Chapter 2a – St Julien

Ypres - La Place Vendenpeerboom

Lt Col Alfred James Foster Context Within six weeks of the British mobilisation, the German Army had fought their way to within thirty miles of Paris before being checked at the Battle of…

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  1. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was an integral part of Britain’s professional army, formed after the Boer War. It comprised approximately 120,000 men and was sent to France at the outbreak of war in 1914. The ‘Old Contemptibles’ 
  2.  Ypres (Ieper in the Flemish language) is a medieval Flemish town around which the salient formed in 1914
  3. Land reclaimed from the sea using a series of canals, ditches, sluice gates, pumping stations and embankments 
  4. Transport Section
  5. Brigadier-General James Foster Riddell – GOC Northumbrian Brigade 
  6. Major Moore – Brigade Major
  7. Major William Ernest Stephenson - 2 i/c 4th Bn 
  8. Captain Bernard Cruddas- Bn Adjutant 
  9. Boulogne was the French port through which many thousands of troops from Britain and the Empire transited to and from the front line
  10.  St Martin’s rest camp was located on a hill on the eastern outskirts of Boulogne. During the course of the war many Bns were billeted there whilst transiting between England and the Western Front
  11.  Pont de Briques is approximately five miles inland from the port of Boulogne 
  12. Reputedly, on the 11th April 1677 during the Battle of Mont Cassel, the Regiment behaved gallantly against superior numbers despite the difficulties caused by the terrain
  13. The very same hill, reputedly, that the Grand Old Duke of York marched his ten thousand men up and down two centuries earlier
  14. German 35th Pioneer Regiment
  15. Prolonged exposure to Chlorine gas destroys the respiratory organs, causes choking attacks and the victim to drown
  16.  Maj Gen. Sir William F.L Lindsay 
  17. The 1st Canadian Divn was comprised of the 1st Canadian Bde (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Bns), 2nd Canadian Bde (5th, 7th, 8th and 10th Bns) and 3rd Canadian Bde (13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Bns)
  18.  Kitchener’s Wood (Bois des Cuisiniersan Oak plantation) approx half a mile west of St Julien - St Julien Map: 10-28NW2 - Ref: C.10.d & C.11.c
  19. The detachment was named after its commanding officer, Col. A.D. Geddes, and was comprised of four Bns from the 28th Divn (2nd Buffs, 3rd Middlesex, 5th King’s Own and 1st York & Lancaster)
  20. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was an integral part of Britain’s professional army, formed after the Boer War. It comprised approximately 120,000 men and was sent to France at the outbreak of war in 1914. The ‘Old Contemptibles’ 
  21. The British 2nd Army was commanded by Gen. Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien and was comprised of V Corps (1st Canadian, 27th and 28th Divns)
  22. The gas attack of the 22nd and the subsequent actions on the 23rd would later be officially designated as the Battle of Gravenstafel; the first of four actions in the 2nd Battle of Ypres
  23.  Gen. Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien was sacked and replaced by Gen. Sir Herbert Plumer 
  24. 2nd Army HQ was based in Hazebrouck, France
  25. Supply section train
  26. No2 Coy, Army Service Corps (ASC). ASC ‘train’ was the collective name for the army transport, comprising horses, carts, wagons and bicycles. There were four ASC Coys in every Divn, with one assigned to each Bde and one to Divn HQ. Divisional trains at this time were comprised of twenty-six officers and four hundred and two men from the Army Service Corps. They were responsible for 378 horses, 17 carts, 125 wagons and 30 bicycles. The Northumbrian Division Coys were the 467th, 468th, 469th and 470th 
  27. The British Army 1908 pattern webbing equipment consisted of a waist belt and shoulder straps to which a large pack, haversack and various equipment pouches could be attached i.e. ammunition, water bottle carrier, bayonet scabbard, entrenching tool and helve (handle) carrier, respirator
  28. V Corps at this time was comprised of the 4th, 27th, 28th and 50th Divns
  29.  Yser canal 
  30. The 13th Bde was part of the 5th Divn
  31. Bns of the 1st Canadian Divn
  32. Locality 'C' – East of     .......          - St Julien Map: 10-28NW2 - Ref:
  33. The Cloth Hall was designed by the town’s corporation of draper’s to mark the success of their trade and was built around AD 1200. It was destroyed in WW1, but rebuilt to the original design
  34. Lt John Wilfrid Robinson joined the 4th NF on the outbreak of war. He was the younger brother of Capt Frank Robinson
  35.  Lt Gen. Edward Alfred Hervey Alderson was the GOC - 1st Canadian Divn
  36.  St Julien was xx miles northeast of Ypres and now part of the front line. Kitchener’s Wood was west of the village and Fortuin to the south east
  37. The 10th Bde (4th Divn) was comprised of the 1st Royal Warwickshires, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders, 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers, 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 1/7th Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders
  38. The 13th Bde (5th Divn) was comprised of the 2nd Kings Own Scottish Borderers, 2nd Duke of Wellington’s Regt, 1st Queen’s Own, 2nd King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 1/9th London Regt
  39. The field at Potijze –     Map – Ref: 4.c.5.8
  40.  Lt Scaife returned to England and was engaged to be married whilst recuperating at home
  41.  Oxford road junction –  St Julien Map: 10-28NW2 - Ref: C.28.b.3.4
  42.  Capt. David Henderson Weir was the son of Jarrow Doctor J.J. Weir. At the outbreak of the war he was a medical officer in a Bradford school and a captain in the Durham Fortress (Territorial Force) Engineers (HQ in Jarrow). Weir was transferred to the RAMC and attached to 4th NF. As a result of his wound Weir was admitted to Guy’s Hospital, London on the 29th April 1915 
  43. Bns of the York and Durham Bde
  44.  Vanheule Farm lay immediately to the right of the Weiltje-St Julien road.  St Julien Map: 10-28NW2 - Ref: C.17.d.3.6
  45. The artillery formation was adopted by infantry on the move when under artillery fire. Rather than advancing in rows of platoons, they switched to small columns at varying intervals and distances
  46. St Julien Map: 10-28NW2 - Ref: C.22.t 
  47. Lt John Wilfrid Robinson joined the 4th NF on the outbreak of war. He was the younger brother of Capt. Frank Robinson 
  48.  Pte William M. Spence (4/2021)
  49. The wounded men from ‘C’ Coy were - Obediah Armstrong  (4/836), John J. Hyslop (4/1817), John Watson (4/1530), William Carrick (4/1787), Thomas Hepple (4/1968), Richard Middleton (4/1711), John Dodd (4/2292), J. R. Lee (4/913), Harold B. White (4/1888), Henry Blades (4/1890), Ellis Thompson (4/1732) and M. Fraser (4/3207). ‘D’ Coy – Pte William Ridley (4/1363?) and CSM Edwin Wind (4/182). CSM Wind (b.1889) was a miner from Prudhoe residing at No2 Wesley Street in 1911
  50.  Ferozepur (Firozpur) is a city on the banks of the Sutlej River in the Firozpur District of Punjab state, India 
  51.  Jallundur (Jalandhar) is a city in the north-western Indian state of Punjab. The oldest city in Punjab
  52.  Sirhind-Fatehgarh is a city and a municipal council in the Fatehgarh Sahib district of Punjab state. It is often simply called Sirhind
  53.  Lt. Gen. Sir Edwin Alfred Hervey Alderson, KCB was the British army officer placed in command of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). He had enemies amongst the Canadian political and military elite and suffered disastrous casualties during operations in 1915. He was sidelined and eventually retired from service 
  54.  Maj. Gibson wrote notes in his copy of Lt Bunbury’s published diary [zotpress items="6C9UZ7VX" style="harvard1"] (Author’s collection). The notes make it clear that the Bn was not supposed to cross the St Julien road
  55.  2nd Seaforth Highlanders (10th Bde, 4th Divn)
  56.  Captain Frank Robinson
  57. First Aid post
  58.  Jack Johnson, an Afro-American, was reigning world heavyweight boxing champion until the 5th of April 1915. His name became the nickname for a heavy German artillery shell that gave off a lot of black smoke when it exploded, typically the 21cm mortar and 15cm Howitzer shell
  59. The 2nd Seaforths were one of the five Bns in the 10th Bde (4th Divn) who had attacked on the 25th 
  60.  Cpl George O. Chadderton (4/1517, 200330) ‘A’ Coy; embarked for France with the Bn on 20 Apr 15. At a later date George was commissioned into the East Lancashire Regt
  61.  Capt. Liddel (7th NF), Capt. Norton Good 
  62.  Sgt Nicholas Cornish(4/938) ‘A’ Coy embarked for France with the rest of the Bn on 20 Apr 15. Commissioned into the Machine Gun Corps
  63.  Sgt S.W. Smith could be T.W. Smith 
  64.  Vanheule Farm lay immediately to the right of the Weiltje-St Julien road -  St Julien Map: 10-28NW2 - Ref: C.17.d.3.6 
  65.  Brig. Gen. James Foster Riddell (b.1862) originated from Otterburn, Northumberland. His father was John Riddell, of Roxburghshire. Riddell is recorded in the 1881 Census as an Infantry Private serving with the ….NF at “Grand Shaft Barracks, Western Heights, Dover,” Kent 
  66. The Mount School in Northallerton?
  67.  In common with many of the NF buried in the Salient his grave was subsequently lost. He is now commemorated in Tyne Cot cemetery 
  68. The Regular 2nd Dublin Fusiliers arrived in France in Aug 1914 as part of the BEF. They had been severely depleted after taking part in the ‘Retreat from Mons’ and Le Cateau, Battle of the Marne and the Aisne before even arriving in the Salient
  69.  Maj. Scott Jackson (7th NF) was the son of Daniel Jackson, the Hexham doctor 
  70. Advanced Dressing Stations (ADS) were staffed by Field Ambulance Units and positioned close to the front line
  71. L/Cpl William Ernest Woodman (4/1582) ‘A’ (Hexham) Coy
  72. Pte Arthur John Herdman (4/1855) ‘B’ (Newburn) Coy
  73.  Pte William Paxton (4/1719) ‘C’ Coy enlisted on the 1st Sep 1914. Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres
  74.  Pte Robert Scott (4/1883) from Stocksfield is commemorated on the Menin Gate, Ypres
  75. 'D' Coy had lost three of its six officers
  76. [zotpressInText item="{BPF9SFSU}"] and the Commonwealth Wargraves Commission (CWGC)
  77.  Colonel Geoffrey Percy Thynne Fielding was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in April 1888 
  78. Within a matter of weeks censorship, would bring the publication of letters in newspapers to an end
  79.  The Taube (Dove) was a type of aircraft used extensively by the German Army Air Service during the first year of the war, principally for reconnaissance purposes. Allied soldiers tended to label a variety of German aircraft types as ‘Taube’ well after their withdrawal from front line use 
  80. Bellewaarde Farm - Zillebeke Map: M 28NW4 - Ref: I.12.a.6.0
  81.  Divisional supply dumps were usually established at rail-heads some distance from the front line. From here the Divisional Supply Column brought the goods forward to unit supply dumps (refilling points). From here the supplies were the responsibility of the unit Quartermaster. Construction materials would be stockpiled at the RE supply dumps
  82.  The Base’ refers to the Infantry Base Depots (IBD) established in 1914 near the fishing village of Etaples, a few miles to the south of Boulogne 
  83.  Pte Frank Lamb (4/1460) ‘D’ Coy subsequently reported for duty with the 3/4th NF in Hexham on 19th Aug 15. Admin Centre 25 Sep 15 
  84.  Pte Peter Haley (4/1309) ‘D’ Coy subsequently reported for duty with the 3/4th NF on 29th June 15 
  85.  Hellfire Corner was the name given to the point where the Ypres-Menin road crossed the Ypres-Roulers railway line. The Menin road was important route for the resupply of the front around Hooge and Bellewaarde. The crossing became notorious as a favourite spot for German artillery to concentrate on. It is now a roundabout 
  86.  Col. Foster subsequently discovered that he had been suffering from German Measles
  87.  Pte John B. Walton (4/1750) was posted to the 3/4th NF ('A' Coy) on 21 Jun 15 
  88.  On the 24th of May the ruins of Turco farm were close to where the left flank of the British front line met the right flank of the French line, due north of Ypres. This was over a mile from the 4th NF position south of Wieltje 
  89.  The Cap Comforter was a scarf made from a tube of knitted wool, sewn up at both ends. Doubling the garment up, by pushing one end through the tube to the other end and then rolling it up produced a cap that could be worn under the steel helmet 
  90.  A fire step, 2 or 3ft in height, was dug in the forward side of a trench so that soldiers could see and fire through the parapet 
  91.  Despite the anger this attack stirred up, the truth of the matter was that the French had already used tear gas (1914) and the British Army immediately set about developing it own gas warfare capability and was to release Chlorine gas at the first battle of Loos in Sep 1915 
  92. ‘Fleabag’ was the slang name for a sleeping bag
  93.  Lt Henry Hogarth Bell,  the Bn transport officer
  94.  Dysentry is caused by the shigella bacteria, which is found in faeces. The infection is spread through poor hygiene and affects the intestines resulting in diarrhoea containing blood or mucus
  95. Home Bn refers to the 3/4th (Home Service) NF based in Hexham
  96.  Lt Cecil George Arkwright reported sick on the 23rd of April. 2nd Lt John Angus Bagnall, Henry Cheesmond, John Thomas Henderson, Tom Clough Lund. According to Maj.Bertand. D. Gibson’s notes this was also the day that Lt Percival Cox joined the Bn
  97. Recommendations for medals, mention in dispatches etc
  98.  Gen. Sir Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer was one of the most successful commanders during WW1
  99. This was the opening of the Battle of Frezenburg which ran from the 8th to the 13th of May. This was the third of four subsidiary battles to the the Second Battle of Ypres (Gravenstafel 22-23 Apr, St Julien 24 Apr – 4 May, Frezenburg 8 – 13 May, Bellewaarde 24-25 May 15)
  100.  Brig. Gen Fielding 
  101. The 5th (Cumberland) Border Regt joined the Northumberland Bde on the 5th of May 1915 
  102. Doctor’s Quinn, Metcalfe and Weir were Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) Officers attached to the Bn. Very little is known about Dr Quin 
  103. Measles is still a highly infectious viral illness. Classic symptoms include a three day fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a rash of distinctive red-brown spots. The infection is spread through direct contact with an infected person or the droplets of saliva exhaled when coughing or sneezing. These droplets can survive and remain contagious, on surfaces for several hours.
  104.  Maj. Stephenson reported for duty with the 3/4th NF in Hexham and was appointed Bde Major on the 4th Oct 15 
  105.  Lt Bunbury’s diary suggests that for the first part of the journey to Poperinghe they were conveyed in a fleet of approximately one hundred London Omnibuses
  106.  Henry Hogarth Bell 
  107. The 27th Divn at this time was comprised of the 80th, 81st & 82nd Bdes
  108. The 7th Cavalry Bde comprised the 1st  and 2nd Life Guards and 1/1st Leicestershire Yeomanry
  109.  Major Bertrand Dees Gibson 
  110. Coal box’ was the British soldier’s slang name for a heavy German shell, usually 5.9-inch calibre, which gave off black smoke on detonation.(Anon., 1915).
  111. unknown at this time
  112. Pte R Dinning (4/1206) reported for duty with the 3/4th NF 'A' Coy on 3 Jul 15 
  113. Chateau des Trois Tours (photo in St Julien, p ) near Brielen
  114. 4th Divn