First World War Soldiers Re-Interred at British Cemeteries

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Murielson, Oct 29, 2004.

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  1. Haven't seen this on site anywhere and thought the lads deserved a mention.

    First World War Soldiers Re-Interred at British Cemeteries
    22/10/2004

    Lance Corporal John Young Brown of 6th Battalion The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders and Private John Robertson Thomson of 2nd Battalion The Gordon Highlanders who both died in World War I have had their bodies re-interred after they were unearthed during construction work at the site of two famous World War I battles.

    Private John Robertson Thomson of 2nd Battalion The Gordon Highlanders

    Private John Robertson Thomson of 2nd Battalion The Gordon Highlanders from Lochgelly, was re-interred at Polygon Wood Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery near Ieper in Belgium, on Thursday, 21st October 2004.

    Pte Thomson was killed in action on 4th October 1917 in the 3rd Battle of Ypres, at the age of 26. His remains were discovered in 1998 in a private garden very close to where he was re-interred.

    The service on 21st October was attended by Pte Thomson’s two nieces, his great-nephews and great-niece. The British Ambassador to Belgium, His Excellency Mr Richard Kinchen, and the British Defence Attaché, Captain Robin Davies, RN also attended. The Bearer Party and Firing Party were from The 1st Battalion The Highlanders who buried him with full military honours. The Highlanders’ Regimental Piper and Bugler played at the ceremony.

    The Highlanders’ Regimental Piper also played at the daily Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate. The Last Post has been sounded at the Menin Gate memorial every evening since 1928 (with the exception of the period of the German occupation (1940-44)) to honour the memory of those who fought and died in the Ypres Salient during the First World War.

    Battle History

    The First and Second Battles of Ypres were launched in 1915 and 1916 by the Germans. The Third Battle was intended to be the Allied breakthrough in Flanders in 1917. The battle was launched on 31st July 1917 and lasted until 6th November; today it is better known simply as Passchendaele.

    The battle was preceded by a heavy artillery bombardment, but the British advance was severely hampered by the onset of heavy rains that turned the Flanders soil into a muddy swamp.

    The Battle of Broodseinde Ridge took place on 4th October 1917. Together with the Battle of the Menin Road Bridge (on 20th September) and the Battle of Polygon Wood (on 26th September) this established British possession of the ridge east of Ypres.
    The 2nd Battalion The Gordon Highlanders suffered heavy casualties losing an estimated 324 in four days. The Battalion remained under heavy fire until 7th October. Despite this the advance was deemed a success and the German Army recorded the Battle of Broodseinde Ridge as one of its ‘black days.’

    Lance Corporal John Young Brown of 6th Battalion The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders

    L/Cpl Brown was re-interred at Loos British Cemetery north of Arras in France on Wednesday, 20th October 2004.

    LCpl Brown was killed in action on the second day of the Battle of Loos, 26 September 1915, his 20th birthday. His remains were discovered during road building work in June 2001.

    The service on 20th October was attended by his two nieces and his great-niece. The Bearer Party and Firing Party were from The 1st Battalion The Highlanders who buried him with full military honours, which included The Highlanders’ Regimental Piper and Bugler playing at the ceremony.

    Battle History

    The Battle of Loos (25-28 September 1915) was the British component of the combined Anglo-French offensive known as the Second Battle of Artois, which aimed to break the German lines in three places: the Champagne Valley, Artois and Loos. General Douglas Haig, then Commander of the British First Army, directed the British part of the battle, whilst Field Marshal Joseph Joffre directed the French.

    The battle was preceded by a four-day artillery bombardment, which proved ineffective due to a lack of shells. The attack was also preceded by the release of 140 tons of chlorine gas, which unfortunately drifted back onto the advancing British infantry, impairing the momentum of the attack.

    Nevertheless, the initial phases of the battle were successful. The British were able to exploit their numerical superiority and breakthroughs were established. However, delays due to supply and communication problems enabled the Germans to reinforce their positions, with the result that the renewed British attacks were successfully repulsed.