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1915: Grim update from 'Somewhere in France'

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 06 July 1915


Rifleman Frank Rowland, of the 4th Battalion Rifle Brigade, son of Mr. Edmund Rowland, of south Street, summarises his war experiences thus :— “I left England for abroad in 1906, after being stationed at Malta, Egypt, Khartoum and India, was called home for active service in November, 1914, and after a short stay in England left for the front in December.

Image from the Battle of St Eloi c1915 (courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

We have had a hard task, owing to the winter and our coming from a hot climate. What with the rain, and mud up to our knees, it began to tell within a few days. Many men suffering from frostbitten feet were sent to England. We kept struggling and having small attacks and a few casualties, till the 14th and 15th of March, and then came the battle of St. Eloi, which lasted two days.

We had many casualties in officers and men who fought well for their country. Our next move was in support to Hill 60, which was known as "Little Hell,” and that place will always be remembered. From there we went to Ypres, where we came in the thick of it. The bombardment was a great sight. Houses were blown clean down by one 17in. shell. It was a big battle there, and lasted from the 22nd of April to the 14th of May. Casualties were very heavy.

On the 15th the Brigade came out for a rest, and were visited by Sir John French, who complimented the men on the most magnificent manner in which they held on to their trenches under a more severe artillery bombardment than has ever been known. We also received message of congratulation from the general officer commanding our Division."

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