Keith Leamont CARRUTHERS
Rank: Lance Sergeant
Number: 17848
Unit: 15th Battalion ROYAL SCOTS
Date of Death: 3 June 1916
Age: 22
Cemetery: Albert Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France

Keith was born in Droylsden, the third of four children and the only son of David and Lucy. By 1901, the family had moved to Stockport and was living at 32 Dialstone Lane. David Carruthers was a 38 year old railway clerk. Lucy, 34, was not working. The other three children were Winifred (11), Christine (9) and Edith (2).

Regimental records, published after the War, indicate Keith was living in Horbury, Wakefield  when he enlisted into the army at Manchester in October 1914. This was probably due to his work and much of his social life seems to have still been in the Stockport area. He was a regular worshipper at St Paul's Church. Not long before he enlisted he had taken part in the church's annual sports day, coming second in the race for the Champions' Silver Cup.

The 15th Battalion had been raised in Edinburgh but recruitment had been slow and recruiting sergeants travelled to Manchester where they found several hundred men wanting to join. There was, apparently, some later disappointment when they discovered the Royal Scots was not a kilted Regiment. The Battalion went overseas on active service in January 1916.

On 3 June, the Battalion was in front line trenches near the French town of Albert. It's War Diary records that, in the early morning, Lieutenant Selby took a patrol through the shell craters in No Man's Land and found a German outpost which appeared to be periodically occupied (probably by snipers). He brought back some rifle grenades and two hand grenades. The Royal Scots positions were regularly shelled throughout the day and about 100 yards of trench was blown in. They were also fired on by trench mortars and rifle grenades.

The Diary notes "At 6.50pm, we retaliated with 60 rounds from Stokes mortar, these fired from two guns in one minute. Good effect, slight retaliation. About 11.20, intense bombardment lasting 10 minutes, considerable damage to trenches."

Keith was one of two men to be killed during the day, presumably by shellfire. The other was Harold Barnes from Eccles.

His company commander later wrote to his parents (then thought to be living at 130 Carrington Road, Stockport) "It is very hard for you but you must feel a fierce unquenchable pride that you gave freely all you could for your country's sake and, of this honour, nobody can rob you......He was a man of worth, full of pluck. Always looking on the bright side of life and helping his men to do the same. He died immediately he was hit and suffered no pain"

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