2nd Lieutenant Graeme Gordon Lang

Biography of 2nd Lieutenant Graeme Gordon Lang

Graeme Gordon Lang was born on the 18th March 1897 at Moorend Cottage, Giffnock, Renfrewshire. His father James Lang was a Road Surveyor, his mother Jean Lang (nee McKinlay), who had married on the 14th September 1891 at Piasley, Renfrewshire, and the family made their home at Grougar Bank in Kilmarnock, where Graeme went to school. He is remembered at Kilmarnock Academy as a genial, good-looking boy, a free spirit who did not always excel in everyday lessons but could rise to the occasion. He was just seventeen when he matriculated at the University of Glasgow in 1914 and began his studies in Medicine with classes in Chemistry and Zoology.

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The pressure on young men to join up was just a strong for medical students as for all others, and it was only later in the war that the government began to weigh the need for military manpower against the need for qualified doctors. Graeme joined the Officer Training Corps in November 1914 and was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the 7th Bn. King’s Own Scottish Borderers in June 1915. He left his studies behind and went to war. Before he was posted to France he would still occasionally visit his old school where he was described as a handsome young officer, ‘carefree’ and ‘boyish’.

There was a snowstorm on the 11th April 1917 when the Allies began their advance on the village of Monchy-le-Preux, a key German-held position at the north end of the Hindenburg line which commanded a view over the Scarpe Valley and the British trenches in front of Arras. Two days earlier the Allies had begun one of the major offensives of the war with significant initial success in breaking through the enemy line at Arras and driving into enemy territory. Monchy-le-Preux was a hard fight, its story full of heroism, and eventually the village was taken. Casualties were high, however, and among them was a twenty year old medical student from Kilmarnock.

2nd Lieutenant Graeme Gordon Lang was killed at Monchy-le-Preux, near Arras, on the 11th April 1917. He is commemorated on the panels of the Arras Memorial, one of the 35,000 with no known grave. At his old school he is remembered on the Kilmarnock Academy Roll of Honour.

Summary

2nd Lieutenant Graeme Gordon Lang
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Regiment: 7th Bn. Kings Own Scottish Borderers
Degree: Student
Awards: N/A
Comments: Killed in action, 11 April 1917.
Note/Press Clipping: N/A
Photo ID: N/A

Sources

University of Glasgow Registry records (GUAS Ref: R8/5/35/4).

Kilmarnock Academy.

Memorial Place: Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Find War Dead

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