By Will Fowler
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Extra info for Battle Story: Ypres 1914-15
The QOOH – nicknamed in the British Army ‘Queer Objects on Horseback’, had been used to augment the Antwerp Expedition with the blessing of Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War. The regiment had had a historical link with the Churchill family since 1892. Winston Churchill had become a member in 1902 and his younger brother, Jack, was serving with them in 1914 when they became the first Territorial Force unit to see action. Until the arrival of the British 7th Division they were the only troops between the German Army and the Channel ports.
42 February 1918 – the war has only nine more months to run as this weary stretcher party walks along a duckboard track in the pulverised terrain at Ypres. 43 A grim but evocative name for a little Commonwealth War Graves cemetery near Ploegsteert Wood, a shell-shattered wood known as ‘Plug Street’ to British soldiers. 44 The caption to this card reads ‘Scotties have a clean up after a spell in the trenches’. The reality was that men stank, their clothing and bodies had lice, and it could be an effort to stay clean shaven, let alone clean.
The Territorial Force’s primary role was home defence and its members could only be sent overseas if they volunteered and only a small number of units had done so before the outbreak of war, but this soon changed. During the early weeks of the war, the BEF was to suffer heavy casualties and so individual TF units began to be sent to France in September 1914 (at the same time three TF divisions were sent to replace Regular units overseas). The first TF division did not, however, deploy to an active theatre of war until March 1915.
Battle Story: Ypres 1914-15 by Will Fowler