Lance Cpl Thomas M Knight
Initials: T M
Nationality: United Kingdom
Regiment/Service: Gordon Highlanders
Unit Text: 1st/7th Bn.
Date of Death: 13/11/1916
Service No: 6190
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: C. 76.
Cemetery: Y RAVINE CEMETERY, BEAUMONT-HAMEL
This is the war diary entry for the action in which Thomas Knght met his death.
Mailly Wood (Trenches) / 13.11.16
5.00 a.m. At 5.00 a.m. messages were received from all Coy. Commanders their men were lined up and ready to go. Five minutes before Zero advantage was taken of the darkness and the thick fog to move the men out cautiously to the front of our own wire where they lay down till the Barrage opened. The Coys. were lined up for attack in order ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ reading from the left, ‘A’ Coy. having 6th. Black Watch on its left flank and ‘D’ Coy. having the R.M.L.I. on its right.
5.45 a.m. The attack commenced exactly at 5.45 a.m., - the men following the Barrage very closely.
6.45 a.m. The first half Battalion , C and ‘D’ Coys. got right into each of their objectives almost before the Barrage lifted and at 6.45 a.m. had captured the southern half of Y Ravine and four lines of German trenches and then went over the crest taking 1+50 over and above 200 in 3 & 4 lines – On the left things were not going so smoothly – Evidently the Barrage near the point of salient and from some distance on each side got a little in front of the men with the result that the enemy were able to mount Machine Guns which held up part of ‘A’ and the whole of ‘B’ Coys. – To make matters worse hostile M.Gs, opened cross fire from the enemy fire trench where ‘C’ Coy. had passed through and cleaned up some time before. As it turned out afterwards these latter guns came via tunnel running from German 3rd. Line Trench to firing line. Small bombing parties commenced crawling from shell hole to shell hole on either flank but nearly five hours hand to hand fighting and bombing took place before the guns were silenced. During this time only two runners managed to reach Headquarters of eight sent away, remainder being casualties.
9.00 a.m. At 9.00 a.m. message arrived from O.C. ‘D’ Coy. reporting that ‘C’ and ‘D’ Coys. had captured all their objectives, capturing the fourth line at 6.45 a.m. and the whole cleared up by 8.00 a.m. – ‘D’ Coy. was in touch with Division on right but ‘C’ Coy. was not in touch on the left owing to the remainder of the attack being held up. Enemy Machine Guns and Snipers in front line had been silenced by bombing parties and the advance continued to second line where it joined up with isolated parties of ‘A’ Coy. and details of 6th. Black Watch who had got through at first assault – These parties had got as far as third line by 6.15 a.m. but had to return to 2nd. Line owing to ‘B’ being held up – There they held on till ‘B’ Coy. got through and joined up – when they attacked the 3rd. Line, ‘A’ Coy. having one Officers left unwounded and ‘B’ Coy. none.
The 1/5th. Battalion Gordon Highlanders (in support) arrived early behind ‘A’ & ‘B’ Coys. and together they attacked and captured the 2nd. & 3rd. Lines.
4.00 p.m. About 4.00 p.m. the 4th. Gordons went forward to reinforce, capture, and clear any portions of the 4th. Line still occupied by enemy on our left flank. This was accomplished about 5.00 p.m. The Battalion was collected as per amendment (see Appendix No.2) to O.O.158 and brought back to 3rd. Line where it consolidated all night but was then only about 100 strong.
The number of prisoners captured by the Battalion was approximately 600 in addition to a batch of 200 passed through Bedfords as no more men could be spared as escorts. A considerable number of Machine Guns and Trench Mortars were captured.
Thomas was a native of Easthouses and prior to his death had already seen much action and been wounded. Following his death the family moved to Newtongrange where they lived after the war.
This memorium appeared in the Dalkeith Advertiser in 1919