In WWI the story of all the units of The Queen's Regiment Forebears is one of extraordinary heroism and unflinching devotion to duty amidst sickening slaughter which, on many occasions, was the fault of the high command.
Colonel AD Barton, VC, CMG, DSO (Painting by Henry Grant)
This can in part, be attributed to the fact that no one except possibly Lord Kitchener had ever even contemplated warfare on so vast a scale, and no Allied general had any experience of so large an enemy or of having so many divisions under command.
It must also be remembered that the superbly trained and experienced veterans of the Line Regiments who had fought so many different enemies in practically every type of terrain all over the world, and whose musketry led the Germans to believe every British battalion had 28 machine guns when the real figure was 2, virtually ceased to exist by the middle of November 1914.
There were 58,000 British casualties in the First Battle of Ypres (14 October -11 November 1914) which has been called the graveyard of the British Regular Army.
The scale of casualties in this war becomes apparent from the number of names on regimental war memorials, for example. 5,688 Buffs, 6,000 East Surreys, 6,800 Royal Sussex, 8,000 Queen's and no less than 12,694 officers and men of The Middlesex Regiment.
The Battle of Tel el Sheria, 7th November 1917. The painting depicts Lt Borton winning his Victoria Cross
The First World War was won by the volunteers of Kitchener's Army and the conscripts called up to replace the dead and wounded. These Citizen Army battalions of the Regiments fought on nearly every front. In Flanders, France, Italy, Africa, Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, Palestine and Germany. Those of The Queen's for instance, added 73 Battle Honours to the Regiment's long list.
A Man of Kent (By Lady Butler)
The defence of Hill 60 on 23 April 1915 by the 1st Battalion The East Surreys where 2nd Lt Geary, Pte Dwyer and Lt Roupell won the Victoria Cross. The last named of whom became the final Colonel of The East Surrey Regiment.
The winning of the Victoria Cross by Corporal Cotter of The Buffs at Hulluch in October 1916.
The Royal Sussex at Loos, where Sergeant Harry Wells won his VC, and the 2/4th Royal West Kent's in Allenby's victorious campaign in Palestine.
The first British infantry unit to open fire on the Germans, near Mons on 22 August 1914 was the 4th Middlesex, and on the day of the Armistice, 11 November 1918.
When the 2nd Middlesex pursuing the Germans, reached practically the same spot, there were in the battalion still some men of the original 4th Battalion, who had fought right through, from the first shots to the last.