GUNNER THOMAS MCKIE
ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
2ND JUNE 1918 AGE 36
BURIED: CROUY BRITISH CEMETERY, CROUY-SUR-SOMME, FRANCE
Gunner McKie's wife, Kate, signed for his inscription, asking particularly that the War Graves Commission note the inverted commas, stops and exclamation mark. This suggests that she was quoting from something, most probably a letter of condolence, and wanted it reproduced exactly. It's a lovely tribute.
McKie was the manager of his parents' grocery store, which his mother had been running on her own since the death of her husband in 1897. He served with the 153rd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. The battery had been in France since August 1916. The siege batteries fired the heavy guns, aimed at the enemy's strongpoints: dumps, stores, railways and artillery ... and they were in turn the object of the enemy's fire.
On 27 May 1918 the German's launched an attack with an artillery bombardment of 4,500 guns and seventeen infantry divisions along a nine mile front on the opening day of the Third Battle of Battle of the Aisne. Thomas McKie died of wounds six days later.