11 July 2016

Sleeping Companions: 8515 Pte John Duncan Macpherson & 12860 Pte John Hadden; 1st Scots Guards

8515 Pte John Duncan Macpherson, 1st Scots Guards
 12860 Pte John Hadden, 1st Scots Guards

John Macpherson and John Hadden lie next to each other in the Guards Cemetery at Lesboeufs. I took this photograph on the 1st July 2016. Both men died on the 15th September 1916.

John Macpherson (McPherson on his medal index card) was a pre-war regular solider who had joined the Scots Guards in January 1913 and arrived in France on the 9th November 1914. No service record survives for him in WO 363 but he had certainly been in hospital in France in May 1915. A fragment in WO 363 lists him at Malassise Hospital on the 30th May. He was the son of John MacPherson, of The Aerodrome, Crail, Fife and it was not until 1919 that his body was found and re-buried in the Guards Cemetery. He was 21 years old. The inscription on his headstone reads: GRENADE THROWER / DIED AS A SOLDIER AT HIS POST.

John Hadden enlisted later than John Macpherson. He joined up in January 1915 and arrived in France on the 19th November that year. He was the son of William and Marion Hadden, of Harelaw, Longniddry, Haddington, East Lothian. His body too, was exhumed from the battlefield and brought in to the Guards' Cemetery at around the same time as John Macpherson. He was 22 years old.

The Scots Guards lost 110 men on the 15th September 1916. Fifteen of those men are buried at Lesboeufs but 83 have no known graves at all and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

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