Charles Robertson Burr was born in Aberdeen, the second son of Peter and Annabella Burr of Dunvarrich, Tongue. His father employed him as a car driver with the family general merchant business in Tongue. At that time Burrs not only ran a taxi type service around the village and outlying areas, but also cars carried passengers to the railway stations at Lairg and Thurso.
He enlisted into the Army in early 1918 when he reached the age of nineteen, joining the Gordon Highlanders in the 40 Training Reserve Battalion at Stirling; he then served in the 42 Training Reserve Battalion. Once he had completed his basic military training he came home to Tongue on leave in April 1918, before being sent to join the 6 Battalion Cameron Highlanders in France.
The 6 Battalion Cameron Highlanders
served with the 44 Brigade, 15 (Scottish) Division,
sent South to reinforce the French attack, which was planned to take place
close to the River Marne. The French XX Corps Generals planned to attack the
town of Soisson
and a bulge in the German lines, the plan being to cut the enemy off in the
bulge and then destroy them.
Scottish Division took part in the attack on the 18 of July 1918,
the 15 (Scottish) Division and the 51 (Highland) Division attacked the enemy line, Southwest of
Reims. The two Scottish Divisions fought alongside the French Army and under
French Command, with French Renault tanks and mounted cavalry in support.
began at 4:45am on July 18, following a heavy downpour of rain
that completely soaked the battlefield. The Allied attack was carried out by
American Divisions attacking from the Champagne
and Retz forests, French Moroccan and Senegalese troops from Villers Cotterets
and the British at Reims.
Generals were now forced to retreat from the bulge in their line and slowly
gave ground as they were pressurised on all sides to straighten the front. The
enemy now fell back, giving up the ten mile bulge in the lines over a seven day
period, ground that they had captured in one day in May. German losses were
heavy losing 25,000 men as prisoners of war and much equipment, including
artillery and machine-gun.
Camerons began intensive training on the 8 of July for the attack,
close to Chateau de la Haie where they also held a battalion sports day. On the
12 of July they entered Victory Camp where they were shelled at
7pm, suffering no casualties apart from two mules wounded. On the 17
of July the battalion was moved to Clermont by train, then marched to Rusoy and
into billets, the Camerons were then moved to Banru on the 19 and
then to a forest South of St Pierre Aigle, during this move they were attacked
from the air.
On the 22
of July the 6 Camerons relieved the 1 United States
Army, Infantry Brigade in the frontline near Berczy, during this time one man
was injured and taken to a field hospital.
Battalion Cameron Highlanders attacked the German lines the next day, the 23
of July 1918, alongside the 10 French Army. The battalion role was
to keep in touch with the trench on its left and the 46 Brigade on
the right flank.
‘A’ Company managed to reach the village of Noyant,
but had to retire owing to the flank units not having advanced; by nightfall
the 6 Camerons were three hundred yards forward of their start
point. The battalion stayed in this position until they were relieved on
the 25 of July by
the 8 Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, as the Camerons
left the front line trench they were shelled and came under mustard gas attack.
Private Charles Robertson Burr was one of eighteen other ranks who were killed in action near Berczy France on the 23 of July 1918 as his battalion fought alongside American and French soldiers, 78 were wounded and 22 were reported as missing.
He was the second son of Mr and Mrs Burr to be killed during the First World War, his brother Peter had been killed during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Mr and Mrs Burr had a younger son Gordon who went on to run the family business. Charles and Peter Burr also had a sister Marjorie who lived in Tain Ross-shire.
Their young brother Gordon went on to run the very successful Burr's business in Tongue.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL EDINBURGH CASTLE Burr Charles Robertson (b) Aberdeen, S/41285. Private. Killed in action. F&F 23-07-18. 6 Battalion Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, formerly 22247 Gordon Highlanders.
COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSION Burr Private Charles Robertson, S/41285. 6 Battalion, Cameron Highlanders. 23July 1918. Age 19. Son of Peter and Annabella Burr of Dunvarrich Tongue Sutherlandshire. Plot 1. Row Cgrave 12.
Private Charles Robertson Burr, S/41285, 6 Battalion Cameron Highlanders is buried in a war grave at BOUILLY CROSSROADS MILITARY CEMETERY, MARNE, FRANCE.