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Remembered Today:

18th December 1914


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Quote from "The Story of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Formerly the Sixth Foot) by Charles Lethbridge Kingsford 1674 to 1920":-

On December 18, when they were serving in the trenches, they had orders to capture the German position at Bois Grenier before Le Maisnil. Immediately the attack began the enemy opened fire with rifles and machine-guns. Still the battalion advanced with great steadiness, and some men got within a few yards of the enemy's trenches. But the casualties were so heavy that the attack failed in its objective, and what remained of the battalion was forced to return to its own lines. For the second time it had lost its commanding officer. Lieut.-Colonel Brewis and eight other officers were killed, whilst two were wounded and one missing. The total casualties of other ranks were nearly 300. General Capper in a Divisional Order congratulated the battalion on their "gallant effort, which though unsuccessful had been of great use and service to the general plans of the Allied Army."

After this battle, only one combatant officer remained, 2/Lt. R.F. Richardson, who was mortally wounded whilst leading his company in the first assault at Loos on 24 September 1915.

Does Bois Grenier qualify as a battle?

Regards

Richard.

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Annette Burgoyne

Hi Richard

I not sure that "The Story of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Formerly the Sixth Foot) by Charles Lethbridge Kingsford is correct.

I do not think either the 1st or 2nd Warks were near Bois Grenier or Le Maisnil on 18th Dec. 1914, the 6th Division covered Bois Grenier and the 19th Brigade covered Le Maisnil from the 21st Oct., before that I think this village lay in a gap between the II. & III. Corps'. But I have not researched the Warwickshire Regiment, and I am just going by the Official History.

The 1st Warks were in the 10th Brigade, 4th Division, which during October 1914 were on the left of the 6th Division from about Epinette about 4 miles away from Le Maisnil.

The 2nd Warks were part of 22nd Brigade, 7th Division, which were about 2 miles east of Polygone Wood east of Ypres on the 18th Oct.

Richard I did not send you a map that covered south of Ypres, as I throught your interest was in 7th Division's area east of Ypres, I can email you this map if you wish. Plus I will hopefully send you info. on 2nd Warks contained in the Official History and 1st Warks. as well over Christmas.

Annette

MY ABOVE POST IS INCORRECT GOT DATES MIXED UP. VERY SORRY

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Hi Annette

All contributions gratefully received regarding the Royal Warwickshire Regiment for the period 1914-1915 and many thanks indeed for your contributions so far. For the present I am concentrating on the 2nd Battalion in which my Grandfather served (discharged 4 October 1915). I would like the Official Histories for 1914-1915 but cannot afford them presently (the library has not got them either). However, I have just received my 1st Christmas present: THE SEVENTH DIVISION 1914-1918 By C.T.Atkinson (Naval & Military Press), which says it uses the Official History and states:

"Of the battle-casualties of the month two-thirds occurred in a not very happily conceived enterprise undertaken on the night of December 18th/19th by orders from G.H.Q. ………….. The points finally selected for the Seventh Division's attacks were near La Boutillerie and Rouges Bancs. At the first the Warwickshire, supported by the Queen's, were to attack at 4.30 p.m. on December 18th; their attack being preceded by a quarter of an hour's artillery bombardment - all the ammunition supply would permit [ 4.5-inch howitzers were limited to 20 rounds per gun, 4.7-inch guns and 18-pounders to 40 rounds, only the 13-pounders having an unrestricted supply.] ………….. The 22nd Brigade was attacking just West of the pronounced salient in its lines at Well Farm near La Boutillerie. The Warwickshires were to form up in these lines on a front of 200 yards and to advance on the close of the bombardment, the Queen's and South Staffords, who held the trenches to right and left, opening covering fire as they went forward. …………. All that was known was that the Warwickshires had gone forward most resolutely in face of a very heavy fire from guns, rifles, and machine-guns and had been lost to sight in the dark. About 5 o'clock, however, a N.C.O. came back and reported that the battalion was held up just short of the German trenches, had lost heavily, and needed reinforcements, whereupon "C" Company of the Queen's and two platoons of "D" promptly went forward to their help. The bombardment had inflicted little damage on the German wire and had not prevented the Germans from manning their parapet in force and opening a heavy fire directly our troops got so near that our guns could not fire for fear of hitting their own men. Major Brewis was killed at the head of his Warwickshires within a few yards of the German wire, and several other officers were shot down close to him or in trying to work their way through the wire. One small party established itself in a small trench just outside the German parapet and held on there all night, only to have to surrender when the morning light revealed the hopelessness of their position. But the bulk of the attackers were either shot down on their way across No Man's Land or brought to a standstill outside the wire. The Queen's, though gallantly led by Captains Lee and Fearon, who continued to go forward although wounded, could do no more than reach the wire and reinforce the Warwickshires. Realizing that the attack had failed, the C.O. of the Queen's, Major Montague Bates of the East Surreys, decided not to use the Welch Fusiliers, of whom one company had just reached the front trench, to renew it, but issued orders for the survivors to get back as best they could. This they did, while stretcher-bearers went out and brought in many of the wounded, unimpeded by the Germans. The losses had been heavy: besides Major Brewis the Royal Warwickshires had 8 officers and over 300 men killed, wounded, and missing; of the Queen's 8 officers and 90 men were casualies, more than half of them killed or missing. These casualties were the more felt because both battalions had barley been re-formed after their losses at Ypres, but both the Brigadier and Divisional Commander testified to their gallantry and devotion: it was no fault of theirs that they had failed - they had been asked to do what experience was to show to be impossible in the conditions then prevailing."

1914 - ROLL OF HONOUR - 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment

BERNARD, B F P 2/Lt 21/12/1914 PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL

BREWIS, R H W Lt-Col 18/12/1914 SAILLY-SUR-LA-LYS CHURCHYARD

BROWNFIELD, R J Capt 18/12/1914 PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL

CAMPBELL, B 2/Lt 18/12/1914 PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL

DEANE, D Lieut 24/10/1914 YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

HILL, H T 2/Lt 18/10/1914 YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

HODGSON, C A R Capt 18/12/1914 PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL

LORING, W L Lt-Col 23/10/1914 YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

McCORMICK, J H G Capt 19/10/1914 YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

METHUEN, C O'B H Capt 20/10/1914 YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

MONK, G B 2/Lt 18/12/1914 PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL

PEARCE, G V 2/Lt 18/12/1914 PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL

RATCLIFF, J E Lieut 19/10/1914 HARLEBEKE NEW BRITISH CEMETERY

SCHOOLING, E C Capt 31/10/1914 YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

STAINFORTH, R T Lieut 19/10/1914 YPRES RESERVOIR CEMETERY

TAYLOUR, G R Capt 19/10/1914 HARLEBEKE NEW BRITISH CEMETERY

TUCKER, A R L 2/Lt 18/12/1914 PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL

VACHER, G H 2/Lt 11/11/1914 PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL

Officers attached:

HARRIS, L G H 2/Lt 02/11/1914 YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

HUTTON, R 2/Lt 07/11/1914 YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

[Names extracted from Appendix V "The Story of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment" and cross referenced with CWGC website data]

Regards

Richard

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