James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Recovery & then Ypres again

A week later Noel was shipped back to England to Longford Castle Hospital, Salisbury and subsequently to convalesce at Eaton Hall near Chester. The medical reports are somewhat confused as to whether his head injury was due to a gunshot or to a grenade fragment. He was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant in May but did not return to his Regiment in the field until August, by which time it had moved north again to Eecke, north of Bethune and west of Ypres. During September the Battalion were in and out of the line south of Voormezeele between the canal and the western edge of the Zillebeke Lake (map). Arthur Crookenden in his “History of the Cheshire Regiment in the Great War” stated that, "The Battalion distinguished itself by a series of well-conducted daringly executed strong patrols, by which the enemy morale was kept subdued and which furnished prisoners and information."

On 27 September 1918 the Cheshires prepared for a big attack due to take place the following morning. This was the beginning of the ‘Battle of Ypres 1918’. The attack was preceded by a heavy barrage at 5.25 a.m.; artillery nearby had been firing in support of the Belgian Army since 2.30 a.m. Despite three hours of rain at the start of the operation the advance was successful and throughout the day prisoners, estimated at 10 officers and about 300 ORs, were brought back to be escorted to the Divisional Cage. Noel’s Battalion was initially in reserve but that evening it was given advanced warning of an attack on a section of the line between Tenbrielen village and Blegnaert Farm and during the early hours of the next morning, 29 September 1918, further orders confirmed the attack; the men were due to leave their billets at 5 a.m. and to pass through the leading troops of the Brigade.