William Ralston does not have a likeness. If you have one, please link to it in the comments section.

William Ralston cap badgePrivate William Ralston

12th (Service) Battalion Royal Scots "A" Company
Service No: 51087

William Ralston grave

1311

3

4

0

38
Personal details

Family Information

Son of Alexander and Isabella Ralston of 61 Manse St, Coatbridge. William's twin brother Robert (3541) also served with the 2/1st Lothian and Borders Horse Yeomanry and the 2rd Battalion Royal Scots then to the 15th Battalion. He enlisted on the same day as William and they both joined the 2/1st Lothian and Borders Horse Yeomanry. Their Service Numbers were 3542 and 3541 and their Royal Scots Service Numbers were 51085 and 51087. Robert was discharged from the Royal Scots on the 11/09/1919 due to illness. These brave young twins enlisted together, fought together but sadly William fell. From the 1901 Census - Address - 299 Forrest St, Airdrie - Alexander Ralston aged 44, Isabella Ralston aged 41, Kate Ralston aged 19, Alexander Ralston aged 14, Jeanie Ralston aged 14, John Ralston aged 8, Isabella Ralston aged 6, Robert Ralston aged 2, William Ralston aged 2. William's Pension was awarded to his father Alexander. On his Pension Records William is listed as wounded and missing on the 17/10/1918.

Born / Resided

Airdrie / 61 Manse St, Coatbridge

Died

Killed in Action on the 17/10/1918 near Harlebeke at the Battle of Courtrai (part of the Final Advance in Flanders)

Enlisted

Coatbridge 08/01/1917

Employed

(No data. If you have details, please add a comment)

Age

19 / DOB - 14/01/1899

Buried / Remembered

Harlebeke New British Cemetery (VII. C. 7), West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

Cemetery / Memorial Information

Harlebeke village was taken on the night of 19-20 October 1918 by the 9th (Scottish) Division. Harlebeke New British Cemetery was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the surrounding battlefields of 1918 and, in 1924-25, from German cemeteries or plots in Belgium. The cemetery now contains 1,116 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 181 of the burials are unidentified and a special memorial is erected to one casualty who is believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of 19 casualties buried by the Germans in other burial grounds whose graves could not be found on concentration. There are also ten burials of the Second World War in the cemetery.

Additional Information

The Battalion arrived in France in May 1915 and were part of the 27th Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division. On the 17/10/1918 was a day of acute anxiety for the Division. At 5.10am barraged the Courtrai-Harlebeke road and a few minutes later their infantry advanced to the attack. The centre of the King's Own Scottish Borderers was pierced and 4 machine-guns were knocked out, but the flanks held firm and a timely bayonet charge by the reserve of the right Company put the enemy to flight. At the same time the centre Company was rallied by Major McDiarmid of the 9th Machine-gun Battalion, who had swum the river under heavy fire, and it reoccupied its position. On the first news of the attack two Companies of the 12th Royal Scots, who had been warned to be ready to reinforce, crossed the river with fine steadiness under intense artillery-fire which speedily sank both bridges. Although the attack had been brilliantly repulsed the slightest movement provoked machine-gun fire , and as both bridges had been sunk the men could be neither reinforced or withdrawn during daylight without enormous losses and the risk of virtual annihilation. Nevertheless it was necessary to keep the garrison supplied with ammunition and rations, and 2 platoons of the 12th Royal Scots , in single file, working their way along the wreckage of the bridges and wading over their waists in water under a constant fusilade of bullets, crossed the river with supplies of ammunition. This was part of the Battle of Courtrai, 14th - 19th October 1918. This Battle was part of the Final Advance in Flanders, 28th September - 11th November 1918 : The British Second Army and Belgian Army combine and finally break out of the Ypres salient. More ground is gained in a day that in the entire Passchendaele offensive of a year before. The offensive continues through fighting in the Courtrai area and eventually well across the Scheldt. William and his twin brother Robert were just 6 days off their 18th birthday when they enlisted. William was formerly with the 2/1st Lothian and Borders Horse Yeomanry (3542) from 13/03/1917 to 23/02/1918 when he transferred to the Royal Scots. William joined his Battalion in the field on the 26/02/1918. His twin brother Robert was Wounded in Action (Gas) on the 09/04/1918. See Service Records 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 for letters and replies sent to William's mother regarding injuries. William's father Alexander sent a letter regarding delivery of William's Memorial Plaque (see Service Records 6, 7 and 8). William is also remembered on the Maxwell Parish Church Roll of Honour (see photos). William was reburied in Harlebeke New British Cemetery (see photos). See photos for William's Army Register of Soldiers Effects, his Service Medal and Award Rolls, his CWGC Grave Registration x 2, his Headstone Report x 2, William's Reburial Form, Harlebeke New British Cemetery, his Service Records x 23 (lots of information), William's Pension Records x 3, his former Regiment the Lothian and Borders Horse Cap Badge and the Royal Scots Cap Badge. Finally see photos for William's twin brother Robert's Medal Index Card, his Service Medal and Award Rolls, his Silver War Badge record, the Silver War Badge (issued to service personnel who had been honourably discharged due to wounds or sickness during World War I) and his Pension Records x 3. Finally see photos for the Action of Outtersteene Ridge. Wounded of the 27th Infantry Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division, at a regimental aid post near Meteren following the formation’s successful attack on Outtersteene Ridge, 18th August 1918.

Photos
William Ralston Medal Index CardWilliam Ralston newspaper clippingWilliam Ralston newspaper clippingWilliam Ralston newspaper clippingWilliam Ralston remembered at homeWilliam Ralston remembered at homeWilliam Ralston remembered at homeWilliam Ralston remembered at homeWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photoWilliam Ralston additional photo

Creative Commons License

We have made this information and the images available under a Creative Commons BY-NC license. This means you may reuse it for non-commercial purposes only and must attribute it to us using the following statement: © coatbridgeandthegreatwar.com

Comments

There are no comments yet for Private William Ralston. Be the first to leave one.


Do you have any information about or memories of Private William Ralston that you would like to share?

Or even if you would just like to leave a message to say you've been here, please leave a comment below.

*Please note that all comments are verified by a moderator before appearing on the site. All fields are required except links to photos.