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1st Norfolks


Vista52
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I've just finished reading "Advance from Mons" by Walter Bloehm and unfortunately had to return the book to my local library. He mentions the clash with the 1st Norfolks. I just wondered if anyone has done any further research of the men killed or been over the ground where it happened.

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The 15th Bgde were involved in several operations int he Aisne advance and around Missy / the Chivres Ridge. Attacks over the river, against the ridge itself and the final (failed) assault before the advance ebcame defensive ... Any particular dates in mind Vista52?

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Hello Steve,

I returned the book about a month ago but from memory it was around 15th September, 1914. The book I received from the library was a 1931 edition and it had a notation at the bottom of the page from the editor. It said something like "A patrol of 34 officers and men were reported missing after they went forward around Chivres Ridge." Captain Walter Bloehm heard the clash but was not involved directly. He was told about it by a Sgt. Next day he led a patrol and came upon the bodies of the British soldiers. I just wondered if the bodies were later found and identified or if anyone had photos of this area. Thank you for your reply.

Paul

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There's not much from that day but from "The Doigns of the 15th Infantry Brigade" by Brig-Gen Count Gleichen:

Sept. 15th.

After writing out orders for the attack next day we went to bed, dog-tired; and I was routed out again at 12.45 A.M. by Malise Graham, who had come with a message from the Divisional Commander that he wanted to see me at once as the broken bridge at Missy, a mile off through long wet grass in pitch darkness. It was (Page 124) not good "going," but we got there eventually and crossed the river, sliding down steep slippery banks into a punt, ferried across, and up the other side. Cuthbert eventually turned up from somewhere, and we had a pow-wow in the dark, resulting in fresh orders being given for the morrow's work. This involved new orders being written, and it was 4 A.M. by the time we turned in again for an hour's sleep. A careful reconnaissance was made by Done and some other Norfolk officers as soon as if was light; but the result was not promising. Fresh German trenches had been dug commanding the open space, and more wire had been put up during the night. The Norfolks were told off to lead the assault, with the Bedfords in support and the Cheshires in reserve. The Dorsets were still above Sainte Marguerite, helping the 12th Brigade, and were not available. We began by shelling that horrible Chivres Spur, but if produced little effect, as the Germans were in the wood and invisible. The Norfolks pushed on, but gradually came to a standstill in the wood, and the day wore on with little result, (Page 125) for the wood was desperately blind, and we were being heavily shelled at all points. The Brigade staff sat under a hedge halfway between La Bizaie farm and Missy; but it was not a very happy place, for the big shells fell nearer and nearer till we had to make a more forward at a run for the shelter of a big manure heap. But even here the Black Marias round us out, and two of them fell within a few yards, their explosion covering us with dirt. We were also in view of German snipers half-way up the hill, and bullets came thick whenever we showed a cap or a leg beyond the muckheap, which, besides being distinctly unsweet, was covered with disgusting-looking flies in large numbers.

However, there we had to stay most of the day. The village of Missy was intermittently shelled by some huge howitzers, and bunches of their shells blew up several houses and nearly demolished the church, a fine old 14th century building. A few Norfolks were buried or killed by the falling houses, but otherwise extraordinarily little damage was done, and most of the shells fell in the open, where there was nobody worth mentioning."

Sorry its not much help but hopefully it adds to the overall picture?

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I've just finished reading "Advance from Mons" by Walter Bloehm and unfortunately had to return the book to my local library. He mentions the clash with the 1st Norfolks. I just wondered if anyone has done any further research of the men killed or been over the ground where it happened.

hi vista52 im no expert but could it be the rear guard action at elouges near mons on the 24th 1914 were they had the 1st cheshire next to them.and the order to pull back never got through and they fought on to the last a very brave and profsional action . i hope this might help howard

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Not quite right Howard, the Norfolks bar a few who stayed with the Cheshires ,in general did retire ,but the 1st. Cheshires never received the order & hung on until they were eventually overwhelmed losing some 800 members , killed or taken prisoner.

Colin

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Thank you Steve, Howard and Colin for your replies. Not having the book to hand makes it a bit difficult but I think it may of been a patrol of the 1st Norfolks sent out the evening of the 14th. They went to far into the woods held by the German troops and were ambushed and all killed in hand to hand fighting. What is interesting is that next day Capt Walter Bloehm account matches very neatly with the account by Brig-Gen Count Gleichen. He mentions his men sniping at British soldiers in a farmyard! By the way...How did a British General get a name like that?

The book was a very good read, written in that style favored by German authors. Advance from Mons by Capt Walter Bloehm.

Paul

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Hi Paul,

Didn't you know Count Gleichen was related to the then George the 5th. who's family name at the time was even more foreign than Gleichen. Have you heard of Von Mackenson a German General.?

Cheers.

Colin :D

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