The 1st Hampshires in the First World War: Le Cateau

When war was declared the 1st Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment was part of the 11th Brigade, in the British Army’s 4th Division. They were originally based in the garrison town of Colchester, but moved to Harrow. It was earmarked to embark for Europe as part of the British Expeditionary Force as soon as war broke out. Later in the war at Ypres and the Somme the Territorial and Kitchener Battalions bore the brunt of the fighting, but in 1914 the BEF comprised regular, pre-war Soldiers.

The 1st Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment left Harrow at 12.20am on 22 August 1914, bound for Southampton. At 7am half of the Battalion and the Headquarters embarked on the Breamaer Castle, and the other half on the Castrian. At this point, most of the men were no doubt hoping that the war would be over by Christmas.

Between 11pm on the 22nd and 1am on the 23rd the two ships docked at Le Havre, and the Battalion concentrated in camp at Bleviere. After a short stay, at 12.10pm on 24 August the Battalion boarded trains at Le Havre. There was heavy fighting at the front, and they were to be pitched straight into battle. After a short halt at Rouen for an hour, they arrived at Le Cateau at 3am on 25 August. From there they marched straight to Solesmes, where they took up position to cover the retirement of the 5th Division, after the Battle of Mons.

By 3.30pm on the 25th the 1st Hants themselves were retreating. The stopped at the village of Briastre until midnight, when the withdrawal continued. At 3am on the 26th the Battalion reached Le Coquelet, where they bivoucaed. It was a very short stay, however, for at 4am the Brigade moved out to take up positions covering Ligny. 2 Platoons of B Company remained behind to cover the rest of the Battalion. These two platoons came under heavy artillery fire and sustained 10 casualties. The Battalion occupied a position astride the railway about a mile north of Ligny, near a deep cutting. D and A Companies made what cover they could with their trenching tools. Heavy firing was heard on the left flank, and the Battalion came under fire. The position was held all day, with D Company suffering heavy casualties and having to be reinforced by C Company, until a counter-attack by A Company had little effect.

The 1st Hants and the rest of the 11th Brigade held their line all day, but at 3pm the order came to retire, due to a strong attack on the 10th Brigade to their right. The retirement was up a grassy slope back to Ligny. During the withdrawal the Battalion came under heavy fire, however the German infantry did not advance until the Battalion had concentrated in Ligny. A Battery of British guns in Ligny swiftly dealt with their advance. The Battalion was told to fix Bayonets and move at the double, which after a day of fighting they were hard-pressed to do. While the Battalion was resting a strong attack by the Prussian Guard entered the East of the village. The village was held until 6pm, when the Brigade and the guns withdrew to Elincourt, unpursued by the Germans. They Battalion reached Elincourt at 8pm. The retirement was chaotic, with the roads jammed with retreating units. From Elincourt they moved south eat to Serain, which they reached at 9pm – having marched nearly 20 miles in 24 hours. There the men rested, and were given water and bread by the inhabitants.

The 1st Battalion suffered its first serious casualties of the war on 26 August 1914. Its War Diary records that during the day 3 Officers were killed, along with 6 other ranks. 5 Officers and 126 men were wounded, and 2 officers – including the Medical Officer – were missing, along with 40 other ranks. These were figures that were recorded at the time – any of the men who were recorded as missing were later confirmed as being killed. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that the 1st Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment lost 23 men killed at Le Cateau. The British forces at Le Cateau suffered 7,812 men killed, wounded and missing, and lost 38 guns.

Among those killed were two Portsmouth men. Sergeant Thomas Greenland, 24 and from St Vincent Street, Southsea; and Private William Baldock. Both have no known Grave, and are remembered on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial. While Kitchener Battalions – esecially the 14th and 15th Hampshire Battalions – would be raised solely from one town or city, the regular Battalions were recruited from across the County, and beyond.

What became known as the Battle of Le Cateau is regarded as one of the most succesful holding actions in British Military History. Although the BEF’s commander Field Marshal Sir John French criticised General Smith-Dorrien’s decision to stand and fight, Le Cateau played a part in blunting the left-most hook of the Von Schlieffen plan, which was evenually halted at the Marne. It was also the first of many battles fought by the Hampshires in the Great War.

Compiled from the War Diary of the 1st Battalion of the Hamspshire Regiment (The National Archives WO 45/1495), and the long-long trail website.

About these ads

28 Comments

Filed under Army, portsmouth heroes, Uncategorized, World War One

28 responses to “The 1st Hampshires in the First World War: Le Cateau

  1. Pingback: The 1st Hampshires in the First World War: Le Cateau « Daly …

  2. Pingback: Churchill From 1914-1939, and the Unnecessary War | Gold Standard Reviews

  3. Pingback: The waste land by T.S. Eliot | Health and Fitness Product Reviews and Reports

  4. Excellent article. Keep writing such kind of information on
    your site. Im really impressed by your site.
    Hey there, You have performed a fantastic job.
    I will certainly digg it and in my view suggest to my friends.
    I am sure they will be benefited from this
    website.

  5. I have been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or blog posts on this sort
    of area . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled
    upon this web site. Studying this information So i am satisfied to exhibit that I’ve an
    incredibly excellent uncanny feeling I came upon exactly what I needed.
    I so much indisputably will make sure to do not overlook this website and
    give it a glance regularly.

  6. There are thousands of applications that one
    may used in Apple devices. It isn’t preventable without compromising consumer operation.
    What is different is the weight and experience.

  7. Paypal exists to be sure that you do not get fooled.
    Speck TechStyle: Coming next is Speck TechStyle, a leather
    iPhone case. It can immediately install iPhone 4 being a drive.

  8. However, most telephones aren’t considered perfect.

    The iphone 4 was thinner than my previous Apple
    iphone and appeared to stand up much better to scratches.
    This Apple iphone case is priced at $29.95.

  9. Those who have a habit of switching on the television established as
    soon as you wake up, this is for you. And you thought
    the getting GPS in your phone was nifty.
    Apple has revolutionized the globe with its latest creation-iPad.

  10. It all gets wiped in purchase to un-brick the telephone.
    Those who Jailbreak Apple iphone belong to a motion of individuals who demand much
    more from their iPhones. And it is one of which wont be gotten free.

  11. Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger,
    and I was curious about your situation; we have created some nice procedures and we are looking to trade
    solutions with other folks, why not shoot me an e-mail if
    interested.

  12. These are just some valuable directions for understanding the game.
    You need 10,000 points to unlock professional.
    Itis extremely important to develop herbs that work
    around your reallife agenda.

  13. It is clash of clans cheat tool easy to understand the concept
    of clash of clans video games. Available for iPod, iPhone, android phones and iPad, Tips and Tricks – buy
    gems clash of clans to function.

  14. Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve keep in mind your stuff previous to and you’re simply too excellent.
    I actually like what you’ve obtained right here, certainly like what you are stating
    and the best way wherein you are saying it. You’re making it entertaining and you still care for to stay it sensible.
    I cant wait to learn far more from you. This is actually a wonderful web
    site.

  15. I was excited to find this page. I need to to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!!

    I definitely enjoyed every part of it and I have
    you book marked to look at new things on your web site.

  16. I enjoy what you guys are up too. This sort of
    clever work and reporting! Keep up the excellent
    works guys I’ve included you guys to our blogroll.

  17. Linear Algebra: Matrix algebra, Systems of linear equations, Eigen values and eigenvectors.
    The project is funded through the Energy Innovations Small Grant Program, the California Energy Commission and the
    Department of Energy. In wastewater treatment, a p – H control system that uses a programmable p – H
    controller and p – H probe to proportionally control the
    flow of carbon dioxide injection decreasing the p – H from a basic level to
    a programmable set point, can substantially streamline any p – H adjustment process.

  18. You make them experience like far more than just another probable income
    cause. No 2 Remove any unwanted files from your own PC.

    Is it possible to find free Or WINDOWS 7 application?

  19. My relatives all the time say that I am wasting my time here at net, except I know I am getting experience all the time by reading
    such good articles or reviews.

  20. The flower gardening is the hobby of growing flower gardens for decorative purposes.
    Special tools and techniques are needed for Bonzai gardening
    and those people who enjoy this type of gardening really
    enjoy the challenge of nursing these trees into the shape and
    style they want to create. If you have a vegetable garden that includes
    growing cabbage and tomatoes, you can shred the tough stems in the
    garden shredder so they decompose quicker than normal.

  21. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog
    before but after looking at many of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m certainly pleased I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking
    back often!

  22. My brother suggested I might like this website.

    He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time I had
    spent for this info! Thanks!

  23. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s
    equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you
    have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something not enough folks are speaking
    intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I came
    across this during my search for something relating to this.

  24. I utilized my personal number, which also uses the mobile edition of WhatsApp, and it worked completely.

    Until then, play it secure and be professional. It can says that the
    shape appears comparable to the Iphone 5 and HTC.

  25. It means you will have to deal with all the possible problems.
    Quite simply, you will not be able to start Windows.
    This allows you to feel good, needed, beautiful – perhaps specific.

  26. Hello There. I found your blog the usage of msn. That is an extremely smartly written article.
    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra of your
    helpful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  27. + Your Facebook page enables you to publish considerable amount of photographs.

    Putting score multipliers, power ups and speed bonuses proves highly
    addictive. Fast comms that handles a great deal of frustrations.

  28. The one who is expert in SEO tactics is known as SEO professional.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s