Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, who died during the two World Wars.

Sergeant A. Swinscoe, 1st Batt. Sherwood Foresters.

[Bridgnorth Journal, March 27th, 1915]

The Battle of Neuve Chapelle

Sergeant A. Swinscoe, 1st Batt. Sherwood Foresters, writing from Bridgnorth Infirmary, says:- "On the morning of the 9th inst, we received orders to pack our valises with all spare kit, which was being left behind us, as we were to move off at a moment's notice and prepare ourselves for the attack which was to take place the following morning. At about 5.30 p.m. we were ordered to get dressed, and were marched to a billet about two miles in rear of the trenches. Here we were informed that we were part of the reserves detailed to make the attack on Neuve Chapelle, which had to be taken at all costs, and was considered as the first importance to the allied cause. At 7.30 a.m. the following morning our artillery began bombarding the German lines and I should say there must have been from 400 to 500 guns of different calibres, as the noise they made was deafening; we could not hear ourselves speak, and the glass began to fall from the windows of the buildings around. At 8.5 a.m. the artillery slackened off, and the next we heard was that the first two lines of the German trenches had been taken. We could see in the distance bodies of prisoners who had, according to their appearence, had rather a rough time of it, as the majority of them had been hit about the face and upper part of the body. Immediately in rear of these parties was our wounded coming along in two's and three's, very cheerful and happy in spite of the damage they had received. At about 5 p.m. news was received that Neuve Chapelle had been taken, but the advance was to continue to a place called Aubers, so the party who had been in reserve during the day had to move up suddenly and relieve those who had been hard at it for the last nine hours. We moved up along the road which runs through the German trenches, and as we passed each line we could see the dead and wounded piled up in heaps, as they must have lost a terrible lot. Well, eventually we got to a farmhouse, where instructions were received by our company commanders that we were to make straight for a house which was direct to our front. Before we could get there we had to advance over the open for about 800 yards, and each time we attempted to rush we were met by a burst of fire from the enemy's guns. Fortunately, we covered the ground with only one casualty. On arrival at the house we had been told to make for, we were met by a rapid fire from the Germans, who were concealed in a wood about 40 yards away, so our Commanding Officer decided to remain where we were and entrench for the night, which we did without being disturbed until 4 a.m. the next morning. The Germans who had been reinforced during the night delivered several counter-attacks with the idea of regaining the trenches they had lost the previous day, but all their attempts were fruitless and they only added more to their long list of casualties."

This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.