Archive for April, 2010

Lieutenant Thomas Alexander McIntyre

One of the few successful offensive operations of the Great War,the attack on Messines Ridge prevailed with the contribution and sacrifice of the Australians and New Zealanders.The original attack had began on 7th of June and by the 10th of June a gap had appeared in the Allied line which threatened the whole front.Holding the southern part of the gap were the 45th Bn and they had been prevented from reaching their comrades on the northern part by a large blockhouse in the Owl Trench System.Attack after attack had failed but the colonel of the regiment was unwilling to lose face by handing over a task which his own troops had failed to carry out.He contacted the senior surviving officer on the ground,Lt McIntyre,and insisted that another attack should be made.

McIntyre knew that this was the end for him and his men and he replied “All right Sir;if it has to be taken, it will be taken”. At 1000 hours they charged over the top straight towards the blockhouse.Getting within 5 yards McIntyre was killed by machine gun fire and the attack then petered out.Thomas Alexander McIntyre has no known grave and is listed on Panel 7-17-23-25-27-29-31 of the Menin Gate Memorial.

Shell case recovered from ploughed field near Zonnebeke,probably placed there by local farmer.

Captain Frederick Gordon Fraser MC

On the morning of 14th June 3 platoons from the West Kents and 2 from the King’s Royal Rifle Corps were ordered to do a “storm platoon” job of quickly grabbing and holding a German position which was causing a bulge in the Allied line.This was near Deneckere Farm.

Though the mission was successful, not only was the position taken but a large haul of military booty captured,the losses to the British were high. The Rifles lost 64 men and the Kents 30. Among them was the brave Captain Frederick Gordon Fraser MC who was killed as he attempted to rescue a party of men that had attacked too far and were in danger of being isolated.  He is commemorated on Panel 45-47 of the Menin Gate Memorial.


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Private Thomas Otto Stewart

Thomas Stewart was born in December 1888 in Ottawa,Canada.He grew up in Fort William and was the 6th child to his parents Thomas and Catherine.When he was 25 he enlisted into the Canadian Army,the year was 1914.By 1915 he was now in the 28th Bn and was located in France.He was employed for a short while as a carpenter,his pre-war job,but was soon in the front-line as a rifleman.In April 1916 Stewart and his unit moved to the Ypres Salient.

On 5th of June 1916 the 28th were occupying trenches outside Hooge,to the east of Ypres.The Germans had took the Canadian positions at Mt Sorrel days earlier and wished to exploit their gains.They aimed to do this by mining operations and on the 6th of June at 1505 hours they detonated the explosives that they had filled their workings underneath the Canadians with.Two hundred yards of trenches and positions were smashed to pieces and two companies of the 28th Bn wiped out.Thomas Otto Stewart was never seen again.His name is listed on Panels 18-26-28 of the Menin Gate Memorial.

The Menin Gate by day,May 2009

Private Sidney James Land,52nd Bn,AIF,KIA 7th June 1917

Private Sidney James Land

Sidney Land was killed during the grim fighting on the slopes of Messines, he was among 325 casualties of the 52nd Bn as they pressed towards their objectives.  During this phase of the attack on the Messines Ridge not only did German shelling increase but also the British “supporting” artillery fire was frequently falling short and causing even more casualties. At one point the 52nd were mistaken for enemy troops and shelled mercilessly by their own side for two hours. It is not known if Sidney Land was killed by this fire or the enemy’s but either way he paid the ultimate price.He is remembered on Panel7-17-23-25-27-29-31 of the Menin Gate Memorial.      

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