Private Neil McCracken

2979103 Private Neil McCracken, 2nd Battalion, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise’s).

Contrary to the inscription on his grave marker, Private McCracken was declared missing after an action by the battalion as it advanced south-east along the Sham Algad from a temporary camp at Ghariom on 27 May 1937. Initial reports recorded three men killed in action, three men missing believed killed and seven men wounded. One soldier from 2/5th Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) was killed in the action, and nine Gurkhas and four Indian soldiers were wounded. The reason for McCrackan’s burial at Manzai Fort, almost 60 miles from where he was killed, is unknown but likely linked to the later recovery of his remains.

Private McCracken was awarded the India General Service Medal 1908 with clasp ‘NORTH WEST FRONTIER 1935’ and the India General Service Medal 1936 with clasp ‘NORTH WEST FRONTIER 1937-37’. His medals were sent to his father several years later. He is commemorated on a brass memorial plaque to the soldiers of the battalion who were killed in action or died of wounds in Waziristan 1937; originally in the garrison church in Gharial, it was brought to Scotland in 1954 and re-dedicated in the Church of the Holy Rude on 22 May 1955. The deconsecrated Gharial Garrison Church in the Murree Hills was taken over by Murree Christian School and is now used as a gymnasium.

The other casualties were: Killed in action: 2976753 Private W. Best, 2979252 Private J. Shepherd, and 2977875 Private R. Simpson. Missing believed killed in action: 2979184 Private D. Davidson and 2979738 Private J. Moore (see below).

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