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Les Anglais à La Bassée...

nLes Anglais à La Bassée

Eduardo Garcia Benito (1891-1981)
Les Anglais à La Bassée…
The English at La Bassée. The heroism of our allies
Woodcut with hand colouring through stencils. Publisher: Tolmer & Co. 1915.
Given by Sophie Gurney 1994

No. 44 from the 2nd series La Grande Guerre .

The town of La Bassée, about 25km west of Lille, had been taken by Germany back in October. This was the territory where spasmodic Christmas truces had occurred following fierce conflicts in December. Control of nearby Givenchy was regained from Germany by the British at the end of December, at a cost of 6,000 lives (4,000 from the British side). Germany renewed counter efforts in January. Warfare was not yet restricted to the trenches, and old-fashioned fighting took place in the open. On 25 January the Germans began to shell Béthune and pressed forward. Fighting lasted several days but La Bassée remained in Germany’s possession. The caption reiterates the official communiqué that the Germans lost ‘two battalions’ (estimated at 2,000 men) in fighting at Givenchy and Cuinchy. The town of Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée was completely destroyed in the fighting. There is a memorial in the village for the 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division, commemorating their courage.

The French caption with English translation:

LES ANGLAIS À LA BASSÉE. L’Héroïsme de nos alliés.
A la fin du mois de Janvier 1915 les Allemands prononcèrent plusieurs vigoureuses attaques contre les lignes de nos alliés, les Anglais, dans le secteur de La Basse-Givenchy. Les Allemandes progressèrent légèrement, mais les braves Anglais, d’abord surpris par ces brusques attaques, rassemblèrent leurs forces et, grâce à d’intrépides contre-attaques, repoussèrent bientôt les ennemis. Les Allemands subirent un gros échec. Au cours de ces combats acharnés leurs pertes furent au moins de deux batallions. Nos alliés, encore une fois, montrèrent leurs superbes qualités d’endurance, de résistance et d’intrépidité.

The English at La Bassée. The heroism of our allies
At the end of January 1915 the Germans began several vigorous attacks against the lines of our Allies, the British, in the Lower Givenchy area. The Germans progressed slowly, but the brave English, surprised initially by these sudden attacks, gathered their forces and thanks to intrepid counter-attacks, soon drove the enemy back. The Germans suffered a heavy defeat. During the fierce fighting they lost at least two battalions. Our Allies, once again, show their qualities of endurance, strength and fearlessness.


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