The 15th Infantry Brigade was a pre-war regular brigade, part of the 5th Infantry Division, and stationed in Ireland in August 1914. The brigade consisted of the 1st Battalions of the Norfolks, Bedfords, Cheshires and Dorsets and on mobilization its strength was 127 officers, 3958 men, 258 horses and 74 vehicles. The 5th Division together with the 3rd Division made up II Corps (Grierson) while 1st and 2nd Divisions formed I Corps (Haig); these four divisions formed the original BEF. The Brigade arrived in France on 16th August 1914 and this account is an expanded version of a scrappy diary which Gleichen kept in France from day to day (contrary to regulations), and although he pruned it of certain personal matters he did not add to it in the light of subsequent events. So we follow its fortunes at Mons, Le Cateau, the Retreat, the Marne and the Aisne before the move to Flanders and the First Battle of Ypres and finally a description of trench life opposite Messines. It was his brigade’s fate to have to detail the first firing squad of the war to execute a deserter from 1st RWK in 13th Brigade. This account of the first months of the war as seen through the eyes of the brigade commander is invaluable, apart from being an excellent read. Gleichen, whose title ‘Count’ was changed to ‘Lord’, left the 15th Brigade on 2 March 1915 to return to the UK and take command of 37th Division, one of Kitchener’s New Army divisions.
Doings of the FIFTEENTH INFANTRY BRIGADE August 1914 to March 1915
An interesting account of an infantry brigade’s experiences in the early months of the war, from Mons to First Ypres, as seen through the eyes of its commander.