Private William Beacham GORDON


Regiment/Service:
Royal Scots Fusiliers
Unit:
7th Battalion
Service Number:
17002
Date of Death:
21 October 1915 - Killed in Action.
Age:
23
Cemetery / Memorial:
Memorial Reference:
Panel 46 to 49.

Personal History:

William was born in the December quarter 1892, the son of Arthur Beacham (Coalminer and Stoneminer) and Amelia Anne (née Spolding) Gordon. In 1901 (Census RG 13/3255) the family was at 72 Arkwright Town, Sutton and Duckmanton, Chesterfield. William had a younger sister, Jessie H.

Ten years later (1911 Census RG 14/21129) two more children had been added to the family, Edna and Arthur B., and they were then living at Works Row, Duckmanton Works, Calow, Chesterfield. William had followed his father down the mine, working as a "Pony Driver".  The link with Buxton was not yet been established.

Military History:
According to the SDGW database William enlisted at Chesterfield, Derbyshire. His Medal Index Card shows that he entered France to join his Battalion on the 18th August 1915. Unfortunately, none of his Service Papers has survived. However, by comparing the enlistment dates of Battalion members whose dates of enlistment are known, it is fairly certain he joined up on the 26th or 27th January 1915.

The 7th (Service) Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, was formed at Ayr in September 1914 as part of the Army Orders authorising Kitchener's Second New Army, K2, and attached to 45th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division. It moved to Aldershot and in November 1914 went on to Bramshott, before moving again to billets in Basingstoke in February 1915 and in March went to Draycott Camp at Chisledon.

On the 9th July 1915 William's Battalion landed at Boulogne, so clearly he joined them a month later. The Division's first major engagement was The Battle of Loos, 25th September - 18th October 1915. On the first day of the Battle the 15th (Scottish) Division was in some difficulty, despite having succeeded in capturing Loos itself. Men were helplessly pinned down on the forward slope of Hill 70, and the artillery support that had been called for since 10.50 a.m. was only just beginning to happen.

"Around 8.30 p.m. the remnants of the first waves that had attacked in the morning were finally relieved on the slopes on Hill 70." William's 7th Royal Scots Fusiliers repulsed a German attack in the night on the Eastern side of the Loos Crassier (slag heap), was repulsed. At 5.30 a.m. the following day another heavy German attack against the Battalion, on the Eastern side of the Loos Crassier, was also repulsed.

The SDGW database shows that the 7th Battalion lost 7 Officers and 138 men killed in action or died of wounds during the official period of the Battle of Loos. William was one of three men killed in action on the 21st October (possibly a shell burst). His body was lost and he is commemorated on the Memorial at Loos. (The men who died with him were Pt.12760 Crawford BOYD, from Ayr, and Pt. 12886 John MARTIN, from Glasgow.)

                              


Sources:
· I am grateful to The War Graves Photographic Project for the photo from the Loos memorial.

Commemorated on:
Link to CWGC Record
poppy
... about the Battle of Loos
Loos Memorial
William's name on the Loos Memorial