16e Battle of Nonnebosschen: 11 November 1914

Province: West Flanders

Country: Belgium

A ‘Virtual Battlefield Tour’ from Fields of War: Fifty Key Battlefields in France and Belgium
[This battlefield is not included in Fields of War.]

In November 1914, the Black Watch held a gap between Polygon Wood and Glencourse Wood. The Prussian Guards began their attack from Geluveld on 11 November 1914 with a heavy artillery barrage. The bombardment dislodged the 1st Scots Guards, 1st Cameron Highlanders, and much of the Black Watch. A group of 40 Black Watch held the remaining trench line and, supported by British artillery, force the Prussians into nearby Nonnenbosschen. The remaining reserve unit of 2nd Ox & Bucks counterattacked driving the Prussian troops back. The action was the last engagement of the First Battle of Ypres.

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The trench line in the southwest corner of Polygon Wood was defiantly held by the Black Watch and became known as Black Watch Corner. The 40 men, under the command of Lt F Anderson, laid down such effective rifle fire that the enemy withdrew. Unfortunately, the area has been bisected by a modern motorway. (50.848609,2.981847)

Nonnenbosschen Wood was the scene of heavy fighting during the battle. In these woods, Brigadier Charles FitzClarence VC was killed on 12 November leading survivors of the 1st Guards Brigade in a counterattack upon Prussian troops. His body was never recovered. (50.849581,2.971845)


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