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10th Btn. Cheshire Regiment

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10th Btn. Cheshire Regiment served with 7th Brigade, 25th Division, II Anzac Corps near the Kruisstraat mines, during the 1917 Battle of Messines.

The 10th Service Battalion The Cheshire Regiment was a Kitchener Battalion, raised at Chester in September 1914. After training in Chester, at Codford St Mary, Bornmouth and Aldershot, they proceeded to France. The Battalion joined 7th Brigade, 25th Division in October 1915.

They saw action at Vimy Ridge during the German attack in Spring 1916 and after a period of rest near St Pol moved to The Somme, taking over the front line near La Boisselle from 12th (Eastern) Division who had taken part in the infamous attack om July 1st. Over the following week the 25th Division suffered heavy casualties in the Ovillers area until they were relieved by the 48th (South Midland) Division on the night of the 16th July. On the 23rd July the 25th Division took over a sector of the line north of the River Ancre until the 14th August. On the 3rd of September the Division supported the 4th Australian Division in their attack on Mouquet Farm. On 9th October 1916 the 25th Division were in the line on the south bank of the River Ancre, near St Pierre-Divion and captured the northern face of 'Stuff Redoubt' in a major attack.

The 25th Division arrived in the Ploegsteert Sector at the end of October 1916.

In the darkness of the night of the 6th/7th of June 1917, the men of the 10th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment took up their positions as part of the 7th Brigade in the assembly trenches behind the front line on the left of the 25th Division's sector, just to the south of the Wulverghem to Wytschaete road, with the 74th Brigade on the right and the 75th in support behind them.

A few seconds before 3.10am, the appointed hour of the attack, the southern most of the huge mines at Factory Farm and Ultimo Trench were detonated. The two most northerly mines exploded seven seconds later along with that at Spanbroekmolen, which was about 500 yards to the north of the Cheshire men. Seconds later the Kruisstraat mines on the northern side of the Wulverghem to Wytschaete road were detonated at the same instant as the other mines along the nine mile ridge.

The men of the 10th Cheshires advanced swiftly, capturing the enemy forward positions, known to them as Nutmeg Trench and Nutmeg Support and Nutmeg Reserve. The advance met the first serious opposition well behind the German Front line at Bell Farm, which was captured by the 3rd Worcesters. The 10th Cheshires advanced to take the German Second line.

Despite the sucess of the attack, losses in the 25th Division numbered 145 officers and 2907 men, killed wounded or missing.

On the 14th and 15th of June 1917 a second major action was undertaken. This time the 25th Division were situated to the east of the town of Messines, in a sector from Blauwepoortebeek to the Douve and sucessfully pushed the German front line back another 800 yards beyond Gapaard on the Ypres to Warneton road.

The 25th Division was withdrawn on the night of the 22nd of June, moving to Bomy near St Omer for two weeks rest before going on to Ypres to prepare for the next offensive, th eBattle of Passendaele. Where they were involvedin heavy fighting from the attack on the 31st of July until the Division was withdrawn on the 9th of September.

In early October 1917, the 25th Division took over the Givenchy Sector and were involved in familiarising Portugese troops with trench warefare and at the beginning of December they entrained for Bullecourt.

In early 1918 the brigades of the 25th Division were in support at the Battle of St Quentin, the 7th Brigade being at Fremicourt, before the German's forced them back during the First Battle of Bapaume at the end of March. The 25th Division suffered heavy losses and was relieved on the Somme battlefields on the 26th of March.

On the 9th of April 1918, the 25th Division were in the front line near Ploegsteert when the German Spring Offensive was launched (The Battle of the Lys). They suffered badly in heavy fighty around Hill 63 and by the 12th of April the men of the 25th Division were involved in holding a new defensive front line in front of Dranoutre and Kemmel. The following day the Cheshire men were fighting a defence on the high ground East of Bailleul, but by the 15th the high ground and the town of Bailleul were in enemy hands and they withdrw through Boeschepe on the 16th.

After only four days rest at Abeele, the 25th Division joined an attack by French troops (who had lost the key position of Kemmel Hill the previous day) In thick fog following a night of heavy rain, the 25th Division, captured the railway line but were force to withdraw to a narrow sector along the Le Clytte to Kemmel road. The Division were withdrawn on the 4th of May and moved back west of Poperinge.

Ordered to a quiet sector south of the Aisne, the Division expected to rescouperate, but by the end of the month were again facing a heavy German attack in the Battle of the Aisne. Large casualty numbers were suffered as the Germans broke through.

In June 1918 the 10th battalion Cheshire Regiment was reduced to cadre with the remaining men being transferred to the 9th Battalion. The cadre returned to England and was absorbed by the 15th Battalion South Wales Borderers.

10th Btn. Cheshire Regiment

at The Battle of Messines.

  • Benson
  • J. D. Pte. d.7th Jun 1917
  • Blackhurst  
  • Frank Pte. d.7th June 1917
  • Blease  MM.
  • Emmanuel Pte. d.27th Oct 1917
  • Brough
  • H. J. Pte. d.7th Jun 1917
  • Skelhorn  
  • Alfred Pte.
  • Taylor  
  • Thomas Henry Pte d.7th June 1917

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