Off to France
The Royal Field Artillery (who had been based in Hemel Hempstead) in Cassiobury Park, Watford, on their way to France, March 1915
The original plan had been for individual territorial units to be sent to replace Regular army units, and as we saw earlier, the Hertfordshire Yeomanry was sent to Egypt to guard the Suez Canal, allowing the Regular Army units to go to France. The first battalions from the 2nd London Division to go were the London Scottish and Queens Westminster Rifles. They had left Hertfordshire in September, 1914, and on October 31st they had their opportunity to fight. A they fought furiously - showing the regulars that they could beat the Germans. While the regulars made little progress the London Scottish surged forward, leaving their flanks unprotected. They were now under fire from three sides, and of the 750 men who had attacked, 345 were killed, missing or wounded by the following day. While the troops were hailed as heroes, the British press said nothing about the scale of the massacre.
Plans changed - and training concentrated on turning the whole 2nd London Division into an effective fighting unit. In March 1915 the whole Division moved to France.
Page created October 2005