F. Springett letter 1 January 1918





Jan 1st 1918

Rifn F.W. Springett

A Company 3rd Platoon

51st Bn K.R.R.





My Dear Brother Sid,

Just a few lines hoping they will find you in the best of health as it leaves me A1.

Fancy her arriving at 3 o’clock that was rather a nuisance for you. Still I might stand a chance of seeing her yet.

I can’t promise to be down here by Sunday next week. I hear that we are moving next Wednesday.

Still I will let you know as soon as I know, you bet I will.

It is awful cold down here, really to bad as our parade ground is right on the sea front.

The wind does blow too.

Yes Sid, I had a right time while I were home, thanks very much for all you did for me, I shall never forget it.

I’ve got over my leave now, it wants a bit of doing through.

Well Dear Sid, I hope this letter finds you A1.  I don’t think I have much more to say this time, so I will close, wishing you a Happy New Year also the Best of Luck.

Best Love

I remain

Your Affec Brother



P.S. Excuse short letter


With cover to Mr S.K. Springett, 29 Bath Road Dartford Kent


Alf Smith’s letter 1 January 1918

Jan 1st 18


My Dear Father


Just a few lines to wish you all a very happy New Year; & I hope it will be brighter than the past I fancy it will be as I think the end of this war is not far off now.

Thank you for letter, the card was from the Matron of the hospital where I was at Cumberland I can bet I should not mind being there now under the same conditions.  What sort of weather are you getting have had plenty of snow here.

Well how did you enjoy your Xmas we had a jolly fine time under the circumstances the worst part was the cold & we could not have any fires being in barns I will give you a short account of the feast &c.  breakfast 8 A.M. ham jam (not chicken) bread & butter & S.Ms tea (or extra sweet) Dinner, roast beef, potatoes cabbage, Xmas pudding & custard, apples nuts & raisins.  Tea bread, butter jam, cake, cheese & tin fruit.  We ended up with a fine concert plenty of beer, cigarettes & cigars, & sandwiches for supper.  We had a jolly good time.

I think we are paying for it now 5 & sometimes 8 in a loaf of bread a day & no money have not paid out for over a fortnight.  There was a fine cinema at the village where we have just left but I could not go being stony.  I had two good feeds of fried eggs.  We are not in any inhabited parts now there are several canteens about where you can buy cigarettes, biscuits, & tin food it helps to fill.  I think we are here for about a month.  One good thing we are in huts now so we can have a jolly good fire.

Please thank Ethel & Winnie for their cards.  I had a card from Nell I hope you enjoyed yourself with them also with Ciss.

Cannot think of any more news to tell you.  Glad to say I am A1.  I hope you are all in the best of health.

Wishing you all again a very happy New Year.  Au revoir.

Your devoted



War Diary of 2/6th Sherwood Foresters for December 1917

WAR DIARY Of 2/6th Sherwood Foresters For December 1917



Place       Date    Hour                                                Summary of Events and Information


1/12/17                                                            Fighting Strength  Officers  32

Other Ranks  806

LA VACQUERIE 1.12.17  1.am.     Attached 20th Division in Hindenburg Line R.10.d. and R.16.b.

R.16                                                    Battalion in Reserve to 11th Bn K.R.R.

(Special Sheet)                                    The 12th Division who were holding front line on our right were heavily attacked about 3 pm.

57C N.E., S.E. and 57b N.W., S.W.  Some of this Division fell back to Sunken Road R.16.b.6.2. (our right flank).  Half of our right flank Company moved to Sunken Road R.16.b.3.2. facing South to form a defensive flank.  This position was untenable and the half company were moved to trench at R.16.a.5.0.  One platoon of our Reserve Company moved to trench at R.10.c.7.5.

On our left front enemy made bombing attacks up C.T.s and succeeded in driving back a portion of the front line. We sent up 1 Platoon to reinforce, but owing to absence of bombs it was unable to drive enemy back.

One Platoon of Left Company moved forward to assist in checking enemy’s advance. One Platoon from Reserve Company replaced the Platoon.

2.12.17                                   Heavily bombarded in early morning.  Enemy attacked in the afternoon on our right flank and caused front line to fall back to Sunken Road at R.16.b.6.2. and trench occupied by our Battalion at R.16.b.3.2.  Our Lewis Guns and rifle fire held up his attack at this point.  On our left front the enemy made attempts to bomb up C.T.s and succeeded in getting into the trench.  Remaining platoon of Reserve Company was sent forward and took up a position in the Sunken Road at R.10.d.3.8. and R.10.d.3.6. to cover any attempt of the enemy to gain possession of Sunken Road R.10.d.1.8.



LA VACQUERIE  3/12/17  4.25 am.            Battalion relieved by 2/6 Warwicks.


10.pm.         Moved to MOLE trench in 31.a.10.3. near RIBECOURT.

4/12/17  10.30 am.                         Moved to trenches in Q.4 at TRESCAULT.

TRESCAULT 5/12/17 to 8/12/17      Battn in reserve at Q.4.

9/12.17  6.pm.         Battn moved up to FLESQUIRES.

FLESQUIRES 10/12/17 1.30 am.      Relieved 2/5 Lincs in front line K.18.a.& b. (MOEUVRES (Special Sheet) )

11/12/17 to 13/12/17          Battn occupied front line in K.18.a. & b. (MOEUVRES Special sheet)

14/12/17  2 am.   Relieved by 2/5 South Staffs.

FLESQUIRES 14/12/17 to 16/12/17 Battn occupied Reserve line in K.24.a. (MOEUVRES Special sheet).

17/12/17  8.pm.                               Battn relieved by 2/5th Lincolns.  Marched to BERTINCOURT.  Battn billeted.

BERTINCOURT 18/12/17 to 20/12/17         Company Training.

ROCQUINY 21/12/17                       Battn marched to ROQUINY.  Billeted in huts for the night.

BEAULENCOURT 22/12/17            Battn marched to BEAULINCOURT.  Billeted in huts.

23/12/17              Battn Training.

24/12/17              Battn Training.

25/12/17              Battn marched to BAPAUME.  Entrained at BAPAUME, detrained at HOUVIN.

Marched to MAGNICOURT.

MAGNICOURT     26/12/17 to 31/12/17      Battn & Company training.

Fighting Strength Officers  27

Other Ranks 729.

January 1918

January 1918

Western Front

In early 1918, the Western Front had no significant influence in the war until the first phase of the German offensive on the 21st March 1918.The Germans began to move troops from The Eastern Front onto the Western front after the Russians had sought an armistice. The plan was to mount a spring offensive against the Allies, before the Americans arrived in Europe in large numbers. The inclement winter weather was an ideal time for both sides to re-inforce their defences and for the British and French forces to adjust their area of involvement along the Western Front.


Eastern Front

In January 1918, General Lavr Kornilov organised a volunteer army of 3,000 men who opposed the Bolshevik government, led by Vladimir Lenin. The volunteer soldiers would eventually become known as the White Army. Over the next few months other groups joined in the struggle. Those who joined the White Army include the Cadets, who wished to continue the war against the Central Powers. Some Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries that were opposed to the doctorial powers of the new regime also joined the resistance. Others who joined included landowners who had lost their estates and factory owners whose property had been nationalised. Royalists, who wished to restore the monarchy, and devout members of the Russian Orthodox Church who objected to the government’s atheism, also joined. The Bolshevik Army would eventually be known as the Red Army and the two opposing factions would lead to the Russian Civil War in August 1918.


Other Theatres

In America on the 8th January 1918, President Woodrow Wilson outlined in a speech to the United States Congress, the principles for peace negotiations in order to end the Great War. The United States had joined the Allied Powers in fighting the Central Powers on 6th April 1917. Its entry into the war had in part been due to Germany’s resumption of submarine warfare against merchant ships trading with France and Britain. If America was going to fight, he wanted to try to break the nationalistic disputes and ambitions. The need for moral aims was more important, when after the fall of the Russian government, the Bolsheviks disclosed secret treaties made between the Allies. Wilson’s speech also considered Vladimir Lenin’s “Decree on Peace” of November 1917, which proposed an immediate withdrawal of Russia from the war. It also called for a just and democratic peace that was not compromised by territorial readjustments, and led to the Treaty of Brest- Litvsk on the 3rd March 1918. In The speech, known as the Fourteen Points, Wilson directly stated what he considered the causes for the world war. He requested the abolition of secret treaties, a reduction in armaments, an adjustment in colonial claims and freedom of the seas. Wilson also made proposals that would ensure world peace in the future. For example, he proposed the removal of economic barriers between nations, and a League of Nations. Included in Wilson’s proposed Fourteen Points, he also had more practical objectives in mind. He hoped to keep Russia in the war by convincing the Bolsheviks that they would receive a better peace from the Allies, which would boost Allied morale, and undermine the German war support. As a basis for easing international relations, the address was well received in the United States, the Allied nations and even by Bolshevik leader Lenin.


On the 28th January 1918, 100,000 German workers took to the streets of Berlin, demanding an end to the war on all fronts. Within a few days, the number had increased from 100,000 to 400,000. Plagued by hunger and increasingly frustrated with the continuing Great War, hundreds of thousands of long-suffering German workers prepared for a massive strike in Berlin. Although 1917 had brought a string of military triumphs to the Central Powers it had seen hunger and discontent on the home front rise to unprecedented levels. War with Russia and the Allied naval blockade in the North Sea, had cut Germany and Austro-Hungary off from a crucial supply of food creating food shortages. Discontent flared first in Austria, where flour rations were cut in mid-January. Strikes began almost immediately in Vienna and by the 19th January 1918 there was a general strike throughout the country. Food shortages were even worse in Germany, where some 250,000 people had died from hunger in 1917. The reaction of the German government and the army, frightened by visions of Bolshevik style revolution was swift and decisive. On the 31st January 1918, a state of siege was declared and the ringleaders of the strikes were arrested and court-marshalled. 0ne hundred and fifty were imprisoned, while 50,000 more were drafted into the army and sent to the front.


Flora Sandes gave a fund raising speech at the Alhambra Theatre in Leicester Square, London on the 29th January 1918. Flora, who was the only English lady to have fought in the trenches with The Serbian Army, was back in England recovering from wounds she sustained on the battlefield. Upon her arrival in England in 1917 she attracted considerable attention from the national press. Nationally she helped to raise funds for her friend, the Hon. Evelina Haverfield, who was the experienced fund raiser for the Scottish Women’s Hospital in Serbia. For her first speaking engagement she appeared in her sergeant-majors uniform complete with campaign and bravery medals. Although nervous at speaking solo to a music hall audience she raised the biggest collection ever taken at a matinee performance. She was to go onto further fund raising activities in the future.









Timetable January 1918

Timetable January 1918

Western Front

Early Jan      The Germans began moving troops from the Eastern Front to the Western Front


Eastern Front

Jan                Russian White volunteer army organised by General Lavr Kornilov


Other Theatres

8th Jan           As a basis for peace, President Woodrow Wilson outlines his 14 points

28th Jan         German workers strike and Austro-Hungarian citizens riot over food shortages

29th Jan         Flora Sandes gave her first ever fund raising speech for Serbian relief