IN MEMORy by Pierre Vandervelden

The visit of Commonwealth graves in Communals Cemeteries & Churchyards in Belgium & France

COULLEMONT Churchyard (Pas de Calais France)

Photo Courtesy Pieter van Elteren
Sjt Robert Hendrie MM & Bar
for his great nephew Tom Hendrie
Sergeant Robert Hendrie 1895 -1918
Robert and his brother Tom who survived the war.
This is what is known of the short life of Robert Hendrie.
Robert Hendrie was born in Ayr on 6 March 1895, the second oldest of four brothers and one sister. His younger brother Tommy was my Grandpa. We know that he and his brother Tommy enlisted before conscription. Tommyin the Royal Horse Artillery and Robert in the Royal Highland Fusiliersa photograph exists of them in uniform.
There is no record of Robert ever having married but he was only 19 when he joined up. Riccarton was at that time a Farming and Coal Mining area but there was growing industrial development. At the age of 15 Robert is listed as working as a Labourerin a Brass Foundry with his brother Tommy who was a Brass Finisher.
Robert’s father (also Thomas) was a “Journeyman Tailor” and I remember visiting him as a small child. He sat on the table like a proper old fashioned tailor.
Robert lived in Riccarton near AYR, when as a volunteer he first enlisted as No 7505 in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He later transferred to the newly formed Machine Gun Corps in 1916 and renumbered 22940. He served in the 100th MG Company, which later became part of the 33rd Battalion MGC.The unit, in which Robert served, 100th MG Company, and later one of the Companies of the 33rd Battalion MGC, is luckilyone of the most documented of all MGC units.
He is recorded as having died (not “killed in action” or “died of wounds”) on 9 September 1918;and buried with full military honours in the churchyard of Coullemont on the 10th September 1918 this would indicate his death was due to an accident or sickness. At the time the village of Coullemont was about 15 miles behind the front and a popular rest area mentioned warmly in many battalion diaries
I located the relevant war diary entries that explain why he was there.According to the diaries his battalion arrived in Coullemont during the 8th September perhaps after the second battle of Arras but there were not enough billets for the men, Sgt Robert was ordered to take some men to Humbercourt to find billets. It was during his return to Coullemont(presumably in the dark) that his death is recorded in the battalion diaries in a rather matter of fact entry.
“9/9/1918 COULLEMONT
Training under battalion orders. Weather wet, warm light winds.
Sgt Robert Hendrie MM (& bar) accidentally drowned while proceeding
to his billet, falling down an unprotected well at HUMBERCOURT 10.15 PM.
10/9/1918 COULLEMONT Training under battalion orders.
Sgt Robert Hendrie MM (&bar) was buried 2.30 pm at
COULLEMONT CHURCHYARD with full military honours.
Weather wet, cold light winds.”
He was awarded the Military Medal twice. First in 1916 whilst with 100th Companyand again in 1918 shortly before his death. The announcement of his first award appeared in the London Gazette dated 21 October 1916. The announcement of his bar appeared on 13 September 1918 four days after his death.
There was a book published just after World War 1. It is mostly written by, and illustrated by Colonel, Lt Col Graham Steten Hutchinson DSO MC.
"History and Memoir of the 33rd Battalion Machine Gun Corps" and of the 19th, 98th, 100th and 248th Machine Gun Company.
Lt Col Hutchinson, almost always mentions medal winners, and the book does mention Robert with regard to his Military Medals.
His first Military Medal was awarded in 1916 when at Delville Wood he took part in one of the first mass machine gun barrages of the war. In a 12 hour non stop barrage his gun and three others fired just short of one million rounds!
The second was in 1918 at the battle for Ridge Wood in which his gun supported the Cameron Highlanders in the attack.
All of Roberts surviving brothers Charles Hendrie, David Capperauld Hendrie and Thomas Hendrie married. His brother and sister emigrated to Australia after the war.
A photograph exists of a group of 100 Company Officers, Sergeants and Corporals, which includes Sgt Hendrie MM (Bar) taken in March 1917 at The CaserneSchramm Barracks in Arras.
The village of Coullemont has now named a new street as Rue du Sergent Hendrie.
Compiled by Tom Hendrie, Tom Hendrie's grandson and Robert's great nephew.

1 casualty

United Kingdom Serjeant Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) 33rd Bn. Age: 23 Date of Death: 09/09/1918 Service No: 22940

IF You have a casualty picture, please send me a copy, I'll be glad to show it on this page.

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Casualties informations come usualy from Commonwealth War Graves Commission, see links for more informations © Pierre Vandervelden - Belgium