Cloth Hall, Ypres, Belgium.
Hullo ma wee blog,
Our Grandfather had enlisted early in 1915 when aged to do so and after basic training had been sent to Gallipoli as part of the ill fated attempt to open up a second front in the Dardanelles as a means of breaking the deadlock in western Europe. A simple country lad he found himself in an alien landscape in Mediterranean heat in the same thick woolen uniform that the troops in France and Belgium had been given. It must have been awful. Two days after landing his regiment was sent into the line as part of the 52nd division, almost 11,000 men. Within 10 days five and a half thousand of them were dead or injured and the rest found themselves hopelessly outnumbered and pinned down in a relatively small area, backs to the sea, a situation that would remain for almost 9 months. Existence in those fetid, fly blown trenches, where dysentery quickly broke out due to the inability of men to maintain any semblance of personal hygiene or sanitation, exposed to constant fire as they were due to being completely overlooked by the enemy positions, was a hellish experience. Shot himself during one attack on enemy lines, he recovered and was returned to the trenches until the troops were withdrawn in January 1916.
The remains of the two battalions were split, some to Palestine, the rest - including our Grandfather - were sent to the western front where he would spend the rest of the war in and around Ypres and Paschendaele, amongst other places. In total he spent 3 years in front line trenches and survived being shot a further twice, returning to the front line each time.