Burial of the unknown Argyll soldier
A SOLITARY soldier belonging to the famous Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment has been laid to rest in northern Belgium.
He was among 19 unknown British First World War comrades-in-arms buried in the New Irish Farm Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Ypres on September 28.
The ceremony also involved casualties from English, Irish and Welsh regiments and was conducted in the presence of General Sir James Everard, KCB, CBE, deputy supreme allied commander Europe.
The service was conducted by the Reverend Iori Price CF, chaplain to the First Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment.
The soldiers were found following ground work at an industrial development at Briekestraat, Ypres. The location, thought to be the original Irish Farm site, is an original wartime cemetery created by the army under war conditions.
It was believed that all those buried there had been transferred to the New Irish Farm Cemetery, some 300 metres away – but this discovery has proved that they hadn’t.
Investigations have established that of the 19 soldiers, four served with the Essex Regiment; one with the Monmouthshire Regiment; one with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders; one with the Northumberland Regiment; and one with the Royal Irish Regiment.
As no regimental artefacts were found, the remaining 11 will be buried as ‘Known Unto God’. During the burial service all the coffins were in the burial plots with the exception of one, which was carried in as the focus of the ceremony by the Essex Regiment, now the Anglians.
Reverend Price said: ‘We are always mindful of the costs of con- flict and the need we have to pursue peace for all.
‘At such a moment as this, when we have gathered to bury those fallen in conflicts, we reflect on the great price paid by our service personnel then and the motivation that encouraged them.’
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders raised a total of 16 battalions during the First World War and was awarded 68 battle honours, six Victoria Crosses and lost 6,900 men during the course of the conflict.
As part of the 51st Highland Division, the 8th Argylls were one of the leading battalions on July 31, 1917, when the third battle of Ypres began – the Passchendaele offensive.
Piper Pierre Dervaux leads the procession into the cemetery.
The bearer party prepares one of the coffins to be lowered into the ground as local people look on.