John Durward

John Durward

1st/7th Battalion Gordon Highlanders

Sergt. J. Durwood – Gordon Hrs

John Durward was a Lance Serjeant in the 1st/7th Bn. Gordon Highlanders (No.290611). He was the son of Samuel Durward, farmer at Milton of Ennets, and his wife Ann, born on 28 March 1892. Samuel was a native of Kincardine O’Neil and Ann came from Kineff. Their children were all born in the parish – first Samuel in about 1882, who in due course carried on the farm, then Mary two years after.

Durward enlisted at Banchory, joining the 7th (Deeside) Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders. In the absence of his service record, nothing is known about the circumstances of his death, other than that he died of wounds aged 25 on 28 April 1917. He is very likely also to have been a casualty of the diversionary Arras offensive. The 7th Gordons, as part (at that time) of the 153rd Brigade and 51st (Highland) Division were in the forefront of an attack on the German line which commenced on 23 April 2017 and developed (according to Major F. W. Bewsher, historian of the 51st Division) into “perhaps the most savage infantry battle that the Division took part in”, as the advance was met with heavy machine-gun fire and a ferocious artillery barrage. He is buried at Étaples Military Cemetery.