The 4th (TA) Battalion, the Leicestershire Regiment, was in Leicester when war broke out, part of the Lincoln & Leicester Brigade (later 138th) North Midland Division (later 46th). The division embarked for France in February 1915, the first territorial divison to arrive on the Western Front where it remained for the rest of the war. This account is written primarily for those who served or whose relatives served in the battalion, which is a good thing as we get plenty of names and the details of daily life in the trenches. A feature of the book is the brevity of each chapter – 157 pages of text (the 158th page is an R.I.P) and forty-three chapters which gives an average of 3.6 pages per chapter (some are only two pages). Each chapter deals with some aspect of the battalion’s service at the front – an action, a raid, a spell in the trenches in various sectors, periods out of the line and so on. The first major action was at Hohenzollern Redoubt in the closing days of the Loos offensive, during the battalion attack on 13 October 1915 all the officers who took part became casualties; the total cost was 20 officers and 453 other ranks and of this total just over 200 were killed or died of wounds (13 of them officers). This action was a shattering blow, described as ‘the end of the chapter’, for the old battalion had to be rebuilt, and it was a month before it went back into the line. The highlight of the division’s operations during the course of the war was the crossing of the St Quentin Canal on 29 September 1918 and breaking through the Hindenburg Line, a tremendous achievement in which the battalion played its part. This action and the subsequent advance are described in some detail.
There is no Roll of Honour nor list of honours and awards, but officer casualties and new arrivals are mentioned by name in the text other ranks by totals. There are accounts of gallantry awards but unfortunately there is no index either. In all the battalion lost 628 dead (44 of them officers), and it is a sobering thought that nearly a third of them died on the morning of 13 October 1915 at the Hohenzollern Redoubt.
FOOTPRINTS of the 1/4TH LEICESTERSHIRE REGIMENT. AUGUST 1914 to NOVEMBER 1918
A pre-war TF battalion which went to France with 46th Division in February 1915. Its worst day, 13 October 1915 was at Hohenzollern Redoubt where casualties numbered 473 during a battalion attack. High was point the crossing of St Quentin Canal 29 Sep 1918.