A Section of Bombers traveled up into the Warrington Avenue Trench at 1:30 AM, June 13th, 1916. The section was made up of men from both the 58th and the 52 Battalions. There were approximately 30 men. As bombers, they carried sacks that were holding Mills Bombs, hand grenades. Their job was to clear the enemy from the trench by lobbing the bombs ahead of them, up the trench system. When we look at the Battalion summary of the action on the 13th of June we see that this group in Warrington Trench met up with very stiff resistance.
To quote the summary, “this section was practically wiped out.” In fact there were two survivors. Pte. Farquhar McLennan was not one of them.
On June 13, 1916, at shortly after 1:30 AM, Pte. McLennan was killed by a trench mortar bomb, or minenwerfer, as the Germans called them. many “Circumstances of Death” cards simply state “Killed in Action”. Knowing that Farquhar was killed in a specific way means that there was a witness, or witnesses who survived the action.
How do I know that Farquhar was in this section of bombers? There is a letter written on BEF stationary that was was sent to Farquhar’s Sister, Catherine Law, a few weeks after his death.
A Letter from Farquhar’s Cousin, to Catherine Law.
To quote the letter, “he was in the attack in June and was in a German sap bombing them out, all his section was killed bar one who was wounded and got back.” This wounded soldier would have been the witness to Farquhar’s demise.
I think it is clear that Farquhar’s Cousin searched out the 58th Battalion in Ypres to try to find information on Farquhar’s death. He stated in his letter that a search party was sent out to Warrington Trench to find the bodies, but were unsuccessful.
From the report we can see that there was “No Record of Burial (Reported by the Battalion).”
to be continued