Four Marks war memorial

9th November 1914

It was yet another day in the line, similar to the previous day, except that the intermittent shelling took the first Dorset life since the 22nd October*; Henry Lovatt from Barnes in London. He was 19. Two other Dorset men were wounded.

The 11th Brigade counterattacked late in the evening along the eastern edge of the woods with disastrous results. The Germans had deployed barbed wire in front of their trenches, a new arrival on the scene. The newly arrived 2nd Battalion Argylle and Sutherland Highlanders lost 7 officers and 123 men in the ensuing mayhem.

The Dorsets might have been having the quietest time of all the units in Ploegsteert Wood but their fluid left flank continued to cause them problems. The French were in perpetual motion and it was hard for the Dorsets to predict their whereabouts on a daily basis.

I wandered down to a Remembrance Day event in our village today. I stood in the rain, rather appropriately, while a brand new war memorial was unveiled in a ceremony ably hosted by the Assistant Bishop of Winchester, John Dennis. As far as I can tell, being a newcomer, Four Marks was never really an established community beyond a cluster of colonial small holdings in between older villages like Medstead and Ropley. As a result many of the 29 men listed on its coal black sides were included on other, more distant, memorials.

Today we remembered them.

* See comments below. This is not accurate. Firstly apologies, I missed a death from the 6th November: Frederick James Allen – and, secondly, please note that I am filtering out men who died of wounds or away from the scene we’re describing. I will return to casualties in more detail, once this part of the project ends. I’ll leave this errata in as they are more interesting rather than simply editing out my original inaccuracies. Thanks to Stephen Potter for his comments.