Who's Who - Hugh Jeudwine
Major-General Hugh Sandham Jeudwine (1862-1942) crucially commanded the British 55th Division at the height of the German 1918 Spring Offensive attack upon the Allied line at Givenchy.
Jeudwine, whose military career had brought him success in defeating the Boers during the South African War of 1899-1902 and whose background was in artillery, was initially Sir Edmund Allenby's Chief of Staff in 1915 at V Corps. At V Corps Jeudwine earned a reputation for unpopularity perhaps second only to 'the bull' himself (Allenby's reputation).
Given command of the Territorial 55th Division from January 1916 until the end of the war, Jeudwine led them into action at Third Ypres in 1917 and at Cambrai later that year in November (where the division was criticised by some for weakness).
Jeudwine's greatest action of the war however came in the immediate aftermath of Sir Douglas Haig's noted Backs-to-the-Wall Order of the Day of 11 April 1918, in which the British Commander-in-Chief required his men "to fight it out" until the finish in the face of a sweeping German Spring Offensive.
55th Division obeyed Haig's call. Sited at Givenchy Jeudwine's force faced Ferdinand von Quast's German Sixth Army. With the latter succeeding in effectively destroying two Portuguese units to 55th Division's left the whole position appeared in danger of collapse, a 5.5km gap appearing in the Allied line.
Nevertheless 55th Division held the ragged line in the face of fierce German attacks, an action which helped preserve the Channel ports and earned the division subsequent high praise from Haig.
A 'Baby's Head' was a meat pudding which comprised part of the British Army field ration.
- Did you know?