France

25 January 1915

In Auchel the state of readiness is cancelled for the 1st Highland Light Infantry and 12056 L/Cpl Robert Alexander Wishart is likely to have spent the day training. A draft of 35 men arrive with the battalion during the day.

A somewhat more eventful day is in store for 2413 Pte. Andrew Brock Wishart and the 9th Highland Light Infantry starting at 7:30 a.m. when heavy shelling of the battalion position began. The men stood to arms and the advanced companies manned their breastworks. At 9:30 a.m. the officer commanding of the right advanced company observed the Germans through his telescope advancing to attack Givenchy. Half an hour later orders were received to occupy in strength and hold a work on the battalion right in support of the 3rd Brigade. 3 platoons were sent forth and successfully connected with both flanks whilst advancing under shrapnel fire.

At 11:15 a.m. the 5th Brigade informed the battalion that the 1st Division reported that the enemy had broken their front and reached Givenchy Church. By early afternoon the 1st Division were reported to be holding their line and by mid-afternoon had restored a section that had been breached by the Germans. The Highlanders held their position, and by early evening the threat from enemy attack had largely dissipated with the advanced posts occupied as usual without opposition. It is unknown where Andrew was during the day’s action, however he would almost certainly have experienced the enemy shell fire that was so virulent during the morning.

The attack on Givenchy caused B & D Coys (A in the reserve) of the 1st Battalion Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) to march at once from Beuvry to Cambrin and counter-attack the enemy from an area near east of the village of Cuinchy known as The Brickstacks. ‘C’ Coy advanced from Pont Fixe with the 2nd Welsh and held the enemy back at the point where they had broken through at Givenchy village, where they re-established the line.

For B & D Coys the advance began at 1 p.m. and although it’s not known what part privates 3/4067 Robert Wishart and 7397 George Wishart played in the attack, casualties in ‘B’ company were reported as being high, with the men reduced to crawling forward by mid-afternoon. From 4:55 p.m. until dark the British line forged slowly forward until their left was almost 100 years beyond the old fire trench and their right within a hundred yards of the Germans. At 5 p.m. the Black Watch were ordered to hold the line until the Royal Sussex Regiment delivered an attack through them during the night. The first of these attacks failed, however the second, at 3:45 a.m. the following morning, managed to establish the desired position from the Keep to the railway embankment.