Sergeant George Cockburn

Sergeant George Alexander Cockburn, 1st/4th ( Border) Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers. He was killed in action at Gallipoli, aged 21, on the 12th July 1915 during the “Charge” on the Turkish trenches at Achi Baba Nullah. He had been born in Galashiels and was the son of Alexander and Jane Cockburn of 34 Croft Street, Galashiels. He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Helles, Gallipoli, Turkey. He was employed as a joiner when he re-enlisted in the Territorial K.O.S.B. in May 1914 having already spent 4 years with the Battalion. He was mobilised with the Battalion and was promoted Sergeant in May 1915 one month before the Battalion were sent to Gallipoli as part of the 52nd (Lowland) Division. 12th July became known as the “Black Day of the Borders” as out of over 700 Officers and Other Ranks who began the attack only 70 unwounded men answered evening roll call. Both Colonel McNeile from Bowden and his adjutant Captain Lang from Newstead were posted missing presumed killed. Few Border towns and villages had not lost at least one of their sons that fateful day. ( an excellent account of that day and the aftermath can be found in Gavin Richardson’s book ” For King and Country and the Scottish Borderers” ). The first photo shows Achi Baba the objective of the attack. This “hill” dominated the battlefield and was never captured. The second shows the Borderers “going over the top” at Gallipoli and the third shows the battlefield in 1922.

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