Situation quiet – snipers very active


25th November 1914

The Dorsets finished the relief of the East Surreys by 2.30am. I’ve placed rough positions of the various units in this area using a hand drawn map in the 14th Brigade’s war diary as reference. It’s hard to see exactly where the old tracks or roads have been replaced by newer roads, and time precludes me from doing justice to this, but I hope you get a sense of the positions of the British troops. I will return to this at a later date.

The trenches were individual affairs at this point. Those who climbed out of them were putting themselves in great danger. The Germans were positioned above the British lines and so enjoyed a considerable advantage over their enemy. They poured a seemingly never-ending fire down into the British front line and there were lots of casualties from stray bullets as men hurried to and from the front line across open ground.

Sniping was very active and the Dorsets received orders at 9am for active counter sniping, whatever this meant. As we’ve seen before the British troops had absolutely no means of countering the Germans at this stage of war.

The Dorsets lost 2 men killed and 4 men wounded, according to the war diary. Perhaps it was even their own artillery that caused these casualties. They accidentally shelled the Dorsets’ trenches in the morning.

It was hardly a quiet day as the Dorsets’ diary recalls. The CWGC reports 3 men who died today: Privates Wellman, Apsey and Hordle. They are all remembered on the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres.

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