Newbattle at War a history of the Parish at war   

 Now featuring Scots in the Great War Living History Society.    

James Flynn DCM

Playing with the current Newtongrange Star team is  the Great Grandson of a Private 350875 James Flynn 9th Royal Scots , who won the Distinguished Conduct Medal at the battle of Passchendaele in 1917. My Great Uncle James Duncan also fought in ,  and was wounded in the same battle. Here is an passage from a regimental hsitory which describes how the medal was won.

The 9th Royal Scots (Highlanders)  formed part of the 51st Highland Division on the norrth of the line

The action was related to the Passchendaele offensive in September 1917. The 9th were located to the north of St Julien near the Lekkerboterbeek and Pheasant Farm.

The attack was carried out by the 154th Brigade, 51st Division, with the 9th RS on the right and the 4th Seaforth Highlanders on the left. Their objectives were to take the first line of German defences on the Stroombeek and then advance to the second objective near Quebec Farm. The German defences mainly consisted of concrete fortifications surrounded by Pheasant Trench.

"A" & "B" Coys of the 9th Royals were in front with "C" & "D" in support. The barrage began at 5:40am and the men followed behind it with the Lekkerboterbeek on their left and the German pill-boxes to their right. Capt W.M. Urquhart led "A" Coy in an assault on the pill-boxes, however "B" Coy was caught by machine gun fire as they plodded through marshy ground near the Lekkerboterbeek. The men of "B" Coy fell back initially but were rallied by their officers and moved resolutely forward again under intense machine-gun fire. They then managed to take Pheasant Trench

"C" Coy, in which James Flynn served, passed through "A" and B" Coy in Pheasant Trench and managed to reach the line of the Stroombeek. According to Major Ewing:

there was a 'brisk contest near Flora Cot, where Private James Flynn led the attack, and here fifteen Germans were killed. The company sustained several casualties from enfilade fire by Germans posted in Hubner Farm, a strong pill-box in the area of the 2/8th London Regiment on the right of the Royal Scots. Two Lewis gun teams and two rifle sections engaged the farm with fire, and inflicted such loses on the garrison that the 2/8th London Regiment was able to carry the pill-box by direct assault.'

2007 is the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendale on of the bloodiest battles of WW1 in which nearly half a million British soldiers became casualties. The Scots in particular paid a very heavy price and to mark the contribution made by Scots during the war a Monument is being unveiled this August in Zonnebeke, Flanders. A friend of mine Erwin Ureel has work tirelessly to achieve this aim, to learn more follow this link to his site.

Scottish Memorial in Flanders