The Wasp Factory

15th December 1914

The Dorsets remained in billets, albeit at a readiness to move of just 10 minutes. The operations continued between the 16th French Corps and II Corps but by 2.40pm the French attack had broken down again. I can’t help likening this attack to a boy with a stick poking at a wasp’s nest. 5th Division was supporting the 8th Brigade’s attack with their artillery, drawing congratulations from Smith-Dorrien. Troops were tasked with creating diversionary rifle fire but it was all to no avail.

The British attack had failed dramatically the previous day and the Germans were well prepared for any further action. Billy Congreve of the 1s Bn. Gordon Highlanders was more damning. He lay the blame squarely at the feet of Sir John French.

Such was the attack ordered by Sir John French. Next day, I read in the paper ‘British troops hurl back Germans at Wytschaete’. A beautiful epitaph for those poor Gordons who were little better than murdered.

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