History Part 2

The Peace of Vereeniging was followed by 12 years peace before the cataclysm of the Great War burst into Europe. Britain declared war on Germany on August 4th 1914 and within a fortnight all three battalions of the Regiment were in action at Mons where the Germans first encountered the British Expeditionary Force in their positions on the Mons-Conde Canal. The retreat to the Marne was followed by the advance to the Aisne where the 1st Battalion fought their first major action on the Chemin des dames where they suffered 370 casualties. These shocking scenes were to recur again and again for the next four years. 1915 saw sanquinary action at Givenchy, Guinchy and Loos.

1916 was dominated by the Somme offensive and on 15th September for the first time all three battalions advanced in line under a hail of shell and machine-gun fire. Showing tremendous discipline and bravery, all the objectives were taken and held. The cost was terrible. 40 Officers and 1326 men had become casualties.

As 1916 had been dominated by the Somme, 1917 was the year of the Third Battle of Ypres, more usually known as Paschendale, and again all three battalions were in action at Poelcapelle. November saw the world's first great tank offensive at Cambrai and again the regiment suffered over 1000 losses.

In 1918 the Germans opened their March offensive which nearly achieved a complete breakthrough. As previously the Guards were heavily engaged until the offensive was stopped. As from July until the Armistice in November 1918 the British Expeditionary Force began it's offensive which smashed back the German Army in the field until they were forced to yield. The Coldstreamers had performed nobly and had suffered heavily as can be seen by using the Second Battalion as a yardstick. In 1914, 1020 officers and men had left England - in 1919 only 15 returned.

The inter war years saw service in China, Palestine and Egypt, but in 1939 the regiment was again at War and the 1st Battalions were involved in 1940 in the fighting and retreat to Dunkirk. The 3ed Battalion fought in the Western Desert where it distinguished itself in the Knightsbridge Box action in may 1942. The 2nd Battalion landed at Algiers and soon saw action at Longstop Hill. After the German surrender in North Africa the 3rd Battalion took part in the Salerno landings in Italy and thereafter fought their way up Italy until the end. The 2nd Battalion also saw heavy fighting in Italy which proved far from the soft underbelly of Europe. The 1st Battalion, meantime converted to an armoured Battalion, had taken part in the invasion of normandy and had fought at Falaise and Board Leopold. In March 1945 the 5th Battalion, supported by the 1st