|Hour, date, Place
of Events and Information
||Remarks and references to
|A staff Officer
was sent to discuss the taking over of the left portion
of the trenches with the 85th infantry Brigade. This
Brigade had, unfortunately, only been in occupation of
that portion of the line for some 24 hours, and could
furnish little detailed information beyond the fact that
the trenches were badly made and most indifferently
wired. The difficulties inherent in taking over an
unknown and indifferently prepared line in the dark were
further increased by the fact that our Field Squadron
was not available (33) to assist improving the defences;
it was understood (34), however, that the Cavalry Force
had made the necessary arrangements for R.E. assistance
in improving this section of the line.
||(33) G.243 from Vth Corps
(34) Ga.740 from Cav.Corps see App. (31) above.
been verbally informed of the move to be carried out and
orders (35) were subsequently issued. The 6th Cavalry
Brigade was to take over from the N.W. corner of
BELLEWAARDE Lake to the railway line I.6.c. inclusive,
the 7th Cavalry Brigade prolonging the line up to and
exclusive of the main road by VERLONERHOEK. The 8th
Cavalry Brigade was to be in reserve in the G.H.Q. line
in the vicinity of POTIJZE and was to send one Regiment
under orders of the G.O.C. 6th Cavalry Brigade to assist
in improving the trenches. The remainder of the Brigade
was available to assist the 7th Cavalry Brigade if
||(35) Our G.45.M to Bdes
||At 8:15 pm, the
Cavalry Force was informed (36) that a Staff Officer of
the 7th Cavalry Brigade had been waiting at 85th
Infantry Brigade Headquarters since 6:00 pm for the R.E.
Officer and men promised in their Ga.740 (37). This
message was acknowledged (38) by the Cavalry Force which
promised to communicate with C.R.E and to inform us and
the Headquarters of the 7th Cavalry Brigade, of the
result. Nothing further was, however, heard of the
matter, and there can be little doubt that the failure
on the part of the authorities concerned to provide the
necessary R.E. personnel* was largely the cause of the
subsequent very heavy casualties suffered by the 7th and
8th Cavalry Brigades. Whilst quite realizing the
difficulties which the authorities had to contend with,
it is desirable that particular attention should be
(a) to the great risk incurred in attempting to relieve
a line of trenches during darkness without previous
reconnaissance of the same, and
(b) to the fact that since a Field Squadron forms one of
the most important links in the chain of organization of
a Cavalry Division, (especially in trench warfare), it
should under no circumstances whatsoever be withdrawn
from a Division which is likely to be employed. If the
3rd Field Squadron had not been detached from the
Division, it would have been possible to concert in good
time with officers who were immediately available and
who were personally known , not only to Staff and other
Officers, but also to the Troops with whom they would be
working, some means for improvement of the line which
had to be occupied. as it was, the R.E. promised did not
arrive, and the troops of the 7th Cavalry Brigade had to
work until dawn without any R.E. supervision whatsoever.
|(36) Our G.46.M. to 1st Cav Div.
(37) For Ga.740 see (31) above
(38) Ga.764 from Cav.Force.
*From enquiries subsequently made, it appears that an
R.E. Officer did report during the night, to the G.O.C
7th Cav.Bde, but not until it was too late for him to
undertake any work.
midnight a message (39) was received from the Cavalry
Force to the effect that the G.O.C. Vth Corps wished it
to be clearly understood that the line which was being
taken over by the 3rd Cavalry Division must be
maintained, and that in the event of the enemy effecting
a lodgement, a counter attack must at once be made as to
keep the line intact.
||(39) Ga.769 from 1st Cav.Div
repeated to Brigades.
all Brigades were received soon after 2:00 am that the
relief had been carried out satisfactorily, and the
Cavalry Force was informed accordingly (40).*
||(40) Our G.174 to Cav.Force.
*For dispositions of troops at 4:15 a.m. see
Yeomanry subsequently rejoined its Brigade on completion
of its work with the 6th Cavalry Bde.
The disposition of the Division was now as follows :-
6th Cavalry Brigade
Holding the front up to the railway with the North
Somerset Yeomanry on the right and the 3rd Dragoon
Guards on the left, The Royals in Brigade reserve near
the Brigade headquarters in the wood I.11.b.
7th Cavalry Brigade
Prolonging the line up to near VERLONERHOEK. The
Leicestershire Yeomanry on the right, the 2nd Life
Guards in the centre, and the 1st life Guards on the
left, each finding its own supports.
8th Cavalry Brigade
In reserve near POTIJZE.
||Soon after dawn
the G.O.C started off to visit the Brigadiers. heavy
firing was heard along the front, and on reaching the
80th Infantry Brigade headquarters on the MENIN ROAD
(near 1st Kilo) such a heavy bombardment was taking
place that is was found impossible to proceed further.
communication to the front had been interrupted but
shortly afterwards the Brigade-Major of the 6th cavalry
Brigade arrived with a verbal message to the effect that
the front of this Brigade and the area in the rear of it
up to outskirts of YPRES, was being very heavily
shelled, that 3rd Dragoon Guards had been buried in
their trenches, that the Germans has succeeded in
piercing the line, and that G.O.C. the Brigade was
initiating a counter attack with The Royals. It
transpired later that the report that the Germans had
penetrated the line was incorrect, this was not
discovered however, until counter attack had reached the
front line, which, led by the Brigadier, it accomplished
after a most gallant advance under terrific shell fire,
suffering very heavy casualties in doing so. The G.O.C.
Division immediately proceeded to the Headquarters of
the 7th and 8th Cavalry Brigades which were in dug outs
near POOTIJZR CHATEAU.
reports had reached (41) the Advanced Report Centre,
which was still West of YPRES, that the 7th Cavalry
Brigade front was also being heavily bombarded and that
the troops were suffering severely. The trenches near
VERLONERHOEK were said to have been blown in, enemy's
infantry to be attacking the left front, and the 7th
Cavalry Brigade supports to be meeting it.
||(41) A.K.85 and 86 from 7th Cav.Bde.
reached POTIJZE about 7:45 am and advanced report centre
was established there.
were again received from the Cavalry Force that in the
event of the line being broken, it must be repaired and
re-occupied, and that "in no case must any part of
the line be surrendered permanently whatever loss may be
incurred to recover it".
||(42) Ga.782 from 1st Cav.Div.
were also received delegating the command of the Reserve
Brigades of the 1st and 3rd cavalry Divisions to General
Briggs in the event of the situation demanding a joint
counter attack by them and Reserve Brigades in either
sections occupied by those Divisions.
||(43) Ga.778 from 1st Cav.Div.
continued very involved, communication with the front
being extremely difficult. It appeared , however, that
practically to whole of the trenches occupied by the 7th
Cavalry Brigade had been destroyed, and that of the
remnants of the Brigade, some 50 of the 1st life Guards
under their Commanding Officer had fallen back on
the Bays (near 3rd Kilo. stone North of VERLORENHOEK
ROAD), about 100 of the 2nd Life Guards, with 6
officers, behind the G.H.Q. Line, whilst of the
Leicestershire Yeomanry (44) all that could be
ascertained was that the remains of 1 squadron were
North of the Railway line in H.11.b.
**** Grid reference should be I.11.b, it was written
incorrectly within 6th Cav Bde's Signal above.
were again received from Cavalry Force stating that a
counter attack must be organised at once to repair the
line. Steps had already been taken for this, but before
launching it Cavalry Force were informed (46) that
advance of the Reserve would leave the G.H.Q. Line
unoccupied. Moreover, at present, the width of the gap
in the 3rd Cavalry Division line was a matter of
speculation only; the G.O.C. knew that at 7:00 am the
situation was critical with the 6th Cavalry Brigade
according to the Brigade-Major's report, and now that on
the left of the line appeared equally critical. Until
therefore, things assumed more definite shape, it would
be obviously undesirable to formulate a plan for a
counter attack. Steps were accordingly taken to
ascertain what extent of gap existed.
||(45) Ga.789 and 790 from Cav. Force.
(46) Our G.51.M to Cav.Force
Our G.56.M to Cav.Force
meanwhile one Regiment of the 8th Cavalry Brigade (10th
Hussars) had been despatched to connect up the right of
the Bays (1st Cavalry Brigade) with the G.H.Q Line in
I.4.b. near POTIJZE. This Regiment took up a position
along, and North of, the POTIJZE - VERLONERHOEK ROAD,
Regiment from the 8th Cavalry brigade (The Blues) was
also despatched (47) to connect up the left of the 6th
Cavalry Brigade with G.H.Q Line. This Regiment came
temporarily under orders of general Campbell's orders,
until counter attack was launched. The disposition of
the troops about now is shown on
G.54.M to Cav.Force
||To assist the
Division in carrying out a counter attack, the G.O.C.
Cavalry force had despatched at 10:35 am (48) 1Bn. of
the Durham Light Infantry Brigade (which Brigade had
been placed at his disposal) to occupy the G.H.Q.
trenches which would be vacated on the advance of the
8th Cavalry brigade.
||(48) Ga.793 from Cav.Force
(49) were also received regarding steps to be taken for
the protection of the front and closing of the existing
gap, but as stated above, the G.O.C 3rd Cavalry
Division, had already taken the action which he
considered necessary, moreover the supporting points
which the cavalry Force Commander was desirous of
occupying had long ceased to exist.
||(49) Ga.796 from 1st Cav.Div.
Ga.800 from Cav.Force.
Vide our G.51.M and
(46) & (47).
(50) Our G.59.M to Cav.Force
consultation with the Brigadiers of the 7th and 8th
Cavalry Brigades, orders (51) for the counter attack
were issued. The lost trenches were to be regained at
all costs, and the 8th Cavalry Brigade, assisted by the
Armoured Motors, which had been moved up to POTIJZE, was
ordered to carry out the attack, and the G.O.C 9th
Cavalry Brigade detailed one Regiment (19th Hussars) to
support it. The general idea of the counter attack was -
10th Hussars, with their left pivoted on the Bays,
advance towards the Farm I.5.d followed by the Essex
Yeomanry., whilst the Blues with their right pivoted on
the 6th cavalry Brigade advanced in a similar manner on
the right, the armoured motors co-operating by moving
down the road towards VERLONERHOEK as far as possible.
(see Map B for dispositions)
G.57.M to all concerned.
bombardment * by all available guns commenced at 2:00 pm
and was continued till 2:30 pm. At which hour the
counter attack was launched. Independent witnesses of
the Bays, and R.A. observing Officers, state that it
was carried out with utmost gallantry and vigour and
with the precision of a parade ground movement under
rain or shrapnel and H.E.Shell. The Germans did not wait
to meet it but fled in disorganized bodies, and it is
thought, suffered considerable losses from our
artillery, who continued the bombardment after 2:30 pm
with lengthened fuzes.
||* From various reports subsequently received it
appears that this fire was extraordinarily accurate and
effective and when the Germans ran, caused them severe
line was regained (52) but it was found that the
trenches had been so blown in that they practically
ceased to exist and the terrific bombardment which the
enemy maintained rendered it impossible to
consolidate the position, though on our left, where a
certain amount of cover was obtainable, remains of the
10th Hussars, some 100 strong, hung on most valiantly
||(52) B.M.77 from 8th Cav.Bde.
||Touch with the
Essex Yeomanry had been almost lost. This Regiment
pushed out to the right of the 10th Hussars in the
advance; on nearing the original line of trenches a
considerable body of enemy broke and fled. The Úlan of
the Essex Yeomanry advance in pursuit of these is
reported to have been splendid, and they did not spare
themselves in their attempts to get to handgrips.
Motor-cars proved of considerable value both offensively
on the left flank of the counter attack, and
subsequently in ascertaining the disposition of the
front line as far as it could be seen from the
VERLORENHOEK ROAD. One car had its radiator smashed at
the outset, and the water jacket of the machine gun over
another was pierced. Officers of the Bays subsequently
stated that the coolness and daring with which the
Armoured Motors were handled was magnificent. They were
under a very severe shrapnel and shell fire the whole
time they were in action, but manoeuvred up and down the
road each time it appeared the enemy had got their
range, and did not retire until their mission had been
was now as follows.* On the right the 6th Cavalry
Brigade were still holding their original line, but
their left was exposed (53) and they had suffered very
heavy casualties, The Royals having only about 70 men
left out of 230. On left rear of the 6th Cavalry
Brigade, but out of touch with them, was a party of the
Leicester Yeomanry, another small body of the same
Regiment was found subsequently to have held on
stubbornly throughout the day to a farm. In the G.H.Q.
Line were small parties of various Regiments of the 7th
and 8th Cavalry Brigades. On the left, near the original
line of trenches, were some 100 of the 10th Hussars and
a small party of 2nd Life Guards who had endeavoured to
carry up some entrenching tools. On the right of the 1st
cavalry Division were several small parties of the 1st
life Guards, probably totalling in all about 100 men. In
the rear of the 10th Hussars, and occupying positions
held by the Regiment before the counter attack was
launched, were the 19th Hussars in support.
||* See Map "C".
(53) Our G.63.M to Cav.Force
now made to protect the left of the 6th Cavalry Brigade
by pushing forward the remnants of the 7th Cavalry
Brigade and Blues to a position along the road running
N.N.W. from Railway Wood, I.11.b. and report (54) on the
situation was sent to Cavalry Force
||(54) Our G.65.M. to Cav.Force
|At 7:30 pm
fresh orders (55) were received from the G.O.C cavalry
Force. As it did not appear possible from those orders
that the G.O.C was aware of the actual situation, a
Staff Officer was sent to explain the same to him, with
the result that further order (56) were subsequently
received. the result of these was that the 27th division
took over the right of the railway inclusive. The 6th
Cavalry Brigade, less the North Somerset Yeomanry and
inclusive of the 10th Hussars, took up a new line
parallel to and in front of the road running from near
WITTE POORT Farm to 2 1/2 Kilo. POTIJZE - VERLONERHOEK
ROAD, to within 600 yards of the latter, whilst
remaining troops were collected (57) as a Reserve in the
G.H.Q. Line under General Bulkeley-Johnson.
||(55) Ga.810 & 811 from Cavalry Force.
(56) Ga.817 & 818 from Cavalry Force.
(57) Our G.75.M to Brigades.
|A digging party
of 600 men from the Durham light Infantry Brigade had
been sent out to assist in digging the new line under
the supervision of the R.E., it was found necessary to
ask (58) the O.C. this party to leave out 300 men to
maintain the line until the arrival of the 6th Cavalry
||(58) our G.724 to D.L.I. Bde
||The relief (59)
of the 6th Cavalry Brigade by the 80th Infantry Brigade
was completed by 2:30 am when the line was occupied as
follows*:- On the right 3rd Dragoon Guards., in the
centre, Royal Dragoons., on the left, 10th Hussars.
||(59) Our G.77.M to Cav.Force
*For disposition of troops at 4:00 am see map D.
right was quiet one (60) and the troops were enabled to
consolidate their positions somewhat. The heavy rain
which had fallen at intervals during the previous 24
hours had tended to make condition of things for the
troops most uncomfortable. many (especially the 7th and
8th Cavalry Brigades) had lost their coats and were wet
to the skin and caked in mud. In addition, the 7th
Cavalry Brigade had lost their rations during early
morning bombardment on the 13th, and many of the rifles
had become so caked in mud as to be temporarily
||(60) Our G.77.M to Cav.Force