This Day In History

1918 Battle of the Selle. In a carefully-planned attack, rehearsed over 5 days, 5th East Lancashires mount a remarkably successful night assault near Briastre. They move off at 2 a.m., in a heavy downpour which lasted throughout the engagement, to the sound of the Regimental March being played by the battalion band. Met by heavy machine-gun fire and an artillery barrage which causes 50 casualties, they charge through with a yell and are on their final objective well before the 7 a.m. deadline set, taking 300 prisoners in the process. Casualties are 2 officers and 13 men dead, and 6 officers and 109 men wounded. Some 22 German dead were counted on the battalion front. Study of the ground the next day shows that the battalion had gone through no fewer than 6 defensive belts, including a very strongly-held railway embankment, before reaching its final objective. The 300 prisoners were ‘of far better physique and appearance’ than any of the enemy previously encountered, and turn out to be picked troops. They said that they were members of Kaiser Wilhelm’ bodyguard; that they had never before known defeat; and that they had been sent to hold the line at all costs.
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The 1914 Christmas Truces

The unofficial truces which broke out all along the Western Front at Christmas 1914, the first Christmas of the war, have grown in myth and legend in the 100 years since, no doubt because people desperately seek any signs of grace and compassion in that most terrible of wars.

It has been estimated that over 100,000 men from both sides took part in the spontaneous events. Three of our antecedent battalions were on the Western Front at the time –  the 1st and 2nd East Lancashires, and the 1st Loyal North Lancashires – with the 1st East Lancashires being most directly involved.

On the 100th anniversary, our good friends at the Lancashire Evening Post newspaper told their story. Please click on the pictures below to get the full articles, reproduced here by kind permission of the Editor.

 

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