2nd Lieutenant Ralph Edward May

Biography of 2nd Lieutenant Ralph Edward May

Ralph Edward May was born in Glasgow on the 6th December 1886, to Alfred Heath May, an Average Adjustor, and Frances May. The family lived at 15 Athole Gardens, Hillhead, Glasgow. He studied Law at the University of Glasgow starting in 1905, taking classes in Logic, Civil Law, Scots Law, Conveyencing, and Forensic Medicine. Ralph graduated. BL in 1909

Ralph embarked for service in the Mediterranean in early May 1915, serving as 2nd Lieutenant in No. 7 Platoon, B Company of the 5th Bn. Highland Light Infantry.

May served in the 5th HLI with a number of other University of Glasgow graduates, including fellow officers Second Lieutenant Allan Macfarlane Turner, Lieutenant George A Sillars, Captain James Gordon Milne, Major Andrew Marshall Downie, and battalion Commanding Officer Colonel Frederick Lansdowne Morrison.

The officers of the 5th HLI published an account of the battalion's service in the Mediterranean. They relate May's death as follows:

Sec.-Lieut. R.E. May was despatched on this duty [relieving the 7th HLI of a group of prisoners] with the twenty-five men left at Headquarters by "B" Company. We never saw him again. With the two or three leading men he got separated from the remainder of his party in the confusion which prevailed after nightfall in the maze of trenches in front. In his search for them he came upon a small trench held by a mixed party of units of the 155th Brigade. A strong counter-attack was developed against this trench. With the few men he had he took an active part in driving back the enemy but was killed as the attack was finally repelled, and buried where he fell.

2nd Lieutenant Ralph Edward May was killed in action on the 12th July 1915, aged 28, and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial along with the names of more than 21,000 casualties of the Gallipoli Campaign.


2nd Lieutenant Ralph Edward May
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Regiment: 5th Bn. Highland Light Infantry
Degree: BL
Awards: N/A
Comments: Killed in action, 12 July 1915
Note/Press Clipping: N/A
Photo ID: Ch 4/4/2/2/183


Battalion History: 1921, The Fifth Battalion Highland Light Infantry in the War, 1914-1918, Glasgow: MacLehose, Jackson and Co.

Burial reference: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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