Robert Hector

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium

S/8858 Private

8th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders, 44th Infantry Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division

Age: 21

Date of Death: 22.8.17

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 132 to 135

Family history: Son of John and Margaret Hector, Priam Cottages, Beancross Road. He had a brother and two sisters. A painter to trade before he enlisted.

The action leading to his death

The 15th (Scottish) Division was moved forward to support the attack on Frezenberg Ridge. The attack of the 16th (Irish) Division had stalled in front of the German strong points at Beck House and Borry Farm. On the 17 August 46th Brigade took over the whole of the right sector of V Corps front from the 16th (Irish) Division. This Brigade had occupied this ground a fortnight earlier and the situation had not changed from then to now. Operations were also greatly hampered by the state of the ground and the weather conditions. It was the task of the Division to take these strong points and both 44th and 45th Brigades had spent the 19 August practicing the attack. On that day they also moved to Toronto Camp, nearer the front line and on the night of the 20/21 August relieved 46th Brigade and part of the 183rd Brigade of 61st Division in the front line in preparation for the attack on the 22 August.

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium
Linesman Map

At 4.45am the attack was launched under the cover of a creeping barrage and fire from thirty two machine guns and within thirty seconds the German counter barrage came down on the line Frezenberg to Square Farm and their machine guns began to take their toll of the 44th Brigade before they had even left their trenches. On the right the fate of the leading companies of the 13th Royal Scots and the 11th Argyll’s was unknown as they had run into heavy machine gun fire and no information could be sent back or support sent up. On the left the 44th Brigade met with the same experience. The right assaulting company of the Seaforths mistook the Steenbeek stream for the Zonnebeke brook, and lost direction. There is no confirmation of this as no survivor ever came back all being killed or seriously wounded. It does appear that the company reached a point well to the east of Beck House before they were annihilated by fire from machine guns in the house behind them.

Medals Awarded

1915 Star, Victory Medal, British Medal

WW1 - The Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium

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