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The War Service of the 1/4 Royal Berkshire Regiment (T. F.)   By: (1887-1941)

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Late Captain 1/4 Royal Berks. Regt., Fellow Of Hertford College, And Formerly Fellow Of All Souls College, Oxford

[Illustration: Colonel O. PEARCE SEROCOLD, C.M.G., V.D. Commanding On Mobilization 5 Aug. 1914 To 14 Feb. 1916.]

Oxford Basil Blackwell MCMXXII

Oxford Fox, Jones & Co., Kemp Hall Press, High Street.



Chapter I Mobilisation and training.

Chapter II First Days on Active Service.

Chapter III Holding the Line at 'Plugstreet'.

Chapter IV On the Move and in Corps Reserve.

Chapter V Relieving the French at Hébuterne.

Chapter VI Summer and Autumn in Artois.

Chapter VII Winter in the Trenches.

Chapter VIII The new Trench and the Raid.

Chapter IX Before the Battle.

Chapter X The July Fighting at Pozières.

Chapter XI Rest and Battle.

Chapter XII Uneventful Days.

Chapter XIII In the Slough of Despond.

Chapter XIV The Winter and the German Retreat.

Chapter XV Ronssoy.

Chapter XVI Towards the Hindenburg Line.

Chapter XVII The Renewal of Trench Warfare.

Chapter XVIII The Third Battle of Ypres.

Chapter XIX Last Days in France and the Journey to Italy.

Chapter XX The Italian Winter.

Chapter XXI Mountain Warfare.

Chapter XXII The Last Summer.

Chapter XXIII Victory.

Appendix A.

Appendix B.


This little work was undertaken at the request of Lieut. Col. R. J. Clarke, C.M.G., D.S.O., while the war was still in progress. The Editor of the Berkshire Chronicle kindly gave it the hospitality of his columns in 1920. Its republication in book form is due to the generous support of Berkshire people; and I have been very fortunate in persuading Mr. Basil Blackwell to act as its publisher. The earlier portion is based on my own personal recollections, the latter on the war diary of the Battalion, which was admirably kept, and on information supplied by officers and men.

I have to thank Lieut. Col. Ewen and Capt. Goodenough, M.C., for the trouble which they have taken to supply me with all available documents: and, among many others, Major G. A. Battcock, Captains W. E. H. Blandy, O. B. Challenor, M.C., G. H. W. Cruttwell, and Sergts. Page and Riddell for giving me personal details, and thereby clearing up many points which must otherwise have remained obscure.

The fortunes in battle of a small unit, like a Battalion, in the late war, can never make easy reading, but I hope that with the aid of the large scale maps inserted in the text they may prove fairly intelligible. The Appendices are due to the present Adjutant, Capt. L. Goodenough, M.C.



Late in the afternoon of August 2nd, 1914, the 4th Royal Berks Regiment joined the remainder of the South Midland Infantry Brigade for their annual camp on a hill above Marlow. War had broken out on the previous day between Germany and Russia, and few expected that the 15 days' training would run its normal course. It was not, therefore, a complete surprise when in the twilight of the next morning the battalion re entered the same trains which had brought them, and returned to Reading. Soon after arrival, in accordance with orders received, the battalion proceeded to disband; but many of the men, unwilling to return to the distant parts of the county when further developments were confidently expected, remained at their respective armouries throughout that famous Bank Holiday. At last, at 7.20 p.m. on the next day, August 4th, the order for mobilisation was received, and conveyed throughout the county that night by the police and eager parties of volunteers. The plan of mobilisation had been closely studied in all its details, and worked with complete smoothness... Continue reading book >>

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