|Hour, date, Place
of Events and Information
||Remarks and references to
when in huts 1 mile west of Ypres on the Brailen Road and
one mile East of that Village, an order came to march
for the trenches at 7.15 pm. All respirators were inspected
and doped, and the Regiment, consisting of 281 all ranks
moved off from the huts at 7.30 pm in Brigade with 1st
and 2nd Life Guards, the Leicesters being the
The route taken was
East along the VLAMERTINGE-YPRES Road through the town
of YPRES. The town was being shelled by Germans during
our march through and was practically all on fire.
The Brigade left
YPRES by the ZONNIBEKE Road and passed through the
village of POTIJZE, and about ½ a mile further East
halted for half an hour near white Chateau, on left of
road West of General Head Quarter Line and West of where
brook crosses Road.
||At 11pm we marched
off to take up our position in trenches previously
occupied by the 5th Battalion Royal Fusiliers
and situated about 700 yds West of the Road joining the
Zonnebeke Road and the YPRES MENIN Rd (squares 5 & 6,
sheet 28 Squared BELGIUM map) with the extreme Right of
Regiment resting on Railway running North East from
Ypres and extending to farm house about 300 yds North
North West of Railway including trench in front of Farm
House. B squadron occupied
North portion of trench C squadron the South portion of trench.
|The trenches were
bad, about 5feet deep and 2 ½ feet wide at bottom, the
parapet in front and behind trenches slanted very much
and was made of loose soil, very few sand bags being
used. There were no dugouts of funk holes (the friable
nature of soil would not allow of their being made) so
there was practically no protection from shell fire. The support trenches
occupied by A squadron were situated about 300 yds to
the rear of advance trenches and on the extreme flank
of B squadron. All troops got
settled down in their trenches about 1 am some
difficulty being experienced in finding best positions
for machine gun and it was ultimately placed in C
squadron trenches close to Rly.
There were no trench
bombs or mortars or hand grenades issued to the
Regiment. The 3rd
Dragoon Guards occupied trenches on immediate South of
the Railway, and the 2nd Life Guards the
trenches immediately North of B squadron.
||The Hd. Qrs. were in
dugout on Rd. joining ZONNERBEKE and MENNIN Rd. about
150 yds North of Railway crossing in I.5.d.
||**** Near 6th Cav Bde HQ in I.11.b.
At 1.30 spades and picks were
obtained and the men improved the condition of their
trenches during the night.
||The M.O. and R.A.M.C
were 1st in support trenches but were
subsequently (2 am) ordered by C.O. to make Regimental
Aid Post in Farm situated 200 yds South of Railway.
Crossing on left side of Toad in square 11 opposite
wood. This Farm was found to be occupied by 6. Cav.
Field Amb. as their advanced dressing station.
||**** Near 6th Cav Bde HQ in I.11.b.
Cav. Field Ambulance had its advanced dressing station
at White Chateau on the YPRES. ZONNEBEKE Rd. ½ mile East
of POTIJZE Village.
|Between 3.30 and 4 am
the Germans commenced a very heavy shell fire - shrapnel
and high explosives - on both the advanced and support
trenches which practically continued without
intermission till 6 am when there appeared to be a lull.
The casualties during that time were not very heavy, and
were attended to by the stretcher bearers who had
accompanied each squadron with their stretchers into the
trenches, Pte Townsend did excellent work in this
respect in support trenches.
Capt. Codrington and Lieut. Simpkin were in the
support trenches which were bad and similar to the
advanced trenches, if anything, worse.
These trenches were
shelled very heavily from 3.30 and about 5.30 a
retirement towards the road West of trenches had
commenced, before this retirement reached the road, it
was met by Col. Freke, Major Ricardo and Capt. Martin
(acting adjutant) coming out of their dug out in road.
Col. Freke shouted
"Hold hard Leicester Yeomanry" and the A squadron
Col. Freke then
ordered them to return to the support trenches which was
done at the double. Major Ricardo 2nd in
command returning in charge of A squadron, Capt.
Codrington having been badly wounded during retirement,
and had to be removed on stretcher to the Regimental Aid
Col. Freke then took
Lieut Simpkin, Sgt. Bailey and 15 men, and led them up
an avenue of trees situated about 100 yds South of
support trenches and running in Eastern direction from
Road to a small house about 150 yds in advance of
support trenches, and 100 yds South East. Here Col.
Freke placed Lieut Simpkin, Sgt. Bailey and 15 men, and
instructed them to hold on at all costs, as the Germans
were threatening a flanking movement on his advanced
trenches through the 1st & 2nd Life Guard trenches.
Capt. Martin who
accompanied the Col. was wounded here and had to retire.
Col. Freke then went
forward to advance trenches, sending back to trenches 1
troop of B who were leaving trenches, and he went along
the whole front trenches encouraging his officers and
men to stick it, though the shell fire was very heavy.
Whilst retiring from advanced trenches he saw a wounded
man, Private Fewkes dragged him to a shell hole under
cover, took his own coat off, wrapped it round the
wounded man and left him.
The Col. then returned to
Lieut. Simpkin, pointed out the importance of
his position and then went back towards the road
and crossed over to get to the support trenches,
he was struck first by shrapnel in the arm but
continued his way, and when within three yards
of support trenches, was hit by a bullet which
penetrated his breast, and he was killed
instantly, his servant John Swain rushed out to
his aid and he was wounded with a bullet.
||Soon after Col. Freke
left Lieut. Simpkins and Sgt. Bailey at top of avenue.
Lieut. Simpkins was hit by shrapnel on chest and badly
bruised and had to retire leaving Sgt. Bailey in command
who stayed in that position till 8 am at that time he
had only 6 men then remaining. Sgt. Bailey then thinking
that his flank was then protected by 6th
Brigade and hearing Major Ricardo was wounded, and might
require his help with A squadron returned to support
trenches and remained with A squadron.
||During the time the
Col. was visiting the advanced trenches, Lieut. Best,
R.S.M. Parker and the remainder of the Hd. Qr. Staff
left Hd. Qrs. dug out and went into the support trenches
and remained with A squadron till the end of the action.
second wave of shelling
there were many casualties, principally in the advanced
trenches and the trenches themselves were blown flat,
especially that in front of the Farm on the extreme Left
of B trenches and the Germans seemed to be getting into
trenches which had been occupied by the 2nd
Life Guards and evacuated by them before 6 am and coming
along there trenches towards B squadron trenches.
gradually retired South along their trenches, some
leaving trenches and retiring to support trenches.
||At about 6.15 there
was signs of a German assault and some Germans left
their trenches when a heavy rifle fire from our advanced
trenches caused the Germans to retire precipitously to
their trenches and open again a heavy shell fire upon
our trenches, but principally confined this time to the
advanced trenches, and they continued shelling till
||R.S.M. Parker was
killed by a bullet wound in head at 6.30. Major Ricardo was
wounded in left arm by G.S. and later had a finger
injured and was also wounded in head by shrapnel and
rendered unconscious for some time. As soon as he
regained consciousness he resumed command, crawling
about trenches cheering and encouraging his men.
||The Germans continued
their advance along B squadron trenches and leaving
trenches advanced West under cover of hedge, until they
came to within 200 yds of the support trenches and here
dug themselves in a ditch which ran parallel with
support trenches and it was noticed that the Germans
used steel shields to protect their advance. Here they
remained till the counter attack in the afternoon.
continued to advance along B squadron trenches and also
made frontal attack under cover of their snipers, and
squadron retired on C. When they came to the left of
squadron they found Major Martin in Command, and he
rallied the B and ordered barricades to be built across
the trenches and he himself and SGT. MAJ. Swain defended
these barricades by rifle fire. Major Leibert who
commanded the B squadron was killed about now.
||Major Martin was
perfectly cool and collected, cheering his men by his
undaunted courage and example got his men to make a
great stand against large odds. This stand continued
some time, the rifle fire of the Germans being very
heavy, especially by snipers from front and flank Major
Martin and Sgt. Major Swain and others standing behind a
traverse and shooting Germans coming along trenches,
whilst Lieut. Brooks and others protected their front
from the German advance.
||This check to the
Germans continued for some time, and casualties from
rifle fire were very heavy, among them were Lieut.
Brooks, shot through the head until Major Martin was
killed whilst making an observation of the advancing
Germans support with his glasses.
He was shot through
the upper part of face by a near range bullet and killed
immediately. Lieut. Johnson and
Sgt. Major Swain and 14 men (all that now remained in
the advance trenches) retired fighting along trenches to
the Railway passing on their way the remains of the
Machine Gun which seemed to have been knocked out by
||At the Railway Lieut.
Johnson had a pit dug for cover as they dare not cross
the Railway as it was reported to machine fun fire by
the Germans. Lieut. Johnson and
Sgt. Major Swain got into communication with the 3rd
Dragoon Guards, five men of whom attempted to cross the
Railway to assist the Leicester Yeomanry two of the
Dragoon Guards were killed in the attempt.
||An attempt was then
made to build a barricade across the Railway from both
sides in order for the Leicesters to effect junction
with the 3rd Dragoon Guards. This was done
leaving only a short space in the centre of the Railway
exposed to Machine gun fire, and Lieut. Johnson, Sgt
Major Swain and 14 men of the Leicesters with the 3
surviving Dragoon Guards rushed across behind this
barricade singly and at intervals, and suffered only 2
slightly wounded in the passage.
subsides. At about this
Germans were seen advancing from our trenches on the
left flank taking cover down the side of hedge leading
South West from Farm situated on left flank of B
Squadron trenches. This hedge continued about 200 yds.
South West of advanced trenches and terminated in a
ditch which ran at right angles to it. In this ditch the
Germans took cover and started to dig themselves in,
they had spades and shields.
||The German advance
never reached any further than this point and many
Germans were killed by our rifle fire before they made
good this position.
||B & C Sqn
remnants were now in
the trenches occupied by the 3rd Dragoon
Guards and here they found Capt. Hanbury unwounded and
under him started to make a barricade parallel with the
Railway to prevent the 3rd Dragoon Guards
trenches being enfiladed by Germans on Left. Capt.
Hanbury was wounded whilst in these trenches. They
remained here till 8 pm when they retired with the
general retirement of 3rd Dragoon Guards.
||The German shelling
had now ceased, though the German’s snipers killed
anyone who exposed themselves.
||At about 8
J. Grenfell, Royal Dragoon Guards brought message to
Major Ricardo from General Campbell C.O. 6th
Brigade saying A squad was the only squadron holding the
section of trench originally occupied by 7th
Brigade, and asking him to hold on at all costs,
otherwise General Campbell’s left flank would be
completely exposed and that 6th Brigade was
intact. Major Ricardo said that he would hold onto his
position, but pointed out the necessity of
reinforcements owing to heavy casualties from rifle fire
and also many of his rifles jamming, and doubtless this
message must have got through, and the counter attack of
Bulkey’s Brigade was the result.
At 12 noon Capt.
Tolemache the Brigade Major joined A squadron and
remained with them.
||At 2.30 our guns
opened a heavy shell fire on the German trenches and
continued to shell till 3.30 when the Royal Horse
Guards, the 10th. Hussars and the Essex
Yeomanry advanced from General Head Quarter Lines - 1000
yds - to retake the trenches lost by the 7th
Yeomanry numbering about 40 under Capt. Tolemache (Major
Ricardo tried to go, but only got a short distance owing
to his wounds,) and Lieut. Best joined in this charge
and retook trenches occupied by 1st and 2nd
Life Guards, and part of the trenches occupies by B
squadron. Those trenches which had been occupied by C
squadron were never re-occupied as they had been blown
One corp of the Royal
Horse Guards went along back of C company trenches
looking for wounded but found none. They saw many dead
in these trenches but took no identity discs.
The Leicesters took
five German prisoners and saw three iron cylinders
containing gas with rubber tubing attached which was
handed over to the Engineers. Lieut. Best was wounded in
this charge and we lost some men.
||These trenches were
held till 8 pm when they were evacuated and the remnants
of the Leicester Yeomanry reinforced by Lieut. Henry and
thirty men took up their position on road immediately
behind the support trenches on A squadron where they
remained till relieved in the early morning of the 14th
when they returned to their huts near Brealin.