British guardsman served with A Coy (Prince of Wales) 1st Bn Grenadier Guards in GB and on Western Front, 1917; officer served with Essex Regt on Western Front, 1917-1918
REEL 1: Aspects of period in GB, 1916-1917: story of enlistment with brother at Heaton Park, Manchester, 1916; reaction to being posted to Guards; father killed serving with Manchester Regt, 1915; posted to Guards Depot, Caterham, Surrey; suicides among recruits; attitude to discipline and training in Guards; amusing story about drill exercise; length of training; drafted to France following mutinies in French Army, 1917. Aspects of operations with A Coy (Prince of Wales) 1st Bn Grenadier Guards on Western Front, 1917: role of Bn taking over from French units; opinion of French Army; pay; attitude to execution of French mutineers; opinion of Douglas Haig; first impression of front line; mud; rum ration; story of being knocked unconscious by rifle butt during attack and medical treatment at hospital in Boulogne; re-joined 1st Bn at Passchendaele, Ypres; commissioned in the field as 2/Lt in the Essex Regt; comparison of discipline in Guards and Essex Regt; role in operations during German offensive in Arras sector, 3/1918.
REEL 2 Continues: question of expecting German offensive; morale in Bn; role in writing to relatives of soldiers killed in action; reaction to death of batman; description of retreat; reaction to news of Armistice, 11/1918; opinion of Highland Light Infantry. Aspects of period with 1st Bn Grenadier Guards in GB, 1917: patrol duty with Military Police at Buckingham Palace; amusing story about Queen Mary reporting sentries smoking on duty; attitude to casualties during war.
The Battle of Verdun (21 February-15 December 1916) became the longest battle in modern history. It was originally planned by the German Chief of General Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn to secure victory for Germany on the Western Front.
'Over The Top'. 1st Artists' Rifles at Marcoing, 30th December 1917, by John Nash.
Brothers Paul and John Nash were both commissioned as official war artists during the First World War - Paul from 1917 and John from 1918. Prior to becoming official war artists, both of the brothers had seen active service on the Western Front.
The trench warfare of the Western Front encouraged the development of new weaponry to break the stalemate. Poison gas was one such development. The first significant gas attack occurred at Ypres in April 1915, when the Germans released clouds of poisonous chlorine.