Published By Ben Hillidge
St Eloi, The Mound. 7 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 1 April 1916.
On 19 March 1916 the 7 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry was detailed in reserve to 9 Brigade for an attack at the Mound, St Eloi on the southern part of the Ypres Salient. The Mound was a prominence in a small salient in the German lines, the top overlooked the British lines. The area had seen much mining and countermined and there were many craters, the ground was much broken up and wet. The attack would be carried out by 9 Brigade, 3 Division with 1 Bn Northumberland Fusiliers and 4 Bn Royal Fusiliers. It was a cold and wet morning; at 4.15am on 26 March the British exploded a series of mines under the Mound and surrounding trenches. The troops rushed over. The artillery also opened fire; there had been no preparatory barrage to preserve the surprise of the mines. The assault was partially successful. The Northumberland’s got across no man’s land with hardly any casualties. For the RF it was a different story. They suffered casualties to shell fire on the way across and became disorientated n the chaotic landscape and they stopped short of their objectives. The German artillery had been very quick to respond and within a minute of zero hour shells rained down on the British lines including the trenches occupied by 7 Bn KSLI in the support and reserve lines. The enemy shelling continued for most of the day. The 7Bn KSLI were relieved on the night of 3-4 April by 27 Bn Canadian Infantry. The Shropshire men moved first to D Camp at Reningheist and the next day Mont Kokereele near Bethen for a 2 week period to recuperate and refit after operations at ST Eloi. Casualties for this tour were 2 Officers KIA and 1 wounded, ORs 16 KIA and 47 wounded. There were also 74 men who reported sick because of the cold and wet conditions in te front lines as well as the strain of a week under fire.
GOOGLE MAPS centres on location of The Mounds, the woodlands just to east of St Eloi.
References / sources WAR DIARY 7 Bn KSLI. Regimental History KSLI.
B&O 1916. Ypres. St Eloi, The Mound. 7 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 1 April 1916.