Alexander McGillivray likeness

Alexander McGillivray cap badgePrivate Alexander McGillivray

1st Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers
Service No: 18764

Alexander McGillivray grave





Personal details

Family Information

Son of John McGillivray of 100 Sunnyside Rd, Coatbridge. Alexander made a Will leaving all his effects to his father John. Alexander's brother Private James McGillivray (S/9091) of the 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders was Killed in Action on the 22/04/1916. He served with the ALIAS Private James McRoberts. Alexander and James' Pensions were awarded to their father.

Born / Resided

Carluke / 100 Sunnyside Rd, Coatbridge and High Bonnybridge.


Killed in Action on the 01/07/1916 at the Battle of Albert (opening phase of the Battles of the Somme)




North British Railway Company


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Buried / Remembered

Knightsbridge Cemetery (G. 16), Mesnil-Martinsart, Somme, France

Cemetery / Memorial Information

The cemetery, which is named from a communication trench, was begun at the outset of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. It was used by units fighting on that front until the German withdrawal in February 1917 and was used again by fighting units from the end of March to July 1918, when the German advance brought the front line back to the Ancre. After the Armistice, some burials in Rows G, H and J were added when graves were brought in from isolated positions on the battlefields of 1916 and 1918 round Mesnil. Knightsbridge Cemetery contains 548 First World War burials, 141 of them unidentified.

Additional Information

The Battalion were part of the 87th Brigade, 29th Division. They sailed from Avonmouth on the 18/03/1915 and landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on the 25/04/1915. On the 08/01/1916 they were evacuated from Gallipoli and moved to Alexandra in Egypt. On the 18/03/1916 they arrived at Marseilles for service in France. Alexander arrived in Gallipoli on the 16/08/1915. Alexander was Killed in Action at the Battle of Albert, 1st – 13th July 1916. In this opening phase, the French and British assault broke into and gradually moved beyond the first of the German defensive systems. For the British, the attack on the 1st July proved to be the worst day in the nation’s military history in terms of casualties sustained. It is the aspect of the Battle that is most remembered and most written about, and for good reason – but to concentrate on the failures is to entirely miss the point of the Somme and why the battle developed into an epic period of the Great War. On the first day, British forces at the southern end of the British line made an impressive advance alongside the French Sixth Army, capturing the villages of Montauban and Mametz and breaking through the enemy’s defensive system. North of Mametz the attack was an almost unmitigated failure. The situation led to a redirection of effort, with the offensive north of the River Ancre effectively being closed down and all future focus being on the line south of Thiepval. There was a stiff fight for Trones Wood and costly, hastily planned and piecemeal attacks that eventually took La Boisselle, Contalmaison and Mametz Wood during the rest of the period up to 13 July. This was the opening day 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. 15 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. Alexander along with 14 other men listed on the Coatbridge Memorial fell on this day. Over 19,000 British soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice on this disastrous 1st day. Alexander's Grave photo donated by Mick McCann at See Directory for Alexander's brother James' page. See photos for Alexander's Medal Index Card, his Army Register of Soldiers Effects, his Service Medal and Award Rolls, his CWGC Grave Registration x 2, his Headstone Report, Knightsbridge Cemetery, the King's Own Scottish Borderers Cap Badge and Alexander's Pension Record x 3.

Alexander McGillivray Medal Index CardAlexander McGillivray newspaper clippingAlexander McGillivray newspaper clippingAlexander McGillivray newspaper clippingAlexander McGillivray remembered at homeAlexander McGillivray remembered at homeAlexander McGillivray remembered at homeAlexander McGillivray remembered at homeAlexander McGillivray additional photoAlexander McGillivray additional photoAlexander McGillivray additional photoAlexander McGillivray additional photo

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