Peter Burr was born in Aberdeen, the eldest son of Peter Burr and Annabella Robertson. They were married in Monymusk Aberdeenshire in 1893.His father employed him in the family general merchant business in Tongue before the war; he lived with his family at Dunvarrich House, Tongue. In the 1911 census the family were in Shapinsay Orkney.
He enlisted into the 11 (Service) Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Tongue, with Magnus Mackay Scullomie and William Mackay from Glasgow, in November 1914. He was sent to the Argylls training depot for his military training and then joined number 3 platoon, ‘A’ Company, 11 Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
The 11 Argylls were formed at Stirling Castle in August 1914 and the battalion was sent to Aldershot to join the 45 Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division. In November 1914 the battalion was stationed at Bramshott in Hampshire and then moved onto billets in Basingstoke in early 1915.
In April 1915 the 15 (Scottish) Division left Basingstoke for active duty in France, arriving in Boulogne on the 9 of July 1915. The first action that the division was involved in was the ill-fated attack on Loos, when the 15 (Scottish) Division managed to take Loos village in spite of heavy losses.
The battalion remained in the Loos sector on trench holding duties, under heavy shell and machine-gun fire. Battalion losses were steady during this time, the main casualties being caused by constant German artillery fire. (See Magnus Mackay from Scullomie, Tongue).
On the 28 of July 1916, the 11 Argylls became involved in the Battle of the Somme when the 45 Brigade arrived at the village of Prouville close to Albert. The Brigade consisting of the 13 Royal Scots, 7 Royal Scots Fusiliers and 6 Queens Own Cameron Highlanders were placed in reserve trenches.
On Tuesday, the 8 of August, the 15 (Scottish) Division was moved into the front lines at Contalmaison to relieve the 23 Division, south of Martinpuich. The trenches were on the Switch Line from Lancs Sap to Munster Alley, with the 1 Division on the right flank and the A.N.Z.A.C. Corp on the left.
The Argylls were then withdrawn to reserve trenches at Contalmaison, one mile behind the lines to rest and supply working parties. Whilst in reserve they received a draft of one hundred men to replace those lost in the previous actions; fifteen men killed, two missing and thirty-eight wounded.
On the 18 of August, the Argylls were preparing to take over the trenches, moving in on the 19 to relieve the 10 Scottish Rifles in preparation for the attack on Martinpuich. The battalion took over the front at 9am as the enemy shelled the line, causing the Argylls eight men killed and eighteen wounded before noon. The line was then consolidated, patrols were sent out to ‘peacefully penetrate’ toward the enemy trenches.
At 5pm on August 20, ‘D’ Company filed through the barricade at the end of Welsh Sap trench and into Sanderson Trench but met no enemy opposition. They took three Saxons prisoner, who informed the Highlander officers that the trench had been evacuated several days previously.
The Argylls then consolidated their new positions in Sanderson Trench, before a working party from ‘C’ Company was set off from Pioneer Sap to the Switch Line. The working party was to dig a trench up to the junction of the Switch Line and the Martinpuich to Bazentin Le Petit road to form a strong post.
Lieutenant Hutcheson was sent to check on the condition of the heavily damaged ground before any movement was made, but a sniper shot him. (See Murdo Mackay, Skerray).
The battalion then consolidated it’s new positions by building strong points on a road junction and along the front line, ‘C’ Company lost direction but did dig out Pioneer Alley. The Argylls remained in the front line until the 23 of August before being relieved by the 6/7 Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers.
Lance Corporal Peter Burr was killed in action at The Battle of the Somme on the 20 of August 1916, during The Battle of Pozieres, he was aged 20 years, he was one of 20 other ranks killed, 72 were wounded during his battalion's attack .
SCOTTISH NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL EDINBURGH CASTLEBurr Peter (b) Aberdeen. S/6537. L/Cpl. Killed in action. F&F. 20-08-16.11 Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSION Burr Lance Corporal Peter. S/6537. 11 Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. 20 August 1916. Age 20. Son of Peter Burr of Dunvarrich, Tongue, Sutherlandshire. Pier 15c and Pier 16c.
Lance Corporal Peter Burr S/6537, 11 Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders has no known grave and is remembered on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL SOMME FRANCE. The Thiepval Memorial is located on the Northern part of the Somme battlefield and remembers 73,357 men who went missing on the Somme between 1915 and 1918.
Thiepval Memorial France