Saturday 4 February 2012

46 (North Midland) Division Memorial - Angles - Degrees - Loss

On 13th October 1915, at 2.00 p.m. (1400 hrs) the men of the 46th Division went ‘over the top’ in an attempt to capture the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

137th Brigade went first and were immediately hit by heavy machine gun fire. The attacking battalions were annihilated without achieving anything.

Of the two companies of the 1/5 South Staffords, every single officer and man was hit as they tried to advance.

138th Brigade attacked at 2.05 p.m.. They managed to reach their first objective with fewer losses. Then, as they carried on, heavy fire cut across them resulting in very high casualties. The attack came to a standstill within ten minutes. Trench fighting continued, but once again the shortage of bombs proved decisive. The Division lost 180 officers and 3,583 men within ten minutes, and achieved absolutely nothing.

Decades later, a great deal of distress was caused by the dumping of waste on what had been the Hohenzollern Redoubt.  This was addressed and there is now a permanent ban on any dumping.

On 13th October 2006 a Memorial to the 46th (North Midland) T F Division was  put in place on land close to the Redoubt donated by the local farmer, Michel Dedourage. 

The land where the memorial stands is 46 sqm.  It is made from Portland Stone (the same as the Dorset Memorial) in the form of a ‘Broken Column’ and was designed by Michael Credland.

The top of the column is tilted at an angle of 46 degrees.

The bottom step is 46 inches across and the column is 46 inches high. 

Every angle: the top, the base, the steps and the facets of the column are 46 degrees.

Each of the eight sides has a gun-metal plaque bearing the cap badges and names of the battalions: Lincolnshires, Leicestershires, Sherwood Foresters, North Staffordshires, South Staffordshires,  1st Monmouths, RFA and RE.  The plaques were made by the famous Bell Founders: Taylors of Loughborough. 

The Inscription "THEIR COUNTRY FOUND THEM READY", which is carved on the top step of the Memorial, was chosen by Martin Middlebrook, who wrote of Captain Staniland's Journey: The North Midland Territorials Go To War. It comes from the popular war-time song "Keep the home fires burning" composed by Ivor Novello In 1915.

Photographs of three brothers who served with the 46th (North Midland) Division.  The larger photograph is of a Hohenzollern Redoubt Survivor 

 St. Mary's Advanced Dressing Station Cemetery on the Hulluch to Vermelles road, Haisnes.

46th North Midland Memorial, Vermelles


46th (North Midland) Division - short history
The Dorsetshire Memorial

©Karen Ette