SIR AYLMER HUNTER WESTON, KCB, DSO
NCO'S and MEN of the VIII ARMY CORPS
In so big
a command as an Army Corps of four Divisions (about eighty thousand
men) it is impossible for me to come round all front line trenches and
all billets to see every man as I wish to do. You must take the will
for the deed, and accept this printed message in place of the spoken
It is difficult
for me to express my admiration for the splendid courage, determination
and discipline displayed by every Officer, NCO and Men of the Battalions
that took part in the great attack on the BEAUMONT-HAMEL-SERRE position
on the 1st July. All observers agree in stating that the various waves
of men issued from their trenches and moved forward at the appropriate
time in perfect order, undismayed by the heavy artillery fire and deadly
machine gun fire. There were no cowards nor waverers and not a man fell
out. It was a magnificent display of disciplined courage worthy of the
best traditions of the British race.
are left of my old comrades, the original "Contemptibles"
but their successors in the 4th Division have shewn that they are worthy
to bear the honours gained by the 4th Division at their first great
fight at FONTAINE-AU-PIRE and LIGNY, during the great Retreat and greater
Advance across the MARNE and AISNE, and in all the hard fighting at
PLOEGSTEERT and at YPRES.
but few of my old comrades, the heroes of the historic landing at CAPES
HELLES, are still with us, the 29th Division of today has shown itself
capable of maintaining its high traditions, and has proved itself worthy
of its hard earned title of "The Incomparable 29th."
New Army Division, and the 48th Territorial Division, by the heroism
and discipline of the units engaged in this their first big battle,
have proved themselves worthy to fight by the side of such magnificent
regular Divisions as the 4th and 29th. There can be no higher praise.
the most difficult part of the line to attack. The Germans had fortified
it with skill and immense labour for many months, they had kept their
best troops here, and had assembled North, East, and South-East of it
a formidable collection of artillery and many machine guns.
splendid attack you held these enemy forces here in the North and so
enabled our friends in the South, both British and French, to achieve
the brilliant successes they have. Therefore, though we did not do all
we hoped to do you have more than pulled your weight, and you and our
even more glorious comrades who have preceded us across the Great Divide
have nobly done your duty.
got to stick it out and go on hammering. Next time we attack, if it
please God, we will not only pull our weight but pull off a big thing.
With such troops as you, who are determined to stick it out and do your
duty, we are certain of winning through to a glorious victory.
each Officer, NCO and man of the 4th, 29th, 31st and 48th Divisions
as a comrade-in-arms and I rejoice to have the privilege of commanding
such a band of heroes as the VIII Corps have proved themselves to be.
4th July 1916