chapter  7
22 Pages

1915: Neuve Chapelle

As John Terraine wrote, Neuve Chapelle was ‘the first significant British offensive of the war’ and, as such, provided ‘the standard pattern for every British attack up to the end of 1916’. No less to the point, it represented the first in a series of British actions – which included Second Ypres and culminated in Gallipoli – in which a unified British Empire could be seen as involved and performing with valour and commitment. This was not unimportant. During the first half of 1915, even British correspondents believed the Germans were winning the propaganda war. They were ‘so methodical in their method of making out their case to the world’, wrote C.E.W. Bean, ‘that they have won many people to their side – people whom one would have imagined it would have been impossible for them to persuade’.182