The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
12th March 1915On this day:
- 12th March 1915 Movement Orders
- 12th March 1915 9th Lancers Still Standing to
- Many wounded at L'Epinette Action of L'Epinette took place in the early hours of the morning.
Shelling of the new trenches at L'Epinette apparently been proceeding all day. First information received by 19th Field Ambulance RAMC from the 17th Battalion HQ that there were many wounded (5pm) and bearers required - Lt. Hampton and 'B' Bearer Subdivision with motor ambulance wagon and three Horsted wagons went out, supplemented later by the remaining Bearers Subdivisions, and by 7 horsed ambulance wagons. It appears from the telegrams received that wounded were not being satisfactorily evacuated, as I proceeded out to this area myself, but found evacuation proceeding as rapidly as wounded could be brought in. The MO of N. Staffordshire and his stretcher bearers however appeared overcome with the work and the Field Ambulance bearers were therefore used to work up to the trenches which was done most satisfactorily. Some 89 wounded were brought in to 19th Field Ambulance, of which some 35 were sent to the 17th Field Ambulance. Lt. EFW Grellter reported his arrival for duty with 19th Field Ambulance RAMC.
- Further Action E Battery 3rd Brigade RHA
With 5th Cavalry Brigade near La Gorgue.
Moved at 1530 to Pont du Hem but Cavalry Brigade coudnn't get through German lines. Back to bivouac and billet near La Gorgue at 2030.
- 3rd Monmouths in the trenches The training rotation period came to an end on the 12th March when they were assigned to trenches on the west slope of the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge, just outside the village of Wulverghem 5 miles south of Ypres . They were responsible for about a 1000yds of the trenches known as 10a and 10b. The trenches were on the West slope of Messines-Wytschsete Ridge. The line ran southeast to Pleogsteert and northwest to Kemmel and Wulverghem village lay in a depression behind. The village buildings gave some protection from rifle fire as the Welsh troops marched forward but the air was filled with stray bullets, whistling perilously close, as they approached the trenches. The Battalion's Headquarters were in the village of St Quentin Cabaret , and Companies were posted either side of the Wulverghem - Messines Road . This was the first experience of trench warfare for the 3rd Mons , Officers and men, the sector they were in reputedly was a quiet one but the enemy was continuously active. The lighter calibre guns directed fire against them throughout the day and the occasional trench mortar that was thrown caused effective damage.
To undertake repair work was a dangerous task, for enemy marksmen closely watched the breach and repeated rifle fire was non-stop. This persistent firing, disturbed the stability of the trenches, the unrelenting weather conditions and the continual flooding of the trenches made it necessary for constant maintenance in the most dangerous positions. The enemy had better equipment and continually fired from fixed rifles and machine guns at miscellaneous tactical positions and their trenches too were better defended too, with wire entanglement. So the Battalion's guns fell silent because of shortage of ammunition, particularly high explosive shells. The conditions for the Battalion were miserable, great caution was taken when lighting fires for curling smoke received enemy attention very quickly. Although food was satisfying and in good supply it was monotonous, rum and lime juice was dispensed in medicinal doses and cigarettes became the comfort but all this was supplemented by parcels from kind friends and families back home in Wales.
Unfortunately in the early days of being in the trenches the Battalion suffered many casualties, including an Officer and it was only by bitter experience that they learned; it was care and alertness in trench warfare that kept them safe. Soon enemy action became much more intense and the number of heavy German guns increased and by the end of March the village and the church of Wulverghem was completely destroyed.
The conditions of the line were extremely miserable, the least rainfall flooded the shelters in the trenches, and the close proximity of the enemy severely restricted movement. Fires could only be lit and tended with great care, as any sign of smoke would soon receive some enemy attention.
- 12th Mar 1915 Defence adjusted
- 12th March 1915 Misty Morning
- 12th March 1915 RFC Supports Attacks
- 12th Mar 1915 Ready to Move
- 12th Mar 1915 Missing the Big Fight
- 12th Mar 1915 Advance Made
- 12th Mar 1915 Inspection
- 12th Mar 1915 Helping the Wounded
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