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William Silcock

16345 Corporal

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

Age: 28

Date of Death: 1.8.17

Buried: Tyne Cot Cemetery XIII.D.7

Family history: Husband of Isabella 65 Gairdoch Street, Carron Road, Falkirk. He was employed as a moulder at Gowanbank Foundry, Falkirk before he enlisted in November 1914.

The action leading to his death

The Battalion was part of the Fifth Army attack on 31 July 1917, in what became known as the Battle of Passchendaele. The 13th Royal Scots, as part of 45 Infantry Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division, were involved in the assault on the German lines at Frezenberg Ridge. The task of 15th Division was to seize the ridge near Frezenberg and then to push on to a rise to the north east of Frezenberg known as Hill 35.

(Map from 13th Royal Scots War Diary showing objectives)

The main attack was undertaken by the 44th and 46th Infantry Brigades with the 45th held in reserve to go through the other two Brigades and capture the final objective. The Battalion HQ was in a dugout in Cambridge Trench on Cambridge Road, it was also being used by 6th Cameron Highlanders and as a Report Centre by 45th Infantry Brigade.

Just after mid-day on 31 July, the Battalion HQ moved forward to Beck House with the Battalion due to be relieved that evening by the 10th Scottish Rifles however, the guides could not locate the Battalion and the relief was cancelled.

(Linesman Map showing Cambridge Trench the location of the Battalion HQ)

On the afternoon of the 1 August the Germans launched a counter-attack and the 13th Battalion became dangerously exposed at Beck House and the neighbouring Borry Farm. The Battalion became cut off and surrounded by the Germans and outnumbered and exhausted this isolated garrison was overrun by the Germans with the men either killed or captured. The Battalion survivors were withdrawn to Cambridge Road and from there sent back to rest camps near Vlamertinghe.

(Linesman Map showing the location of Beck House)

The losses were heavy: 13 Officers and 355 other ranks killed, wounded and missing in two days of fighting.

Medals Awarded

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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