Title: With the 10th Essex in France
Author: Lt Col T.M. Banks and Capt R.A. Chell
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2004
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 334 pages
Comments: A very full record of a service battalion on the Western Front from 26 July 1915 to the end of the war.
10th Essex was formed at Warley in September 1914, a battalion of Kitchener’s Second New Army. It was allocated to the 53rd Brigade of the 18th (Eastern) Division, a division that was to become one of the best in the BEF. For the first two years of its existence the division was commanded by Maj-Gen Ivor Maxse, a general of high reputation and ability.
The 10th Essex remained in the same brigade throughout the war. It arrived in France at the end of July 1915 and for the first year it experienced a relatively uneventful war with no major actions. Its first significant battle was on the opening day of the Somme at Monteauban when the division was one of the few to take its objectives, and from then on the battalion was involved in more than twenty-five actions before the war came to an end.
The chronological list of these engagements is featured at the end of the book. By the end of the war 227 officers and 5,274 other ranks had served in the battalion and of these 1103 died. This is a good history, written in an informal style, with plenty of detail; unfortunately there is no index nor is there a Roll of Honour nor list of awards. One point needs to be corrected: at the beginning of chapter XIV reference is made to a cavalry action in 1914 on Mont des Cats, stating, incorrectly, that one of the Kaiser’s sons was killed in that action. The dead man was in fact Prince Max of Hesse.