Out with the Auld

Field Service Postcard – franked 1 Jan 15

Message reads: “I am quite well. Letter follows at first opportunity. I have received no letter form you lately.”
Signed Frank and dated 31-12-14*

31st December 1914

As 1914 came to a close, the Dorsets remained in billets for another day.

The weather had put paid to any major campaigning in France and Belgium. For now, the fighting nations waited, licked their numerous wounds, and worked hard at keeping their enemies on constant tenterhooks.

Most of Britain’s professional army lay buried in makeshift graves, openly rotting in sodden fields, churned into the sticky Belgian mud, crushed by demolished buildings in French villages, interred in miserable camps in Germany or crippled by horrific injuries in British hospitals. The BEF was finished as a professional force but it was by no means defeated.

1915 promised to be a year for new armies, a new way of fighting war and new methods of killing on an ever larger scale. Thousands of volunteers, now known as Kitchener’s Army, were currently learning how to fight an industrial war but they were a long way from realising how victory might be achieved. Indeed, they were still a long way from being ready to fight. For now the tattered remnants of Britain’s professional army continued to do its duty.

For a war that was supposed to be over by Christmas, it looked very much like it was just getting started.

* I’ve added this postcard on the 2nd Jan – I missed as I’d been away and left my transcript behind.

I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment.