Captain Harry William (Wilmore?)Rawson
16th Royal Scots (2nd Edinburgh)
Died as a P.O.W. 22nd April 1918, aged 33
Lived at St Ronans, Pike Hill
Buried in Ixelles (Elsene) Cemetery, Belgium
Burnley Express
12/7/1916 - 15/6/1918 - 15/6/1918

Captain Harry Rawson 16th Bn Royal Scots (McCrae’s Battalion)
The 16th Service Battalion of the Royal Scots was raised by Sir George McCrae (who became the Battalion’s first serving Lieutenant Colonel) in Edinburgh at the end of November 1914. The core of the battalion was raised from the professional footballers who played for the Heart Of Midlothian Football Club (Hearts F.C.), Hearts supporters and a large number of other Scottish professional and semi-professional footballers (players from 75 Scottish football clubs are known to have enlisted!).
Harry Rawson was a solicitor’s clerk from Burnley whose uncle (also Harry Rawson) was the chairman of the Edinburgh Territorial Force Association and recommended him for a commission in the Battalion.
He is known to have been promoted to Lieutenant by 14th March 1916 when he led a replacement draft from Ripon. On the 16th April 1916 he wrote to his uncle; “I think that we are getting ready for a show. I don’t know where (and I couldn’t tell you if I did), but I know that when it comes we will be ready. After that Zeppellin business the boys are spoiling for a scrap, and I think they’ll prove a handful for the Hun”. NB There had been a Zeppelin raid on Leith and Edinburgh on the night of April 2nd/3rd when 13 people were killed by bombs.
Harry was shot through both legs on 1st July 1916 near Contalmaison (when the Battalion’s total casualties were 12 officers and 573 men killed, wounded or missing). He recovered from his wounds in a Manchester Hospital before returning to the Battalion in early October 1916. On 23rd November Harry Rawson was involved in leading a party of 42 men in a trench raid opposite Grande Flamengrie farm. On being discovered the raid was driven out of No Man’s Land, fortunately without casualties, by a heavy German bombardment.
By 25th January 1918 Captain Harry Rawson was commanding officer of “C” Company.
Harry Rawson was wounded in the throat at about 9 am on 11th April 1918 to the south-west of Armentieres near Erquinghem. “Shortly after 8 am both sides of the square were assualted. Harry Rawson was on the corner with 9 platoon. ... The line held for about an hour but as the pressure mounted , Rawson gave the order to retire. Sergt. Robertson noticed that the Germans were ‘finishing off’ the worst of the wounded and shouted to everyone to keep going as long as they were able. They retreated from shell-hole to shell-hole maintaining a good rate of fire. Suddenly Rawson was hit in the throat. He went down clutching the wound. The Germans were almost on him: Robertson dashed forward pulled him to his feet and surrendered”.
Harry Rawson died of his wounds on the evening of 22nd April 1918 on a German hospital train en route to Brussels and is buried in a small plot of 12 prisoner of war graves at Ixelles (Elsene) Communal Cemetery, Brussels.
Information from “McCrae’s Battalion. The story of the 16th Royal Scots”. By Jack Alexander


16th Bn. Royal Scots (McCrae's Battalion) Memorial
Contalmaison, Somme








 

 

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