The date is August 1914. The British Expeditionary Force is in France and You're in the Royal Field Artillery. You're riding alongside one of the battery's gun limbers on its way to the assigned position on the east side of Mons, Belgium. This begins your journey into the Hell they called World War One. To purchase this historical memoir go to https://createspace.com/3649268
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Grandfather's Journal March 1915 Part I
His entries in March are many and therefore I decided to start early and continue through March.
March 4th – 9th
Preparing for the big bombardment, Batteries were everywhere. Under almost every tree there was a gun, and our giant 15’ Howitzer was to make her debut, as well as quite a few of our new 9.2’ Hows.
We laid out double lines to our observing station, as well as lines to various parts of the trenches. [Supply] dumped a large amount of ammunition [so that] every preparation was made to give the Germans the biggest shock they had yet received at our hands.
The bombardment of NEUVE CHAPELLE commenced at 7:30 am. It was horrific to hear the tons of metal going through the air; in all we had 476 guns on about a four mile front. The 18 pounders were cutting the enemy’s wire embankment.
The heavy artillery were all concentrated on the enemy’s line of trenches and the fierce fire was kept up for ¾ hour.
We then lifted to the BOIS-DU-BEIZ to enable our infantry to attack. Our trenches were lined with Garhwals , Purchase, and several other regts of native troops. The Leicesters made the first charge, taking the German trenches in grand style but were held on the edge of an orchard outside NEUVE CHAPELLE. A regiment of Territorials came to their assistance. A terrific hand-to-hand fight ensued, especially at a spot we called, ‘ The Street of Hell’ . Eventually, after fighting that can hardly be described, we gained the village about midday. Many prisoners were captured. They were brought in batches and they all seemed terrified and glad to be captured.
The natives advanced on the right and captured the trenches in front, but were held up by machine guns in a redoubt by the left edge of the BOIS-DU-BIEZ.
The Gurkhas did grand work, especially with their wicked little knives, which accounting for many German heads. As the Germans ran from the trenches, the little Gurkhas were after them, and many of the little chaps clambered on the backs of the big Germans [with] the knack [of] Sweeney Todd for throat cutting.
The Seaforths were brought to assist the natives at this point, and in a splendid charge, (which according to our officers and many old campaigners who were observing with us), was the finest sight they had ever witnessed. They went into the murderous fire as if they were going on a picnic. In spite of the enormous losses they incurred, the[y] captured the redoubt and its contents of Germans and machine guns.
All his journal entries are in my book "World War 1 - An Unkept Promise" on Kendle