The history of the 1st Battalion The Monmouthshire Regiment is very similar to that of the 3rd Battalion in that much of it is centred around the battles of the 2nd Ypres to a day that lives on in Monmouthshire, the heavy fighting that dominated on the 8th May 1915 on what is known as the Battle of Frezenberg. Both Battalions suffered heavy casualties and when all three battalions were amalgamated later there were barely enough men answering roll call to create one Battalion. The Welsh fighting spirit is nothing new and thoughout history it has been well documented from Crecy to Agincourt to the Peninsular and Boer Wars there are stories of the men from Monmouthshire fighting and dying. A visit to the Medal room at the regimental museum in Brecon bears testament to their bravery and loyalty.
The actions of one Gavrilo Princip on the 28th June 1914 were the catalyst for the Great War. There had been fermenting discontent around Europe and many countries had formed Pacts to ensure each others safety. Princip somewhat fortunately was in the very street that the Archdukes car had turned into. Princip took his chance, stepped forward and shot the Archduke and his wife. As they lay dying the reverberations began that would be felt around the world.
Thirty Seven days later the Kaiser began mobilising his "Feldgrau" and they crossed borders executing the first part of the "Schlieffen Plan" conceived to crush the French army in an iron embrace and to open up an easy route to the heart of France, Paris.
1st Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment marching from their drill hall over Stow Hill, Newport on 9th August 1914. Fifth back on the right hand row is 2170 Pte Arthur John Pope (Left arm up towards his shoulder, looking left) who was Killed in Action during the bitter fighting on the 8th May 1915 at the Battle of Frezenberg.
Picture and information courtesy Mr Martin Pope.
During the long hot summer of 1914 thousands of enthusiastic young soldiers mobilised for the most glorious conflict since the Napoleonic Wars. In the eyes of many men, pride and honour glowed in competition with the excitement of a great adventure that would be all over by Christmas. But this belief that it would all be over by Christmas quickly evaporated as the war of movement began to falter and both sides started digging in. The war of movement soon became a war of attrition. Thousands of troops were being poured into an increasingly cramped area.
In February 1915 the 1st Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment arrived in France where it was to serve with distinction initially as an Infrantry Battalion and latterly as a Divisional Pioneer unit until November 1918.
In the book "Surrender be Damned" A history of the 1/1st Battalion the Monmouthshire Regiment 1914-1918 by Les Hughes and John Dixon they state:
".......a history of the battalion has, to some extent, become more and more necessary"
and this was achieved in their book. I would now like to add to that by creating this website dedicated to the men who served and survived and to those who served and did not. They are all gone now so it is important to remember as it is a story that deserves to be recorded.
Do you have a relative who served with this Battalion?
Do you have a story, a photograph or some memorabilia you would like to share?
Would you like his story to be told here. Then please contact me at email@example.com
Every effort has been made to ensure that the content of this non commercial web site dedicated to the men involved in the Great War 1914 - 1918 of the 1st Battalion The Monmouthshire Regiment is as accurate as possible. If you find an error I would be delighted to hear from you and, where appropriate, correct it and give due and proper reference.
It has also not been my intention to infringe on anyones copyright but if I have it has been unintentional and I offer my apologies. Please let me know and I will either remove the article or picture or give due reference.
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