March 29th 1915

Further to Nevile West’s news (see March 22nd), we have now heard from Jack Smyth (Lieut., 15th Sikhs) that he was also involved in the Battle at Neuve Chapelle.

Jack Smyth

Lieut. J. Smyth (15th Sikhs)

24/3/15. “We have just returned from Neuve Chapelle (the name has been mentioned so much in the papers lately that I don’t think the censor can object to my putting it in here). I left my A.D.C. job as we were transferred to another Brigade and I have been with the regiment since the 8th.

We did seven days in the captured German trenches, and they were about the best we have ever been in; they had been in them about three months and had made them very strong and comfortable and had done themselves pretty well too as the empty wine bottles and cigar boxes showed.

They must have lost very heavily indeed, as there were rows of dead bodies in front of our trench from when they made a counter attack to try and get the place back and came under the fire of our machine-guns.

It was a relief having the trenches a good way apart, so that we could have patrols out at night and sleep comparatively comfortably, instead of the jumpy nights when the trenches are 50 and 80 yards apart, as we have been having lately.

The first night we were there one of our (Indian) scouts jumped on to one of their scouts and sat on his head and yelled for help and he was brought in; he tried to make out that our people had stolen his pipe from his pack, but as tobacco is pollution to our people he was deemed a liar by everybody present.

We brought in three of their wounded, who must have been out there for five or six days. They seem very callous about that sort of thing and never made an effort to bring them in, although they were nearer their trenches than ours more than a good deal.

They bombarded us fairly hard with artillery every day but without much result. On the evening of the 12th we were reduced to 5 officers: the C.O., three Company Commanders and myself, the other Company being commanded by a Native Officer. But our Adjutant has come out and several others and we now have got 14.

The men are very fit and very bucked about the whole show, which is about the biggest knock the Germans have had up this way.”

 

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