The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
20th October 1914On this day:
- 20th Oct 1914 Imperial Service
- 2nd Seaforths in action The 2nd Seaforth Highlanders are in action on on the banks of the river Lys. At 4 am, B & D Companies moved up to occupy houses on on the outskirts of the village of Frelinghien, to the north east of Armentieres. The men worked on improving their defensive position in the properties until an advance could be organised. A and C Coys were in reserve.
Beside them, the Royal Irish Fusiliers, supported by an artillery barrage, made an advance across the open but found it heavily entangled with barbed wire and came under fire from the enemy until their guns were silenced by the artillery. Under partial cover of a low bank and a line of trees the Irish Fusiliers advanced towards the German trenches as the Seaforths prepared to advance towards the enemy trenches on their left. When the men were about 200 yards from the trench line, the Germans opened fire and it was decided that the Seaforths would take the position by assault.
At about 11 am C company, 2nd Seaforths, lead by captain D. C. Methuen and 2/Lt J. F. Glass attempted to storm the enemy trench, under heavy fire. The German trench was situated on a high, steep slippery bank which added to crossfire from snipers in the Brewery on the edge of the town, made the task more difficult. But the Seaforths succeeded in capturing and holding the section of trench, taking 20 prisoners and killing about 30 of the enemy.
At about 1pm, 15 Germans soldiers surrendered and left their trenches unarmed. Shortly afterwards, others surrendered from houses in the town and after negotiations, three snipers left the Brewery and surrendered. The buildings and cellars were searched and found to be unoccupied. After dark, the Brewery was occupied by two and a half platoons from A coy, with the rest of A coy occupiing houses to the east of road along with 1 platoon from D coy. C & D coys along with with Headquarters occupied the houses taken the previous night, with B coy holding the newly captured trenches with Irish Fusiliers on their right, 2 Coy Rifle Brigade came up during the night as support. Work commended to strengthen defence and re-entrench the captured positions.
- 20th Oct 1914 2nd Sherwoods War Diary
- 2 Life Guards near Westroosebeke. 2nd Life Guards marched at 5 am to entrench near Westroosebeke. On arrival at our line found French Infantry partially entrenched already, but they promptly withdrew, so we defended the Westroosebeke to Paschendaele road by trenching to west of it in the order from the right 1st Life Guards, R H Guards, ourselves, Royal Dragoons, 10th Hussars, French troops on the left. My horses were concealed behind a wood but soon they had to be moved further back to avoid shells. This led later to some confusion as the squadrons did not know where their horses had gone. This was the first attempt of the Household Cavalry to dig trenches, and they were very welcome as the shell fire for about 2 hours was severe. German attempts to cross the main road with infantry were easily checked by our rifle fire, but the French on the extreme left retired without any warning to us of their intention. The VI Cavalry Brigade consequently had to go, and we on our turn had to go too in successive Regiments from the left, with my squadrons holding farms to cover the retirement. We were lucky to disengage without losses, as we had to go a long way on foot, and the led horses were in some confusion as stated above. I had orders to hold successive farms on the left of the road by which we retired, and I found myself near Poelcapelle, whence I went via St Julien to rejoin the Brigade and ordered at 2 pm to take up a line facing north to connect with the VIth Cavalry Brigade at St Julien. Here we remained unmolested in heavy rain until 6 pm when we retired to find for ourselves some filthy billets about 3 miles South East of Poelcapelle. Tired of hearing tremendous shelling and musketry all day and apparently in all directions. Arrival of General Haig at Poelcapelle is reported, and we saw outposts of Coldstream Guards going out for the night.
- Continued Action E Battery 3rd Brigade RHA
Started at 0530 and after halting near Texbrielen for some time came into action near America to cover 7th Division's right. Fired about 300 rounds chiefly at guns. Fell back at 1530 to near Oosttaverne and came into action there just before dark to check strong infantry counter attack. Into billets at Wytschete at 2000.
- 20th October 1914 Disaster for Battalion
- 20th October 1914 Ongoing Action
- 20th Oct 1914 Enemy Attack
- 20th Oct 1914 Davidson of the Gunners
- 20th Oct 1914 Entrenching
- 20th Oct 1914 Holding the Line
- 20th Oct 1914 On the March
- 20th Oct 1914 In Action
- 20th Oct 1914 Snipers
- 20th Oct 1914 Taken Prisoner
- 20th October 1914 Major German attack
- 20th Oct 1914 On the March
- 17th Brigade in action The 17th Brigade began to march eastward and fought the Germans back almost as far as the city of Lille, the 1st North Staffs leading and going by Strazeele, Merris, and the small village of Nord Helf and fighting the encounter battle at Outtersteene. Still as the advance guard, the North Staffs moved forward on Steenwerke and Nooteboom.
From Chapel d' Armentieres the 1st North Staffs moved forward up to Wez-Marquart.
Early on October 20th. 1914 the nearby 2nd. Leinsters were heavily attacked and the Germans broke through.
Then the North Staffs counter-attacked to hold and repulse the enemy, to the west of Premesques and the road junction at La Bleu.
As a result of this battle the North Staffs thereafter would use a marching song: -
" we beat you on the Marne,
we beat you on the Aisne,
we drove you back at Armentears
and here we are again "
On October 28th.1914 they were ordered to take over the trenches at Rue du Bois.
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