Published By Ben Hillidge
First Ypres. 1 Bn Scots Guards. 19 Oct- 22 Nov 1914.
GOOGLE MAPS Centres on Gheluvelt and the Menin Road
The 1 Bn Scots Guards had arrived in the Ypres Salient in mid October and had gone into the line on 21 October, 2 days after First Ypres began. They went into trenches around Bixschoote – Langemark are on the northern side of the Salient and then moved to the Menin Road area at Gheluvelt over 26/27 October.
At the beginning of November 1914 1 Bn Scots Guards were in trenches between Veldhoek and Gheluvelt in the area north of the Menin Road. They were also holding a barricade on the Menin Road. On the 2 November the Germans attacked the position. The barricade was destroyed by shell fire and machine guns opened up from the flank and rear. Allied troops were forced to withdraw and established a new line about 300 meters back. The line was held by battalions of Zouaves (French North Africans), Loyal North Lancashire, Cameron Highlanders, Black Watch as well as 1 Bn Scots Guards. The night was spent digging the new trenches. They remained in this position for 5 days enduring frequent and heavy enemy barrages, On 8 November the enemy attacks recommenced. There was a real danger the line would be overcome – the enemy got into trenches held by the French and Loyal North Lancashire troops but were driven out by a counter attack by the Scots Guards and the line was held. The next day was quieter but on 10 November the shelling started again which, on 11 November, the War Diary records as ‘Terrific shelling commenced at 6.30am and lasted for 3 hours, all trenches and dug outs were knocked in’ – the enemy then attacked, the Prussian Guard leading the assault. This time the Germans broke through, the whole front was pushed back. Men from the Scots Guards in forward positions became isolated – and had to fight their way back. The Germans got to within 200 meters of the artillery line before the attack was stopped and driven back. On 12 November a much battered 1 Bn Scots Guards was relieved and went back to dugouts at Hooge Chateau. Here they spent 3 days in worsening weather of snow and rain with trenches and dugouts soon filling with mud requiring much labour re-entrenching and repairing. They were then withdrawn back to billets at Borre near Hazenbrouck arriving on the 17 November where they remained until December. Since first arriving at Ypres on 20 October battalion casualties were: 9 Officers & 105 ORs killed: 7 Officers & 151 ORs wounded: 5 Officers & 430 ORs missing.
Private 6496 Harry Halford, 1 Bn Scots Guards. DoW 25 November 1914, Boulogne Eastern Cemetery. (Wounded 10/11 November 1914)
1 Bn Scots Guards, Nov 1914. The Battalion was in trenches to the north of the Menin Road (running diagonally across the map) between Veldhoek (A) and Gheluvelt (B) and mannng a baricdade across the Road at C. (National Archives)
References and Sources WAR DIARY 1 Bn Scots Guards Aug14-July15.
B&O 1914. First Ypres. 1 Bn Scots Guards. 19 Oct- 22 Nov 1914.