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France

The 1st Highland Light Infantry leave Riez-du-Vinage and march with the remainder of the Sirhind Brigade eastwards to Zelobes where 12056 L/Cpl Robert Alexander Wishart and his unit billet for a few hours before moving 1 1/2 miles further east to Lacouture for the night.

At Rue-du-Bois heavy shelling by the British artillery beginning at 7:30am is heard in support of the attacks at Neuve Chapelle and Givenchy. Privates 3/4067 Robert Wishart, 7397 George Wishart and 2338 Andrew Wishart of the 1st Black Watch are ordered to give returned bursts of fire at fixed times throughout the day. Conditions are recorded as being grey and misty. The bombardment is also recorded by the war diary of the 1st Scots Guards who are in the reserve in the Rue de L’Epinette sector. 9650 Pte. Alexander Wishart and his unit are ordered to remain in readiness to move at short notice throughout the day. At 5:45pm the battalion move off towards Richebourg-l’Avoué in support of the Indian Brigade.  About one kilometre from their destination the Guards are halted and subsequently sent back to their billets in Rue de L’Epinette. Privates 27972 George Rodger Wishart and 27414 James Wishart of the 15th Battalion, CEF also saw the 7:30am artillery bombardment having moved up into the support at Rue-du-Bois at 6am. The battalion were positioned on the right of the Canadian Division next to Neuve Chapelle and returned to their billets later in the afternoon.  Orders were received at 11pm to move up to Rue-du-Bois at 7am the next day.

677 Pte. Henry Gray Wishart and the 1st Seaforth Highlanders marched at 3am to an assembly point near to the position from were they began their attack on Neuve Chapelle. Each man carried a great coat and mess tin in his pack along with two sandbags, rations and 250 rounds of ammunition in his haversack. Even before the infantry assault begins there are battalion casualties when the artillery fired too low over the men’s heads during their opening salvos. H.E. Craster gives an account of the battle in which Henry participated:

The Garhwal Brigade was detailed for the assault, the 1st Seaforths being attached to them for that purpose. The assaulting troops rushed the enemy trenches and got into the village of Neuve Chapelle. But there was one portion of trench which remained untouched. Two companies of the 1st Seaforths were ordered to assault it from the left, while units of the Garhwal Brigade made a frontal attack. It was now four o’clock in the afternoon, and the advance on the Bois Du Biez, which formed the second phase of operations, was being retarded. So the two remaining companies of the 1st Battalion were ordered to co-operate in the attack. ‘B’ Company at once set to work bombing the Germans along the trench, with the result that 120 Germans surrendered. By nightfall the 1st Seaforths and two battalions of the Garhwal Brigade, all under the command of a Lieutenant-Colonel of the Seaforths, were holding a section of the old German line, and the village of Neuve Chapelle had been cleared of the enemy.

43786 Cpl. John Wishart of the 33rd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery is at a new position about a mile east of his former location at Croix Barbee and along with the rest of the brigade, begins firing at 7:30am in the first phase of the attack on Neuve Chapelle. In this the objective was to destroy the German wire entanglements which was followed fifteen minutes later by another twenty rounds fired at positions about 400 yards behind the first. The brigade continue to fire in support of the infantry attack and at 1:30pm the war diary reports that Aubers church is on fire and the tower has been taken down. At 2:40pm the brigade receive a report that the allies hold Neuve Chapelle.

At Vierhouck the Royal Scots Greys (including 6391 Pte. John Wishart) stand-to at 9:00am and march to Estaires at 10:30am beeffore moving on billets in Rue de L’Epinette in the early evening.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]