Snow rest for the wicked


19th November 1914

At 5am the Dorsets formed up to the west of Ploegsteert wood at Petit Pont, exactly where they had stood sixteen days ago. Although their experience in the woods had been fraught and miserable with danger, cold and damp, it must have felt like a holiday compared to La Bassée.

Now the Dorsets were on the move again and into the care of 14th Brigade. They marched at 7am, this time four miles to the northwest, via Neuve Église to Dranoutre (now Dranouter*), into billets and rest. Major Fraser resumed command of the Battalion. Heavy snow fell that day, which settled and froze solid by 4pm, according to the 14th Brigade’s diary.

* I’m using the old French terms for these towns. From 1921 onwards, Belgian place names changed into Dutch. For instance Neuve Église is now Nieuwkirke and Ypres is Ieper.

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