East Chinnock and World War 1
by Jeremy Churchill
The spring of 1915 on the Western Front saw, both sides gathering their strength for further attacks to try and break what everyone still thought of as a temporary deadlock imposed by trench warfare.
Of the East Chinnock men, Arthur Russ (413 New Buildings), of the 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, Alfred Baker, 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment and Walter Pike (of 441, Weston Street) serving in the 1st Battalion, The Rifle Brigade (all three part of the 11th Brigade) would have been enjoying what passed for a quiet period in the Ypres Salient, little knowing what was soon to hit them. Walter Russ (brother of Arthur) in the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, and William Taylor (of The Rookery), serving with the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards; these were serving with the 1st and 2nd Divisions, respectively, between the towns of Béthune and La Bassée and had seen fighting at the end of February and were soon to be involved in the first major attacks by the British Army on the Western Front.
Albert Best, of 454, Weston Street, had enlisted with the 10th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment on the 7th September 1914 and had evidently impressed his superiors as he was promoted to Lance-Corporal on the 26th March 1915. His battalion, having been driven out of its tented camp at Stockton in the Wylye valley by the appalling weather of the winter of 1914-15, was by March 1915 at last being issued with khaki uniforms and proper equipment at its temporary billets in Bath. It would soon be moving to the newly-built huts of Sutton Veny camp on Salisbury Plain to resume training.
Also moving to Salisbury Plain with the better weather of spring 1915, but to another newly-built hutted camp at Larkhill, were Charles Andrews, Cyril Andrews, Gerald Dane, Percy Dane, and Arthur Shire, of the 7th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry. Their training was much improved by the gradual arrival of proper uniforms and equipment.