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RemembranceCommemoration of Casualties from the Parochial Parish of Kingsdown and Creekside.

 

News from the Home FrontReturn to Newspaper snippets from the Home Front

Unknown soldiers - photos of soldiers without known names.

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Artefacts ...

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Despatches from the Front ...

- 20th February 1918 - Account of the Battle of Cambrai.

- 20th July 1918 - Account of the changed balance of power on the Western Front. Preparations to meet the German Offensive and the Allied withdrawal and the fight to a standstill that followed. The great defensive battles on the Somme and Lys Rivers.

- 20th July 1918 - Western Front, German Spring Offensive.

All Despatches transcribed by the Lynsted with Kingsdown Society

Imperial War Museum War Partnership logoFirst World War - Home Front News & Snippets.....
March 1918

World War 1 soldier at rest

As the Centenary unfolds, a range of newspaper and other records will appear here to give an idea of how the war was revealed at home primarily focused on Kent for our purposes .... fairly random. If you have other snippets to share, please let us know using the dedicated email account:
Parish Records Contact Address


German Spring Offensive - First Drive in the Somme areaThe end game.

In late March 1918, the anticipated German Spring Offensive opened up. But it happened across a wider front than anticipated and with a ferocity made possible by the renewal of German forces from multiple Brigades released from fighting on the Russian Front. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian forces could not be relied upon (nor supported, nor directed effectively). Germany employed "attack troops" who were only lightly encumbered, enabling significant progress and consolidation by German troops in support. The relentless German progress proved also to expose a weakness in supply-lines that contributed to their eventual undoing five months later.

March saw eight casualties from the Kingsdown and Creekside Cluster following the opening of the German Spring Offensive on 21 March.

During the winter months, the Allied defensive training had concentrated on delivering effective counter-attacks and employing reinforced formations with mobile Reserves; supported by intense artillery cover. Throughout March, there had been repeated probing artillery duels and occasional raids to inform the respective planners by captured personnel and discoveries of materiel.

On 21st March, the German Spring Offensive swung into action as a 'final throw of the dice', the speed and intensity of which severely challenged the Allies' ability to sustain a coherent defence.

The 'First Drive' of the German attack focused its ferocity across the Somme region. By 25th March the German forces had overpowered the Allied Front, pushing past Péronne on the brink of Bray, Chaulmes, Roye and Noyons. See map right.

By 4th April, the German momentum carried them over Montdidier and Moreuil, held up at Albert. Amiens was only 6 miles away from the scene of this unequal onslaught. The Allied training and preparations led to a tactic of artillery bombardment and counter-attack to inflict as high a level of harm to their opponents as they could muster. All the while, the lightly loaded German storm-troops were bearing the cost of lack of supplies. A feature of this attack was systematic and desperate looting for food, amongst other things. Part of the Allied strategy was to remove or destroy all such supplies in the ground they gave up.

For the Allies, March and early April were very bleak. On 12th April, Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig issued the Order of the Day to the British Army in France on the serious situation containing the famous "Backs to the Wall" order. It wasn't until August that the Allies can be said to have turned the table and the 100-day Offensive began that concluded the war. However, the cessation of hostilities in November 1918 did not mean there were no more casualties, as the stories from this Project will illustrate.

"The Army and Navy Gazette" summarised events on the British (Western) Front.

The War on Land Reported on Wednesday, March 6, 1918 .... perhaps reflecting a belief that if the Allies could not deliver a coup de gras in the Somme, nor could the Germans.

"Those prophets are proved to be in the wrong who have been urging us to believe, ever since the beginning of December last, that the German Command was necessarily in a hurry to get its offensive for 1918 under way, and would certainly begin operations before the end of February. Most of those who adopted this view were also of the party who took it for granted that the enemy would of a certainty make his attack of this year an offensive of the "decisive" brand. We have differed from this view all along, both in the matter of the early start of the game and of the German intention of launching an attaque à fond. As to the latter, we do not say that it is impossible, but we do say it is unlikely; and without hesitation we add that success for it is impossible. It may be that Prussian arrogance has not yet had a lesson sharp enough to convince it that, for victory in the field against France and Great Britain, a preponderance of its troops and guns would be requisite to a degree which the German Command has no means of bringing about.

As to the making of a very early start, why should the German Command have been expected to do so? The only conceivable reason is a desire to have the thing over, or at least to inflict a lot of very heavy damage, before the American contingent becomes formidable. But we do not believe the Germans expect that stage to arrive before the very end of the coming "fighting season," if, indeed, they do not put it still further forward into 1919. This belief of ours comes from a careful consideration of the thoughts, expressed and unexpressed, that appear in the reports of "neutrals," of which we have had a considerable dose lately; in the statements of prisoner, and in certain terms of phrase in German journals. These last cannot now, without making themselves ridiculous in the eyes even of their most credulous readers at home and among the contiguous neutrals, continue with their former expressions of contempt for all the military help that the States can possibly bring to France; but they can and do relegate the effective help in soldiers from across the Atlantic to a very late stage of this year’s campaign, at the earliest."

There followed a period of strong raids on each other's trenches. Each one of a scale aimed at capturing soldiers/intelligence. As reported, the British Raids secured 50 prisoners north of Passchendaele. The Germans similarly probed (less successfully) west of Lens, north-west of St. Quentin, near to Épehy, southeast of Bois Grenier and east of Poelcapelle.

The German Spring Offensive [Ludendorff Offensive] breaks over the British Lines - "Operation Michael"

The Army and Navy Gazette of 30th March gave two summary accounts as below:-

Army Notes
As we went to press last week the long-expected and much-debated German attack on the Western Front had commenced, and once again, as in the earlier days of the Great War, have the embattled legions of Germany been hurled against the positions held by the British troops. It was on March 21 that the decisive battle was joined; it has continued ever since, and with only brief intervals of comparative inactivity while the attackers were preparing themselves for even greater efforts and our men were getting ready for fresh tests of their superb endurance. Early in this week there were days when all men in our country felt that the crisis of the war was indeed upon us, but at the moment of writing we have reason to hope that, if the end of the great battle is hardly yet in sight, we may at least rejoice that the German advance has been checked, and that at this stage of the war our soldiers have made a stand which equals it would be hard to surpass – that achieved by our comparatively small Army at an earlier crisis. The Germans set out not merely to attack our line at its junction with that of the French, but to break it; they had drawn up a careful time-table in which were laid down the points which were to be reached at the end of each day’s fighting, and so far the German Army has failed to achieve all that was demanded and expected of it. The world has again – standing apart and gazing from afar upon the scene of war – been permitted to note and to wonder at "the strength and majesty" with which the British soldier fights. He has abandoned, it is true, positions captured months ago and since held by us against ordinary attack; but the line is unbroken, and his King and country remain calm and confident in his skill and valour, and believe that he will yet issue victorious from this time of supremest trial.

Western (British) Front
At about 8 a.m. on the morning of March 21 after an intense bombardment of both high explosives and gas shells on forward positions and back areas, a powerful infantry attack was launched by the enemy on a front of over fifty miles, extending from the River Oise, in the neighbourhood of La Fère, to the Sensee River about Croisilles. Hostile artillery demonstrations took place on a wide front north of La Bassée Canal and in the Ypres sector. The attack, which for some time past was known to be in course of preparation, was pressed with the greatest vigour throughout the day. In the course of the fighting the enemy broke through the British outpost positions, and succeeded in penetrating the British battle positions in certain parts of the front. The attacks were delivered in large masses, and were extremely costly to the hostile troops engaged, whose losses were exceptionally heavy. Large numbers of hostile reinforcing troops were observed during the day moving forward behind the enemy’s lines. Several enemy divisions which had been specially trained for this great attack were identified, including units of the Guards. Captured maps depicting the enemy’s intentions showed that on no part of the front of attack did the enemy obtain his objectives. On the morning of March 22 the enemy renewed his attacks with great strength along practically the whole battle front. The enemy made some progress at certain points; at others his troops were thrown back by the counter-attacks of the British, whose losses were inevitably considerable, but not out of proportion to the magnitude of the battle. Exceptional gallantry was shown by the troops of the 24th Division in the protracted defence of La Verguier, and by the 3rd Division, which maintained its perilous position in the neighbourhood of Croisilles and to the north of that village against repeated attacks. A very gallant fight was made by the 51st Division also in the neighbourhood of the Bapaume-Cambrai road. Identifications obtained in the course of the battle showed that the enemy’s opening attack was delivered by some forty German divisions supported by great numbers of German artillery reinforced by Austrian batteries. Many other German divisions had since taken part in the fighting, and others were arriving in the battle area. The enemy’s attacks were renewed in the afternoon and evening with great strength. The enemy broke through the British second system of defence west of St. Quentin, at Vaux, Beauvois and Beuilly (Poeuilly). This necessitated a withdrawal of about 15 miles at its greatest depth from the British original front line at St. Quentin. Sir Douglas Haig was in the close touch with General Petain, who was co-operating on the British right. On the northern part of the battle front the enemy, despite very heavy attacks, did not make material progress, but a slight withdrawal to prepared positions was necessary on this front in order to conform with the withdrawal further south. During the night strong hostile attacks in the neighbourhood of Jussy (7½ miles north-west of La Fère) were repulsed with great loss to the enemy. On March 23 the battle was continued with great intensity on the whole front south of the Scarpe River. South and west of St. Quentin British troops took up their new positions and were heavily engaged with the enemy. On the northern position of the battle front, where the enemy’s attacks were pressed with the utmost determination and regardless of losses, the British maintained their positions after a fierce and prolonged struggle. Great gallantry was shown by the British engaged in the fighting in this area and to the south of it. The 9th and 19th Divisions distinguished themselves by the valour of the defence. In one sector alone six hostile attacks, in two of which German cavalry took part, were beaten off by a British infantry brigade. During the night further fighting took place at a number of points. The British held the line of the Somme River to Péronne. Small parties of the enemy, which endeavoured to cross in the neighbourhood of Pargny, were driven back. Fresh hostile attacks developed on the morning of March 24 in great strength on the whole battle front and continued throughout the day. South of Péronne the enemy succeeded, after heavy fighting, in crossing the River Somme at certain points. North of Péronne the enemy’s attacks were directed with great violence against the line on the River Tortille. The British on this portion of the battle front withdrew fighting to new positions. Further north repeated assaults by large bodies of German infantry were repulsed with heavy loss to the enemy. In this fighting the 17th and 40th Divisions greatly distinguished themselves, beating off many hostile attacks. Powerful attacks delivered by the enemy in the afternoon and evening north of Bapaume were heavily repulsed. Only at one point did the German infantry reach the British trenches, whence they were immediately thrown out. Elsewhere the enemy attacks were stopped in front of the British positions and his troops driven back with great loss. During the morning of March 25 the British on the front from the Somme as far north as Wancourt beat off continuous and heavy attacks with complete success. Heavy losses were inflicted on the enemy by the combined fire of all areas, whilst low-flying aeroplanes repeatedly attacked the enemy advancing columns. A heavy attack delivered by fresh enemy troops in the afternoon enabled them to make progress west and south-west of Bapaume in the direction of Courcelette. South of Péronne the British were pressed back in several places slightly west of the Somme, whilst further south the enemy succeeded in making some progress and captured Nesle, Bapaume, and Guiscard. French reinforcements were arriving in this neighbourhood. The British, though tired, were in good heart and were fighting splendidly. The enemy was only progressing at the cost of heavy sacrifices. The British losses in material have been heavy, and include a certain number of tanks. The enemy claimed 45,000 prisoners, 900 guns and 100 tanks.

[Note: Operation Michael was declared 'ended' by Ludendorff in his message of 5th April; the German momentum ground to a halt in early summer]

Western (British) Front - 6th April 1918
The enemy made no further attacks during the night of March 25-26 on the British front north of the Somme. The Germans attacked heavily south of the Somme on the morning of March 26, and took Roye at 10.30 a.m. The line there ran from Mericourt, on the Somme, through Rosieres, west of Roye and west of Noyon. Fresh German divisions were identified in this area. On this part of the battlefield British, French, and American troops were fighting shoulder to shoulder, and French reinforcements were rapidly coming up. The enemy was checked west of Roye and of Noyon. During the night British troops were pressed back a short distance on both banks of the Somme, and early on March 27 held a line approximately Rosieres-Harbonnieres- Sailly le Sec- Mericourt-L’Abbe – thence up to the Ancre – to the railway embankment south-west of Albert. In the morning the British troops counter-attacked north of the Somme, between the angle of the Ancre and the Somme, and recaptured Morlancourt and Chipilly. At the same time the British immediately south of the river again advanced their line to Proyart. A number of other heavy attacks were made during the day on the British front both north and south of the Somme, but the enemy was repulsed with heavy loss. During the morning of March 28 the enemy opened a heavy bombardment north and south of the Scarpe River and followed this by an attack opposite Arras with at least seven divisions. The enemy on this front penetrated the British forward zone, and a fierce engagement took place. The line here ran from Arleux, Fampoux, Neuville-Vitasse to Boisleux, and thence as before. The fighting here was severe, and the enemy was reported to have lost very heavily. Apart from local fighting at different points, the enemy did not press his attacks on March 29 north of the Somme. The British gained ground at certain places. South of the Somme heavy hostile attacks developed during the morning in the neighbourhood of Mezieres and Demuin. Fighting still continued in this sector. It was known from captured documents that the German attack on March 28 astride the Scarpe had for its objective the capture of the Vimy Ridge and Arras. This attack was carried out by at least six divisions in front line, with four assault divisions in support. In spite of the force of the attack the impression made upon the British battle position was inconsiderable, and the fighting resulted in a severe defeat for the enemy. In the heavy fighting further south between Boiry Serre, which had no greater success, no fewer than eleven enemy divisions were identified. South of the Somme on March 30, the British by successful counter-attacks regained possession of the village of Demuin. In a brilliant operation carried out by Canadians, cavalry, and British infantry, in conjunction with the French, the British recaptured Moreuil and the wood to the north of it. The Germans captured the villages of Aubevillers, Grivesnes, Cantigny, Mesnil St. Georges, le Conchel, Ayencourt. South of the Somme on March 31 there was hard fighting in the neighbourhood of Moreuil. Between Moreuil and Hangard British cavalry, in a brilliant counter-attack, retook a wood which had been lost previously.
Western (French) Front.
The French, who intervened on March 24 in the battle, relieved a part of the British Forces and took up the struggle on this sector of the front, where they conducted a hard fight in the region of Noyon, and disputed the heights on the right bank of the Oise with large enemy forces. At dawn on March 25 the enemy attacked the French lines to the east of Blemery and to the east of Badonvillers, but in both places was repulsed with heavy losses. In the region of Noyon the battle continued to rage furiously, the enemy continuing to bring forward reinforcements. The French, in conformity with orders, yielded ground foot by foot, delivering vigorous counter-attacks, and inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. A desperate fight took place round Nesle, which was lost and retaken several times. The battle continued with violence during the evening, and during the night the enemy increased his attacks along the entire Noyon front to Chaulnes. The French held their positions on the left bank of the Oise above Noyon on March 26, when the fighting continued with undiminished violence on the Bray-sur-Somme- Chaulnes-Roye-Noyon front. During the night the French repulsed the strong enemy forces which were attempting to reach the French positions north-west of Noyon. The Germans threw into the battle fresh troops on March 27 and attacked with redoubled violence the French positions to the east of Montdidier. The French arrested several times the assault of the enemy, who only succeeded in making progress through his numerical superiority. In the regions of Lassigny and Noyon the enemy suffered a complete repulse. The battle continued with sustained violence in the evening and during the night. The enemy, blocked by the French before the front Lassigny-Noyon and the left bank of the Oise, directed his efforts to the French left, and threw forward large forces in the region of Montdidier. Hard fighting took place at this point. The French fought for each foot of ground, and, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy, fell back in order on to the heights immediately to the west of Montdidier. The enemy, continuing with powerful forces his push in the region of Montdidier on March 28, attempted to extend his gains to the west and south of the town, but the French counterattacked with the bayonet and ejected the enemy from the villages of Courtemanche, Mesnil St. Georges, and Assainvillers, which they carried and solidly held. The advance was on a front of about seven miles to a depth of about a mile and a quarter. On the Lassigny-Noyon front, left of the Oise, the hard fighting gave no advantage to the enemy, whom the French were holding. The battle continued in the evening and during part of the night in the region of Montdidier. In spite of his repeated counter-attacks, the enemy was not able to drive the French out of the villages which they captured during the day. The French continued their successes, and took Monshel by storm. In front of Plessis de Roye violent engagements took place. All the enemy attacks delivered against this village failed before the French resistance. North of Montdidier the Franco-British troops held the enemy on the line of the Avre in front of La Neuville-Sire-Bernard-Mezieres-Marceleave-Hamel. Enemy infantry columns and convoys reported on the Laon-La Fere road were caught in the fire of the French long-range guns and dispersed. On the Oise front the battle appreciably decreased in violence during March 29. Enemy activity only manifested itself in local attacks at some points on the French front, which was being consolidated more and more each day by the arrival of French reinforcements.

Aviation.

[Army and Navy Gazette, 28th March, gives a sense of how important aviation had become when ground troops stayed in trenches] Railway stations in the neighbourhood of Menin, Roulers, Ledeghem, Cambrai, Solesmes (east of Cambrai), and Aunoye (south-east of Maubeuge), and ammunition depots near Valenciennes and Douai were bombed on March 10 and 11. During the two days 15 enemy machines were brought down – 14 were driven down and one shot down. The British lost six machines. On the night of March 11 the enemy lost a four-seater machine which landed in the British lines, the occupants being taken prisoners. On March 12 British air machines attacked Coblentz, and on the following day Freiburg was bombed, when the British lost three machines. During the same day 14 enemy machines were brought down and eight others were driven down, while six British machines were missing. The railway station at Zweibrucken was bombed on March 16, when the British air formation was attacked by hostile machines and anti-aircraft guns. However, all machines returned safely. During the day 16 hostile machines were brought down and seven others were driven down out of control, while six British machines were missing. On March 17 British machines raided Germany, attacking Kaiserlautern.

At Sea

The competing navies continued to disrupt and strangle supplies to fighting forces, demoralise and starve home populations. Submarines were evolving as effective instruments of war.

In the air

The Army and Navy Gazette of 16th March reported on two air attacks on Britain.

Hostile aeroplanes crossed the East Coast shortly after 11 pm on March 7, and proceeded towards London.

The raid appears to have been carried out by seven or eight enemy aeroplanes, of which two reached and bombed London. The first two raiders approached the Isle of Thanet about 10.55 p.m. and proceeded up the Thames Estuary. Both were turned back before reaching London. Meanwhile a third raider came across the Essex coast at 11.20 p.m. and steered west. At 11.45 it was reported over East London, and a few minutes later dropped bombs in the South-Western and North-Western districts. At 11.50 p.m. a fourth aeroplane, which had also come in across Essex, dropped bombs to the north of London, and then proceeded south across the capital, dropping its remaining bombs in the northern district between 12.20 and 12.30 a.m. The remaining enemy machines, all of which came in across the Essex coast, were turned before they reached London. It was reported that 20 persons were killed and 45 injured. A certain amount of damage was caused to residential property in London, several houses having been demolished.

Three Zeppelins crossed the Yorkshire coast late on March 12. Of these only one ventured to approach a defended locality, namely, Hull, where four bombs were dropped. A house was demolished, and one woman died of shock. The two remaining airships wandered for some hours over remote country districts at great altitudes, unloading their bombs in open country before proceeding out to sea again.

Attacks on Britain.

- see "At Sea" above.

Statistics

As part of the preparation for an expected Spring Offensive, Britain undertook a series of limited Raids on German positions. Once the German offensive began, there was an increased flow of prisoners alongside the brutal losses inflicted on both sides.

PRISONERS OF WAR TAKEN BY THE BRITISH IN FRANCE.

Period

Officers

Other Ranks

Total

1914 to end 1916

1,061

52,986

54,047

1917

1,557

71,574

73,131

1918 - German Offensive to 5th August

365

14,608

14,973

1918 - 100-Days Allied Offensive from 6th August to the Close of the War

4,732

181,952

186,684

 

7,715

321,096

328,811

 


The French defences (including American forces) were also probed for weakness

Reported in the Army and Navy Gazette of 9th March: "In the region east of Chavignon the Germans, towards 8 p.m. on February 28, after a lively bombardment, threw two columns into an attack against the French lines. A violent hand-to-hand engagement ensued and finished to the advantage of the French lines. The enemy was driven back after having sustained heavy losses. On March 1 a lively enemy attack delivered against the French new positions south-west of the Butte du Mesnil was broken by the fire of the French advanced elements. At about the same time, east of the Suippe, a powerful enemy raid was defeated.

On March 1, to the south-west of the Butte du Mesnil, the enemy, after having been driven by French counter-attacks from some points into which they had penetrated in the morning, returned to the assault with fresh forces. After several unsuccessful attempts, which cost them heavy losses, they succeeded in regaining a footing in a part of the positions which the French captured on February 13. On the right of the Meuse and in the Woevre the enemy violently bombarded the French first lines on the Beaumont-Chaume Wood front, as well as in the region of Seicheprey, where a big enemy raid was repulsed, some prisoners being left in the hands of the French. On two of the points attacked by the enemy on the night previous and the following morning, the enemy sent specially trained troops for raiding, and these came into contact with American infantry. The Americans everywhere maintained their lines intact, inflicting appreciable losses on the attackers and capturing prisoners. Towards the end of the day the enemy attempted to debouch against the salient of Neufchâtel. The French fire, however, disorganised the attack. Enemy elements, which succeeded in gaining a footing in the French advanced posts, were subsequently driven out again by a French counter-attack. At the same hour (5.40 p.m.) enemy detachments attempted to reach the French lines in front of La Pompelle, but under the French fire they were forced to retire. After their first check the enemy made a fresh attack in the same region, but, despite his repeated efforts, he did not succeed in reaching the fort of La Pompelle. Isolated enemy elements, however, succeeded in gaining a footing in the northern portion of a small work situated to the west of the fort. At the same time an enemy attack directed more to the east and to the south of La Bertonnerie proved abortive. In the direction of Mont Cornillet the enemy carried out an attack on a front of about 800 yards, but found the French trenches had been previously evacuated. By an energetic counter-offensive the French drove back the enemy and re-established the French positions."


3rd March - French attack on German trenches; Americans defend successfully

On March 3 the French made a raid on the enemy’s lines at Calonne, penetrating as far as the fourth line of trenches on a front of about 1,300 yards and to a depth of over 600 yards at certain points. In the counter-attack the enemy lost severely. While the French losses were comparatively light, they took over 150 prisoners and some material. In Lorraine an enemy raid against some trenches held by the Americans was successfully repulsed. [Army and Navy Gazette]

Americans and French under fire
Western Morning News of 6th March 1918 reported:
FRENCH AND AMERICANS BUSY.
Paris, Tuesday.
Today's French official reports state:-
North of the Chemain des Dames and east of Courcy we made successful surprise attacks on the enemy's trenches, and brought back a score of prisoners.
At Chaume Wood (east of the Meuse) the Germans this morning made an attack which was repulsed after a lively combat. Another enemy attempt at Chevaliers Wood met with a complete repulse, and enabled us to take prisoners.
In Lorraine a German surprise attack on the trenches held by the Americans was repulsed. The patrols of our Allies operating in the same region took some prisoners.
In the Vosges the enemy at several points attempted in vain to reach our lines.
Evening.
There was a violent artillery duel east of the Meuse, especially in the Fosses Wood region. In the Vosges there was marked enemy artillery activity in the Violu section, at the Ban de Sept, and on the Hilsenfirst.
- Press Association War Special.


14th March - Zeppelin attacks Hartlepool

The Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief issued the following report on March 14:- Only one airship crossed the coast last night and dropped four bombs in Hartlepool. The raider, which was operating at a great altitude, only remained over land for a few minutes, and the remainder of its bombs appear to have fallen into the sea. Six dwelling houses were demolished and about thirty damaged. The following casualties occurred: Killed, 2 men, 2 women, 4 children; total, 8. Injured, 4 men, 9 women, 9 children; total, 22.


The German Spring Offensive - 21st March - opening on the Somme Front

A summary of the opening of the German attack was made by the Army and Navy Gazette and can be read above. To understand the experience for the soldiers, the losses in our Creekside Cluster of Parishes were significant and their stories will be published on their anniversaries.


† - Hundred and Third Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 21st March 1918.

Private, Herbert David GAMBELL M.M., 70855, "A" Company, 6th Battalion - Machine Gun Corps (of Lynsted)
Killed in Action: Aged 20
Memorial: Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, Bay 10
Theatre: France and Flanders
Died: Killed in Action east of Lagnicourt, in the Quéant Sector, facing the first onslaught of the German Spring Offensive.


Teynham-born Wilfred Chennel Honeyball killed

2nd Lieutenant W C Honeyball (aged 31 years), 14th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, was killed on 21st March 1918. Memorialised at Pozieres Memorial. Born in Teynham, parents Frederick and Kate. London home.


† - Hundred and Fourth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 22nd March 1918.

Private, Charles Henry BACK, G/9035, 10th Btn, Queen's Own - Royal West Kent (of Newnham)
Killed in Action: Aged 32
Memorial: Pozieres Memorial, Stone No.48
Theatre: France and Flanders
Died: Killed in Action, during retiring actions from Braucourt to reinforce the Vaulx-Morchies line under heavy shelling and close-quarters fighting around Maricourt Wood.


† - Hundred and Fifth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 23rd March 1918.

Private, Herbert Edward KADWILL, G/9035,10th (Service) Battalion, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) (Kent Division) (of Lynsted)
Killed in Action: Aged 19
Memorial: Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais - Bay 7
Theatre: France and Flanders
Died: Killed in Action during retirement actions from Lagnicourt, Beugny and then on to Gommecourt.


Long Range (75 miles) Gun Fires on Paris

The Western Morning News of 25th March reported the first shells to hit Paris from a range of 75 miles:-

The shelling of Paris by a German gun of unprecedented range has been a rather unexpected accompaniment of the battle. Nine-inch shells began to fall into the city on Saturday morning [23rd March]. The bombardment continued at 15-minute intervals, and was resumed yesterday [24th March], causing casualties. It is officially calculated that the tun is firing from a distance of 75 miles. The enemy's object probably was to create excitement in Paris by suggesting that his artillery was nearing the capital.

MYSTERY GUN. PARIS SHELLED AT RANGE OF 75 MILES.
Paris, Sunday.

The following reports have been issued here [Press Association]:-
Saturday.
The enemy has been firing on Paris with a long-range gun at intervals of 15 minutes since eight o'clock this morning. Some of the shells, which are of 240mm. (9in.) calibre, have fallen in the capital and its suburbs. About ten people have been killed and about 15 wounded. Steps for counter-measures are being taken.
At 8.30 o'clock this morning several enemy aeroplanes, flying at a great altitude, succeeded in attacking Paris, but were immediately chased by our aeroplanes. Bombs are reported to have been dropped at several points, and there were some casualties.
Enemy aircraft again crossed our lines at 8.40 o'clock this evening, and bombarded several localities behind the front without causing much damage. The raiders did not get as far as Parish.
In the period March 11-20 26 German aeroplanes and a captive balloon were brought down by our pilots, and in addition 19 enemy machines were seriously hit and fell in their own lines. On March 22 five German aeroplanes were brought down or badly damaged in air fights.
During Friday night our bombarding aeroplanes dropped 16 tons of projectiles on establishments, cantonments, and railway stations in the enemy zone, where serious damage was done.

Sunday
The bombardment of Parish by a long-range gun, firing from a distance of more than 120 kilometres (about 75 miles) against the capital, began again at seven o'clock this morning. The explosions occurred at the same intervals as yesterday. Up to the present only a few casualties have been reported.
- Press Association War Special.

Of the three such guns employed by the German artillery, only two were successful and the third blew its breach on first firing. However, these guns were not silenced until 15th August when their last round was fired into Paris as the Allies mounted their counter-offensive.


† - Hundred and Sixth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 26th March 1918.

Private, Albert Edward HADLOW, G/59971, 8th Btn - The Queen's - Royal West Surrey (of Teynham)
Killed in Action: Aged 19
Memorial: Pozières Memorial, Somme, France, Panel 14.
Theatre: France and Flanders
Died: During resumed German attacks on Chaulnes from which the Battalion removed to a position east of Méharicourt.


† - Hundred and Seventh Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 27th March 1918.

Stoker 1st Class, Thomas WIGG R.N., K/35893, H.M.S. "Kale", Royal Navy (of Teynham)
Killed in Action: Aged 30
Memorial: Chatham Naval Memorial, Panel 29, Column 3
Theatre: France and Flanders
Died: Killed by a Mine at Sea following a failure by the Captain to update maps of British minefields.


† - Hundred and Eighth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 28th March 1918.

Corporal, Elvey Thomas SIMS, D/7640, Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line, 5th Dragoon Guards (Princess Charlotte of Wales Own) (of Lynsted)
Killed in Action: Aged 21
Memorial: Pozières Memorial, Somme - Panel 2
Theatre: France and Flanders
Died: During intense shelling of front line and HAMEL from 11a.m. throughout the day.


† - Hundred and Ninth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 28th March 1918.

Private, Albert Edward PILES, G/41464, 1st/7th Battalion, Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex) Regiment (of Newnham)
Killed in Action: Aged 32
Memorial: Maroeuil British Cemetery, Plot 4, Row J, Grave 6
Theatre: France and Flanders
Died: Gavrelle Sector during enemy attacked along the whole of the Divisional front accompanied by heavy artillery


† - Hundred and Tenth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 28th March 1918.

Private, Ernest CHEESEMAN, G/19333, 6th Battalion, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) (of Teynham)
Died from Wounds: Aged 37
Memorial: Pozieres Cemetery, Stone No.58.B
Theatre: France and Flanders
Died: In Aveluy Wood area under mass attack and counter-attack experiencing large losses.


Charity Call for support of the "shell shocked"

[30th March - Army and Navy Gazette] They are just some of the men who "went over the top" a little year ago; they were blithe men as they charged, with a laugh and a grim jest, to the sound of "CARRY ON!" ... And midst the unthinkable horror of it all Death passed them by – leaving them as you see them to-day, with never a laugh or jest, with just palsied limbs and dislocated speech!

It is a hear-breaking sight to see strong men "broken," quaking with unreasoning fear at every unreasoning fear at every unexpected sound or sight, and obsessed with some trivial thought that would hardly linger with an unshattered nerve. And then the horror of their nights; whilst with their waking comes the never-ceasing consciousness of how near the "Borderland" they too have come; and in gauging the distance they sometimes overstep the boundary.

And yet, for all the pathos of it, cure can be effected; but only those who know (the doctors and nurses who have been specially trained) fully realise what an infinity of patience is required to cope with them.

They have lost all confidence in their power of serving the community; with restored confidence their inestimable value in the national life of the moment is assured.

Such cases occur in civil life, and during the course of the last half-century the staff of the Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Maida Vale, have been acquiring that knowledge and skill which is enabling them to do so much for war wrecks both at Maida Vale and at the Holder Green Branch.

But more is wanted of you than a mere appreciation. You who have shared in a nation’s sorrow, won’t you help in this national work? Its vital importance is apparent. Perhaps it was your boy who urged them on, in the cool morning air, with a "CARRY ON!" – won’t you carry on and do your part?

Contributions should be sent to H. W. BURLEIGH, Secretary, Hospital for Epilepsy and Paralysis, Maida Vale, W.