Sunday, 27 February 2011

No coincidence - Bard Cottage Cemetery

Bard Cottage Cemetery lies a few miles north of Ypres [Ieper] in western Belgium, along the IJzer Canal. According to the entry on the CWGC register, the cemetery faced the German lines for much of the war time period. It was in use from 1915 onwards.

We find six casualties from the isle of Lewis here, five of whom died within two weeks of each other in June 1915; a sixth was killed in 1916. They were all killed in action whilst serving in the 2nd battalion Seaforth Highlanders. The second week of June came about 6-7 weeks after a heavy assault by German forces at Ypres, in which they used poison gas for the first time. The Seaforths had been deployed after that gas attack, but were reportedly a very 'green' unit, practically untrained and not terribly effective in repelling the sustained German onslaught.

The six from Lewis who lie buried in this cemetery are:
7934 L/Cpl Angus Macleod, 56 North Tolsta, son of Kenneth and Mary, lost 19 June 1915 aged 30.

7283 L/Cpl William Mackenzie, 23 Borve, son of Malcolm and Bella, lost 9 June 1915 aged 19

9106 Sgt William Sinclair Ross, School House Shawbost, son of William and Catherine, lost 9 June 1915 aged 33

7954 L/Cpl Alex Mackenzie, 3 Upper Bayble, son of Malcolm and Margret, lost 9 June 1915 aged 31

7443 Pte Duncan Mackay, 1 Park Carloway, son of Norman, lost 18 June 1915 aged 18.

7476 L/Cpl Murdo Macdonald, 12 Portnaguran, son of Malcolm, lost 12 August 1916 aged 20

Postscript: I have ordered the war diaries of the 2nd Seaforths and will post further findings as I go through that material. 

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