Private George Macsween

Private 1595 George Macsween, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Macsween, of 1, Upper Garrabost, Stornoway. was a student at Aberdeen Training College when he joined the 4th Battalion Gordon Highlanders. Entered the European Theatre of War 19th February 1915. On 15th June George was slightly wounded but refused treatment so as not to miss the attack of the German lines the next day. He was killed in action 16th June 1915 at Bellewaarde, Ypres. Aged 24.

Follow this link to read of a first hand account of George's death - Sgt James Fraser

Memorial: Le Touret panel 39 - 41

Scottish War Graves

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From the diary of Sergeant Murdo Murray

Heard Murdie and George were killed hope to God not. D. Coy. went out to dig themselves in and to hold the wood to the left of Menin Road. It was here they got cut up in the communication trench. It was here, Murdie and George fell, I know, bravely. Fate in the case of George. He was wounded two nights ago and got the offer of going down the line. Though his arm was swollen he would not go. He would go into battle and die at his post. Fate cruel fate.

I wrote this on the 17th.

Roy Topping was wounded beside me and we carried him on our backs across communication trench to headquarters. As early as 10 a. m. our men, the Lincolns, began to retire. The Wilts were bombed out of the 3rd and 4th line. The German counter attack was awful. Shell after shell came pouring in death all round. The atmosphere was thick with smoke of all colours. Earth thrown up, the world dark. Behind, the sun serene and calm but red in sympathy. Our trench was enveloped in sulphur smoke and gas and stink from shells. The K.R.R. regiment and Shropshire came up but the others retired in panic. The second felt inclined to do the same.

A shell landed in the trench, blew it in and exploded our grenades killing two K.R.R.s. High explosive shrapnel flew all round. More gas. The wounded came streaming across the road, some with smashed minds, arms, legs, crawling along. Piteous scenes brave, plucky fellows. What blood.

I saw a captain (I think it must have been a captain) standing up on the road, shells falling thick all around, hazy in the smoke, heedless of fire, still giving commands. The whole place was an inferno. Dark. Still giving commands. The Coy still holding out pluckily. Well done. Stretcher bearers at work. Some of them funks. Calum Macleod and J. A. Macleod, Leodhas, did well. Stuck it in spite of fire and smoke. Lt. Clarke wounded. Met my platoon but alas! that George and Murdie should be silent forever on the field of the battle Murdo, the gentle and generous idealist, George the dreamy, fine, sensitive and noble spirit. Tears tribute to their memory.