2nd Queen’s at Bullecourt 1917
This photograph is from a small collection owned by Ron Short, a Great War veteran I knew and interviewed in the 1980s. Ron was from Eastbourne and served in the ranks of the Royal Sussex Regiment until he was wounded in 1916. He was then commissioned in the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment and served as a platoon commander at Arras, in Flanders and Italy; he was awarded an MC for bravery at Passchendaele in 1917.
The photograph was taken during the advance to the Hindenburg Line in March 1917. The 2nd Battalion Queen’s Regiment, with whom he served, had advanced on positions just short of the village of Bullecourt. At this point there were no British trenches to occupy; in the background men from his company are digging in and in the foreground the officers are sheltering in a fold of ground. It was cold in March 1917 and they are all wearing leather jerkins. They have all attempted to blend in with the men in their style of dress. Ron himself is in the photo, second from the left, smiling. It was taken by his batman. All of those featured in the photograph fought in the Battle of Arras in April-May 1917, including the advance to the Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt itself.