Published By Ben Hillidge
Polygon Wood. 2 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. April 1915.
Between the 24 March and 5 April 1915 the 2 Bn KSLI had been out of the line at bivouacs near to Reninghelst in the rear area south of Poperinghe. They had spent the time in musketry, grenade and machine gun training and drilling. They then returned to the Ypres Salient going into the line on 7 April at Polygon Wood. They would spend the next fortnight with alternating 48 tours in the trenches and in billets. There were no attacks nor offensives, the time was relatively quiet with the occasional shell and sniping – casualties up to 24 April were: ORs 6 killed and 23 wounded: officers 1 KIA and 3 wounded,
On the first day they relieved troops from Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and 268 French Infantry Regiment. On the 8 April one man was reported KIA – Private 6958 Oswald Peters. The battalion was relieved on 9 April but with 2 companies going into the support line at Les Etange de Bellewaerde, the remainder returning to Ypres. After 2 days rest, on 11 April, they were back into the line at Polygon Wood. On 12 April 3 men were killed including Private 6699 RH Cooper. The routine of 2 days in and 2 days out of the line continued until the 21 April and the beginning of the Second Ypres offensive. The battalion then went into the support lines at Bellewaerde Wood and Potijze.
On 17 April the battalion also lost its adjutant, Captain FJ Leach (CWGC) – a battalion staff officer and not usually allowed into the front lines. On this occasion he had been given permission by the CO and had gone up the line for an early morning inspection. As he returned, in the dim dawn twilight, he took the risk of going cross country rather than along the communication trenches. He was hit in the head by a sniper, he died in England on 24 April and is buried at Hawkchurch in Devon.
GOOGLE MAPS Centres on Polygon Wood.
References and Sources WAR DIARY 2 Bn KSLI. History KSLI,
B&O 1915 Ypres. Polygon Wood. 2 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. April 1915.