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Newfoundland Park 


The Newfoundlandlers had heard the pre-attack bombardment, the explosion of the Hawthorn mine and then the German machine guns when the leading Brigades made their attacks. An anxious wait followed whilst wounded were starting to be brought in and news of the initial attacks not being successful. Lieut-Col Hadow, a English officer commanding the Battalion received his orders over the phone from the Brigade Commander. The Newfoundlandlers were to leave their present position as soon as possible and advance to the German front line. The 1st Essex on their right would also attack. The overall situation was uncertain. He gave out his own orders and in a few minutes the battalion was ready. They had to advance 300 yards before reaching the British front line, that's before another similar distance across No-Mans Land. They went straight over the top from a reserve trench, (St Johns Road) as communication trenches were heavily congested. As soon as they were in the open and visible, the German Machine Gunners opened fire. No artillery bombardment kept the Germans heads down, there were no other targets as the 1st Essex had not appeared! The Germans concentrated their fire on 752 Newfoundland Troops advancing less than half a mile away. Before they even reached No Mans Land, they had to struggle through several belts of British wire . As they bunched together to get through narrow gaps in the wire, the Germans found their easy targets. Dead and Wounded Newfoundlandlers soon blocked every gap, but those not hit struggled on having to trample over their comrades bodies. Less resolute Men may have sought shelter but not the Newfoundlandlers. Those who survived the initial onslaught and reached No Mans Land continued towards the German trenches, but they were just sitting ducks, they had no chance. The few dozen left had no support, were in broad daylight and inevitably they were mown down. The attack was watched by a survivor of an earlier attack. "On came the Newfoundlers, a great body of men, but the fire intensified and they were wiped out in front of my eyes. I cursed the Generals for their useless slaughter, they seemed to have no idea what was going on". The handful that reached the German wire were shot. The attack lasted 40 minutes, a Battalion completely smashed. 91% of men had become casualties, 26 Officers and 658 other ranks. Every Officer that left the trench had been killed or wounded. Its probable that not 1 German Soldier was killed or wounded in the attack. The Essex Battalion had actually insisted and made their way up the congested trenches to start their attack, hence why they didn't show. It took them 2 hours, by which time the Newfoundlanders attack was over! 

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