Published By Ben Hillidge
Cuinchy Brickyards. 2 Bn Coldstream Guards. 13 February 1915,
The 2 Bn Coldstream Guards had gone over to France on 12 August 1914 and had been in action during all of the first months of the war. During February 1915 they were alternating with 2-3 days tours in the front line at Cuinchy and billets back in Béthune. Cuinchy is a small village about 10kms east of Béthune. The battalion was operating in the area around the Cuinchy Brickyards. This was the stock yard for the Cuinchy Brickworks and occupied an area in no man’s land such that the Germans occupied the eastern end and the British the western. The yards are bounded by the Canal d’Aire and railway to the north and road (modern day D941) to the south. The brick stacks offered excellent cover – especially for German snipers and marksmen. The battalion began a 2 day tour on the night of 11 February. Casualties for the tour were 7 ORs KIA and 8 wounded. Private 10493 William P Jones, and for the others were victims of sniping.
Robert Graves(war poet) in ‘Goodbye to All That’ described the Brickworks as – “Cuinchy bred rats. They came up from the canal, fed on the plentiful corpses, and multiplied exceedingly.”
GOOGLE MAPS – Satellite view of location of Cuinchy Brickyards.
References and Sources WAR DIARY 2 Bn Coldstream Guards.
B&O 1915 Béthune. Cuinchy Brickyards. 2 Bn Coldstream Guards. 13 Feb 1915,