David Russell Baxter likeness

David Russell Baxter cap badgePrivate David Russell Baxter

1st Battalion Scots Guards
Service No: 12067

David Russell Baxter grave

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24
Personal details

Family Information

Son of James and Minnie Baxter of 283 New Row, Gartsherrie, Coatbridge. David's younger brother Private William Baxter of the 7th Battalion Cameron Highlanders was Killed in Action on the 20/07/1916. David's twin brother James was with the Scots Guards for 15 months before transferring to the Army Reserve (munitions work) at Gartsherrie Iron Works in August 1916. From the 1901 Census - Address - Shawend, Kilsyth, Stirlingshire - James Baxter aged 34, Minnie Baxter aged 33, Janet Baxter aged 11, David Baxter aged 9, James Baxter aged 9, William Baxter aged 5, Duncan Baxter aged 3, Minnie Baxter aged 4. David's Pension was awarded to his mother Minnie and then both his and his brother William's to his father James.

Born / Resided

Kilsyth / Police Cottages, Port Rodie, Stranraer.

Died

Killed on the 16/09/1916 at High Wood by an enemy shell during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (part of the Battles of the Somme)

Enlisted

Stranraer Police Station /08/1914

Employed

Police Constable in Stranraer.

Age

24

Buried / Remembered

Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 7 D), Somme, France.

Cemetery / Memorial Information

The memorial commemorates more than 72,000 men of British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave, the majority of whom died during the Somme offensive of 1916. On the high ground overlooking the Somme River in France, where some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War took place, stands the Thiepval Memorial. Towering over 45 metres in height, it dominates the landscape for miles around. It is the largest Commonwealth memorial to the missing in the world. On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, 13 divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July.

Additional Information

The Battalion arrived at Le Havre on the 14/08/1914 and were part of the 1st (Guards) Brigade, 1st Division. David arrived on the 04/05/1915. The Battalion transferred to the 2nd Guards Brigade, Guards Division on the 25/08/1915. David was killed instantaneously by the bursting of a shell at High Wood. According to his comrade Corporal Veitch he suffered no pain. He fell during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, 15th – 22nd September 1916 : This was a large-scale general renewal of the offensive after the weeks of attritional fighting for the third German system at Pozieres, High Wood, Delville Wood, Guillemont and Ginchy. It is historically noteworthy for being the first time that tanks were used in battle. Few in number, mechanically unreliable and as yet without proven tactics for their best use, the small numbers of tanks that actually went into action had an important positive effect. High Wood and Delville Wood were finally cleared and a deep advance was made to Flers and towards Combles. The Canadian Corps entered the Somme fighting for the first time. SEE PHOTOS x 14 FOR THE BATTALION WAR DIARY FROM AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 1916. The Battalion casualties on the opening day of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette from the Battalion War Diary - "Officers : Killed - Capt. L. NORMAN, Capt. E.P. ORR-EWING and 2nd Lt. W.F. MARTINDALE. Wounded - Capt. H.C.E. ROSS, Lt. D.S. BARCLAY, 2 Lt. E. MILLER, 2 Lt. V.S. DANIELL, 2 Lt. W.L.E. CHILDERS, 2 Lt. R.V. POWELL (at duty) and Capt. H.W. BAYLY (T.F) R.A.M.C. Other Ranks : Killed - 24, Wounded - 131 and Missing - 114. This Battle was part of the Battles of the Somme, 1st July – 18th November 1916 : A Franco-British offensive that was undertaken after Allied strategic conferences in late 1915, but which changed its nature due to the German attack against the French in the epic Battle of Verdun, which lasted from late February to November. Huge British losses on the first day and a series of fiercely contested steps that became attritional in nature. For all armies on the Western Front it was becoming what the Germans would call “materialschlacht”: a war not of morale, will or even manpower, but of sheer industrial material might. The 15th September 1916 saw the first-ever use of tanks in the step known as the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. The British army in France is now approaching its maximum strength in numbers but is still developing in terms of tactics, technology, command and control. See the Newspaper clippings as David's body is listed as lying outside the village of Flers along with information from his comrades regarding his death. David has no known grave. See Directory for David's brother William's page. David is also remembered in the St Augustine's Parish (book) and Albert St Congregational Church Rolls of Honour. See photos for David's Newspaper clippings x 2, his hometown Memorial unveiled in 1923, his Army Register of Soldiers Effects, his Service Medal and Award Rolls x 2, his CWGC Grave Registration, his name on the Thiepval Memorial x 2, his listing on the Thiepval Memorial Panel List, the Scots Guards Cap Badge, David's and his younger brother William's Pension Records x 4 and a map showing before 1st July until 18th September 1916.

Photos
David Russell Baxter Medal Index CardDavid Russell Baxter newspaper clippingDavid Russell Baxter newspaper clippingDavid Russell Baxter newspaper clippingDavid Russell Baxter remembered at homeDavid Russell Baxter remembered at homeDavid Russell Baxter remembered at homeDavid Russell Baxter remembered at homeDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photoDavid Russell Baxter additional photo

War Diaries

The battalion War Diary is available on the National Archives website.

Creative Commons License

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