Edward Wise Buchan

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland, United Kingdom

General information


Army information

Scotland, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment place:
Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, United Kingdom
 —  Seaforth Highlanders, 1/5th Bn. (The Sutherland and Caithness)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Pheasant Trench, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Poelcapelle British Cemetery
Plot: Sp.
Row: Mem.
Grave: 2

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

Private Edward Wise Buchan served in the Seaforth Highlanders 1st/5th Battalion, part of the 152nd Brigade, of the 51st (Highland) Division.
The Battalion relieved the 6th Seaforth Highlanders in the frontline South of Langemark on the 2nd of September 1917. In the early hours of the 6th of September, “D” Company of the Seaforth Highlanders 1st/5th Battalion carried out a raid on Pheasant Trench, a German trench system between the Langemark-Poelkapelle road and the Poelkapelle-Sint Juliaan road.
The raiding party consisted of three officers and 100 men. All men were in position by 1 a.m. and waited for the sign to attack. At zero hour, 7.30 a.m. a ragged barrage opened and the raiders moved forward in three groups. When the men advanced, Germans were seen leaving their advanced positions, making their way to a group of bunkers 20 to 30 yards in rear of the trench. The barrage proved to be to inaccurate and the artillery left these concrete positions, which covered the trench, unscathed.
The first group, on the right, advanced in the direction of blockhouse “A” and came within 80 yards of Pheasant Trench, when the barrage lifted. With the barrage gone, the Germans mounted a machine gun on a concrete wall and started showering the first group with bullets. Due to the unforgiving machine gun fire, the group had to advance in short rushes. But they were soon held up by the relentless bombs, rifle- and machine gun fire of the determined defenders. While they tried working their way round the first bunker, their commanding officer was shot through the head. As casualties kept stacking up the sergeant decided to retreat. The withdrawal was very hard, as the Germans kept on firing on the retreating men. When they reached a point about 100 yards from the Pheasant Trench the remaining men were forced to seek cover in shell holes until nightfall.
The second group moved forward in the direction of “C”, “D” and “E” blockhouses. They encountered a similar experience as the first group. The Germans also retired to the bunkers behind the trench and a firefight broke out between attackers and defenders. When the second group came close to the German positions they were welcomed with hand grenades, which checked their attack.
The third group on the left, advanced within 70 yards of Pheasant Trench, where they were held up by barbed wire about 50 yards wide and 15 yards deep. The barrage had failed to destroy this obstacle and the party wasn’t able to continue their attack. They were soon fired upon from the direction of Pheasant Farm and by two machine guns, which held the trench. The Germans then left the safety of their bunkers and started manning the trench, shooting their rifles at the attackers and throwing grenades.
The attack itself was unsuccessful. All parties were forced to retreat. None of the objectives had been achieved, but the raiders did manage to gather some information about the layout of the German positions. But the information had been costly. Casualties were heavy. One officer was killed and two were wounded. Nineteen men were killed during the attack, eighteen men were wounded and nine men went missing, they were believed to be wounded or killed.
It’s highly likely private Edward Wise Buchan served in “D” Company of the Seaforth Highlanders 1st/5th Battalion. He was probably killed during the raid on Pheasant Trench on the 6th of September 1917. He is believed to be buried at Poelcapelle British Cemetery.

Sources 5

"The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 67.
Sources used
Further reference
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
Sources used
War Diary Seaforth Highlanders 5th Bn.
Further reference