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Transcribed from The Bridgwater Mercury Sept 25 1918

Catcott Young Officer's Gallant Death


Fell while leading his Men


The many friends of Mrs. Montgomery, of Catcott, were deeply grieved to hear the sad news of the death of her youngest son, 2nd-Lieut, Andrew Graham Montgomery, aged 19, who was killed in action on September 5th (as briefly reported in our last issue) after being in France only a little over three weeks. Lieut. Montgomery was related to Sir Basil Graham Montgomery, Bart, his father, the Rev. Colin Montgomery (who before his death was vicar of Shapwick), being the great grandson of Sir James Montgomery, first baronet of Stanhope, Co. Peebles, Lord Advocate. He was educated at Eastington, Clevedon, going from there to St Edmund's School, Canterbury. Here he won his colours for cricket and hockey, was captain of West House, and ultimately passed on to Sandhurst in the spring of 1917. At Sandhurst, he was one of the winners of the jumping competition at the riding school at the riding school, being chosen to represent N Co. He received his commission in April, 1917, being gazetted to the 3rd Battalion Cameron Highlanders. On August 9th, 1918, he went to France, and was atached (sic) to the 1/5 Seaforth Highlanders. At the preparatory school and at Sandhurst. Lieut. Montgomery gave evidence of those sterling qualities which make the British officer beloved by his men and second to none in the world. His military career was short, but during that short time he made many friends owing to his fine character owing to his fine character and courage, and was quite prepare to sacrifice his life in defence of right and justice.. His C.O. wrote to his mother as follows: - "on the night of the 5th. word came from Headquarters for a patrol to go out and gain touch with the enemy with a view to ascertaining the positions he was holding and his approximate strength. Furthermore, the patrol was to obtain prisoners for identification. It fell to your son to lead the patrol, which consisted of himself and 14 men. All arrangements were made and every necessary precaution taken. I saw them off from the front line at midnight, and heard nothing more until one of the sergeants reported to my headquarters at 2 a.m. It seems that they were spotted by an enemy post, which fired on them. This gave away the position of the enemy, and Montgomery at once decided to outflank the post and capture it. It was at the beginning of this daring manoeuvre that he was killed at the head of his men. A burst of machine gun fire caught them from a flank, wounding several, and the attempt had to be abandoned. A lance-corporal, who was next to your son, says he fell shot through the heart, death being instantaneous. Every effort was made to recover the body, but it was impossible owing to the fire the enemy kept up. I am afraid that this account is a very poor tribute to the tenacity and leadership displayed by your son. Being his first patrol one might have expected him to depend on his N.C.O.'s and the old hands with him, but they said he made all the arrangements himself and led them with the utmost daring and courage. Friendships spring up quickly out here , and although your son had only been with us a short time his loss was felt by all in the battalion, and each one felt he had lost a true friend. His own platoon had soon learned to love him owing to the consideration he showed them and the cheery way he shared their discomforts and dangers. Your loss is shared by us all, and perhaps the sadness may be in a small degree lightened by the knowledge that he suffered no pain and met his death unknowingly."

The lieut.-colonel commanding the 1/5th Seaforth Highlanders has written to Mrs. Montgomery as follows: - "By this time you will have been officially notified of the sad news of the death of your son in action on the 5th September, 1918. It remains for me now to offer to you the sympathy of myself and the whole battalion. Your son played a most gallant part in a very strenuous task. He was killed leading his men in an attack in the dark, and was only 30 yards from his objective when he was killed by machine gun fire. One of his party of men who was beside him tried to pull him into a shell hole, but was unable to do so owing to the nearness of the enemy. The party also failed to get the body back to our lines, as they could not approach the spot on account of the heavy fire. One of the party, however, did reach him, and saw that he was dead, and removed his watch. Most gallantly, he led his men forward to the objective. He tried to save and did save the men from a cruel machine gun fire. Your son was respected and loved by the whole battalion, and we all deplore the loss of a good comrade , a gallant soldier, and a successful commander. For you , the loss of a son is the most cruel we all know, and all we can do is to offer you our sincere sympathy, and we all pray that you might be sustained in your sore bereavement. His brother officers and all ranks join with me in sending this expression of sincere condolence. I regret that the body could not be brought back, and I sent out the following night to bring it back into our lines. They reached the place, but the Germans must have taken it in as it was not there."

A memorial service for Lieut. Montgomery was held at Clifton of Saturday, 14th instant.
With thanks to Tony Woolrich for providing the copy extract of the entry in The Bridgwater Mercury.
Web page updated 4 November 2012. P Cattermole. All Content © Bridgwater Heritage Group, unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, do not reproduce material without permission.

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