Ready to march but where?

20th August 1914, Ors, France

The Dorsets remained in Ors for another day. At 1pm the battalion received verbal orders from Brigadier-General Gleichen that they would be marching tomorrow. This was seen as a chance to get the reservists, those who had been recalled to the ranks since war was declared, up to speed. Brigadier-General Hussey, in his book “The Fifth Division in the Great War ” (1921), counts themselves lucky that they got to practice a “peace march”. It was the first time the 5th Division had moved together as a unit.

Earlier in the morning, the battalion had been paraded and spoken to by the commander of the 5th Division, Sir Charles Fergusson. He, according to Gleichen, spoke about the Germans, their “machine guns and their method of attack in large numbers”. But the truth was that no one really knew where they were in the grand scheme of things. They knew that the British I Corps was to the east, but as to the whereabouts of the Germans, or even the French, nothing was known.

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