D’Ors set

18th August 1914, Ors, France

The Dorsets continued to guard the approaches to Ors and Pommereuil. The war diary details the various relief patterns throughout the day.

One thing I haven’t been able to find out is which company Frank was in. I’ve contacted the Keep Military Museum in Dorchester but they haven’t got any information down to company level. At this time the battalion is at full strength but as casualties mounted the companies became amalgamated, reformed and reinforced. I think, for Frank at least, it’s going to be very hard to identify his exact company.

The 15th Brigade’s stay around Pommereuil allowed time for the rest of the 5th Division to assemble along with the 3rd Division. These two divisions formed the Second Army Corps.

II Corps had suffered a shock setback the previous day. Sir James Grierson, he of Bluelands Army fame, had died of a heart attack on a train on his way to Le Cateau. Lord Kitchener chose Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien as his replacement. Smith-Dorrien was not a popular choice with Field Marshall Sir John French, Commander-in-Chief of the BEF.

Smith-Dorrien was, however, popular with the troops and had strong views on how to conduct warfare, including a lesser role for cavalry, greater use of machine guns and development fire and removal actions. All of these elements of modern warfare were to be brought into sharp focus over the next six months.

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