Details of 1915 battle that took lives of six Spalding men

The First World War memorial in Spalding Parish Church.sg130914-202tw.
The First World War memorial in Spalding Parish Church.sg130914-202tw.
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Details of the attack in which so many local men and boys lost their lives in 1915 were beginning to emerge.

Men returning from the Hohenzollern Redoubt had been advised not to speak about the attack in which six men from Spalding and five from the wider district lost their lives.

However, from letters home and part stories told by some of the men who were at home, this newspaper was able to piece together the extent of the ordeal the men had gone through.

The report said: “All the lads got ready, last handshakes were given, and messages delivered. A last ‘fag’ was smoked, and all hearts strained, wondering what would be the result.”

The order came to fix bayonets, then the signal to charge, and: “The big guns ceased for a moment and in what seemed perfect silence after the terrific roar of the artillery, the troops were over the parapet, the Spalding and Boston companies leading the way. What a sight that was. A long, strong, thin khaki line of heroes poised for a second before entering the arena. Then the guns boomed out again, directing their fire on the second line of the enemy trenches, and away went the Spalding lads.

“Quickly gaps were made in the advancing column, then men fell still quicker, but the others did not waver. Pals fell with a slight cry to their mates that they were hit, but on, on went the remainder.

“The enemy fought fiercely to retain their line, and our lads fought even more fiercely to capture it. Each individual fought also for his life, and therefore fought to the death. Bombs, hand grenades, bullets, shells, and all manner of death-dealing missives flew about in large numbers. The scene was really beyond description.”