British NCO served with 6th and 8th Bns Somerset Light Infantry on Western Front, 1915-1918
REEL 1: Aspects of period in Somerset, GB, 1911-1915: left school age 13; description of working in coal mine at Midsomer Norton; story about cycling accident; story of enlisting in Taunton and lying about age, 5/1915. Aspects of training in Taunton and Plymouth, GB, 1915: slept in drill hall and drilled with broom handle; opinion of food; issued with khaki uniform and rifle; promoted lance-corporal in charge of a platoon; story about two soldiers serving 28 days detention re-joining platoon prior to departure for France; sailed from Dover and disembarked at Boulogne, France, 2/Sep/1915. Aspects of operations with C Coy, 6th Bn Somerset Light Infantry on Western Front, 9/1915-8/1918: story of seeing shell explosions and Very lights from top of hill; moved to St Julien and took over trenches from Canadians who had been gassed; moved to base in Flamertinghe; took over trenches at Sanctuary Wood, Ypres sector; story about friend killed by German sniper; collected 28 men as reinforcements; appointed signals instructor; casualties; role of 6th Bn as part of 14th (Light) Div; summary of movements and actions; story of meeting future wife during home leave; role in operations at Delville Wood, Somme, 9/1916; story about killing two Germans who had bayoneted friend to death; moved to Cambrai sector; story of narrowly avoiding capture at St Quentin during German offensive, 3/1918; story of taking drink and cigarettes from deserted YMCA stall; story of firing machine gun at Germans until ammunition ran out and then destroying the gun; sheltered in wood with French soldiers and artillery; posted to Etaples and transferred to 8th Bn Somerset Light Infantry; story of taking part in boxing match; story of being wounded by shellfire and returning to GB for medical treatment, 8/1918.
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.