In the opening months of 1915 the Allied leaders thought
that the war would be won that year. The Germans had adopted a defensive
position on the Western Front (since they wanted to concentrate their
strength in the east). Joffre intended to mount a French offensive against
the German line in May, but the British commanders in the field decided
to stage a ‘demonstration’ at an earlier date.
The area selected was the German Salient which protruded round the village
of Neuve Chapelle. It was lightly defended and Haig threw in a formidable
array of men and machinery. In several places the attackers broke through
into open country (a feat which they were not to repeat for two and
a half years).
The issue of March 27, the ‘Neuve Chapelle Number’,
(Appendix list no.70) celebrates the actions
of March 10th and subsequent days performed by the British and Indian
troops. There are pictures of the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment
holding the Germans at Givenchy Ridge, the British charge upon the German
entrenchments outside Aubers and the Indian troops’ attack near
La Bassee. A 3ft 4in centrepiece (the companion picture to the four
page painting by R. Caton Woodville of the defeat of the Prussian Guard,
given in the Great-War Deeds number), shows the whole panorama of the
attack on Neuve Chapelle and the retreat of the Germans to the Bois
As a footnote it is worthwhile to say that the British failed to exploit
the initial breakthrough and lost an estimated quarter of a million
men. The two forces remained in balance (which means, of course, that
the defence prevailed).
The issue (number 3962, vol. 146 pages 387- 420) has the normal advertising
front with the words ‘Neuve Chapelle Number’ in italic script
within the title frame. It measures 30 x 42 cm and cost sixpence.