GWL 13th March 1915

…….We had our “makee pray” this morning; there were only four of us – all in the regiment. The pipe has not come yet nor the book, but I think there is a mail due in and I will write and thank dad for the pipe.  The telescopic periscope he sent me is a great success.  The beauty of it is that Fritz could not spot it at over 20 yards and if he did he could not hit it.  It is a jolly good little glass too…….. I think you will hear good news from just below us soon, if you have not heard already.  Apparently it is a big thing. Poor old Peter.  It is too bad keeping him hanging about.  All the same, I am very glad for Mother’s sake that he is not going just yet…… We have rather a piggy billet this trip, only one small room in which to sleep & eat.  The kitchen is rendered uninhabitable by an old man, who spits all day and bout 5 women, who do nothing but jabber.  Distinctly irritating – Must close now.”

The “big thing” referred to was the Battle of Neuve Chapelle which took place over three days 10-12th March.  It was the first major British offensive action of 1915 and was preceded by the largest artillery barrage of the War to date and wasn’t exceeded until 1917.  Although there were initial gains and the German lines were penetrated in places, the attack ground to a halt and was consolidated.  According to Sir John French’s 7th Despatch: “The losses during these three days’ fighting were, I regret to say, very severe, numbering- 190 officers and 2,337 other ranks, killed.
359 officers and 8,174 other ranks, wounded.
23 officers and 1,728 other ranks, missing”

{next post 16th March}

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