Vimy Ridge

Source: Extract from Birmingham City Battalions, page 12 

Meanwhile preparations were in hand for the assault on Vimy Ridge, in which operation the Battalion was told off to act as Brigade Reserve. For this special effort they had to reorganise their ranks, as they had lost most of their original officers and men on the Somme. Thanks to excellent drafts from the 1st and 2nd Warwicks and the 1st and 2nd Worcesters, with a sprinkling of Territorials, they were ready for anything by the beginning of April, when the serious business re-commenced. Thanks to the thoroughness of the preparations and the effect upon the enemy of an intense bombardment, the advance was carried through with complete success and with very little loss. The 14th Warwicks had only five men wounded by shell fire. They suffered more when marching to billets after being relieved by Canadians.

It snowed all the way, and the blizzard had a bad effect upon their feet, if not upon their tempers. As a matter of fact, the morale of the Battalion was remarkably good. All ranks carried out their duties to the satisfaction of the Commanding Officer, even when the conditions were very trying, showing enthusiasm in their work and indifference to hardship.

En route
Source: Postcard Collection

They had plenty to put up with in the frozen marshes by the Souchez River and in the bivouac in Oppy Wood. Here they had to hold a long line with depleted ranks, and it was a great relief when warmer weather came, and with it a rest.

Towards the end of May they marched into a village that was then both picturesque and sanitary — a rare and delightful combination. The houses were clean and prettily situated, with a good stream near by to bathe in. As the weather was also delightful, the opportunity was taken for Battalion Sports, which were carried out with great keenness by all ranks. The presence of a band added to the enthusiasm and enjoyment. In the midst of this pleasant pastoral scene we will leave the Battalion, to follow the fortunes of their comrades in arms.