Burial of the unknown Ar­gyll sol­dier

Argyllshire Advertiser - - News -

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.

Pho­tos: Crown Copy­right

The bearer party pre­pares one of the coffins to be low­ered into the ground as lo­cal peo­ple look on.

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