February 1916

100 Years Ago by Lyn Dyson

The Wiltshire Regiments

1st Battalion

The 1st Battalion spent the whole month in Outterstene, training and exercising and playing some football. On 25th February they were given a demonstration from a German Flammenwerfer, (flame thrower). The purpose was to show how harmless the liquid fire was.

2nd Battalion

The 2nd battalion spent most of the month at Carnoy. One of the men went missing while out on patrol on11th February. He turned up a week later in a very weak state from exposure and starvation. Apparently he had been captured by the Germans but had managed to escape and he had great difficulty trying to get back to his own lines. Sadly he died in hospital two days later.

On 13th February they were warned of an expected attack by the Germans. They stood in readiness on a very wet and stormy night, and expressed disappointment when nothing happened. They returned to their former positions after a quiet morning, and were given free buns and coffee. The fact that this is mentioned in the war diary seems to indicate that the men had to pay for their buns and coffee in the normal course of events.

The battalion suffered regular bombardment. The weather was described as very bad on most days, but from 23rd February to 26th February there were heavy snow falls. The snow had to be quickly cleared from the trenches, because they knew when it thawed there would be trouble with mud. This happened on 27th February.

5th Battalion

The 5th Battalion was in Port Said where they remained until 14th February when they boarded the HMT Oriana to sail for Mesopotamia, stopping off at Kuwait for three days. During their time in Port Said there was a competition between company teams from throughout the brigade. Prizes were given by the Brigadier General for an endurance and musketry test. They had to cover two miles of a course over sand in full marching order with additional points for time and style. They then had 1.5 minutes on reaching the butts, to open fire. The Wiltshires carried off all four prizes.

6th Battalion

The 6th Battalion was at Le Sart at the beginning of the month. They spent a lot of time in drill practice, and bombing and signalling instruction. On 11th February they were inspected by Lord Kitchener, accompanied by General Munro and Prince Arthur of Connaught.

They moved to the trenches on 18th February where they remained until 25th February. At that time they went to La Gorgue where they did some training, had baths, and formed some working parties.

7th Battalion

The 7th Battalion was still sitting it out in Salonika.


There were no casualties from our villages in February 1916.



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