Background

The objective of this site is to publish a simple but comprehensive account of The Battle Of Hazebrouck; focussing on the role of the 29th Division in an action known as The Defence Of The Nieppe Forest.

Why? As a youngster I inhereted a faded family photograph album plus assorted military memorabilia. For forty years the album gathered dust on a shelf. Having some time to spare, I decided to try and find out something more about these distant folk. One photo in particular intruiged me; that of a young almost forgotten relative who never returned from the war. A few enquiries later revealed that Lieutenant Sydney Rumball M.C. (2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers) died on 13th April 1918 in what is now known as The Battle Of Hazebrouck (“Defence Of The Nieppe Forest” action). Efforts at that time to find a comprehensive easy to understand history of his final battle and the role played by the 29th Division came to nought so, in the best spirit of “amateurish enthusiasm”, I’ve created my own. Hopefully on one level this will inform and entertain, but on another keep the memory of the huge sacrifice made by the men of the 29th Division alive.

This site will attempt to explain:

  • The German Spring 1918 Offensives, focussing on Operation Georgette.
  • The Battle Of The Lys, also known as “Fourth Ypres”, focussing on the third of the engagements which comprise this action; the Battle Of Hazebrouck.
  • A division/brigade “high level”view of events in Hazebrouck area of the battlefield.
  • A battalion “low level” view of events in the Vieux-Berquin area of the battlefield; the area occupied by the 29th Division.

 

(Photograph: View across the battlefield from Bleu to Vieux Berquin. October 2008.)