Eyewitness Accounts of Key Battles of The First World War

Blogger: GemSen Almost 100 years after they were written, some interesting personal memoirs of a Black Watch hero during World War One have been recently revealed.
The diaries belong to Lieutenant Colonel John Stewart, of the 9th Battalion, provide an eyewitness account of key WWI battles including attacks on enemy lines from France to North Africa, reported the Daily Record. Lt Col Stewart was commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion in 1916 and was in command during the battle of Samarra in Iraq in 1917, where the Baghdad Bell (on display in the Black Watch museum) was captured. Describing the British attack on enemy trenches in Tabsor, Mesopotamia, on September 19, 1918, the soldier wrote: “At zero hour, the artillery bombardment commenced. “To us who had been waiting anxiously for some minutes, it seemed as if some button had been pressed which discharged every gun on the 15 mile front. “The change from silence to pandemonium was startling. “They seemed dazed with the volume of our fire and too much alarmed by the width of the attack to know what to do ...and it was thus, with consummate ease, that the Highlanders reached, and dealt with, their various objectives.” Lt Col Stewart added: “During the mopping-up process, a complete Turkish battery was discovered, the whole of the personnel having been destroyed by a single shell - horses lying harnessed up, and men at their guns, all dead.” Black Watch Scotland's Black Watch is an elite military regiment whose history stretches back almost three centuries.During World War I, the 25 battalions of the Black Watch fought mainly in France and Flanders, except for the 2nd Battalion which fought in Mesopotamia and Palestine, and the 10th Battalion, which was in the Balkans. Only the 1st and 2nd battalions were regulars. The rest were either part of the Territorial Force or the New Army. The Black Watch served with the British 51st (Highland) Division (World War I). When experts at the Black Watch regimental museum in Perth unsealed the records, they discovered bundles of letters and diaries from WW1. “It is one of the biggest collections we have from an individual,” Museum archivist, Richard McKenzie told the Daily Record. “It is a fantastic collection because it covers almost the entire span of the war. “Lt Col Stewart is writing his letters but he is also recording his personal views of various battles fought by the battalions. “So we have an individual’s eyewitness account of several key battles, especially in Mesopotamia in 1917 and 1918,” he added. Apparently, Lt Col Stewart ordered that his account not be revealed until 2014. Richard said Lt Col Stewart’s insistence that his war documents be sealed until 2014 was most likely due to his desire to protect the personal lives of himself and his family. The hero died of old age in Colchester, Essex, in February 1931. Members of the public can see the diaries at the Black Watch Museum, which reopens at Balhousie Castle, in Perth, next week. See The Black Watch Museum website. Source: The Daily Record & Wiki Find out more with Forces War Records… Do you know enough about your ancestors who fought in the First World War? Why not log on to Forces War Records and find out more  - there could be a war hero in your family just waiting to be discovered, and remembered… Delve into our ‘historic documents’ library and read some of the interesting War diaries that we get sent – there’s nothing quite like reading a personal account of war, as history unfolds itself through the eyes of somebody who was actually there. Discover interesting facts about your ancestors, become more knowledgeable about history, and reveal some of the fantastic characters involved in war…What are you waiting for?
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