John Macleod, 28 Swainbost
Sergeant JOHN MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: 28 Swainbost,
Service unit: 2nd Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 317110
Enlisted at Stornoway
Date of death: 28 March 1918
Killed in action in France
Memorial: Arras Memorial, Bay 8
Local memorial: North Lewis, Cross
Wounded 25 April 1915
We find John in the 1901 census, aged 7, at 28 Swainbost with his parents Murdo (41) and Christy (40) as well as siblings Malcolm (11), Donald (9), Malcolm (5) and Annie (3).
John was one of five men from a family, a father and four sons, who served in the war. His brother Malcolm was lost in the Iolaire; Murdo was in the Cameron Highlanders; Malcolm in theh RNR; Donald in the Seaforths.
From the battalion's war diary
The battalion is in action around Roeux
A heavy bombardment of our front and extending both to North and South started about 3 am and continued till 7.30 am. During the bombardment all communications except by runner were cut. About 720 am the SOS went up from Bn on left and was immediately followed from our own front line. All posts in front line had been successfully withdrawn by 515 and troops had manned them back to the positions. The enemy attacked in very thick formations, attack was mainly directed against our left front Coy. The attack was unable to advance further than our original front line which he had evacuated at 515 am and very heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy by rifle and machine gun fire. As soon as the attack started, the Triple Arch over river was blown up. By 8 o'clock, information was received that the front system of Bn on our left had been driven in and no troops could be seen in CORAL trench between CORFU and Railway. Message was then sent to Bn HQ saying: "Bn left was in the air was it to withdraw". On receiving message from my left front Coy that Bn on the left had withdrawn. I ordered coys in front to withdraw to occupy CORDITE and CYCLE with a defensive flank down CORFU. This was successfully carried out and by 10 am Bn dispositions were as follows:
1 coy in CRETE
1 coy CORDITE from CEYLON to CORFU
1 coy CYCLE & CORDITE to CEYLON
1 coy forming defensive flank down CORFU
By the time it was discovered that Bn on left was still holding continuation of support line north of railway. The disposition sent to Brigade. The enemy was now working round by right flank in force and ROEUX had been occupied by then. A German cavalry patrol of 5 were wiped out by a L gun and heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy. The position N of river appeared now secure but the enemy had worked round S and were occupying high ground immediately in our rear, having taken LANCER LANE and at 1135 am it was thought necessary to withdraw. The withdrawal was successfully carried out thought hampered by Bn having to pass through heavy enemy barrage on railway and FAMPOUX and was formed up again in PUDDING trench where orders were received from 11th Brigade to proceed to ATHIES and occupy trench up to POINT du JOUP. [illegible] german officer and his orderly. About 7pm the Bn received orders to proceed to Railway TRIANGES south of the river and rejoin 10th Brigade. On arrival there it took up position in trenches S of Railway clean up to Coy Line. C Coy rejoined Bn at 3.30 am following morning and went to rifle camp. All maps, documents and messages were destroyed in withdrawal. One Lewis gun left to defend right flank had to be thrown in the river as enemy had nearly surrounded their post. Our casualties were 5 officers and approximately 100 other ranks. Very heavy casualties may have been inflicted on the enemy as Lewis guns had some excellent targets. ROEUX caves were blown up in evacuation of front line system.