Wednesday, 13 October 2010

On this day in Scottish Military History #3 - The Battle of Hulloch

While the first day of the Battle of Loos on 25th September 1915 is well remembered as a bloody day for Scotland when the Kitchener volunteers of the 9th and 15th Scottish Divisions were decimated; the last days of the battle were no less bloody for our highland regiments.

1st Bn Black Watch and 1st Bn Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, both in 1st Brigade, 1st Division, attacked the fortified German positions at Hohenzollern Redoubt at the village of Hulloch near Loos on 13th October 1915. Both battalions took heavy casualties for little gain.

The pre-war regulars of the units had been bolstered by volunteers after heavy fighting in 1914 and 1915 and many men from all over Scotland filled the ranks of these famous units. The Black Watch and Camerons had already suffered heavy casualties assaulting the Hohenzollern Redoubt at the start of the battle on 27th September 1915. They assaulted the same position again just two weeks later.

Amongst those lost 95 years ago today was 23 year old Lt James Ley Paton, 1st Black Watch of Perth. He is commemorated on the Perth Academy War Memorial. Born in 1892 he was commissioned into the 3rd Bn of the regiment. Before the war he had been a medical student at St Andrew’s University and apart from being in the Officer Training Corps he had been a keen cricketer and golfer.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. After the war he was also commemorated in St Andrews on the OTC War Memorial and in Dundee on the University College War Memorial.

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