Description British private served with 12th (Bermondsey) Bn East Surrey Regt on Western Front, in Italy and Germany, 1916-1919.
REEL 1: Aspects of period in GB, 1915-1916: enlisted with 12th (Bermondsey) Bn East Surrey Regt in London, 15/Sep/1915; training; drafted to France, 1/May/1916; disembarked Le Havre. Recollections of operations with 12th (Bermondsey) Bn East Surrey Regt on Western Front, in Italy and Germany, 5/1916-1919: description of trenches and duties at Ploegsteert, Ypres sector; story of being wounded in arm at Flers and medical treatment in France and GB, 1916; posted to Etaples, 1/1917; volunteered to return to 12th Bn; description of conditions on Messines Ridge, 5/1917; problem of boils; posted to Italy, 11/1917; weather conditions in mountains; moved to River Piave sector; reason for being posted back to France, 3/1918; description of digging in at Bailleul; story of accidentally firing on soldiers in Middlesex Regt; story of holding line with Lewis gun team after other troops had retired; returned to rest camp for further training; description of advance, 7/1918; morale; story of being awarded the DCM; story of being wounded by ricochet on 22nd birthday, 21/Oct/1918; reaction to Armistice, 11/Nov/1918; marched to Cologne, Germany; occupied hospital at Oberstdorf; story of being billeted with German family who had lost three sons in the war; description of advancing behind tanks at Flers, 1916; opinion of tanks; story of demobilization, 1919; further comments on being awarded DCM for salvaging ammunition; story about offering to revert to private after incident over billet guard; story of receiving DCM at Bermondsey Town Hall, London, 1919; story about rum ration; further description of living conditions at Ploegsteert Wood; story about civilian spies in house; use of duckboards to cross ground; further description of March retreat, 1918; story about losing personal possessions when camp set on fire; relieved by Americans; reaction to being awarded DCM; story about death of friend in signals section.
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.