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A misty day greets 12056 L/Cpl Robert Alexander Wishart of the 1st Highland Light Infantry in Neuve Chapelle. The Germans attack at dawn and ‘D’ Coy reinforce the line held by the 2nd/3rd Ghurkas of the Garhwal Brigade. At 10:15am Robert is positioned in the second line in preparation for a counter-attack by the Allies. At 1pm, and after a thirty minute artillery bombardment, the Highlanders advanced across No Man’s Land. By the day’s end casualties of officers and men numbered over 260 killed and wounded. The battalion commander wrote in an appendix to the war diary that:

The advance over bare ground was admirably carried out, the men advancing at once and carrying out the orders of their officers without hesitation and with great gallantry in face of a very heavy and accurate fire at short range which was causing heavy loss.

At 5:45am the Germans shell the billets at Le Touret where privates 3/4067 Robert Wishart, 7397 George Wishart and 2338 Andrew Wishart of the 1st Black Watch are based. The shelling continues until 8:15am and the only casualty is one of the battalion cooks.  9650 Pte. Alexander Wishart and the 1st Scots Guards also experience heavy shelling with one exploding on battalion headquarters about 7:30am and wounding four signallers.

677 Pte. Henry Gray Wishart and the 1st Seaforths also face the German counter-attack, which advances towards battalion lines under the cover of darkness. Having fired very lights to illuminate the area, battalion maxim guns then opened up on the enemy and killed about two-hundred men at close quarters in front of the trench. Only one German made it to the line and realising his predicament, gave himself up. Meanwhile those who had retreated dug themselves in and attempted to get around the Seaforth’s right, causing a great many casualties to the 1st/39th Garhwals.

In Estaires 6391 Pte. John Wishart and the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) stood to at 10:30am and turned out at 3pm when they trotted fast to Pont du Hem where they waited until 5pm and received orders to join the ‘great advance.’ The objective was to push through the infantry and occupy the cross roads west of Aubers – Aubers – high ground east of Aubers. With the enemy thought to have been demolished the regiment trotted forward with about 1/4 mile between squadrons. ‘B’ Squadron came under shell fire and with darkness falling, orders were received for the advance to halt – initially just behind the trenches before being ordered back to billets north of Estaires.


500 Pte. Gordon Alexander Wishart and his cousin 501 Pte. Robert Watmaugh Wishart of the AIF arrive in Port Suez from Melbourne and make their way to Port Said, arriving the same night.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]