Grandad's War
Cheshire Regiment cap badge
September - October 1914
Grandad's Company left Le Cateau with the remainder of the Battalion at 5.00 p.m. on 26th August when the 'retirement' was ordered and marched to Eaucourt, via St Quentin, a total of nearly 35 miles.

Crookenden (page 20) has tabulated the mileage covered by the Battalion since leaving the train at Le Cateau on the 18th August, see Table (left), and the distances covered are prodigous, particularly bearing in mind the lack of conditioning experienced by the Reserves in the Companies. One of the greatest handicaps, suffered by all the infantry during the retreat, was the presence of reservists who in spite of their great heart, had had no training to get them fit for the long and difficult marches and no time in which to really get to know their officers and NCOs. ("Ever Glorious" - Bernard Rigby)
"Turning the Tide":
18 August
Le Cateau to Ors
21 August
to Commignies
22 August
to Boussu
23 August
to Hornu
24 August
to Elouges then to Le Bavay
25 August
to Le Cateau
26 August
to St Quentin
27 August
to Eaucourt
28 August
to Pontoise
29 August
to Carlepont
30 August
to Croutoy
31 August
to Crepy
1 September
to Nanteuil
2 September
to Montge
3 September
to Mont Pichet
4/5 September
to Gagny
205.69 (331 km)
Over the next three days Grandad marched 43½ miles to Gagny with his depleted Battalion, along the route shown on the map on the left (click to enlarge). Yet, as they trudged along, no doubt feeling sorrow  at the deaths of so many of their comrades and experiencing personal hardship previously unknown to them, they still did not consider themselves to have been beaten.

As far as the men's attitude was concerned they were not retreating or retiring, but moving to a place or point where they might re-group and re-join the battle.

This attitude was by no means based upon wishful thinking or self-deceit. They knew from battle experience that they could beat the enemy. Their fire-power and weapon discipline were better than the Germans. Their Battalion officers and NCOs had been magnificent in courage and leadership.

Finally on Satyurday evening, 5th September came the order:
"Pile arms an fall out, we remain here for a few hours."

With these simple words, delivered in a small orchard on the outskirts of Tournant, a mere 18 kms (11.2 miles) from the centre of Paris, the 'Retreat from Mons' was ended.

British troops retreating
Retreat From Mons - Map 1
Retreat from Mons - Map 2
British troops retiring under fire
It was an utterly exhausting business. There was no certainty of a meal or a night's sleep. The remnants of the 1st Battalion plodded steadily on. At least they had regained some stamina after having been in reserve at Troisville. But they were part of a long line of khaki moving down the roads. Tired, unshaven, dirty, their uniforms in tatters, caps and puttees lost or discarded, it was impossible to recognise them as the 1st Battalion the 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment which only a fortnight before had enjoyed the reputation of being one of the smartest Battalions in the Army. ("Ever Glorious" - Bernard Rigby)
Retreat From Mons - Map 1
(Click on Map for larger copy)
In 1915 'Sphere & Tatler' magazine published this picture of British wounded resting in a church between Le Cateau and Landrecies, when they were shelled by German Artillery.
Captain J L Shore, still in charge of the Battalion, had little time during the last days of August to record anything but the bare facts in the War Diary.  On 28th August they left Eaucourt at 6.00 a.m. and had a "very hot march" of 12 hours and 17½ miles (28 kms) to Pontoise. The next day on again to Crontcy, via Charlepont, arriving at 10.00 a.m. on the 30th.

At 7.30 a.m. on the 31st they marched to Crepy, arriving at 6.00 p.m. In those four days alone they had marched nearly 45 miles (72 kms.)

The Map on the right (click to enlarge) shows the route followed up to 28th August.

1st Battalion's Positions - 1 September 1914
ã Multimap
The next day, 1st September, Grandad was in action again - albeit briefly. At 6.00 a.m.  The Battalion moved off in the direction of Duvy to support of the Bedfordshire Regimen but were retired to Crépy at 7.30 a.m.
Half an hour later they marched to Duvy as advanced to the Brigade which was left Flank Guard to the 5th Division.  For a short time they held Duvy and sent strong reconnoitering patrols to North-west & South.

At 10.00 a.m. they were ordered to hold the ravine between Sery and Duvy (see map on left) to protect the left flank of the Division at Crépy whilst the rest of the Brigade attacked towards Sery to help the 6th Division.

This movement was quickly countermanded as the Brigade about Crépy was reported hard pressed and a retirement ordered in the direction of Ormoy. Grandad's Battalion was then ordered to retire as rear guard to the Brigade.

It appears that the Battalion was scattered all around the ravine and a mounted Officer had to gallop from Duvy to the West side of the ravine opposite Sery to bring in 'D' Company - in which Grandad was presumably still serving. However, two messengers and a mounted Officer failed to find 'A' Company on the East side of the ravine at Sery, and as all troops were withdrawing under shell fire 'A' Company were supposed to be with them.

At 11.00 a.m. they retired to Ormoy and took up a position facing West along the railway as left flank guard to the Division. Later in the day they retired as far as Nanteuil, where hey bivouacked, but it was not until 9.00 p.m. that 'A' Company finally arrived. 2nd Lieutenant Newson had been slightly wounded but had refused to retire without the C.O.'s orders even when troops on his right and left had retired. When he found all had gone and in an unknown direction he went on a civilian cycle in search of information and was shot by the Ulhans.

Nevertheless, 2nd Lieutenant Newson got his men away safely in spite of his wound and led them the 12 miles to relative safety at Nanteuil. (Although the initials vary - in the War Diary he is refered to as Lewson - this Officer is undoubtedly Lieutenant Norman Alexander Newson, of the 3rd Reserve Battalion, who had been with attached to Captain Shore's 'B' Company since embarkation) Lieutenant Newson was killed in action on 18th February 1915 and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.
Retreat From Mons - Map 2
(Click on Map for larger copy)
"The Affair at Néry" - On the same day just 7 kms to the NW what became known as "The Affair at Néry" was being fought out. On that morning the German 4th Cavalry Division attacked 1st Cavalry Brigade and 'L' Battery (Royal Horse Artillery), who had been camped in the village of Nery. In the action that followed, 'L' Battery, all but for one gun, was destroyed.

The gun manned by Captain Bradbury, WO2 Dorrell, Sergeant Nelson, and Gunners Osbourne and Darbyshire, managed to keep the single gun in action against the three German Batteries located a thousand yards away. The Artillery fire put down by this gun allowed the 1st Cavalry Brigade to deliver a successful Counter attack. For this action Captain Bradbury, WO2 Dorrell, Sergeant Nelson, were all awarded the Victoria Cross. In Captain Edward Kinder Bradbury' s case it was a posthumous award.
Capt Edward K Bradbury VC
Capt. E H Bradbury, VC
Crookenden, page 20, summarised it as follows: "A little band of dirty, bearded soldiers, mostly capless and without putees, had wheeled into the orchard, a captain in command.

Not even their best friends would have recognized this little band of tatterdemalions as the 1st Battalion 22nd Regiment, a short fortnight ago one of the smartest and best urned out Battalions in the whole Army. Since then, however, their lot had been such as had sledom been endured by soldiers before."
The Battle of the Marne:
Battle of the Marne 5 September 1914
Battle of the Marne 5 September 1914
(Click image to enlarge)
An eye-witness account, reported in Crookenden (p. 21), remembers the tail end of Lieutenant-General Charles Ferguson's Order of the Day for 6th September:
"... and at sunrise tomorrow, the 5th Division, in conjumction with the remainder of the British Army, will advance to victory, supported by strong French armies on both flanks."

The same reporter, whilst glad to hear the news, also stated that the Battalion had still not been re-equipped with uniforms and kit, so one must presume they started back the following day in much the same unwashed, bedraggled state they had arrived!

One small comfort, according to the War Diary, was that they were reinforced by Lieutenant Hartford and 90 other ranks at 4.00 p.m.

                        about Lt. Hugh Irving St. John Hartford, who was killed in action at La Bassée on 22nd October 1914 and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial.

The turn northwards did begin at 7.00 a.m. the following morning, although initially the Battalion marched eastwards to Villeneuve, arriving at 9.15 a.m. bivouacked for 4 hours;  left at 1.15 p.m., arrived at Mortcerf at 5.00 p.m. left at 7.00 p.m. and arrived at Montlevon at 8.30 p.m.

The War Diary also states: "Received news this day of the German General retirement in disorder."
The following day, the 7th, brought a rather unfortunate "friendly fire" incident. the Battalion was marching the 9½ miles to Boissy-le-Chatel and Grandad's 'D' Company, along with 'C', were detailed to drive a wood in an easterly direction to a point at Mouroux.  Private Hall & Private Woods were both wounded by shells fired by our own Artillery into the wood whilst the men were being lined up to drive it. They Boissy-le-Chatel at 7.30 p.m. where the two wounded Privates were transferred to a Field Ambulance.

(This could have been either Pte. 7871 J Hall or Pte 7373 O Hall, both of Grandad's 'D' Company. It is unclear which Pte. Woods is meant as all those listed in the Battalion were reported missing after Audregnies.)

The tone taken later in the day's report is surprisingly personal.  Captain Shore wrote:

"I was given orders direct from a Staff Officer of the 5th Div to execute this drive. The shells fired by our Artillery into this wood were fired by orders of Brig Gen Cuthbertson - They were fired directly against the line of advance of the 15th Infantry Brigade Group - This wood had been searched by the Lancs. that morning. On our searching it again 6 dead men of that Regt were found and their pay books taken by Capt Rich."

It is clear that Captain Shore is keen to apportion blame where it rightfully lay.

                                ..... about this incident and the soldiers who died.

Read more ...
Crossing The Marne
The northward push across the River Marne involved three strongly disputed river crossings, at the Grand Morin, the Petit Morin and the Marne itself. The 1st Battalion was not involved in any of the battles to cross these valleys and the Battalion actually crossed the Marne at Saâcy before marching on to Bézu-le-Guéry,  where they were shelled and lost 3 men, 1 killed and 2 seriously wounded. 

The march north continued at great pace with some early starts, but from Bézu to the River Aisne was another 50 miles (80 kms.) covered in just 4 days, from 10th - 13th September. (On the 10th, for example, they set off at 3.45a.m. and did not arrive at camp at Louvry near St Quentin until 7.00 p.m. The the "Officers bivouacked in the deserted and burnt out kennels". One wonders where the 'men' slept!

Crossing the Marne
The War Diary also reported: "The 2nd Army this day took 600 prisoners, 6 guns and several machine guns."

6 September
From Gagny to Montlevon
7 September
to Boissy-le-Chatel
8 September
to Charnesseuil
9 September
to Bézu-le-Guéry
10 September
to St Quentin
11 September
to St Remy
12 September
to L'Epitaphe
13 September
to River Aisne
88.61 (143km)
Read more
An extension of Crookenden's Table (left) shows that by September 13th the enemy had been forced back behind the Aisne, 50 miles north of the positions he had occupied on the 6th of the month. Pursuing them Grandad had marched nearly 90 miles (143 kms) and nearly 300 miles (480 kms) in total.

But the real point about the Marne is expressed by Arthur Crookenden
(p. 22 -23) as: "the change of morale and outlook of the Allies during these seven days was astounding. In place of being hunted we suddenly became the hunters. Paris was saved and the terrible and mighty German army was in full retreat. .....

Tactically, the battle was not fought to a finish, and the British casualties were small compared to later battles of the war, but strategically its results were so far-reaching that it might be regarded as one of the most decisive battles of the world".

At 4.00 a.m. on September 13th the Battalion left Fé de l'Epitaphe for Mont de Soissons farm, leaving there at 6.30 a.m. They reached high ground at Serches at 8.00 a.m. where they found a large cave capable of containing the Battalion and its horses under cover from shell fire. They set off again at 8.00 p.m. to the River Aisne.

The Battle of the Aisne:
.. about the 1st Battle of the Marne
Crossing the Aisne
The Cheshires cross the River Aisne
(Click picture for full Map)
At 1.00 a.m. on the morning of the 14th September Grandad's Battalion crossed the River Aisne at Min des Roche in rafts made from wagons wrapped in tarpaulin sheets. They immediately bivouacked in a field on the north bank until daylight. They were still under the command of Captain J. L. Shore, an indication not only of the tenacity and courage of that officer but also of the lack of reinforcements. The crossing was made in heavy rain during a dark night, each raft carried 10 to 12 men and about 250 men in total had to be ferried across.

They marched to Saint Marguerite (see Map, right) which was shelled, and about 12 noon advanced to Missy reaching it at about 2.00 p.m.  At 4.00 p.m. about 6 Companies of Norfolks, Bedfords, East Surrey and D.C.L.I. were ordered to make an attack on Chivres Hill to start at 4.30 p.m. This attack failed although Colonel Longley remained in a position on the hills until was ordered to retire by G.O.C. 14th Brigade.

The Cheshires were in Reserve lining the Northern edge of Missy. The Battalion held the village that night with outposts thrown out in front. Supply wagons brought right up to Missy during the night, i.e. within 200 yards of the enemy's position and got away safely.

At 6.00 a.m. the following morning the Norfolks and Bedfords reinforced the Battalion in Missy and an attack was ordered on Chivres Hill after the guns had shelled the lower slopes. Before this could take place Missy was shelled by the very heavy artillery brought up for the siege of Paris.

The Battalion held on to all the defences of Missy till 6.00 p.m. when the Norfolks took over the Western half There was a continuous fire coming into the village from the woods on Chevres Hill all day and three men were killed, one from Grandad's 'D' Company and the other two from 'B' Company.

Crossing the Aisne under fire
Infantry crossing the R Aisne
At 4.00 a.m. the following day, the 16th, the men withdrew over the pontoon bridge at Min des Roches and reached Le Mesnil Mill at 5.00 a.m.

They were reinforced by the following Officers who arrived at the Mill at 10.45 a.m. -
Captains F B Young;  F L Lloyd; E R Harbord;  2nd Lieutenants J A Greenhalgh; J O Sidebotham; C W Leicester; J L Trevitt and W Thomas and "their servants".

Captain Frank Lewis Lloyd was killed in action in October 1915 and 2nd Lieutenant James Arthur Greenhalgh died just over a month later, killed at La Bassée on 22 October.

The Battalion spent one day at Mesnil Mill before retiring to billets in Le Mesnil where they remained until 26th September.

Far from resting, the War Diary records that the various Companies spent their time digging defensive trenches in Le Mesnil, Serches and Sermoise, all villages about 5 kms (3 miles) south of the river, no doubt in expectation of a counter-attack. The German Corps facing 4th Division on the other side of the river had force marched men to fill gaps ahead of the British and were mounting a stout resistance. The British were unable to get their artillery across the river and any casualties - of which there were many - had to be carried up to 3 miles back to the pontoon, under heavy fire.

On the 24th more Officers arrived, but with only 21 men, to replace those lost a month earlier. Captain L A Forster joined from the Reserve, plus  Captain S Butterworth, (3rd Cheshires);  2 Lieutenant H S Stalker, (Reserve of Officers) and  2 Lieutenant L B J Pogson.

Captain Lionel Archibald Forster was listed as a 'wounded' in the War Diary on 22nd October following the action at Violaines and it seems he subsequently became a prisoner of war and died of wounds two weeks later at the Lycée Hospital, Douai.
Crossing the Aisne
At 6.30 on the evening of September 25th the Companies in the trenches were relieved by the Suffolk Regiment and the Battalion marched out and again crossed the Aisne bivouacking on the North Bank as Battalion in reserve to 15th Infantry Brigade. Capain F B Young was appointed Temporary Major and assumed command of the Battalion.

For the rest of the month they were engaged in digging and inproving trenches around St. Marguerite and Grandad's 'D' Company (with 'A' Company) started work at 7.30 a.m. on the 27th to put 15th Brigade Headquarters in a 'state of defence'. Two days later he was back digging trenches east of their bivouac.

On the 30th and again on the 1st October, the Companies paraded for their C.O. in preparation of moving on to their next engagement. 

In the dark of the night of 1st October Grandad and the 1st Cheshire's involvement in the Battle of the Aisne came to an end when they again crossed the Aisne and marched south to the village of Droizy, arriving late the following evening.

Considerable satisfaction followed when the order came to hand over to the French and move north. The 1st had had enough of trench warfare and looked forward to more open warfare which they considered more suitable to their abilities.

                            ..... about the Battle of the Aisne.
Read more ...
Violaines / La Bassée:
Early in the morning of the 17th October, two attempts were made to advance from Festubert to Violaines, but on both occasions the Battalion was repulsed. Captain Lloyd was wounded, 2/Lieutenant Napier was missing, 1 man was killed (Pt. 8749 William Hill) and 3 men wounded.

However, by 6.15 p.m. the Battalion had occupied Violaines and entrenched North and East and South-east of the town (see Map right)

The next day Violaines was held with the D.C.L.I. on left and the Norfolks on right despite being heavily shelled. 1 man killed (Pts. Marrow and Munro), and 17 wounded. However, 2/Lieutenant Napier rejoined the Battalion which was stationed on outposts.

At 10.00 a.m. on the next morning (19th) the men attempted to occupy La Bassée itself, and came under heavy fire from each side. They finally entrenched 450 yards in front of their former positions.

Rue du Marias
Rue D'Ouvert
The Battlefield East of Festubert  (ã Multimap )
Battalion movements - 12/13 October 1914
The battle really began on 12 October. On that day II Corps (including 1st Cheshires)was ordered to advance east to a line running north from Givenchy. The British advance was opposed by four German cavalry divisions from I and II cavalry corps.

It would take three days to reach the line originally intended to be the target for the fighting on 12 October. During those days II Corps suffered 2,000 casualties, half of them on the first day. Givenchy was captured on 12 October, but lost on the next day.
The rest of the Battalion took up position on the Festubert - Laquinque Road and entrenched. The Battalion remained  on outpost duty that night and captured 2 Uhlans. With the loss of so many more Officers Captain Shore once again took over command of the Battalion.

For the next two days Grandad and the rest of the men remained in the same positions back in the trenches they so much hated and which they had thought to bid farewell to when they left the Aisne, being shelled and raked by machine gun fire. On the 16th October, however, they 'went over the top' and moved along the Violaines road. At 3.00 p.m. the  Battalion advanced in direction of Rue D'Ouvert and found the village unoccupied. At 8.00 p.m. they advanced to Rue du Marais (see Map above) and half of 'A' Company continued their advance along the Violaines Road and came into touch with an enemy patrol which opened fire, which was returned.

During the course of the day Captain Mahony took over command of Battalion and brought up 2/Lieutenants Napier, May, Woodhead, Carr, Anderson and 248 reinforcements. Five days later, however, Captain Frederick Henry Mahony was mortally wounded by a sniper and died the following day. He is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery.

                               .... about Captain Mahony's distinguished Army Career

On reaching Festubert the Battalion took up a position with 3 Companies in the firing line and one in support, and stayed on outpost duty at night. Captain Butterworth was reported missing; 1 N.C.O. and 5 men were wounded.

At 4.45 the next morning (13th)  'A' Company made a dawn attack on Rue D'Ouvert (see map left) but without success. Major Vandeleur's short command came to an end when he was captured, along with Major Young, Captain Harbord, Lieutenant Harrington and 2nd Lieutenant Thomas, plus 8 N.C.O.s and men were wounded.  55 N.C.O.s and men were reported missing - 6 of whom were reported killed in action.

                          .. about the men who gave their lives that day

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Click map for larger version
Leaving Droizy on the evening of the 3rd October the troops marched due west through Loncpont, Courcy and Pontdrun, arriving at Verberie on the 6th, a distance of 35 miles (56 kms.). The Battalion was still short of Officers and at Pontdrun Major C B Vandeleur, 1st Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) joined the Battalion and assumed Command.

Despite not reaching their billets in Verberie until 11.00 p.m., at 5.30 the next morning they were off again, reaching Pont St. Mexenceat at 8.00. They entrained at 9.00 and left after lunch for the 8 hour journey to Abbeville. This was the first time the Battalion had been on any form of transport since 18th August, during which time they had marched over 350 miles (560 kms.).

Getting off the train at Abbeville about 12.30 a.m. of the 8th, Grandad was off again, firstly marching to Boufflers then to Haravesnes, arriving at 8.00 p.m. on the 9th. The next day they travelled by bus from Fillievres and  to billet at La Thieuloye at 6.00 p.m. New supplies of light entrenching tools were received up to 48 per Company!

On the 11th Grandad arrived in Bethune and went into billets about 8.00 p.m.  (The War Diary reports the necessity to requisition1 horse (absolutely necessary) for 1200 francs at Ourton.

Map of Violaines 22 Oct 1914
1st Cheshire Positions at Violaines - 22 October 1914
(After: Crookenden, page 28)
In what was to prove Grandad's final day in action at 5.10 a.m. on the morning of October 22nd the German forces launched a heavy attack, and took the trenches at the point of the bayonet.

At the time of the attack the Battalion was in position as shown on the Map above - Grandad's 'D' Company was digging trenches, protected on either side by 'C' and 'B' Companies. However, Crookenden (p. 28) considers the covering party gave insufficient notice of the attack and 'D' Company were forced to retire to their second position shown on the Map - behind the church.

(At some time during this action Grandad received wounds from which he was evacuated and finally returned home.)
The gains were not without considerable casualties: 2/Lieutenant Andrews, 2/Lieutenant Sidebotham and 2/Lieutenant Napier were wounded; 9 men were killed and 20 wounded.

                           ...... about the brave men who gave their lives this day

On the 20th and 21st October Grandad's Battalion held Violaines whilst the artillery shelled La Bassée. A  German attack was repulsed about 3.00 p.m. on the 20th, although 2/Lieutenant May and 2/Lieutenant Addison were wounded as well as 3 men killed and 24 men wounded. 

At 9.30 a.m. the next morning the Battalion again attacked La Bassée but without success and came under heavy shell fire. 1 machine gun was put out of action. Captain Mahony (the C.O.) was wounded and died the following day, 3 men killed and 6 wounded.

Captain Shore took over command of the Battalion, but he too was wounded and captured the following day.

The west side of Violaines
(From and old print in 'The Graphic')
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The Battalion Adjutant, Lieutenant T L Frost took over command and the grand old Quartermaster, Micky Sproule, assumed the appointment of adjutant. It is some indication of the severity of the fighting during October to note that in this month the Battalion had no less than seven Commanding Officers. Lieutenant Thomas Frost was the last of the Officers who had landed with the 1st Battalion in August.

                         ..... about Captain Thomas Laurence Frost who was killed in action on 28th March 1915
Capt. J L Shore
Captain Hugh Irving St John Hartford, 2/Lieutenants Henry Noel Atkinson and James Arthur Greenhalgh were killed in action, whilst Captain William Suttor Rich and Captain Lionel Archibald Forster were wounded and died of their wounds in November. Captains Shore and 2/Lieutenant Leicester were reported missing, captured. 18 N.C.O.s and men were wounded (including Private Ernest John Conway) and 200 N.C.O.s and men were missing including the Sergeant Major. 
Of the missing 53 were killed in action.

                              ..... about the brave men who gave their lives on October 22nd

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The battalion in effect had ceased to exist. Such as they were, they continued the business of digging trenches, all utterly exhausted. Until the 26th October they operated either in Reserve or in their billets. On the 25th Captain Woods, Munster Fusiliers, took over command of Battalion.

As Crookenden, page 27, wrote: "The Battalion had got nearer to La Bassée than any British or Allied troops were to go for four years".

Nevertheless, "The little village of Violaines occupies an important place in the history of the 1st Battalion('Ever Glorious' - Bernard Rigby)

Almost all of the men killed in this action have no known grave and are commemorated, with honour, on Le Touret Memorial to the Missing.

Lt. T L Frost
Cheshire names on Le Touret Memorial
Neuve Chapelle:
Even though Grandad's War was over, the Battalion moved on, initially, on the 27th, from their billets at Rue de Bethune, then at 7.00 p.m. it marched to Richebourg St Vaast and from there to St Vaast.

At 5.00 a.m.  the next morning the Battalion moved in support to the attack on Neuve Chapelle, and came into the firing line at 3.00 p.m. Their position was entrenched on East side of Estaires - Neuve Chapelle road at Pont Logy (see Map on left). The Battalion was on outposts with 'B' Company in reserve. About 9.00 p.m. the enemy opened fire, which was returned.

Casualties: 2/Lieutenant Woodhead was wounded, Sergeant Alex Evans, and Private Clarence Jowitt were killed, 4 others wounded and 5 missing.

The men remained in their trenches the following day, suffering sniping and artillery fire, and had 4 more wounded and  5 missing. At 1.30 a.m. on the 30th they were relieved by Seaforths and the Jats (part of the Meerhut Division, Indian Army) and they marched back to billets in le Touret. Finally, at 3.00 p.m.  the Battalion marched to Calonne and billeted for night.

On the last day of October Grandad's proud Battalion marched out of the line, the 22½ miles (36 kms.) from Calonne to Borre, arriving at 8.00 p.m.

Battalion Positions at Neuve Chapelle 28th October 1914
The withdrawal of 'D' Company exposed 'B' and 'C' Companies, and without troops on their flanks were enfiladed and forced to withdraw. Eventually the Battalion retired to Rue du Marais under very heavy fire and The Manchester Regiment came up in support.  At 8.00 p.m. the Battalion was withdrawn and went into bivouac at last East of Rue de Bethune.

La Bassée Canal in 1914
Most of the quotes in the above account are referenced to Arthur Crookenden's book: "The History of the Cheshire Regiment in the Great War"

ã G E Conway, 2010
... November and December 1914
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The engagement at Festubert and the ensuing actions at Violaines and La Bassée marked the culmination of what came to be known as "The Race To The Sea". With it ended also the mobile stage of the Great War. After what was grouped into the "Battle of La Bassée" the period of mobile warfare was over, and the period of trench warfare had begun.

Following the Battles of the Marne and the Aisne earlier in the month the BEF's focus of attention now swung  further north, to Flanders with the dual hope of turning the German right flank and preventing them reaching the Channel ports. Instead the advancing, however, the British ran into a new German army, the Fourth, under the Duke of Württemberg.

                                ... about "The Race To The Sea"

Despite the reinforcements, Grandad's Battalion was still operating at only about half its full complement, yet still over the next few days time and again it attacked the German positions between its own positions and the town of La Bassée, with catastrophic losses.