The British Grenadier Guards During World War One.

 

Since 1815 the balance of power in Europe had been maintained by a series of treaties. 
In 1888 Wilhelm II was crowned ‘German Emperor and King of Prussia’ and moved from a policy of maintaining the status quo to a more aggressive position.  He did not renew a treaty with Russia, aligned Germany with the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire and started to build a Navy rivalling that of Britain. 
These actions greatly concerned Germany’s neighbours, who quickly forged new treaties and alliances in the event of war. 
On 28th June 1914 Franz Ferdinand the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated by the Bosnian-Serb nationalist group Young Bosnia who wanted pan-Serbian independence.  Franz Joseph’s the Austro-Hungarian Emperor (with the backing of Germany) responded aggressively, presenting Serbia with an intentionally unacceptable ultimatum, to provoke Serbia into war.  Serbia agreed to 8 of the 10 terms and on the 28th July 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, producing a cascade effect across Europe. 
Russia bound by treaty to Serbia declared war with Austro-Hungary, Germany declared war with Russia and France declared war with Germany. 
Germany’s army crossed into neutral Belgium in order to reach Paris, forcing Britain to declare war with Germany (due to the Treaty of London (1839) whereby Britain agreed to defend Belgium in the event of invasion).  By the 4th August 1914 Britain and much of Europe were pulled into a war which would last 1,566 days, cost 8,528,831 lives and 28,938,073 casualties or missing on both sides.

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The Guards Regiment raised five battalions and was awarded 34 Battle Honours and 7 Victoria Crosses, losing 4,680 men and suffering 12,000 casualties during the course of the war. 

In 1919 the King commanded the rank of Guardsman replace that of Private in recognition of the Regiments efforts during the war.

1st Battalion

04.08.1914 Stationed at Warley, London District and then joined the 20th Brigade of the 7th Division and moved to Lyndhurst.

07.10.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Zeebrugge and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; The First Battle of Ypres after which only 4 officers and 200 men remained of the Battalion.

04.08.1915 Transferred to the 3rd Guards Brigade of the Guards Division and once again engaged in various action on the Western Front including; During 1916 The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval. During 1917 The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of the Menin Road, The Battle of Poelkapelle, The First Battle of Passchendaele, The Battle of Cambrai 1917. During 1918 The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras 1918, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.

11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Maubeuge. 2nd Battalion 04.08.1914 Stationed at Chelsea as part of the 4th (Guards) Brigade of the 2nd Division.

2nd Battalion

15.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; The First Battle of Ypres after which only 4 officers and 140 men remained of the Battalion.

20.08.1915 Transferred to the 1st Guards Brigade of the Guards Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;

During 1916 The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval.

During 1917 The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of the Menin Road, The Battle of Poelkapelle, The First Battle of Passchendaele, The Battle of Cambrai 1917.

During 1918 The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras 1918, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.

11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, N.E. of Maubeuge.

3rd Battalion

04.08.1914 Stationed at Wellington Barracks, London District.

27.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre.

19.08.1915 Transferred to the 2nd Guards Brigade of the Guards Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;

During 1916 The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval.

During 1917 The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of the Menin Road, The Battle of Poelkapelle, The First Battle of Passchendaele, The Battle of Cambrai 1917.

During 1918 The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras 1918, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.

11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, near Maubeuge.

4th Battalion

14.07.1915 Formed at Marlow.

19.08.1915 Mobilised for war and landed in France to join the 4th Guards Brigade of the 31st Division.

20.05.1918 Transferred to the G.H.Q. Reserve

11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Criel Plage S.W. of Le Treport. 5th (Reserve) Battalion Aug 1914 Formed at Kensington as the 4th (reserve) Battalion.

15.08.1914 Moved to Chelsea Barracks.

14.07.1915 Became the 5th (Reserve) Battalion. 1st Provisional Battalion

07.08.1918 Formed at Aldershot for duty at the Senior Officers School.

 
Forces War Records.
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