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

Later that eoming when the -German' guns eased up from such heavy‘ 'helling Tug started off again. We succeeded in getting aline through to our comrades this time and weren't they pleased to'see us. There were about thirty or forty of them under Captain Towse and our signallers were all right. As soon as they connected the wires Captain Towse was talking to the Adjutant at HeadQuarters when we 3aid that we had better begetting back. He said you two stay here I've not enough men as it is if the Germans attack again. So for the rest of the day and part of the night we stayed there. The chaps had been through avery bad time sitting in an open trench with German shells falling everywhere. Still only a few were killed and we just stayed and Captain Towse being a good Christian man I have always thought that ho prayed to God that day. It wasn't many weeks later before he himself was killed by a shell. As I said we were relieved that night by the East Surrey Regiment, one of our sister battalions of the 37th Brigade. Y/e went back to a reserve trench where we were served with food and water to drink. We didn't have awash at this period for about ten days. Well by October 13th we were again laying wires to our A B C Coys who were now in support to the Buffs. It appeared that this time it was the Buffs and the East Surreys who were to take Gun Trench. Soon the afternoon of the 13th these two attacked. But it appears the Buffs were to be sacrificed to let the East Surreys get the trench. The Buffs were therefore sent out on the left from the trench previously held by the Guards and the East Surreys were then to attack and take Gun Trench. They took the trench these Surrey boys but what havoc the Germans played with the Buffs. They lost the best part of three companies including the Commanding Officer. Len Bush who had just joined them, was lucky for he was in the last Company of Buffs that were held back and not sacrificed. He told us all this later. Our fellows had many casualties because the Germans were shelling all the trenches the reserve and support ones too and couldn't the Germans shoot too. We overtook from where the Buffs had been and the next day were relieved by the Middlesex Regiment, and we went out for a few days rest we hoped to Vermelles. The next day we were issued with some clothes and had our first wash for about ten days which meant some sort of a bath. A couple of days later our Commanding Officer had us all on parade and read a message from the Brigadier congratulating onus the fine job that we had done during the last few days. Len Bush told Fred and I that they the remnant of the Buffs were put on parade and the General Officer Commanding the 1st Army of which we were now apart came in person to thank and shake the hands of those of the Buffs who were spared. He was none other than General Sir Douglas Haig and he it was who was Commander in Chief of the British Expeditionary Force a few days later when General French was relieved of his command. I should say that we the Royal West Kents went in support of one of the Regiments of the Brigade who were to attack to the left part of the Hohenzollem Redoubt. This attack seemed to have been hastily prepared for while we were passing through this part of the front line, we saw dug into the parapet facing the Germans about thirty to forty feet apart cylinders which meant gas and this meant another gas attack. So when we were taken into support this attack I somehow guessed that is what it was all about. The attack opened with the usual heavy artillery fire from our artillery. We the Royal West Kents were in the open support trench ready- togo to the help of those in front which I should say was three hundred yards or so. Suddenly for I was with Battalian HeadQuarters the Adjutant got up onto the parapet and used his binoculars so I and I was the only one of our chaps who did it got up and stood beside him. The ga3 attack was on and I saw it gradually rise from those cylinders form into a white cloud and this cloud rose to about nix to eight feet from the ground. .The whole lot joined up together and with a west breeze behind it just went towards the Cerman lines. Behind the gas walking in orderly fashion was the
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