Thursday, 23 June 2011

2/Lt William Basil Catto

William Basil Catto enlisted in to the 14th Battalion London Regiment (London Scottish) aged 21, shortly after the outbreak of war. He served as a private soldier (service no 3935), being commissioned into the Northumberland Fusiliers, 3rd November 1915 (London Gazette 15th November 1915).

He was posted to the 23rd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (4th Tyneside Scottish). His medal record card shows him as entering into France 22nd May 1916. On 11t1h June 1916, the 21st Battalion (2nd Tyneside Scottish) war diary records him as being temporally attached.

On 1st July 1916 the Tyneside Scottish were tasked with the capture of La Boiselle during the Somme Battle. The casualties sustained by the whole brigade were such that the Tyneside Scottish was withdrawn from the line to be reconstituted.  In August 1916, the Tyneside Scottish moved back into the line in the area of Armentieres.

On the 7th September 1916 the Tyneside Scots were relieved and moved into billets in the Rue Marle area. They were required to provide working parties to carry out repairs and construct dugouts. There were frequent patrols into No Mans Land to strengthen the wire. Portions of the line were in an appalling state, undefended positions having been blocked off with wire and obstacles. Orders were received that these positions were to be reopened and placed in a state of defence. Battalions were ordered to extend their lines to meet up with each other. This left a shortage of manpower, therefore the Battalion in support was called upon to supply carrying parties to deliver rations to those in the front line. It was on the night of 11/12 September, on one of those carrying parties that Second Lieutenant Catto to of the 23rd Battalion was shot through the heart, being buried in Erquinghem Churchyard the following day.

War Diary 22nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers

Lt Catto’s death was recorded in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle 15th September 1916

He is commemorated at Heaton Baptist Church, Newcastle upon Tyne and as an old boy of Rutherford College.

On the Rutherford College memorial he is recorded as  Catto WB London Scottish

Heaton Baptist Church