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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916


CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916


Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916


Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916


Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Capt Colin Laird

  • Age: 29
  • From: Nantwich, Cheshire
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Btn
  • K.I.A Thursday 20th September 1917
  • Commemorated at: Tyne Cot Memorial
    Panel Ref: Panel 31-34

Colin Laird was born in Nantwich, Cheshire, in August 1888, his parents, William Dunlop Laird, and Catherine Pottie had married in Nantwich in 1881.

The 1911 Census shows Colin as a 22-year-old accountant employed by the County Council and living in Shavington Avenue with his parents William and Kate, and his sister Louise and Flora MacAlister a domestic servant.

Colin enlisted in Liverpool in the 17th Battalion of The King’s Liverpool Regiment, on 1st September 1914 as Private 16105.  He gives his age as 26 years and 4 days, and his occupation as accountant.  He is described as being 5’8” tall, weighing 148 lbs, with brown hair and eyes.  He gives his next of kin as his father, William Dunlop Laird, “Glascoed”, Newton, Chester. He was appointed unpaid Lance Corporal on 20th May 1915, and was discharged on 31st August 1915 “for the purpose of re-enlisting in the Inns of Court O.T.C.”.  After Officer Training, he joined the 19th Bn K.L.R.

In the supplement to the London Gazette, 30th December 1915: Colin Laird to be Temporary 2nd Lieutenant, dated 13th December.

He married Gladys Mary Gratton Lloyd on 3rd June 1916 when he was 27 years old. They married in the Chapelry of Formby; Colin gives his address as “Willowbank”, Piercefield Road, Formby, and his occupation as “2nd Lieutenant, H.M. Army”.  After his marriage Colin rejoined his unit in France.

He was serving in the 19th Battalion, The King’s Liverpool Regiment as a Captain when he was killed in action on the 20th September, 1917 aged 29, during The Third Battle of Ypres.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Details of the action in whch he was killed were recorded in the Battalion diary:

19th September 1917 – In support in Denys Wood.  Battalion relieved 17th KLR in front line. Relief complete about 11 p.m.   

20th September 1917 – A raid was carried out by a party of the battalion of 25 OR under Capt. C. Laird, just before 6 a.m. on The Twins. Enemy machine gun fire, however, proved too much for them, although several attempts were made to reach the objective.  Capt. C. Laird was killed in the operation, also 6 OR, and 14 OR were wounded.

Graham Maddocks in “Liverpool Pals”, p.178, explains: 

 “The remainder of September was fairly uneventful for the rest of the Pals Battalions, except for two trench raids made by the 19th Battalion on 20 September 1917, which, elsewhere on the Salient, was the opening day of the phase of the offensive later referred to as the Battle of the Menin Road. These raids were made for two purposes. The first was an attempt to confuse the enemy as to the intensity and direction of the main attack, and the second was to try to capture two blockhouses known as ‘The Twins’, which commanded the 19th Battalion’s trench front, and thus was able to dominate all its movement. The raiding party, consisting of Captain C. Laird, and twenty-five other ranks left the British front line at 6.00 a.m. and moved into No Man’s Land. However, it was soon spotted, and machine guns opened fire from the blockhouses. Despite a most determined effort to carry the objectives, the situation was hopeless from the start, and Laird and six other ranks were killed and fourteen more soldiers were wounded.”

 From the Chester Chronicle, 29th September 1917

Lieut. Colin Laird (Killed):  News of the death in action, on the 20th Sept., of Lieut. (Acting Capt.) Colin Laird, of the King’s Liverpool Regt., and younger son of Mr. W. D. Laird, Chief Inspector of Weights and Measures to the Cheshire County Council, and Mrs. Laird, Plas Coed, Shavington Avenue, Chester and district.  Lieut. Laird, who was 29, was an old King’s School boy, and after completing his education entered the office of the County Accountant.  As soon as war broke out he responded to the country’s call and joined the King’s Liverpool Regt. On the 21st  [sic] Sept., 1914.  After twelve months’ training he obtained a commission in the same regiment, and had been at the front 13 months, and in much severe fighting.  His death has caused sorrow among his brother officers and the men of his battalion, among whom he was esteemed for his personal qualities and his efficiency and gallantry as a soldier.  The Lieut-Col. commanding the battalion, writing to his parents, says that he was leading a party of men endeavouring to capture a German strong point in the big battle, and from stories gleaned from his men, he was killed instantaneously by a German machine gun when only about 20 yards from his objective.  The commanding officer added, “He died gallantly as a fine soldier and an English gentleman.  His loss to me is a great one, as I had great trust in his capability and courage.  He was rapidly being promoted in the profession which he took up when his country called him.  He was always cheerful and bright, and it was always a pleasure to meet him.  I know nothing can help you in your great sorrow at this moment, but hope that possibly his brother officers’ and my own great opinion of him will somewhat help to soften the trouble.  With great sympathy from his brother officers and myself.” 

In civil life as in the Army Lieut. Laird was held in high esteem.  His never-failing cheerfulness and good heart made him popular wherever he went.  He was an enthusiastic oarsman, having been for several years an active member of the Grosvenor Rowing Club, of which he had been vice-captain.  He was always looked upon as a thorough sportsman.  He had rowed in successful crews of the Grosvenor Club, and was a useful oar, but at sculling he shone most, and gave promise of developing into a really good sculler.  He had won the junior sculls at Chester regatta, and at the last regatta competed unsuccessfully against strong opposition for the championship of the Dee.  He had also won several sculling races.

He leaves a widow, and to her and the other members of his family much sympathy will be extended.

Colin is commemorated on the Hoole and Newton Memorial, Cheshire.

He is remembered on his parents’ gravestone in Overleigh New Cemetery, Chester: “In proud and loving memory, Colin Laird, Capt., 19th Bn The King’s Liverpool Regt., Younger son of the above who fell in action in Flanders, Sept. 20th 1917, Aged 29 years.”

His mother died in 1927 and his father in 1945.  His widow Gladys never remarried, and died in 1983, at the age of 92.







 

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