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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: November 2019

Chapter 3 - Giving the game away


Captain Charles Mills was captured at Fromelles on the morning of 20 July 1916. At first light, German soldiers showered his position with grenades before rushing in from the flanks, firing their rifles from the hip. A German NCO stopped his men on the parapet, jumped into the waterlogged ditch and seized Mills by his wounded hand. ‘Why did you not put up your hands, officer?’ he asked. As the fighting came to an end, Mills and the surviving members of the 31st Battalion were escorted along a communication trench to a farmhouse the Germans called Neuhof. In the courtyard there, they joined three officers and 200 other ranks in what was evidently a collecting station for prisoners of war. A German medical officer took care of the walking wounded, and Mills had his hand cleaned and bandaged. What happened next altered German knowledge of British intentions in the Fromelles area.