Thursday, 18 December 2014

To Attack or Not to Attack?

Friday 18th December 1914: the 2nd Battalion have been in billets at Pont de Nieppe near Fleurbaix since 13th of this month, acting as III Corps Reserve after a spell in the front line. Yesterday they were told to be in readiness to support an attack by 10th Infantry Brigade of 4th Division (1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders, 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers and 2nd Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers) but this did not, in the event, take place.

This morning the battalion has marched back to Fleurbaix, further behind the lines, hoping for a rest after the nervous strain of waiting to make an attack yesterday. However, we hear that they have now been told they will proceed to the front line trenches at dusk in preparation to support an attack by 2nd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment. C Company will be particularly busy as they have been given the task of taking an advanced German trench on the right of the Yorkshires’ attack. We are awaiting news of how events play out and praying that casualties will be light.

The commanding officer of 1st Battalion reports that Wijschate is still under attack from British troops. The village lies on a low ridge which, in this flat country, gives some vantage point to overlook the enemy lines. A heavy bombardment has been kept up all day and at intervals the two companies of the 1st Battalion in the front line have been ordered to give rifle fire in support. It is expected that the two companies in the rear will be brought up as reinforcements this evening. The battalion has been shelled on and off by the Germans all day.

Source:X550/2/5;  X550/3/wd

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