Morton Mee Thomson

Informations sur naissance

Année de naissance:
Lieu de naissance:
Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Informations générales


Informations service militaire

New Zealand
Force armée:
New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Lance Corporal
Numéro de service:
Incorporation nom de lieu:
Trentham, Wellington, New Zealand
 —  Otago Regiment, 1st Bn.  (Dernière unité connue)

Informations sur décès

Date de décès:
Lieu de décès:
Polderhoek, Belgique
Cause du décès:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)

Distinctions et médailles 2

British War Medal
Victory Medal

Points d'intérêt 3

#1 Lieu de naissance
#2 Lieu d'enrôlement
#3 Lieu du décès (approximatif)

Mon histoire

Lance Corporal Morton Mee Thomson served in the Otago Regiment 1st Battalion, part of the 1st New Zealand Brigade, of the New Zealand Division.
On November the 25th the 1st Battalion of the Otago Regiment marched to bivouacs south-east of Ypres. The Battalion was to participate in an attack on the German strongpoint at Polderhoek Chateau about 1000 yards North of the town of Gheluvelt, which was held by the Germans. The German positions at Polderhoek Chateau overlooked the allied lines at Polygon Wood and those in the Reutelbeek valley. The Germans directed their artillery from this high ground.
The assault was to be delivered from the West of Polderhoek Chateau on December 3rd by the 1st Otago Battalion on the left and the 1st Canterbury Battalion on the right. The Brigade boundaries of the attack were defined by the Reutelbeek on the North and the Scheriabeek on the South.
The first objective, the Red dotted Line, was a line immediately east of the Chateau ruins. The final objective, the Red Line, encircled the whole Chateau grounds. Each Battalion attacked with two Companies in the first wave followed by another two Companies in the second. The two Companies in the second wave were in support and were to fend off possible counter-attacks. The first wave was to capture and clear the German trenches and pill-boxes till they reached the Red Dotted Line. When they had consolidated the Red Dotted Line, the second wave was to pass through and had to capture the rest of the Chateau grounds.
In addition to an artillery barrage, the attack was to be supported by a machinegun barrage and medium and light mortars. The German positions in the neighbouring towns of Beselare en Geluveld were to be kept under fire from heavy artillery and machineguns. The 2nd Otago and Canterbury Battalions were to be in reserve.
At noon on December 3rd the attack commenced. The artillery barrage was to fall 150 yards in advance of the assaulting troops, but the barrage fell to short and the two leading Companies were shelled by their own artillery. The Battalion suffered heavy losses, even before the attack had begun. The two leading Companies chose to advance, to escape the barrage. However, without cover of their barrage the Companies were an easy target for the German machine gunners. Losses were severe and only increased when the German artillery put down a barrage on the assaulting New Zealanders. Reinforcements were sent forward to fill the gaps and to continue the assault. But the reinforcements came under the same heavy fire as they moved up and they also suffered heavy casualties.
Notwithstanding the relentless German crossfire, some men of the 10th Company on the right reached the Chateau, but they were soon forced to withdraw for a short distance, and there hung on until blown out by artillery fire. Some men of the 4th Company on the left also reached positions in front of the Chateau, but they were pinned down by rifle- and machinegun fire coming from the Chateau ruins, fortified shell holes and a trench at the left rear of the Chateau.
The men of the small party on the left were organised in shell holes and prepared for a German counter-attack. German attempts to cross the Reutelbeek morass and to take out this small forward post were dispersed by a Lewis gun. The situation became dire at dusk. Almost all the ammunition was depleted. Two more German attacks at night could only be fend off by hand grenades. Furthermore the German defenders received reinforcements during the evening from their positions at Beselaere.
Brigade Headquarters, advised by their officers in the field, eventually decided to abandon the offensive and the men withdrew to consolidate a line approximately 200 to 250 yards in advance of their original line.
The men in the frontline were relieved in the night of the 4th and the 5th of December 1917. Lance Corporal Morton Mee Thomson of the 1st Otago Battalion was killed in action on the 3rd of December 1917 during the attack on Polderhoek Chateau. His body or his grave was never recovered and he is remembered on the New Zealand Memorial at Buttes New British Cemetery in Polygon Wood.

Sources 1

Byrne M.C.,, Official History of The Otago Regiment N.Z.E.F. in the Great War 1914-1918, (Uckfield, Naval & Military Press, 2003), pg. 232-238.
Sources utilisées

Complément d’informations 5