The Indian Memorial, Neuve Chapelle (Photo: Centenary News)

100 Years Ago Today: Battle of Neuve Chapelle

Posted on on 10 March 2015
Share |

Britain launched its first set-piece offensive on the Western Front on March 10th 1915, attacking the Germans at Neuve Chapelle in Northern France.

The aim was to break through to the higher ground of Aubers Ridge.

Soldiers from the colonial Indian Army, sent to France to reinforce British troops in 1914, played a significant role at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, overrunning German positions in the early stages of the attack. 

But the advance stalled, hampered by poor communications. Trench warfare advantaged defence over attack. Delays allowed the Germans to reorganise and bring up reinforcements. It was to become a familiar pattern in the First World War.

The offensive was called off after three days, with only minimal British gains.

Field Marshal Sir John French, commander of the British Expeditionary Force, complained about a lack of shells.

The row culminated in a political crisis later in 1915, and the appointment of David Lloyd George as Minister of Munitions.

Indian leaders have marked today's anniversary in Delhi with the laying of wreaths at the India Gate and the opening of a Centenary exhibition.

Details of events in France commemorating the centenary of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle can be found here.

A ceremony will be held at the CWGC Neuve Chapelle Memorial on March 13th, at 3pm - attended by representatives from the Indian Embassy.

Sources: Wikipedia/various/CWGC

Images: © Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News