Chapter 2 identifies a number of factors which detracted from the effectiveness of 7th Division. If one accepts that the course of the war was going to place 7th Division at the eastern approaches to Ypres in mid-October, the paradigm situation of course would have been if it could have arrived as a fresh, full complement division, well-trained as a unified formation, with the 1914 standard artillery and a level of ammunition sufficient to enable it to sustain a long and intense battle. However, for the reasons discussed above, whatever its real or perceived attributes, it reached Belgium with leadership, training and equipment deficiencies. Once in Belgium, by train, motor, wagon and foot, the division embarked on an exhausting series of movements which ensured that by the time it got to Ypres, it was already fatigued. It was then ordered into aggressive defensive positions with a length of line which badly over-extended the division. It then took casualties and further depleted its physical resources in a series of ill-considered attacks (in part based upon an inadequate use of available intelligence) that could never have succeeded; moreover, it is arguable that the time and effort expended in these engagements, and the grimly inevitable manoeuvre back to a shorter line, deprived the division of the opportunity to construct substantive earthworks and other defensive positions at positions of its own choosing (whichever was the preferred slope of siting). This would then have given the division the best opportunity to repel the German advance. These combined factors inevitably reduced the effectiveness of the division.
As World War I raged on in the trenches of Europe in 1914, Christmas Eve arrived cold and bleak. But German soldiers put up Christmas trees decorated with candles, on the parapets of their trenches. Although their enemies, the British soldiers, could see the lights, it took them a few minutes to figure out where they were from. Could this be a trick?
The captain of the St Cloud was among the first to see the three warships as they rounded Castle Hill into the bay, heading swiftly and surely towards Scarborough. He was surprised to see what he at first took to be British warships far closer to the shore than any he had seen before. But his surprise soon turned to horror when he saw one of them hoist the German war flag and open fire on the undefended town. A few minutes later, further up the coast, German warships also began an attack on Hartlepool, which had a garrison and three naval guns. 2b1af7f3a8