6th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders, 13 November 1916
Synopsis of Life and Military Service
Very little is known about Simon Fraser or his military service as his records have been destroyed. It is believed however that Simon Fraser was born on the 16th January 1896 at Kirkmichael, Ballindalloch, Banffshire, to Alexander Fraser who was a Crofter and Slate Quarryman at the nearby Cnoc Fergan Quarry and of his mother Jane Ann Grassick or Fraser. They resided as a family at Knockfergan near the quarry which was probably a small scale farmhouse. According to the 1901 Census he may have been the oldest son but had an elder sister.
Information would suggest that he went to the secondary school at Tomintoul where there is a record of him having done well in a particular school exam.
He would later join the 6th Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders, the local infantry battalion, enlisting at Keith, Banffshire and following his training he would have landed in France and Flanders, some time in 1916. Unfortunately, he was not to last the year, and he was killed in action during the first day of the Battle of the Ancre on the 13th November 1916 and the successful attack on the village of Beaumont Hamel which was captured by the Division.
He is buried and honoured in the Mailly Wood Cemetery, Mailly-Maillet, Somme, France.
His mother and father are shown as being joint Legatees of his belongings and pension.
War Diary 6th Gordon Highlanders
The following is an extract from the War Diary of the 6th Gordon Highlanders for the 13th to the 15th November 1916.
Attack and capture of BEAUMONT HAMEL. The 51st (Highland) Division captured BEAUMONT HAMEL. The 152nd and 153rd Infantry Brigades made the attack, the 154th Brigade being held in reserve. The 152nd Brigade attacked on a 2 Battalion front with one Battalion in support and one Battalion in reserve.
The 6th Gordon Highlanders were the Battalion in reserve, and lost 3 officers killed and wounded (Captain A. Grant, and 2/Lieut. R.F. Wilson killed; 2/Lieut. D.C.Cooper wounded) 115 O.R.(Other Ranks) killed and wounded.
Simon Fraser was born on 1896 at Kirkmichael, Ballindalloch, Banffshire. The following family information is taken from the 1901 Census.
His family is shown as follows :-
- Father: Alexander Fraser, born c.1855 at Kirkmichael, Banffshire – Crofter / Slatequarryman. (d.3/2/1931)
- Mother: Jane Ann Grassick or Fraser, born c.1854 at Kirkmichael, Banffshire.(d.7/4/1928)
- Sister: Lizzie S.R., born c.1894 at Kirkmichael, Banffshire.
- Brother: Donald R.G., born c.1898 at Kirkmichael, Banffshire. (d.18/8/1928)
- Brother: Alexander Ian, born c.1899 at Kirkmichael, Banffshire.(d.26/10/1964)
- Sister: Jane Ann, born c.1901 at Kirkmichael, Banffshire.(d.14/10/1931)
Also within the residence in 1901 was a General Servant – Mary Leslie.
Although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has his forename as Simon which would appear to be correct, the majority of his army documents however have his forename as Symon.
The following address has been ascertained for Simon Fraser from the 1901 Census :-
- 1901 – Knockfergan, Kirkmichael, Ballindalloch, Banffshire.
The family were still residing at this address following Simon’s death.
Simon Fraser was awarded the Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War. This would indicate that he did not land in the France / Belgium Theatre of War until 1916.
Simon Fraser is honoured and remembered on the Kirkmichael Memorial Plaque, Ex-Serviceman’s Hall, Ballindalloch, Banffshire.
Links to Additional Information
- Find a Grave website – Simon Fraser – Mailly Wood Cemetery
- Find a Grave website -Simon Fraser – Kirkmichael Churchyard
- A Street Near You website – Simon Fraser
- Lives of the First World War – Simon Fraser
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Simon Fraser
- Imperial War Museum Memorials – Family Memorial, Kirkmichael Churchyard
- Medal Index Card.
- Soldiers Died in the Great War.
- Pension Card.
- Register of Soldiers Effects.
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
- Find a Grave.
- Family Grave, Kirkmichael, Ballindalloch.
- 1901 Census.
- Vincent Stuart.