Murdo McPherson was born in Tongue in 1892, son of Murdo McPherson of Talmine and Christina Gunn. They were married in 1882 in Fraserburgh. He enlisted into the army in
Tongue, once he had completed his training he was posted to the 14
Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, with the 120 Brigade,
40 Infantry Division formed up at Aldershot in Hampshire.
Division arrived in France on the 9 of June 1916, taking over the
front line trenches at Lens to gain trench experience of war conditions. In
November 1916 at the end of the Battle of the Somme the 120
Brigade entered the line to the North of Beaumont Hamel, close to the village
of Hebuterne, to hold the new positions gained in the previous months of heavy
Headquarters was set up at Bray and tasked to hold the new front line over the
winter months. The trenches in this sector were considered to be some of the
worst in France, the Argylls made the best of the conditions in this sector
gaining much need experience in trench fighting and tactics.
On the 14 of March 1917, the
Germans withdrew to new defences they had prepared, called the Hindenburg Line.
The 40 Division followed the enemy as they retired to their newly
prepared positions, captured Mont St Quentin and Haut Allianes before digging
in front of the heavily defended German Line.
Argylls were stood to at 5:30am, ready to move forward and engage the attacking
enemy forces. At 2:15pm the battalion moved forward towards the village of
Vaux-Vraucourt, to the northeast of Bapaume and set up battalion headquarters
on the Vaulx-Mory road. By 7pm the 14 Argylls were in support of
the 6/7 Royal Scots Fusiliers and the 4/5
Lincoln Regiment, with their right flank on the Vaulx-Ecoust road.
At 10:30pm a
strong patrol worked its way along the trench running from map reference C13 to
B5.0, clearing enemy positions as they went. The battalion then consolidated
this new line and dug in to await the expected German counter-attack.
Murdo McPherson was one of 310 casualties suffered by the 14
Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders between the 21 and 26
of March 1918; his body was not found when the fighting was over.
He had two brothers who both
served in the Armed Forces during World War One, Robert served in the Canadian
Army and George was with the Royal Naval Reserve on board H.M.S. Pelorus. Both
his brothers survived the war and returned home to their family in Melness.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL EDINBURGH CASTLE
McPherson Murdo (b) Tongue Sutherlandshire. S/6812. Private. Killed in action. F&F.
March 1918. 14 Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSION
MacPherson Private Murdo ,
S/6812. 14 Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
21 March 1918. Age
26. Son of Murdo and Christina MacPherson, of Talmine, Lairg, Sutherland.
Private Murdo McPherson S/6812
14 Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders has no known grave
and is remembered on the ARRAS MEMORIAL TO THE MISSING, PAS DE CALAIS, FRANCE.