THE GRENADIER GUARDS IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918 Volume Two
The Grenadier Guards began the war with three battalions of which only one, the 2nd, was committed to the BEF; it was in the 4th Guards Brigade, 2nd Division. As soon as war was declared the 4th (Reserve) Battalion was formed and within five days 1,700 reservists had reported. In September 1914 the 7th Division was formed and the1st Battalion was allocated to 20th Brigade of the new division. On 14th July 1915 another Grenadier battalion was formed and numbered the 4th, the Reserve battalion then became the 5th. A month later the 4th battalion went to France to join the newly created Guards Division, and it was at this stage, also, that the 3rd Battalion, which hitherto had been retained in London by Kitchener for some undefined reason, was sent out to join the new division. Thus, by August 1915 there were four battalions of Grenadiers on the Western front where they remained for the rest of the war. By the end the Regiment had suffered 11,915 casualties of which 203 Officers and 4,508 Other Ranks were dead, seven VCs had been won and 34 Battle Honours awarded. This, as might be expected, is a very good history with detailed descriptions of the fighting and of the conditions the men endured. One sentence in particular paints a graphic picture of the state of the trenches in January 1915: The gruesome task of removing the dead was effected by floating the bodies down the communication trenches. The author tells the story in chronological order; vol I takes the record of the four battalions to the end of 1915, vol II to the German offensive of March 1918 and vol III to the armistice and beyond to the division's march into Germany. Each volume is paginated separately with its own contents list though the chapters run consecutively through all three. Each chapter covers a specific period and the chapter heading indicates which battalions are involved. There are plenty of maps to support the narrative, showing tactical details. Among the appendices are the Roll of Honour, a list of officers wounded with dates, lists of Awards, Mentions in Despatches and of Divisional Certificates of Gallantry and an account of the 7th (Guards) Entrenching Battalion. There is a table naming all other ranks who were commissioned during the war showing the regiment or corps to which they went. Finally there is an index to the names of officers.
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