Remembrance - 6th Royal West Kent Regiment 1914-18. By Sidney T Kemp

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For on September 25th it seemed a3 if all hell had been let loose by the. British Artillery to the left and right of'us and along wiy to the right. So as we learned later on September 25th the breakthrough which we had hoped for had begun down the line at Loos or was it breakthrough? We learned the answer later on when we assumed something like two days too late. Now the rest of the 12th Division had been withdrawn from the Armentiers sector and the whole of the line was being held oh so very lightly by the 6th Buffs who were outspread in small groups of two or three men and this part recently was held by six battalions each with a reserve. We were in reserve now to the Buffs and they were given the straw that we had bundled into small bundles to light and encourage the smoke for the wind was blowing from behind our lines and so put the fear of hell up the Germans. They it was who had used gas on the Canadians at Ypres earlier in the year. Well Len Bush who was now with the Buffs said later, they lit the straw the smoke drifted across to the German trenches and the Germans were standing upon the parapet begging our fellows who were the Buffs to take them prisoners. If the High Command could have switched that night the attack to our part of the line I always felt the breakthrough would have been much easier. But in our war top generals didn't get very close to the enemy when the attacks started. Well we could hear the battle ongoing at Loos and couldn't understand why we were doing v/hat we were us and the Buffs but we learned later that we were waiting for the second contingent of the Canadian army to relieve sous that we should have taken part in the van of the Loos attack. It wasn't until the night of September 27th when we were all off the roads waiting in the fields that the Canadians marched up togo into the sector now held so lightly by the Buffs. We heard later they hadn't left Shomcliffe near Folkestone when the battle of Loos had begun on September 25th. Time was allowed to let them takeover from the Buffs and then both regiments marched to Armentiers Station where trains had been waiting for several days to take us to the battle which was now over three days old. It was on September 29th that we moved off by train via Steinwert and back to Hazebrouck which was a junction to be unloaded at a little station a few miles from Bethune. The whole of both battalions were to be housed that night in a small village and as the nights were getting much colder, the quartermasters of both regiments thought they had housed everyone, but they had forgotten the signallers and runners of the Kent3 so there we were with nowhere to sleep until a French farmer whose house our Commanding Officer and staff were using offered to move his cows out of the cowshed and let us sleep where the cows were already laying down. So we helped him muck out the cow straw and manure and put fresh straw down for us to sleep on and we were tired after our night's rest at this little village, which was named Vandrecourt. We left the next today march a bit nearer the battle which was raging just down the line. Before leaving Vandrecourt we were told this was a forced march as we were needed for reserves to another Division and that the three miles an hour with five minutes rest wouldn't occur. We the signallers who marched in front of the battalion didn't feel it too much but the company at the rear after we had marched for several miles too far without a halt began to suffer and men couldn't upkeep the pace so were beginning to fall and stagger along. The doctor of which every battalion had one was an Irishman named Doctor Gordon. He rode a cob and
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