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  cap badgePrivate William John McKeown

1st Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
Service No: 3/2510

William John McKeown grave

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Personal details

Family Information

Son of John and Catherine McKeown. William was the youngest of the 3 brothers who fell. Private James McKeown of the 1/6th North Staffordshire Regiment was Killed in Action on the 03/10/1918 and Private Francis McKeown died in a London Hospital on the 21/02/1919. He is NOT listed on the Coatbridge Memorial. Another brother Lance Corporal Andrew McKeown (6488) of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders survived the war. From the 1901 Census - Address - 16 F3 East Stewart St, Coatbridge - John McKeown aged 35, Catherine McKeown aged 34, James McKeown aged 11, Francis McKeown aged 6, William J McKeown aged 4, boarders Michael McSherry aged 39, Stephen McSherry aged 14, Michael McSherry aged 12. William's Pension was awarded to his mother Catherine.

Born / Resided

Coatbridge / 319 Main St, Coatbridge

Died

Killed in Action on the 09/05/1915 near Rue de Bois, Richebourg on the opening day of the Battle of Aubers

Enlisted

Edinburgh 1914

Employed

Labourer in the Clyde Tube Works

Age

28 / DOB - 18/03/1897

Buried / Remembered

Le Touret Memorial (Panels 24 to 26), Pas de Calais, France

Cemetery / Memorial Information

The Le Touret Memorial commemorates over 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 to the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September 1915 and who have no known grave. Almost all of the men commemorated on the Memorial served with regular or territorial regiments from across the United Kingdom and were killed in actions that took place along a section of the front line that stretched from Estaires in the north to Grenay in the south. This part of the Western Front was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the first year of the war, including the battles of La Bassée (10 October – 2 November 1914), Neuve Chapelle (10 – 12 March 1915), Aubers Ridge (9 – 10 May 1915), and Festubert (15 – 25 May 1915). Soldiers serving with Indian and Canadian units who were killed in this sector in 1914 and 1915 whose remains were never identified are commemorated on the Neuve Chapelle and Vimy memorials, while those who fell during the northern pincer attack at the Battle of Aubers Ridge are commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

Additional Information

The Battalion arrived at Le Havre on the 14/08/1914 and were part of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division. William arrived in France on the 07/11/1914. William was Killed in Action on the opening day of the unsuccessful British offensive at Aubers on the 9th - 10th May 1915 : A disastrous attack that cost 11,000 British casualties for no material gain : it was a minor supporting operation to a much larger French attack in an action known as the Second Battle of Artois. The Battle : The Southern attack was to be made in easterly direction by the 1st and Meerut Divisions, on a 2400-yard front between Chocolat Menier Corner and Port Arthur (1st Division would have an attack frontage of 1600 yards; Meerut 800 yards), with the objective Rue du Marais – Lorgies – Ligny le Grand, incorporating La Cliqueterie (a heavily defended German strongpoint). The 2nd Division was moved up into reserve, from the La Bassée canal sector, leaving behind 4th (Guards) Brigade and receiving in exchange the 5th (London) Brigade of the London Division who moved to the canal in their place. At 3.57pm : The leading companies of the 1st Battalion Black Watch, 1st Brigade, brought in to replace the shattered 2nd Brigade, went over the top despite the 1st Battalion Cameron Highlanders being late to arrive and moved at the double across No Man’s Land. Some reached the German breastwork just as the bombardment lifted; most were however killed or captured in the German firing trench although a small party reached the second position. The two lead companies of the Camerons, coming up on the left of the Black Watch a few minutes later, suffered heavy machine-gun casualties in crossing between the front lines. British casualties in the Southern pincer on the 09/05/1915 : 1st Division : 3,968 of which 160 Officers, 7th (Meerut) Division : 2,629 of which 94 Officers, 47th (2nd London) Division : 79 of which 2 Officers, 2nd Division : 20 of which no Officers. Worst infantry casualties in the Southern attack, by Battalion : 1st Battalion Northamptonshire 560, of which 17 Officers, 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex 551, of which 14 Officers, 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders 509, of which 21 Officers, 1st BATTALION BLACK WATCH 475, OF WHICH 14 OFFICERS. SEE PHOTOS x 11 FOR THE BATTALION WAR DIARY FROM 1st MAY - 12th MAY 1915. William was formerly with the 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (2750). See Directory for William's brother James' page. William and his 2 brothers are also remembered on the St Patrick's Church (book) and Stewarts and Lloyds Rolls of Honour (see photos). See photos for William's Medal Index Card, his Army Register of Soldiers Effects, his Service Medal and Award Rolls, his CWGC Grave Registration, his name on the Le Touret Memorial, his name on the Le Touret Memorial Panel List, William's Pension Records x 2, his previous Regiment the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Cap Badge and the Black Watch Cap Badge. Finally, I have the Battalion War Diary from August 1914 - March 1919. If more information is required please contact me.

Photos
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War Diaries

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

Creative Commons License

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