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The Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade

The Ypres Salient. Part 1.—After Passchendaele

The Ypres Salient. Part 1.—After Passchendaele.

Relieved at Passchendaele—Second Army Rest Area.

Two days after the Passchendaele fight we were relieved by the 4th Brigade and moved back to bivouac camps about Wieltje, where the exhausted troops rested throughout the following day.

On October 16th the Brigade marched to Ypres and entrained for Wizernes, south of St. Omer, en route to the Second Army Rest Area. On arrival at Wizernes on the following morning we were billeted in the neighbouring villages of Esquerdes, Setques and Hallines. Next day the units of the Brigade, moving independently, set off on the two days' march to their sections of the Rest Area, the 1st Battalion via Sening-hem to Colembert and Le Wast; the 2nd via Affringues to Escoeuilles and Surques; the 3rd* via Coulomby to Henneveux; and the 4th via Bayenghem to Cremarest and Belle Brune. Brigade Headquarters were located at Aliucthun. In this peaceful district, well to the west and about half-way between St. Omer and Boulogne, the Brigade remained until November 8th, resting, reorganizing and training. At the beginning of November approximately 1,000 reinforcements arrived. They were urgently needed, but, unfortunately, though all were of good physique and well-equipped, more than half the number had had very little training.

On November 9th the Brigade moved eastward again to the old billets at Seninghem, Bayenghem and Coulomby, and continued training in that area until the 12th.

* Major A. Digby-Smith assumed command of the 3rd Battalion on October 13th, vice Lieut.-Col. A. Winter-Evans, killed in action on the 12th. Lieut.-Col. Stewart was evacuated sick on November 5th, and Lieut.-Col. Puttick assumed command of the Brigade.