TARBAT WAR MEMORIAL
HENRY RAYNER FORBES
SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS 5TH BATTALION
DATE OF DEATH 2ND NOVEMBER 1942
was born in Kent, his father George was a farm worker and moved about with the
work, so Henry was educated in Cromarty, Tarbat and Aberfeldy. Before the war
he worked with his father who was the cattleman at Bindal Farm. Like many before
the war he joined the Territorials and was a drummer and bugler in the 4TH Battalion Seaforth
Highlanders, and was mobilised when war broke out. He was under age to go with
51ST Highland Division to France, the Division that fought so bravely
to protect the Dunkirk evacuation before having to surrender low on
ammunition at St Valery-en-Caux.
Henry became part of the reformed 51ST Highland Division that sailed for North Africa, but this time with 5TH Seaforths, to take part in the war in the desert, arriving on the 14TH August 1942.
21 year old Henry died during the Battle of El Alamein in North Africa. The battle for Alamein started on October 23RD 1942, it was Field Marshall Montgomery's last chance to hold back the advancing German Afrika Korps who were at the gates of Alexandria.
The Seaforth Highlanders were held in reserve for a second attack, which took place on the night of the 1ST/2ND November. Their part of the attack was to advance over 2 miles on foot behind an artillery barrage, cross no-man's land, through German minefields and breach a hole in the Geman front line so Allied tanks could drive through and attack the Afrika Korps from the rear.
This attack was successful and the Afrika Korps were in retreat but the cost in dead and wounded to the Seaforths was high, 177 men in all were killed or wounded.
Henry was the son of George
and Isabella Turner Forbes of Bindal and later Nigg
'About Henry, as far as I know he is still missing, perhaps his people at home may have had word from him, that's to say if he got wounded and was picked up by the ambulance people. I do hope he is OK.' Part of letter from Edward Shearer to his sister Mary.
'The chance is very faint but he [Henry] may be a prisoner.' Part of letter from Douglas Gordon to his mother.
© Willie McRae - Tarbat Discovery Centre