British private served with 50th Bn Machine Gun Corps on Western Front, 5/1918; POW in France and Germany, 5-11/1918
REEL 1: Aspects of period in GB, 1917-1918: attested, 1916; called up and posted to reserve training battalion at Kinmel Park, North Wales; posted to 3rd (Reserve) Bn, Royal Welsh Fusiliers; transferred to Machine Gun Corps, Belton Park; opinion of accommodation and training; drafted to France, 1/1918. Aspects of operations with 50th Bn Machine Gun Corps on Western Front, 5/1918: posted to Machine Gun Corps base camp, Camiers; story of sergeant-major selecting men to replace casualties; posted to 50th Bn at Chemin des Dames, 5/1918; relations with French troops in line; opinion of colonial troops; opinion of US Army; description of trenches and terrain at Chemin des Dames; role in providing barrage for raiding party; story about German prisoner revealing date of attack at Chemin des Dames; moved into forward positions; description of machine gun posts; story of taking message to Cpl. Maddox; warned by officer to prepare for gas attack; description of German artillery barrage prior to opening of Battle of Chemin des Dames, 27/May/1918; proximity to German trenches; reaction to seeing German observation balloons over no man's land; description of German attack on trenches; problem of finding way out of machine gun post; story of hiding from Germans in dugout; description of dismantling machine guns. Aspects of period as POW in France and Germany, 5-11/1918: story of being forced by German NCO to assist in moving field guns and help carry wounded; attitude to lack of artillery support; story of carrying wounded German soldier to field hospital; marched with walking wounded to Ramecourt and put in POW cage; interrogation; problem of lack of food; description of work laying railway track for Germans; opinion of accommodation in dugouts; problem of Germans taking men's overcoats; opinion of food; problem of diarrhoea and dysentery; lack of person hygiene and problem of lice; description of men suffering from swollen testicles; state of health; description of train journey with other sick POWs in cattle trucks to casualty clearing station at Ramecourt; story of casualty clearing station being bombed and casualties; description of journey in cattle trucks through Luxembourg to Trier, Germany; taken to hospital in barracks; story of seeing socks crawling with lice; description of delousing and medical treatment; opinion of German Sister; relations with guards; transferred to POW camp at Giessen; opinion of living conditions in camp; story of bartering food parcels with German civilians; description of seeing German Army in retreat during train journey to Metz; returned to GB; story of contacting German Sister in Ramecourt, 1975; story of German officer asking for volunteers to bury dead story about eating snails and nettle leaves.
REEL 2 Continues: description of bread ration and method of distribution; relations between POWs; food the main topic of conversation; story of exchanging boots for money and bread; attitude to wearing wooden sabots; opinion of quality of German clothing and brown bread. Further aspects of operations with 50th Bn Machine Gun Corps on Western Front, 1-5/1918: description of living conditions at Chemin de Dames, 5/1918; opinion of accuracy of German artillery; attitude to Germans; description of conditions in 'Napoleon Tunnel'; use of fat from cookhouse to make candles; problem of trench fever; description of tunnel system at Chemin des Dames; facilities at regimental canteen; story about seeing two captured nurses on train; story of visit by Field-Marshal Hindenburg to front line.
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.