1. Memorial:Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, FlandersPanel 54
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.115
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour37B GQS

Awards & Titles:


Family :

So of Henry & Elizabeth Aitchison of 117 St James Road Wandsworth Common London

Education & Career :

Recorded as a Bank Cashier in 1910

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: 14th Battalion London Regiment (London Scottish) 

1/14th (County of London) Battalion (London Scottish) August 1914 : at 59 Buckingham Gate. Part of 4th London Brigade, 2nd London Division. Moved on mobilisation to Abbotts Langley. 16 September 1914 : left the Division and landed at Le Havre. Was engaged at Messines on 31 October 1914 under command of Cavalry Corps. 7 November 1914 : came under command of 1st Brigade in 1st Division. 8 February 1916 : transferred to 168th Brigade in 56th (London) Division.

Action : The Battles of Ypres 1914 (First Ypres) 

19 October - 22 November 1914. Following the failure of the German Schlieffen Plan in August and September 1914, both sides engaged in a series of linked battles as they sought to outflank each other. The climax of these manouvres was at Ypres in November 1914 when the might of the German Army attempted to break the much outnumbered British Expeditionary Force. The political importance of Ypres, being the last town of any size in Belgium that remained in allied hands, established its importance for both sides and ensured a series of battles over four years.

The First Battle of Ypres in 1914 is characterised by a series of linked heroic stands by outnumbered British soldiers in conditions of confusion and weary endurance. The Germans never knew how close they had come to winning - at one point just the clerks and cooks were the last line of defence for the BEF. By the end of the battle the magnificent original BEF, composed of professional regular soldiers, had been all but destroyed and already the Territorial battalions were called into battle. From the end of 1914 a 'Regular' battalion was in terms of its compostion little different to a Teritorial or later Service Battalion. The professional soldiers had all but vanished.

Detail :

AITCHISON, Henry R, Company Sergeant Major, 1/14 London Regiment (London Scottish). 1/14 London Scottish were the first Territorial unit in action on 31st October 1914 at Messines, South of Ypres. On 31st October the battalion took casualties as it advanced up the west side of the ridge and were spotted by German artillery. Despite this they engaged with the enemy to the North of Messines. Losses for the day were 321. 1/14 London Scottish faced odds of 5:1 in defence of Messines. They were in a series of rifle pits along the ridge and in the early hours of 1st November the 9 Battalions of the 6th Bavarian Reserve Division infiltrated the defence line and systematically attacked the London Scottish from the flanks and rear. By daybreak the position was untenable and the remaining men withdrew to Spanbroekmolen and reformed. Meanwhile Wytschaete to the North had fallen. The London Scottish were equipped with Mark 1 Lee Metford rifles whose defective magazines proved useless for rapid fire. The regimental history points out the Battalion had been re-equipped with new rifles shortly before leaving UK. No opportunity to fire them had been given: they were (apparently), Mark I converted to take Mk VII ammunition. It was discovered that the magazine had too weak a spring, and its front stop clips were of the wrong shape for the Mk VII bullet. This caused refusal of the cartridge to enter the chamber of the barrel, for either the point of the bullet came too low and hit the lower part of the breech entrance and jammed there, or it jumped and hit the top of the breech entrance, sometimes breaking off the point of the bullet.....The magazines were useless and the rifles had to be used as single-loaders. All Territorials had been issued with these second rate rifles. The battalion was moved to Wulverghem Ridge to cover the withdrawal from Messines about 09.00hrs on 1st November. Company Sergeant Major AITCHISON was killed during the day's fighting. On the same day (1/11/1914) three other brethren in the 1/14 London Regiment (London Scottish) were killed alongside each other; Brothers CAREY, KITCHER and MCDOUGALL. Two of them were members of the LONDON SCOTTISH RIFLES LODGE No.2310 The Actor Ronald Coleman was wounded in the action. The 1921 Masonic Roll of Honour lists Henry Aitchison as a Colour Sergeant.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : London Scottish Rifles' No. 2310 E.C.London

28th April 1910
17th November 1910
19th January 1911

Source :

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Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2016-08-12 09:21:29