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Key dates over March 1915

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Lives lost on this day: 24

10th March 1915 - Battle of Neuve Chapelle. British and Indian troops undertake their first offensive in France with limited success.

Rolling casualty count: 711

1st Batt: Brigade Reserve with its HQ at Red Barn on the main Estaires – La Bassee Road. Lt. Conybeare was in ‘B’ line trenches and in command of a battery of Archibalds to cover the left flank of the 25th Brigade when it advanced on the trenches in front of ‘B’ lines. The day opened with big gun fire from about 450 guns, this bombardment lasted half an hour and was directed on and behind the German trenches in front of Neuve Chapelle. At the end of this period the guns lifted and three attacks were delivered by our troops, these being carried out by the 23rd Brigade through ‘C’ lines, the 25th Brigade through ‘B’ lines and the Indian Division on the right through ‘A’ lines. At 9am our battalion moved down the La Bassee Road in the following order: ‘B’, ‘A’, ‘C’, & ‘D’ companies. At Roux Croix a halt of two hours took place, at 11am the Brigade moved forward to take the place of the 25th Brigade behind ‘B’ lines. The battalion was closed up behind the breastworks on the Rue Tilleloy as reserve to the Brigade. At 2pm orders were given to reinforce and occupy Point 6 a strongly fortified post behind the German lines which had been seized by the 23rd Brigade. Major Winnington with ‘B’ and ‘C’ companies and the battalion bombers moved off in skirmishing order across the British and German trenches to this point. It was occupied by these three Companies about 3pm and immediately put into a state of defence, during the work ‘C’ Company went forward about 60 feet in front of the post to act as a covering party. German machine guns were brought up and the Company was forced to retire with heavy loss. About 4.30 pm orders were received to return to Rue Tilleloy and rejoin the remainder of the Battalion, Point 6 being again occupied by the 23rd Brigade. At 5.30 pm the 24th Brigade was ordered to advance on the right of the 23rd Brigade. By nightfall the positions were as follows: 23rd Brigade round Point 6 and to the left, 24th Brigade on the right of Point 6 and the Indian Division on the Right. The 24th Brigade had three Battalions in the front line these being the 2nd Northamptons, 1st Worcesters and the Sherwood Foresters, our battalion being in the centre, the East Lancs being in reserve. The whole line was very mixed;

2nd Batt: 4th Corps and Indian Corps attacked the German position opposite their front. 6th Infantry Brigade attacked at Givenchy. 2/Worcs Regt and 2/R. Inniskillens Fusrs co-operated with bursts of machine gun and rifle fire. A very violent bombardment by our Artillery commenced at 7:30 am. At 7:40am they paused for 10 minutes. At 7:50 am the bombardment recommenced. At 8:05 am the bombardment became intensive. At 8:10 am the infantry columns assaulted. The assault of the 4th Corps and Indian Corps was most successful, over 2000 Germans were killed and 1700 were taken prisoners. The 6th Brigade owing to a very powerful wire entanglement were held up and suffered very heavy losses from machine guns. At 7:30 am the French on our right exploded a mine and blew up a considerable portion of the German trenches in their front near the La Bassee – Bethune road, but beyond this apparently took no advantage of it. Fournes was set on fire by our aircraft. The German position in front of the 6th Brigade was again violently bombarded from 2:15 pm to 2:45 pm but no further attack was made in this quarter. We then received special orders to look out for a counter attack, as German reinforcements had arrived. Our trenches and the village of Cuinchy were more heavily shelled than usual but we suffered only a few casualties (1 Sgt and 4 men wounded: 1 man killed). The Battalion was relieved at short notice by the 2/H.L.I. at 11:30 pm and marched back to Bethune where we went into billets at the Orphanage arriving at 5 am;

3rd Batt: In billets at Locre ;

City Police Court: Pte. Harry Richard Greening (32) was charged with being drunk in the College Yard. P.C. Sparkes gave evidence. Prisoner pleaded guilty. An officer of the Battalion said that if not dealt with by the Court, the man would be dealt with by the military authorities. On this understanding the Bench dismissed the case; William Mills (40), a dairyman, of Brook End, Kempsey, was charged with working a horse in an unfit state in the College Yard. P.C.Tomlinson said that there was a recent wound, about two or three inches long, on the withers, where it was irritated by the collar. Prisoner said the wound was not apparent when he started out. There was a previous conviction, prisoner having been fined £2 and costs for a similar offence in January. He was fined a like amount on this occasion, the costs amounts to 3s. 6d;

Six-Legged Pig: Mr. H.E.Webb, of the Lower Grove Farm, Peopleton, has a young pig which is a veritable freak of nature. It was born on Sunday last, with six legs. It is rare that such an oddity long survives, but this one is running about the farmyard amongst its family, hale and hearty. The four normal legs are in every way perfect, and at the back part of the body the other two protrude, but in no way incommode the little pig’s locomotion. It is in no way shunned by its brethren, as it is sometimes the case with freaks.

Information researched by Sue Redding