At full stretch

In ‘Lessons in geography’, I questioned the extent to which the rank and file troops had much understanding of the geography of the land. I also wonder about their perception of the overall state of the war. Rumours circulate in most organisations. There were many mechanisms for information, and misinformation, to flow in the Army.…

Lessons in Geography

In ‘Bogs in Belgium’, I recommended a book by Lyn Macdonald. I am currently reading another one of her books. This one is called ‘To the last man’. It deals with the German Spring Offensive of 1918. In one of the maps, I noticed a place (Ayette) that is mentioned in the War Diary of…

Simple twist of fate

In the blog ‘Medal Ribbons’ I briefly examined the question of how many soldiers survived the entire war in their original unit. Fate played a part. Being in the right, or wrong, place could make a massive difference to the chances of survival. Examination of three seminal battles helps to prove the point. 1914: In…

Medal Ribbons

The War Diary for the 2nd battalion, Manchester Regiment, contains entries on a great range of subject matter. Sometimes it provides information on casualties. On other days, it informs the reader that the men were able to take baths. On 5th February 1918, the General Officer Commanding 14th Infantry Brigade presented the medal ribbon of…

Gassed

My Father was sure that Patrick came back from the Front on a stretcher three times. I can only find hard evidence of two occasions. The first time was in October 1914. He arrived back in England on 16th October. I have found no records that contain any details of his injuries. He was taken…

War pensioner

Quite early in the Great War, it became obvious that there would be many dependent relatives and wounded ex-servicemen requiring care. In 1914, responsibility for administration of Army pensions lay with the War Office and the Chelsea Hospital. The system had coped with the numbers of wounded men from the Boer War and sundry other…

Another year, another hospital

Towards the end of the 19th century, a row of smart terraced houses was built on Marine Parade in the Tankerton area of Whitstable, Kent. As the name suggests, Marine Parade overlooks the sea. In this case it is the north Kent coast. In 1906 the houses were combined to create the Marine Hotel. The…

Boots were made for walking – Part 2

The mobilisation of Reserves was signed into law on 4th August. Patrick reported to the Regimental Depot (at Ashton-under-Lyne, near Manchester) the following day. Two sizeable groups of reservists joined the 2nd Battalion in Ireland on the 7th and 8th. These were probably men from the Special Reserve. They had 3-4 weeks of training every…

Boots were made for walking – Part 1

As mentioned in ‘Would not start from here’, the War Diary appears to have been written in an exercise book. Compiling it was the job of one of the officers. The handwriting is reasonably legible. To help the reader, place names are generally written in capitals. I thought that tracking the journey of the 2nd…

Would not start from here

When the Great War started, Patrick, from Roscommon, was living in England. He was in Dewsbury, Yorkshire. As a reservist, he could live where he liked. Most of his close relatives were in Dewsbury, so that is where he went after completing his eight years of service in the Army in October 1910. His Battalion…