The Following extracts are taken from the official war diaries of the Royal West Kent Regiment
The diary entries give the background and the details of the events that led to the battle at Neuve Chapelle. 1914 Very little of this particular event was ever published ,
The Germans had practically fought us to a standstill . After a terrific onslaught in the opening days and weeks of the first world war the British expeditionary forces were all but spent . The outstanding achievements of what the Kaiser called the ‘Contemptible little Army ’ was manifest in the fact that they not only halted the German advance against superior odds, but brought them to the point of surrender . However when the Germans came to surrender they found they were yielding to a retreating army ! Ironically the British, unaware of the demoralised and weakened state of their opponents had decided that they would have to withdraw and.When one looks at the severity of the losses in British ranks it is easy to see why.
Thus the armies were in a fluid state. Regrouping, repositioning and reinforcing. It was from this stalemate position that the trench warfare evolved.
It against this background that the diary extracts are set.
Neuve Chapelle was one of the principle places where the Germans were halted in their advance and it was from this position that the great offensive was eventually launched and it is often mentioned in official histories of other later actions . But because of the need for secrecy and security the full details of this last desperate act of 22-29 Oct 1914 was never made known to the public.
Pte Walter Thomas Shrosbree was one of the men who served in B coy during those fate full days of 1914. His recollections as related to his grandchildren bear a very close similarity to the Regimental diary
Dedicated to memory of Pte Walter Thomas Shrosbree his comrades and the forces of of the British Expeditionary forces
Lest we Forget