Published By Ben Hillidge
Battle of Givenchy. Festubert. 1 Bn Gloucestershire Regiment. 18-22 December 1914.
GOOGLE MAPS Centres on Festubert – the 1 Bn Gloucs. Rgt. had their left flank positioned just north of the offset crossroads on the road D 166
1 Bn Gloucestershire Regiment had gone over to France in August 1914 and had been heavily involved in the fighting during the retreat from Mons, battles of the Marne and First Ypres. On 20 November they were withdrawn for an extended rest period and went into billets at Outersteene where they remained until 20 December when they marched to Merville and the next day, 21 December, continued onward to Bethune arriving there at 8am. At noon orders were received to attack and to retake a section of trenches captured by the enemy in a position east of Festubert, The battalion moved to their start position, A Coy was on the right then B Coy and D Coy with its left flank in the proximity of the church in Festubert, It was about 3pm and the attack went over. The ground to be covered was muddy with waterlogged dykes, bayonets could not be fixed and rifles became useless as they clogged with mud, they could make no reply to the hostile fire. About 300 yards before their objective they were held up by machine gun fire and were forced to dig in having captured about 500 yards of the enemy ground – here they spent the night. Casualties were officers and other ranks 16 KIA, 86 wounded & 94 missing. The attack was to continue the next day. As dawn broke a look out was kept for the expected advance, but the attack was cancelled and instead the battalion was told to hold their position. They spent the next 2 days entrenching and improving the defences. The enemy was only a few hundred yards distance away. On 24 December A & B Coys were withdrawn to the reserve line whilst D Coy remained in the front trenches – they then alternated duty between the two lines until being withdrawn in the New Year.
References and Sources WAR DIARY 1 Bn Gloucs. Rgt.
B&O 1914. Festubert. 1 Bn Gloucestershire Regiment. 22 Dec 1914.