Thursday, 4 December 2014

On Parade

Sir Thompson Capper

Friday 4th December 1914: The 2nd Battalion has been inspected by the General Officer Commanding 7th Division – Major-General Thompson Capper at Fleurbaix. The general had organised the parade in order to congratulate the battalion on its conduct during the fierce battles around Ypres in October and November.

The general took the opportunity to express his satisfaction and pleasure with the battalion’s turnout and appearance and said how pleased he was to see it returned to full strength. Since landing in France the battalion has suffered many casualties – 105 of them killed in action and 31 who have died of wounds as well as several hundred wounded.

General Capper admitted that at Ypres the battalion had been put to a very severe test – holding the line against three times their own number of enemy soldiers at times. He went on to express his admiration for their steadiness and courage, particularly that of the other ranks in view of the high percentage of casualties to officers leaving them, at times, leaderless. The general concluded by stating that Ypres had not been a victory as the enemy had not yet been pushed out of Belgium, most of which is now in their clutches but he had every confidence that that victory will come and that the 2nd Battalion will do further credit to the name of the regiment and of the British Army.

Meanwhile the 1st Battalion decided to have some fun this morning in their front line trenches north-west of Wulvergem. They dug a sap last night. A sap is a trench dug at right angles to the front line and thus extending out into no man’s land. At dawn some men at the furthest end of this sap fired on a party of Germans bringing up rations to their garrison in the front line trench. A number of hits were confirmed. Sadly our own men suffered six casualties themselves from return fire, all wounded.

Sources:X550/2/5;  X550/3/wd

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