The Bedfordshire Regiment in the Great War
1915 War Diary
[Note that all remarks in squared brackets are my own additions and not part of the original text]
War Diary for January 1915
1 Jan 1915 - in trenches near Fleurbaix In trenches.
2 Jan 1915 - Pont-de-la-Justice Relieved by 1/Wiltshires. To Billets at PONT de la JUSTICE.
4 Jan 1915 Billets.
5-7 Jan 1915 - in trenches. Wet rain all night. Rain all day.
8 Jan 1915 - Fleurbaix Relieved. Billeted at FLEURBAIX.
9 Jan 1915 FLEURBAIX shelled no damage.
10 Jan 1915
11 Jan 1915 - in trenches In trenches. Wet night. 4 semi rotary pumps received 2 French pattern.
12 Jan 1915 Captain J.S.Collings-Wells [John Stanhope COLLINGS-WELLS, VC, DSO] wounded. Major C.C.Onslow [Cranley Charlton ONSLOW, CB, CMG, CBE, DSO] arrived & took over command from Major W.H.Denne [William Henry DENNE, DSO].
13 Jan 1915 Rain.
14 Jan 1915 - Pont-de-la-Justice Billets. PONT de la JUSTICE 8.30 p.m.
15 Jan 1915 Billets. PONT de la JUSTICE
16 Jan 1915 Billets. PONT de la JUSTICE
17-19 Jan 1915 - in trenches Snow & sleet In trenches. Very dark night.
20 Jan 1915 - Fleurbaix Relieved. In billets FLEURBAIX
21 Jan 1915
22 Jan 1915
23-25 Jan 1915 - in trenches Trenches
26 Jan 1915 - Pont-de-la-Justice 5 high explosive shells fell near junction of B and A Companies. 1 man wounded in shoulder. Relieved. Billets at PT de la JUSTICE 8.30 p.m.
27 Jan 1915
28 Jan 1915 Test parade, on parade 721 - Transport 58.
29 Jan 1915 - in trenches In trenches
30 Jan 1915
31 Jan 1915 Lieut.L.H.Shapter [Lewis SHAPTER] 3 Suffolk Rgt. killed.
War Diary for February 1915
1-3 Feb 1915 - Fleurbaix Relieved. In billets FLEURBAIX.
4-6 Feb 1915 - in trenches In trenches.
7-9 Feb 1915 - Pont-de-la-Justice Relieved. Billets PONT de la JUSTICE. Rain.
10-11 Feb 1915 - in trenches Trenches.
12 Feb 1915 Communication with C.Company Captain Shearman [Charles Edward Gowran SHEARMAN, DSO, MC] established. Now possible to move all along Battalion trenches by day.
13-15 Feb 1915 - Fleurbaix Relieved. Billeted in FLEURBAIX
16-18 Feb 1915 - in trenches Trenches
19-21 Feb 1915 - Pont-de-la-Justice Billeted. PT. de LA JUSTICE 8 p.m.
22-24 Feb 1915 - in trenches Trenches.
25-27 Feb 1915 - Fleurbaix Billeted FLEURBAIX.
28 Feb 1915 - in trenches Met officers of 7th & 5th Regiments Canadian Division, showed them round billets. 4 officers (1 per company) came into the trenches with Battn. In trenches 7.15 pm.
War Diary for March 1915
1 Mar 1915 - in trenches
2 Mar 1915 - Estaires Relieved by 7th Regt. Canadians, 9 P.M., Marched to ESTAIRES, arrived 11 P.M.
3-7 Mar 1915 In ESTAIRES.
8 Mar 1915 - Laventie Bn. moved from ESTAIRES at 4 P.M., into Billets at LAVENTIE
9 Mar 1915 In Billets at LAVENTIE. Ref. Map BELGIUM Sheet 26, Scale 1/40000.
10 Mar 1915 [The Battle of Neuve Chapelle] - near Neuve-Chapelle 2.30 A.M., Marched off for position of assembly. 5 A.M., reached position of assembly and got into trenches, about Square .21.b.N.E., During the operations the Bn. was in Bde. Reserve on the right and in rear of the 2nd Bn. Rl.Scots Fusiliers. 10.30 A.M., Left the position of assembly and advanced to second position lining road in M.28.d. Companies came under shell fire and there were some casualties. Remained in this position till 4.20 P.M. 4.30 P.M., Advanced through old British & German trenches in support of 2/R.S.F., on right flank. Subjected to shell and rifle fire. The Bn. reached a position about M.36.a.N.W. and M.29.d.S.E. and entrenched during the night. Lieut.H.O.D.WILKINS led a strong patrol to the high trees about road junction near M.36.a.N.W. and was severely wounded. 1 man was killed. It was reported that the enemy were not very strong but this was not confirmed. Line held by 2nd Battn Bedf. R. as handed over to 7th Rgt. Canadian Div: 2 March 1915. Lieut.W.B.Carslake [William Bampfield CARSLAKE] and Lieut.R.S.St.G.Mayne [Robert Sedborough St. George MAYNE], wounded, Other Ranks, 7 killed 41 wounded, 9 missing.
11 Mar 1915 The Battalion remained in this position all day. Some casualties occurred from high explosive shrapnel from S. also rifle fire from E., S. & W. No.9390 Pte A Hearne [Arthur HEARN] did very good work carrying messages back to Bde. H.Q., on several occasions. He was at last wounded near Bn. H.Q. trench, he had to pass through belts of shrapnel fire also heavy rifle fire. The Northamptons attempted to assault the houses to their front but were met with a very heavy rifle & machine gun fire & had to desist. It was this that kept the Bn. held to the ground. Lieut.F.G.C.Ashmead-Bartlett [Francis George Coningsby ASHMEAD-BARTLETT] wounded, 6 O.Ranks killed, 23 wounded, 2 missing.
12 Mar 1915 During the night 11/12, C & D Coys. dug trenches at right angles to the original ones i.e. facing S., D Coy. closed up. The salient opposite the high trees was occupied by a Company of the R.S.F., who had been brought from the right on the line being readjusted. The salient was rushed by the Germans early in the morning of 12th March. The morning till about noon was decidedly misty. 7 A.M. Major W.H.Denne [William Henry DENNE, DSO] prepared to make a counter attack on the captured trench with part of A.Coy. Major Denne [William Henry DENNE, DSO] was severely wounded. Captain C.B.Cumberlege [Cleland Bulstrode CUMBERLEDGE] & Captain J.H.G.Baird [James Hozier Gardiner BAIRD, MC] commenced a counter attack but the whole party was killed or wounded. Captain Baird [James Hozier Gardiner BAIRD, MC] and 4 men reached the trench one man was killed and the other 3 wounded. Report of this operation was received at Bn. H.Q., at 7.35 A.M. At about the same time it was noticed that the R.S.F., were suffering severely from our own shell fire. The Adjt. was sent to report this to Bde. H.Q. The Brigadier directed that the trench should be re-taken. Captain C.C.Foss D.S.O. [Charles Calverley FOSS, VC, DSO], with 8 men of Bedfordshire Grenade Section advanced along A.Coy. trench, behind the Northampton Trench, followed by a Platoon of H Coy. to make good the trench and attacked the Germans. These, after one or two grenades had been thrown, held up their hands and were captured, 1 Officer & 48 Germans surrendered of whom 14 were wounded. A.Coy. was sent forward to consolidate the position won. Part of a Platoon of B.Coy. escorted the prisoners back. Names of Grenade Section [comment; see here for more details]: - No.9078 Pte W.EADE. No.6215 Pte S.Scrivener [wounded, then killed later] No.9822 Sgt W.Peggs No.7270 Pte P.Cogan [Killed later] No.6477 Pte W.Smith No.9878 Pte G.Freshwater No.5803 Pte J.Lovett No.9797 Pte H.Barnett No.16441 Pte F.Brown. Two machine guns were put in position in captured salient after dark. Casualties: - Major W.H.Denne [William Henry DENNE, DSO] wounded Captain C.B.Cumberlege [Cleland Bulstrode CUMBERLEDGE] wounded Captain J.H.G.Baird [James Hozier Gardiner BAIRD, MC] wounded Lieut.C.A.S.Morris [Charles Alan Smith MORRIS] wounded Other ranks: - 15 killed, 66 wounded, 5 missing.
13 Mar 1915 the Battalion remained in position.
14 Mar 1915 C. & D. Coys returned at dawn to position of assembly, A & B remained in previous position. trench wire was put out in front of A.Coy. during night of 13/14 March.
15 Mar 1915 - la Flinque About 11 P.M. the remaining two coys. came away, A.Coy. being relieved by 150 men E.Lancs. R. The whole Bn., in Billets near LA FLINQUE & S. of this point. In LA FLINQUE Billets. Total casualties: - 8 Officers wounded, 2 Officers sick. Other Ranks, Killed 33, Wounded 144 Missing 21. [Total] 198. Reinforcements which arrived during the fight on 11.3.15, Lieuts. A.E.Kuhn [Alfred Edgar KUHN], C.A.S.Morris [Charles Alan Smith MORRIS], R.A.B.Orlebar [Richard Astrey Bourn ORLEBAR], Bedf.R., & 58 Other Ranks. Fighting Strength on March 15th, Officers 15, O ranks 759.
16 Mar 1915 - Estaires The Bn. moved into Billets in ESTAIRES. 500 men with officers were detailed for a working party and did not actually arrive in billets till 2.30 A.M. March 17th.
17 Mar 1915 In Billets.
18 Mar 1915 2/Lt. W.H.George [Walter Hope GEORGE] and 2/Lt W.J.Stonier [William John STONIER], Cadet Officers, ex Artists Rifles, arrived from St.Omer.
19 Mar 1915 Re-fitting. Attack Practices, Company Parades, Working Parties.
20 Mar 1915 Major J.Mackenzie V.C. [John MacKENZIE, VC, DCM], and 101 men arrived. G.O.C. 7th Divn. paid unofficial visit to men in billets, 5 P.M.
21 Mar 1915 As for 19th.
22 Mar 1915 Brigadier General, 21 Inf. Bde. inspected last two drafts of reinforcements and expressed himself very pleased with their soldierlike & steady appearance.
23 Mar 1915 As for 19th.
24 Mar 1915 Battalion Attack Practice.
25 Mar 1915 Bn. took up position in trenches near FAUQUISSART relieving 2nd Scots Guards and 6th Gordon Highlanders.
26 Mar 1915 - in trenches near Fauquissart In Trenches. The following Officers arrived: - 2/Lt E.S.S.Taylor [E.S. Sedley TAYLOR], 4N.Stafford Regt. 2/Lt L.F.Beal [Leonard Frank BEAL, MC] Cadet Officer ex Artists Rifles. 2/Lt R.H.Boys [Richard Harvey BOYS] Cadet Officer ex Artists Rifles. 2/Lt R.S.Lardner [Reginald Seymour LARDNER] Cadet Officer ex Artists Rifles. 2/Lt W.Ramsay [W. RAMSAY] Cadet Officer ex Artists Rifles.
27 Mar 1915 - near Laventie Relieved in evening by 2/Yorkshire Regt. Into Billets about Road Junction Square M.6.d.sheet 36. (East of LAVENTIE). The following letter was forwarded from H.Q.21 Inf.Bde. No.293/G. d/27-3-15. "The Divisional general has now received the reports on the action near NEUVE CHAPELLE on 10th to 14th March. He desires to express his appreciation of the steady conduct of the 2nd Bn. Bedfordshire Regiment, and particularly of the gallant action of Major Denne [William Henry DENNE, DSO] and his small party who made a devoted counter attack on the enemy in order to assist a neighbouring battalion. The Divisional general wishes also to record his admiration of the conduct of Captain C.C.Foss, D.S.O. [Charles Calverley FOSS, VC, DSO], and his few grenade throwers, who succeeded in an attack on the enemy, capturing 50 prisoners. The Divisional General much regrets the losses sustained by this Battalion. 27th. March 1915 (sd) J.Isaac, Captain, ADC 7 Divn." The Machine Guns of the Bn. remained in the trenches when the remainder of the Bn. was relieved.
28 Mar 1915 In Billets. Company Parades. 7 P.M., The Bn. paraded & practised assembling in the prepared trenches. Lieut. F.V.Parker [Frederick Vivian PARKER] 3/Bedf.R., and 16 Other Ranks joined.
29 Mar 1915 - in trenches Relieved 2/R.S.Fus. and 2/Wilts Regt. in the trenches
30 Mar 1915 In trenches.
31 Mar 1915 - la Gorgue. Relieved by 2 Coys. 6/Gordon Hgrs. and 2/Scots Guards, Bn. marched back by Coys. to billets in LA GORGUE. Casualties from March 25-31: - O.Ranks Killed 4, Wounded 8
War Diary for April 1915
1 Apr 1915 - la Gorgue Company parades.
2 Apr 1915 Baths and Company parades.
3 Apr 1915 The Brigadier General inspected the Battalion on parade & went round billets. He was pleased to express himself very satisfied at the Smart turn out of the men and at the cleanness & neatness of the billets. Strength on parade 22 officers 643 O.R.
4 Apr 1915 Easter day. Parade service in temporary church on account of wet. Draft of 75 other ranks arrived from the Base.
5 Apr 1915 A wet day. Company parades. Conference of C.Os at Bde H.Q. to allot ground for attack practise.
6 Apr 1915 Company attack practise. Heavy rain at night.
7 Apr 1915 Attack practises. Cold & showery. Brigadier inspected draft & expressed himself pleased with their physique.
8 Apr 1915 Company parades. Ground very wet.
9 Apr 1915 as for 8th.
10 Apr 1915 Company attack practises. Fine & cold.
11 Apr 1915 Church parade in open. Fine.
12 Apr 1915 The Brigade was inspected by Field Marshal Sir John French, G.C.B., O.M., G.C.V.O., K.C.M.G. Commander in Chief, British Expeditionary Force at 3.30 p.m. outside ESTAIRES. The following were also present G.O.C. 1st Army G.O.C. 4 Corps Brigadier General Lawford, Commanding 7 Division during temporary absence of G.O.C. 7 Div: Brigadier General H.Watts C.B., C.M.G. Cmdg 21 Inf Bde. The C in C addressed each Battalion of the Brigade in turn. "Men of Bedfordshire - I have come here today to tell you how much indebted I am to you for your recent work. I know what you have done. I know the losses you have suffered. I need not go into the detail of the part you played in the three days battle at NEUVE CHAPELLE. But I know no Battalion pushed forward with more gallantry than you did. As you are the first Battalion of this Division, I want you to repeat & let it be known throughout the Division how well you all have done, as I don't want to repeat myself. I congratulate your Divisional General, General Capper, whom I am sorry is not able to be here today, and you on the able leading of your gallant Brigadier, General Watts, the work you have done has been of the first importance. In the first place you have won ground which will be invaluable in our future operations. You will realize - being intelligent men - that we are fighting the Germans on two fronts. In these attacks it is not so much the ground we gain but the fact that we tie the enemy to the ground in front of us and prevent him sending troops against the Russians on the East and also enable the French to make successful attacks further South. In fact we all help each other. Besides being a gain in ground, it was a great moral gain. For you have shown the enemy that you can beat him whenever you chose and I know when the time comes you will do it again. I want every officer, Non commissioned officer and man of this Regiment to feel that I give them my personal thanks for the splendid work that they have done". Shaking hands with the C.O.; Major J.Mackenzie V.C. [John MacKENZIE, VC], Sir John French added "I congratulate you". Number on parade 24 officers 779 other ranks.
13 Apr 1915 Company parades. The following complimentary order was published "The Brigadier congratulates the officers, N.C.Os. & men on their fine, soldier like & steady appearance of the Brigade on parade yesterday" (21 Inf.Bde. R.O.148.)
14 Apr 1915 - Laventie Morning. Company parades. Showery. Moved into billets in LAVENTIE. The Battalion in Brigade Reserve to that portion of the Brigade holding the trenches. Left Billets at LAGORGUE 4.30 p.m. arrived at new billets 5.45 p.m.
15 Apr 1915 Company parades. The following complimentary order received from 4th Corps. "At the inspection of the Commander in Chief on the 12th instant the Corps Commander noticed with much pleasure that the turn out of the Battalions of the 21 Brigade was very creditable. The smart handling of arms and steadiness in the ranks was particularly satisfactory and he desires this may be brought to the notice of all concerned". (21 Inf Bde R.O.150).
16 Apr 1915 Company parades.
17 Apr 1915 Major & Bt Lt Colonel E.I de S.Thorpe [Edward Ivan de Sausmarez THORPE, CMG, DSO] & 2 Lieut A.Grover [Albert GROVER] 2 Bn Bedfordshire Rgt. arrived.
18 Apr 1915 - trenches near Fauquissart Church parade in open 10 p.m. [sic] Went into trenches near FAUQUISSART 8 p.m. A B C companies relieved 1/4 Cameron Highlanders D Company A & B Coys of 2 R.S.Fus. (Op.Order No.7). Captain S.D.Mills [Stephen Douglas MILLS, MC] sick. Lt.Colonel Thorpe [Edward Ivan de Sausmarez THORPE, CMG, DSO] commanded B Co. Major General H.de la P.GOUGH, C.B. appointed Div: General.
19 Apr 1915 In trenches. 11 p.m. A hostile sap head was filled in by a strong patrol under 2 Lieut R.A.B. Orlebar [Richard Astrey Bourn ORLEBAR]. 18 officers, including the 2 C.Os., 16 platoon Segts. 4 C.S.M. of 1/7 WEST YORKSHIRE RGT. of 1 WEST RIDING Brigade attached for 24 hours instruction in trench Warfare. Lieut.Col. W.J.LOCKER. N.Staffordshire Regt. attached for 3 days instruction. Comdg. Battn in 2 New Armys. A good deal of patrolling took place.
20 Apr 1915 2 Lt.W.Ramsay [W. RAMSAY] wounded about 2 A.M. in the head. In the evening a second batch of 7 & 8 Battn West Yorkshire Rgt. Officers & N.C.O. arrived for instruction. This party included the 2 Adjutants. During the night 20/21 good patrol work was done by Lieut. Hurrell [John William HURRELL, MC].
21 Apr 1915 - factory near Pont-Levis, Estaires. A.B.C & 1 platoon of D Co. relieved by Grenadier Guards 3 platoons of D Co by 6 Gordon Highlanders. 20th Bde. at 9.30p.m. (operation order No.8). Companies marched back to billets in Factory near Pt LEVIS. ESTAIRES Casualties for period April 18-21. 2 Lt.W.Ramsay [W. RAMSAY] wounded. Other ranks Killed 3. Wounded & shortly died 1. Other ranks wounded 4.
22 Apr 1915 Company parades. Special order by Sir.T.Capper, K.C.M.G. C.B. D.S.O. on relinquishing the command of the 7th Division. "Major General Sir T.Capper, K.C.M.G. C.B. D.S.O. has unfortunately been unable to recover from an accidental wound within a certain time. He has therefore been obliged to give up command of the 7th Division. General Capper desires to express his extreme sorrow and regret at having to part with his gallant comrades of 7th Division with whom he has been and whose fortunes he has shared since the formation of the Division in August last. General Capper has the assurance of the Commander in chief that he will be again employed as soon as fit. He hardly dares to hope that he may be able to get back to the 7th Division. But if that cannot be, he hopes at least that he may be permitted to fight as near the 7th Division as circumstances will allow. General Capper knows the Division will continue to fight with that stubborn nobility that has always marked its conduct in the past."
23 Apr 1915 Company parades.
24 Apr 1915 Ditto 600 men on night working parties. 6 p.m. Working parties cancelled. Ordered to stand by to move at two hours notice.
25 Apr 1915 10 A.M. Church parade. Still standing by
26 Apr 1915 Standing by. Battn Bathed.
27 Apr 1915 Attack practice by Battalions. 1 Officer per Co. went to reconnoitre trenches E of NEUVE CHAPELLE. 9 p.m. Warned of possibility of move. A draft of 77 other ranks from 4th Battn arrived.
28 Apr 1915 - Strazeele 10.40 A.M. Message received to move at once. 12.45 p.m. Marched out of billets via ESTAIRES - NEUF BERQUIN - VIEX [sic] BERQUIN to STRAZEELE 8 miles. Very warm sunny day. 84 men fell out. B.C.D.Co. billeted in STRAZEELE A Co & M.G.Sect. 1 Miles towards FLETRE.
29 Apr 1915 At STRAZEELE.
30 Apr 1915 ditto. Short route march.
War Diary for May 1915
1 May 1915 - Strazeele At STRAZEELE. Short route march in afternoon.
2 May 1915 At STRAZEELE. 11 AM. Divine Service. 2/Lt.Willans [Harry WILLANS, DSO, MC] sick.
3 May 1915 At STRAZEELE. Brigade route march.
4 May 1915 -Factory near Pont-Levis, Estaires At STRAZEELE. Short route march 9-11.30 AM. Marched back to old billets in factory 7.22 pm. LA GORGUE via MERRIS & road running along COURANT de la METEREN BECQUE 8 miles. Operation Order No.10. 11.30 pm. In billets.
5 May 1915 - Pont-du-Hem At ESTAIRES. Captain Shearman [Charles Edward Gowran SHEARMAN, DSO, MC] & Lieut.Hurrell [John William HURRELL, MC] sick. 3.15 pm. Left billets & 5.0 pm occupied billets south of PONT DU HEM on LA BASSEE Road.
6 May 1915 In billets PONT DUHEM.
7 May 1915 ditto. Conference of C.Os. & Adjutants 11 AM. at Brigade H.Q. Conference of Company Commanders at 2 p.m. at Battn.H.Q.
8 May 1915 In billets PONT DE HEM. Left PONT DE HEM at 12 m.n. for dugouts at H.31.c.
9 May 1915 - dugouts near Aubers Arrived H.31.c. 2.45 a.m. Battn. in Corps reserve. 8th Division attack on German Trenches. 3 O.R. wounded by shell fire.
10 May 1915 - Laventie 1 a.m. Bn/ left dug-outs for billets in LAVENTIE, arrived 2.30 a.m. 3.10 p.m. orders received to be ready to move at short notice. 11 p.m. Bn. marched to LE HAMEL X 20.
11 May 1915 - trenches near Festubert Arrived LE HAMEL about 3 a.m. 4.20 p.m. orders received to go to Trenches (a & b sections D lines) (Indian Village) to relieve 21st Bn. LONDON REGT. Left billets 7.30 p.m. arrived RUE DE L'EPINETTE 8.45 p.m. 'A' 'B' & 'D' Coys. to trenches, 'C' Coy. in reserve at INDIAN Village.
12 May 1915 Took over another portion of trenches from LONDON Bde. 'D' moving from left to right, 'D' coy. relieved by 1 Coy. 2 Yorkshire Regt. Bn. employed in improving trenches, and preparing for assault by rest of Division. Filling in old Guard's trench, preparing exits & patrolling during night.
13 May 1915 Continuation of work as on 12th.
14 May 1915 Trenches vacated while our artillery shelled enemy's trenches. Work as day before. 2nd Lt.C.H.Brewer [Charles Herbert BREWER], 2 Bedf.R. slightly wounded.
15 May 1915 1 a.m. information received that assault had been postponed for 24 hours. Bombardment as before. Work as on previous days. 2nd Lt.C.H.Brewer [Charles Herbert BREWER] returned to duty.
16 May 1915 [The Battle of Festubert] 7th Division attack at 3 a.m. 21st Inf.Bde. in reserve. After successful assault of enemy trenches by 20th & 22nd Bdes. 'D' & 'A' Coys. after supporting assault with covering fires, with machine Guns under 2nd Lt.W.H.George [Walter Hope GEORGE] on right flank, occupied old German trench consolidating it & turning it into fire trench, for our use. 'A' Coy. under Capt.Hutton Williams [William Hutton WILLIAMS], 'D' Coy. under Maj.J.MacKenzie, V.C. [John MacKENZIE, VC] these companies did very good work, and were exposed to considerable shell fire. Working parties under 2nd 2/Lt.F.Powell [Frank POWELL] & 2nd Lt. N.Dabell [Norman V. DABELL] from 'B' & 'C' Coys. respectively, did excellent work, while being heavily shelled, making communications from our old front line trench. No.7925 Sergt. T.Eustace [Thomas EUSTACE, DCM] 'B' Coy. with L/Cpl.COLEMAN, 2nd Border Regt. showed great gallantry in bringing in wounded to the cover of our trenches, while under heavy shell fire. These 2 N.C.Os. brought in over 50 wounded, and gained the praise of several officers, on the spot. Battn. was heavily shelled all day, & night. Had some casualties - 2nd Lt.R.A.B.Orlebar [Richard Astrey Bourn ORLEBAR] 2nd Bedfordshire Regt. & 2nd Lt.B.Whitehouse [Bertie Hall WHITEHOUSE], 3rd L.N.Lancashire Regt., attached 2nd Bedf. R. wounded.
17 May 1915 2.30 a.m. Orders received to withdraw Bn. to reserve trenches. Movement completed by 3.45 a.m. About 1.30 p.m. Bn. received orders to be ready to move at shortest notice. Ref.Map 1/10000. ILLIES-VIOLAINE-FESTUBERT. About 3 p.m. orders received to move Bn. into position in rear of old German Fire trench between L1-L2 in order to make an attack in conjunction with 4 Cameron Highs: on left, on points L10, L11, L8 to K5. Battn. frontage from L8-K5. 'B' Coy. on right, under Capt. H.E.Huntriss [Harold Edward HUNTRISS], 2 Bedf.R. 'C' Coy. on right, under Bt.Lt.Col.E.I.de S.Thorpe [Edward Ivan de Sausmarez THORPE, CMG, DSO], 2 Bedf.R. were detailed as the two leading coys: & formed up between L1 & L2. 'A' Coy. under Capt.W.Hutton-Williams [William HUTTON-WILLIAMS] 3rd E.Sur.R. attached 2 Bedf.R. & 'D' Cou. under Maj.J.Mackenzie, V.C. [John MacKENZIE, VC, DCM] 2 Bedf.R. formed up in rear of old British trench, in support, moving up into new line as places were vacated by 'B' & 'C' Coys. About 7.30 p.m. 'B' and 'C' Coys. advanced to the Attack, on right of 4th Camerons, with 2 sections of Bombthrowers under 2nd Lt.W.J. Stonier [William John STONIER], 2nd Bedf.R. working on the right down the communication trench towards K.4. & K.5. 'B' & 'C' Coys. on vacating the trenches to the assault were met by heavy shrapnel, machine gun & rifle fire & Coy.Q.M.S. (Actg.Coy.S.M.) was killed as he climbed over the parapet. (On 22nd May, official information was received, that this N.C.O. had been granted a commission as 2nd Lt. in the 2nd Cheshire Regt). By about 9 p.m. when the whole Battn. less 2 platoons of 'A' Coy. which were kept in reserve by the C.O. (Major C.C.Onslow [Cranley Charlton ONSLOW, CB, CMG, CBE, DSO]) had been launched to the attack, information was received by the C.O. that Lt.Col.Thorpe [Edward Ivan de Sausmarez THORPE, CMG, DSO] had called a halt, as he was unable to collect a party sufficiently strong to assault the German position, owing to the darkness, and many serious obstacles, in the nature of ditches varying from 2 to 5 ft. in depth, and from 2 to 5 ft. in width filled with water, running diagonally as well as parallel to our advance, which had broken all cohesion in the attacking force; and also that he could not gain touch with the Cameron Highrs: Just at this time too, 2nd Lt.W.J.Stonier [William John STONIER] reported having arrived at K.4, & meeting with opposition in that neighbourhood, his party had expended all their bombs and had themselves, with a small party under 2nd Lt.C.H.Brewer [Charles Herbert BREWER], been bombed and trench mortared from the direction of K.5. & had had to retire into the communication trench, which they continued to hold. A portion of the Battn. misunderstanding Lt.Col.Thorpe's [Edward Ivan de Sausmarez THORPE, CMG, DSO] order, had in the meantime retired on to our original position. Under these circumstances the C.O. reformed the whole of the Battn. in the original position, from which the attack was launched (L1 and L2), with the exception of the party in the Communication trench; and informed the Brigadier General H.WATTS how matters stood. During these operations Maj.J.Mackenzie V.C. [John MacKENZIE, VC] was killed & the following officers were wounded: - Capt.H.E.Huntriss [Harold Edward HUNTRISS], Lt.A.E.Kuhn [Alfred Edgar KUHN], 2nd Lts. A.Grover [Albert GROVER], R.S.Lardner [Reginald Seymour LARDNER], Lieut. F.V.Parker [Frederick Vivian PARKER] & R.H.Boys [Richard Harvey BOYS]. During the night information was received that a portion of the 4th Camerons had succeeded in entering the enemy trench. Several men were drowned in the ditches, referred to above
18 May 1915 About 3 a.m. telephonic instructions were received from the Brigadier, that the Battn. should advance along the communication trench towards K.4 & K.5, and take the German trench from that flank, to join up with the Cameron Highlanders, who were said to be still in possession of a portion of the trench. A supply of Bombs having been received, the bomb throwers with 'D' Coy. under 2nd Lt.C.H.Brewer* [Charles Herbert BREWER]; with 'A' and 'C' coys. in that order, in support, under Capt.W.Hutton-Williams [William HUTTON-WILLIAMS], & Bt.Lt.Col.E.I.de S.Thorpe [Edward Ivan de Sausmarez THORPE, CMG, DSO] respectively, were ordered to make their way along the communication trench to K.5, to gain possession of that point & work along German trench towards L/8. to meet the Cameron Highlanders. 'B' Coy. under 2/Lt.F.Powell [Frank POWELL] was kept in reserve. While this attack was developing, the C.O. received authentic information, that the party of Cameron Highs: who has gained the enemy trench, had been bombed out and retired thence during the night. This information, and also the fact that, the Bn. was very weak numerically, was telephoned by the C.O. to the Brigadier, who replied that if the C.O. who [sic] absolutely convinced that the Cameron Highs: were no longer holding any of the German trench, he should stop the further advance of the Battn. and make good the ground occupied. The Bn. therefore consolidating K.4 & the communication trench, holding it with the bombthrowers & 'D' 'A' & 'B' coys. 'C' coy. & B remaining behind L1-L2. During the advance towards K4, Capt.W.Hutton-Williams [William HUTTON-WILLIAMS] was killed and about 6 men killed or wounded crossing the gap in the trench which was swept by Machine Gun & rifle fire. The Battn. remained in this position all day, being heavily shelled by H.E. & shrapnel the whole time. This party was under Capt.C.C.FOSS, D.S.O. [Charles Calverley FOSS, VC, DSO] who had partially reconnoitred the route. Night of 17-18 May 1915 During the night 17th-18th May, 2nd Lt.B.H.Waddy [Bentley Herbert WADDY, MC] 3rd Gloucester Regt. attached, who had been doing excellent scouting and reconnaissance work, had to be removed from the firing line by order of the M.O. & was admitted to Hospital. During this night too, the Battn. had the misfortune to lose the services of Lieut.D.G.WATSON, R.A.M.C. the M.O. who had been most assiduous in tending & removing wounded from the firing line in a conspicuously gallant manner, under heavy shell fire, being severely wounded by shrapnel on his way back to his dressing station. 7 stretcher bearers were also either killed or wounded.
19 May 1915 - Bellerive The Battn. was relieved by one company of the 2nd Yorkshire Regt. about 3 a.m. and returned to billets in RUE de'EPINETTE. Strength of Battn. 8 officers 417 other ranks. Lt.BAIRD, R.A.M.C. joined Bn. during night of 18th-19th May for duty vice WATSON. 1 p.m. orders received that Battn. would march at 3 p.m. battn. marched at 3 p.m. to billets at BELLERIVE 4m. N.W. of BETHUNE. Total casualties during operations from 8 p.m. 11.5.15 to 3 p.m. 19.5.15 were: - Officers 2 killed, 9 wounded (2Lt.A.E.Kuhn [Alfred Edgar KUHN] died of wounds on 20.5.15). 1 Sick. Other ranks 45 killed, 68 missing, 276 wounded, (of whom 4 died). Officers remaining with Bn. combatant. Major C.C.Onslow [Cranley Charlton ONSLOW, CB, CMG, CBE, DSO], Comdr. Capt.C.C.FOSS, D.S.O. [Charles Calverley FOSS, VC, DSO], Adjt. Bt.Lt.Col.E.I.de S.Thorpe [Edward Ivan de Sausmarez THORPE, CMG, DSO] (To Border Regt) 2nd Lt.L.F.Beal [Leonard Frank BEAL, MC], 2/Lt.F.Powell [Frank POWELL] (I.A.) 2nd Lt.N.Dabell [Norman V. DABELL], 2nd Lt.C.H.Brewer [Charles Hubert BREWER], 2nd Lt.W.H.George [Walter Hope GEORGE].
20 May 1915 In billets BELLERIVE. Reinforcements 120 other ranks joined. Bt.Lt.Col.E.I.de S.Thorpe [Edward Ivan de Sausmarez THORPE, CMG, DSO] transferred to temporary command of 2nd Border Regt. Lt.G.M.Fleming [Geoffrey Montagu Mason FLEMING], R.A.M.C. joined as M.O. vice BAIRD who returned to 21st Fd.Amb.
21 May 1915 In billets as above. Coy. inspections. Brigadier Genl.H.WATTS, C.M.G., C.B., addressed the Bn. on parade as follows: - "Major Onslow [Cranley Charlton ONSLOW, CB, CMG, CBE, DSO] and soldiers of the 2nd Bedfordshire Regt. I have come to speak to you, hearing how disappointed you are at the non success of the attack upon which you were launched on the 17th. Let me tell you, that its non-success was no fault of yours, but was one of the fortunes of war, which cannot always be successful. The attack was carried out in a most gallant and determined manner, & its non-success was caused by the usual chance of war, which did not allow of a proper artillery preparation, or a thorough reconnaissance. You casualties, which were 2 officers killed, 6 officers wounded, 45 other ranks killed, 68 missing & 200 odd killed, shows you determination, and I feel sure, when you are again called upon to attack, you will show the same spirit, and your efforts will be crowned with success."
22 May 1915 Billets as before. Coys. parades & short route marches. C.Os. inspection of billets. Capt.C.C.Foss, D.S.O. [Charles Calverley FOSS, VC, DSO] admitted to Hosp. sick. Capt.& Qr.Mr. Cressingham [Hugh CRESSINGHAM] performs duties of Adjutant. The following 3 officers joined & posted: - Capt.R.L.Thom [Richard Reuben Langstow THOM] to command 'A' Coy. Lieut.T.G.M.Horsford [Thomas Gavin Moor HORSFORD] to command 'D' Coy. Lieut.J.W.Hutchinson [James Walter HUTCHINSON] to command 'C' Coy.
23 May 1915 Billets as before. Church Parade 10.45 a.m. Coys. bathing parades.
24 May 1915 Billets as before. Coy. parades, bathing & clothes washing. Maj.Gen.H.de la P.GOUGH, Comdg. 7th Divn. came round billets, speaking to the men & praising them for their work etc. in the late attack; saying they had done splendidly & that he was proud to have the Bn. in his Division.
25 May 1915 In billets as before. Coy.parades, physical drills, route marching & bathing. Coy.S.M.FLINT & Corp.VAILES who were sent to L2 by the C.O., reported having found Capt.Huntriss [Harold Edward HUNTRISS] body 50 yards from where he had been left by Corp.VAILES, having evidently crawled that distance, and receiving another wound.
26 May 1915 Bn. Route March. Bathing parades. 2/Lt.F.Powell [Frank POWELL], C.S.M.FLINT, & Corp VAILES went & recovered the bodies of Maj.Mackenzie, V.C. [John MacKENZIE, VC] & Capt.Huntriss [Harold Edward HUNTRISS], and buried them alongside Capt.W.Hutton-Williams [William HUTTON-WILLIAMS], behind L2.Map 1/10000. On dividing line between S.26.d. & A.2.b. under U. of FESTUBERT, in the order Capt.WILLIAMS on right or North, Maj.Mackenzie [John MacKENZIE, VC] in the centre & Capt.Huntriss [Harold Edward HUNTRISS] on the left, facing the crosses.
27 May 1915 Coy.parades & kit inspections. Inspection of 7th Division by General JOFFRE, commanding the Allied Forces in FRANCE & BELGIUM, 2nd Lt.C.W.Macfie [Claud William MACFIE], 3rd So.Staffordshire Regt. 2nd Lt.R.B.Gibson [Robert Bowness GIBSON], 3rd So.Staffordshire Regt. 2nd Lt.B.Read Taylor [Basil Read TAYLOR, MC] 3rd So.Staffordshire Regt. the first 2 posted to 'B' & the last to 'A' coy. joined this day.
29 May 1915 Last two drafts inspected in GONNEHEM by Divisional & Brigade commanders. 8 officers & 12 N.C.Os. attended lectures regarding "asphyxiating gases". Coys. route marching & handling arms.
30 May 1915 Church Parade at 9 a.m. 2nd Lt.H.S.Armstrong [Harold Simon ARMSTRONG, MC] joined Bn. & posted to 'A' Coy.
31 May 1915 Bn. Route March. Coy. parades. Lieut. J.W.Hurrell [John William HURRELL, MC] rejoined.
War Diary for June 1915
1 Jun 1915 - Bellerive Billets as before - Company parades, bathing etc - Capt. C.C.Foss, D.S.O. [Charles Calverley FOSS, VC, DSO] rejoined from Hosp.
2 Jun 1915 Billets as before. Company parade - Machine Gun instruction classes for Subaltern officers.
3 Jun 1915 Billets as before - Company route marches &c - Camp concert
4 Jun 1915 Billets as before. Notification for possible move.
5 Jun 1915 - les Choquaux Billets as before. 2nd Lieut L.Turnbull [Laurence TURNBULL], 3rd Bedf. R. joined in morning. 4.30 p.m. Bn marched via HINGES to new billets about LESCHOQUAUX [sic] 2nd Lt.H.de Buriatte [Harold de BURIATTE] 2nd Bedf. R. rejoined 2nd Lt.W.E.FIGGIS 4th Bedf.R. joined. These officers were "B". "A". "C" Coys respectively. 69 O.R. reinforcements joined.
6 Jun 1915 Billets as above. C.O.visited trenches near GIVENCHY with Brigadier & other C.Os. Coys under Coy. Comdrs Bathing etc.
7 Jun 1915 Billets as before. Coys. training, bathing &c. Officers & Platoon Sergts etc witnessed certain experiments with gas bombs. C.O. & Adjt. (Capt. Cressingham [Hugh CRESSINGHAM]) attended Brigade conference. Capt. J.McM.Milling [John McMaster MILLING, MC] joined & posted to command 'D' Coy.
8 Jun 1915 Billets as before - Company parades. Company Commanders, C.O. & Adjts visited trenches in neighbourhood of GIVENCHY. (Stifling hot day, followed by mist severe thunderstorm, with hail, which flooded the billeting area). Night of 8-9 Jun 1915 400 men under Capt.R.L.Thom [Richard Reuben Langstow THOM] working party, preparing dug outs.
9 Jun 1915 Company parades. Night 9-10 Jun 1915 200 Men working party digging communication trench. The Field Marshal Commanding in Chief under authority granted by H.M. the King awarded Distinguished Conduct Medals to: 8310 Sergeant A.Brown [Arthur Sidney BROWN, DCM] bringing in wounded at YPRES.
23 Oct 1914 was wounded himself. 7785 C.Q.M.Sgt S.Mart [Samuel H. MART, DCM]. Went back & diverted our Machine gun fire from us at YPRES. 9760 Corpl.W.Bartlett [William BARTLETT]. Collecting wounded at NEUVE CHAPELLE 9078 Pte W.Eade [William R. EADE]. One of eight bombers who retook a trench at NEUVE CHAPELLE capturing 50 Germans.
10 Jun 1915 Brigadier inspected draft at 10 A.M.
11 Jun 1915 Order issued to remove the wire rim from caps. Special Order of the Day. General Sir Douglas Haig has much pleasure in conveying to the Army under his command the following message by General Joffre to Field Marshal Sir John French. This message refers to General Joffre's visit to the 1st Army on 27 May 1915. "The splendid bearing of the British Troops, who marched past me in the course of my recent visit reflects the greatest credit on officers, N.C.Os & all ranks. I thank you for having afforded me the great pleasure of saluting your fine Regiments and I request you to be so good as to convey to them my admiration of their soldierly appearance. Please accept Monsiur le Marechal my most sincere regards". Signed J. JOFFRE.
12 Jun 1915 In billets company parades
13 Jun 1915 Church parade 9 A.M. in an orchard - 2 Lt.A.H.Riddell [Alexander Herbert Oliver RIDDELL, MC] 3rd Queens. R.W.Surrey R & 100 other ranks reinforcements arrive. 2 Lt Riddell posted to A Co.
14 Jun 1915 - Windy Corner, near Givenchy-les-la-Bassee Left billets at 3 p.m. 7.3 p.m. Reported arrival of Battalion in assembly dug outs
15 Jun 1915 6 p.m. [The Second Action at Givenchy]. Attack by 2 Yorks R. & 2 Wilts R. launched. The Battalion had been detailed to send up 2 Companies to dig communication trenches back from the captured position but had been informed that we should not be required to move till 6.30 p.m. 7.30 p.m. The Battalion commenced moving up to support 2 Wilts R. who were reported to be attacking the farm J.15. While the Battalion was carrying out this movement it was announced that the attack had not been successful. The Battalion assembled in SCOTTISH Trench & NEW CUT trench. The C.O. & Adjutant who had remained at WINDY CORNER in close touch with Brigade H.Q. received verbal orders before they moved up that the Battalion would take part in an attack by 3 Regiments of the Brigade at 12.30 A.M. 16 June 15. 11.55 p.m. B Company detailed to assault the CRATER I.4 at 12.30 A.M.
16 Jun 1915 - New Cut and Scottish Trench 12.17 A.M. Attack postponed to 1.30 P.M. 12.59 A.M. Attack postponed till 5.30 A.M. & orders received for Battalion to relieve 2 Wilts Regt. who were still holding the trenches. B Company was stopped at 1.20 A.M. The first two platoons were getting in position to assault & were in front of NEW Trench & SCOTTISH trench. The relief of the 2 Wilts Regt. was carried out. B Company, with it left in touch with the Grenadier Guards (20th Bde). holding NEW trench 2 Machine guns also in this trench on the left A Company, in Scottish trench in touch with 2 R.S.F. on right, on left with D Company also, in Scottish trench; this Company was in touch with 2 Gordon Highlanders (20 Bde) on the left. Battalion H.Q. C Company & 2 Machine Guns in Reserve in NEW CUT trench. 3.55 A.M. Detailed orders for the 5.30 am attack received. 3.58 A.M. Attack postponed until further orders. 8.48 A.M. Instructions received that when the attack was next ordered that Battalion was to develop flank attack along line I 4 - I 3 - I 9. It was uncertain after this time whether the attack was likely to take place or not. 3.25 (approx) Orders received that an attack was to take place at 4.45 p.m. Battalion ordered to "attack I 4 from the North and assist the R.S.F. as opportunity offers". R.S.F. first objective was German 1st Line trench from H 3 to I.4 (inclusive) 4.45 p.m. the company advanced in successive platoons from the right, No 8 platoon under 2 Lieut. C.W.MacFie [Claud William MACFIE], 3rd S.Staffs.R. leading. All the platoons entered the CRATER at the junction of SUNKEN Road trench & the Trench, once German at this time unoccupied & in a bad state of repair. The Company came under a considerable volume of rifle & Machine Gun fire as it topped the lip of the CRATER. A spirited fight at close range took place in the CRATER. The company formed a line in the crater as they were not able to push forward on account of the hostile bombs. No 4/7296 Corporal Milne [Robert M. MILNE, DCM] distinguished himself by throwing back all those that landed near him into the German trenches until he was wounded. 2/Lt.F.Powell [Frank POWELL] seeing that his company was suffering heavy losses (2 officers Killed C.M.S. wounded & nearly 50% of other ranks. 2/Lt.F.Powell [Frank POWELL] was twice wounded himself) & some German reinforcements coming up - and also on account of there being no sign of Regiment which was attacking on the right or of our bomb throwers - gave the order for the Company to withdraw to their former trenches. This was carried out in good order under the direction of 2 Lieut R.B.Gibson [Robert Bowness GIBSON], 3rd S.Staffs.R. attached 2 Bedf.R. the only officer of the company left. No 9638 Corporal T.Green [Thomas GREEN, DCM] with about 9 men was on the left of & slightly separated from the rest on the Company. He saw the Company go back & remained a while longer but seeing he was in danger of being surrounded & that the Germans appeared to be getting ready for a counter attack, he withdrew his men safely, bringing in a wounded man himself, he went out later in the evening & brought some more wounded in. The two Machine guns in NEW Trench on the left of the line held by our company under No 7784 Sergeant W.Mart [William MART, DCM] & 9969 L/Sergt.W.Wilson [William A. WILSON] availed themselves of the good targets offered by the Germans in a communication trench & also when they were firing at B Company in & withdrawing from the CRATER. Sergt MART [William MART, DCM] was wounded but refused to leave his guns & inflicted heavy losses on the Germans. At least two German officers were noticed among those killed, one of them was wearing a brown uniform. 5.58 p.m. Situation was as follows. D Company in NEW TRENCH. A. remains of B & C Company in SCOTTISH trench. 8 p.m. (approx) C Co relieved D Company B Co withdrawn to NEW CUT trench A & D Companies in SCOTTISH TRENCH. R.E. put up wire in front of NEW TRENCH.
17 Jun 1915 - Canal de la Lawe The morning & afternoon passed very quietly. The C.O. went to Divisional H.Q. with Brigadier & other C.Os. 8.50 p.m. A heavy bombardment by the Germans commenced. On account of the red lights sent up by them it is thought they expected an attack. This bombardment ceased after about 20 minutes. After an interval of about a quarter of an hour, another & equally heavy bombardment commenced which lasted about an hour. During the afternoon orders had been received that 2 companies in support could be withdrawn & that the Battalion was being relieved by 2 companies of the Warwickshire Regt (22 Bde). B & D Companies were withdrawn to the canal during the afternoon. The relief of the trenches was being carried out when the first bombardment commenced, but although shells were falling heavily on the fire trenches & communication trenches the relief was not stopped although somewhat delayed.
18 Jun 1915 A & C Companies & M.Gun section arrived in billets on the Road along the canal de la LAWE Square W 13 c & d about 2.30 A.M. B & D Companies had arrived earlier. Casualties for period 15-17 June. Killed. 5 officers. 18 other ranks Wounded. 7 officers 72 other ranks. Missing 27 other ranks. Casualties of officers 15-17 June 1915. Killed: Lieut.T.G.M.Horsford [Thomas Gavin Moor HORSFORD] 3rd Battn attd 2nd Bn. killed by shell in dugout 16.6.15. Buried behind SCOTTISH Trench. 2 Lieut W.H.Fox [Walter Henry FOX], 4.S.Staffs.R. Killed by same shell as above 16.6.15. Buried behind SCOTTISH Trench. 2 Lt C.W.MacFie [Claud William MACFIE] 3 S.Staffs.R. Killed in CRATER 16.6.15. Body not recovered 2 Lieut.L.Turnbull [Laurence TURNBULL] 3 Bedf.R. Killed in CRATER 16.6.15. Body not recovered. Lieut.G.M.Fleming [Geoffrey Montagu Mason FLEMING]. R.A.M.C. Killed by shell while attending a case in R.Aid Post. 16.6.15. Buried in country at WINDY CORNER. Wounded: 2 Lt.C.H.Brewer [Charles Herbert BREWER] 2 Bedf.R. By shrapnel 15.6.15. 2/Lt.F.Powell [Frank POWELL]. Indian Army. Twice rifle 16.6.15 when in CRATER. Lieut.T.E.AMYOTT R.A.M.C. joined. 2 Lieut W.White [William WHITE] 3rd Queens R.W. Surrey R & 101 other ranks joined. 2 Lieut. White [William WHITE] posted to B Company.
19 Jun 1915 - Bellerive 4 p.m. Battalion marched to billets around BELLERIVE. Companies occupied the same building as they had done on May 20th 1915. The inhabitants were glad to see the men back. A draft of 56 other ranks joined Battn.
20 Jun 1915 10.30 A.M. Divine service near WINDMILL
21 Jun 1915 Brigadier inspected the last two drafts. He complimented the men of the Bedford Training Depot on their fine appearance and hoped they would bring still further credit on the Battalion. The Brigadier spoke personally to the remainder of the draft who were wounded men who had rejoined.
22 Jun 1915 Lieut Armstrong [Harold Simon ARMSTRONG, MC] & 20 men proceeded to Grenade Company for a course.
23 Jun 1915 Company parades.
24 Jun 1915 Battalion route march
25 Jun 1915 Company parades. Leave for 4 men or N.C.Os per day opened. The Field Marshal C-in-C brought to notice for Gallant & Distinguished service in the field the under mentioned in his despatch of April 5 1915. Major W.H.Denne D.S.O. [William Henry DENNE, DSO] Major H.C.Jackson [Henry Cholmondeley JACKSON, KCB, CMG, DSO, TL]. Major C.C.Onslow [Cranley Charlton ONSLOW, CB, CMG, CBE, DSO]. Captain J.H.G.Baird [James Hozier Gardiner BAIRD, MC] Captain C.E.Cumberledge [Cleland Bulstrode CUMBERLEDGE]. 2 Lt. H.Willans [Harry WILLANS, DSO, MC] 2 Lt. B.H.Waddy [Bentley Herbert WADDY, MC] No 5313 C.S.M. Bliss, F.W. [Frederick W. BLISS] No 6006 C.S.M. Horne J. [Joseph HORNE] Killed No 9822 L/S. Peggs W.G. [William PEGGS] No 9957 Pte Day B. [Bert DAY] No 9390 Pte Hearne A. [Arthur HEARNE] No 9084 Pte PRICE J. [should read W. PRICE] No 6215 Pte Scrivener S. [4/6215 Stanley Walter SCRIVENER] Killed. The following honours & appointments were conferred on the occasion of the King's Birthday for Services rendered in connection with Military operations in the field to date from 3 June. Chancery of the Order of Saint Michael & Saint George; to be Companions Major C.C.Onslow D.S.O. [Cranley Charlton ONSLOW, CB, CMG, CBE, DSO], Captain C.B.Cumberledge [Cleland Bulstrode CUMBERLEDGE] Military Cross. Captain J.H.G.Baird [James Hozier Gardiner BAIRD, MC]. 4 Battn.Bedf.R. 2 Lt. B.H.Waddy [Bentley Herbert WADDY, MC] 3rd Glos.R.
26 Jun 1915 - les Choquaux 11.20 p.m. Left billets & marched to ones near LE CHOQUEAUX [sic] previously occupied 5 June.
27 Jun 1915 - front line in front of Festubert 1.45 A.M. Arrived at new billets. O.C. Coys told Battn going into trenches 27 inst. 1.15 p.m. 2 Lt.H.E.Mudford [Harold Ernest MUDFORD] 2nd Bedf.R. 2 Lt W.Sharpe [William SHARPE, MC, formerly CSM 5559 of the 1st battalion] 2 Beds.R. 2 Lieut J.C.A.Ness [James Charles Alexander NESS] 2 Bedf.R. arrived & posted. 2 Lt. Mudford [Harold Ernest MUDFORD] & Sharpe [William SHARPE, MC] to C.Co. 2 Lt Ness [James Charles Alexander NESS] to D Coy. Lieut R.O.Wynne [Richard Own WYNNE, DSO] 3 Bedf.R. joined & posted to D Company. 6.45 p.m. Left Billets to take over trenches from 6th Black Watch in front of FESTUBERT. 8.15 p.m. Arrived at CSE du RAUX from line companies marched to trenches by Platoons. Took over trenches all four companies in front line right to left A.B.C.D Companies in touch with 1/4 CAMERON Highlanders on right 9th Gurkha Rifles on left. Rough copy of trench Map 1/1000. [not attached] The South edge of the Orchard was not held by day on account of the parapet being continually blown in & there was no wire in position in any part of the line.
28 Jun 1915 D Company was troubled by a hostile trench mortar near N 14. In front of C, B & A Company was an old German parapet, most complete in front of C Company. A sniper disguised as a tree was shot by Sergt Bishop of C Company in the morning. 2 Lieut J.C.A.Ness [James Charles Alexander NESS] went out on patrol & did not return. 10 lengths of aeroplane wire put in position on South side of orchard.
29 Jun 1915 O.C. & Adjutant of 7th Seaforth Highlanders 9th Division also M.Gun officers come to view trenches. Trench mortar again troubling D.Co. 12.15 p.m. 3 of our heavy shells fell on spot the trench mortar was thought to be & no further activity was displayed by it. During night 29/30 Orchard was thoroughly wired & more of old German parapet was demolished. C Company observed a large working party & fired on it.
30 Jun 1915 A quiet day. Enemy shelled Indian Village with High Explosive & also RUE L'EPINETTE & also the old British trench with shrapnel about 4.30 p.m. C, C & B Companies relieved by 7 Seaforths and A Company by a company of 5 Camerons. 2 Lieut.W.H.George [Walter Hope GEORGE] M.Gun officer was wounded in the arm while conducting his relief up to the trenches. Casualties; 1 officer missing. 1 officer wounded. Other ranks. Killed One 1. Wounded Twelve 12.
War Diary for July 1915
1 Jul 1915 - Guarbceque Relief completed 2 A.M. & Battalion assembled in RUE L'EPINETTE to march to Billets at GUARBECQUE via AVELETTE where breakfasts were served from the Cookers thence along CANNE [Canal] Bank. Distance 12 Miles. 9 A M Arrived at new billets which were excellent very commodious but scattered
2 Jul 1915 Cleaning up.
3 Jul 1915 C.O. presented Appreciations of Bravery from G.O.C. 7 Division for 16 June 15.
4 Jul 1915 11 A.M. Divine Service.
5 Jul 1915 Lt.Col.C.C.Onslow C.M.G. [Cranley Charlton ONSLOW, CB, CMG, CBE, DSO] & Captain Cressingham [Hugh CRESSINGHAM] on leave 2 Lieut T.C.Pearson [Terence Charles PEARSON] 2 Bedf.R. joined & posted to C Company.
6 Jul 1915 Battalion Route March 6.30 A.M. - 8.30 A.M. Company parades
7 Jul 1915 Company parades - B Co on Range near BERQUETTE STN. Demonstration of setting up wire entanglements by wiring party 2 Highland Field Co. Wet afternoon. Battn warned for trenches on 9th July 15.
8 Jul 1915 6.45 Marched to ST-HILAIRE [-Cottes] to line road for Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener. 10.20 Lord Kitchener passed the Battalion on the way back all officers & N.C.Os. inspected special Bomb proof shelters & dry built by R.E. Wiring parties 2-6 p.m.
9 Jul 1915 Company inspections. M. Gun Section viewed emplacements of MEERUT Divisional M.Gun School. 9 pm Marched to new billets at LES LOBES Square R.32.
10 Jul 1915 2 A.M. Arrived & settled in billets. Company inspection. 8 p.m. Battn left Billets & marched to new billets X 11 c & d KINGS ROAD. Machine guns up in Fire Trenches held by 2 Yorks R., 2 R.S.F., 1/4 Camerons. Battn in Brigade Reserve.
11 Jul 1915 8 pm. B Co under Lieut.J.W.Hutchinson [James Walter HUTCHINSON] occupied 2 posts CHOCOLATE and DEAD cow. 1/2 Co in each post. These are just WEST of PRINCES Road S.14.d. 2 Lieut C.A.Forward [Charles Arthur FORWARD] 2 Bedf.R. joined & posted to B Co. 2 Lieut. A.H. Goldie [Archibald Harold GOLDIE] 2 Bedf.R. joined & posted to C.Co. 1 N.C.O. & 3 men in each of the following small posts, DITCH, HAYSTACK, PATH, Z ORCHARD - ALBERT.
12 Jul 1915 2 Lieut.R.B.Gibson [Robert Bowness GIBSON] evacuated sick.
13 Jul 1915 2 Lt E.F.S. Dyer [Edward Felice Swinton DYER] 2 Bedf.R. joins & posted to B.Co.
14 Jul 1915 C.O. goes round posts.
15 Jul 1915 9 pm Working party 50 men A Co at work levelling old Communication trench in front of fire trench held by 2 Yorks.
16 Jul 1915 9 pm Working party similar to above C Co. 12 m.n. Fired on by shrapnel. 1 other rank Killed. 1 other rank Died of wounds. 3 other ranks Wounded.
17 Jul 1915 7.15 pm A C D Companies leave billets. 10.45 pm B Co & posts of A & C Company having been relieved by Scots Guards march off.
18 Jul 1915 Battalion in billets SE of ROBECQ Squares P.24 & Q.19. 2 Lieut R.B.Gibson [Robert Bowness GIBSON] rejoined from Hospital MERVILLE.
19 Jul 1915 In billets. Company parades. Wiring.
20 Jul 1915 C.O. Adjt & N.C.O. visit trenches Battalion team wins swimming competition. Company parades. Wiring by night. Move to trenches postponed from 21/22 tonight 22/23.
21 Jul 1915 In billets ROBECQ. Company parades. The following officers joined from LE HAVRE. 2 Lt.R.L.Shaw [Robert Leslie SHAW] 3rd Batt Bedf R to D Co. 2 Lt.H A Chamen [Harold Ashcombe CHAMEN] 2 Bedf R from SANDHURST - C Co. 2 Lt. W.Hobbs [Wilfred HOBBS, MC] 2 Bedf R from Artists Rifles - C Co.
22 Jul 1915 In billets ROBECQ. 2 pm. Commenced march to trenches. 4 pm. halted for teas in field near PARADIS R.19.a.b. 1/40,000 BETHUNE Map. 7 pm. Resumed march to trenches & took over the line held by 1st S.Staffordshire regiment, A D Cos front line. C Co in support B Co in Battn Reserve. 2 Gordon Highlanders on right. 2 Wilts R. on left.
23 Jul 1915 In trenches. 1.30-3 pm 77mm hostile gun shelled Reserve trenches.
24 Jul 1915 In trenches. 12.30 AM About a dozen shells from trench mortar did but little damage to our front parapet. 6 p.n. 4 trench mortar cylinders came over. Our No.11 Trench Mortar replied & silenced the hostile gun. This gun did not fire again during the remainder of the period the Battn held this line. 2 Lt W E FIGGIS wounded while out on patrol when very near enemy's line.
25 Jul 1915 In trenches. 7.30 P.M. Divisional General visited trenches. The line was reorganised during the night as follows. A Co from CINDER Track to VINE Street exclusive. C Co from VINE Street (inclusive) to COPSE exclusive. D Co from COPSE inclusive to PLUM exclusive. Companies to hold front trench with strength they think best & remainder in support line.
26 Jul 1915 In trenches. Full moon. 2 Lieut Armstrong [Harold Simon ARMSTRONG, MC] & patrol of A Co got to within 60 or 70 yards of enemy trenches and saw enemy patrols come out about 30 yards & then return.
27 Jul 1915 In trenches. Work ordered. Strengthening parapet to 22 foot broad at base. Strengthening wire, & making firing platforms along communication trench. Parties came up to assist.
28 Jul 1915 In trenches. It was suspected a relief was carried out night of 27/28. 77 mm shelled our Front line, BOND Street LEICESTER Lounge & rear end of COPSE intermittently. Armour piercing bullet found & forwarded to 21 Inf.Bde.H.Q. 9.30 pm- 12 midnight. Enemy very quiet.
29 Jul 1915 In trenches The Espitaller Snipers scope most useful 77 mm put 30 to 40 shells with great accuracy near support & communication trench near BOND Street for 3/4 hour. No damage. 2 rifle grenades fired at working party on left flank. 1 slightly wounded. Our snipers put 10 enemy periscopes out of action during last 2 days, only 3 of our's put out.
30 Jul 1915 In trenches. Another steel cord bullet found. Continuous sniping all night 30/31 line was rearranged as follows 1st South Staffords took over line up to but exclusive of BOND Street. A Co - Bond Street inclusive of VINE Street inclusive. C.Co - VINE Street inclusive - COPSE inclusive D.Co. COPSE exclusive - PLUM exclusive The above referred to supports & Fire trench.
31 Jul 1915 In trenches 2 Lieut G.H.D'Avigdor [Gerald H. D'AVIGDOR] 2 Bedf R (ex Artists Rifles) & 30 men join from BASE 2 Lt.D'AVIGDOR posted to D Co. No 7925 Serjeant T.Eustace [Thomas EUSTACE, DCM] Killed at work on Reserve trench parapet Enemy actively sniping all night 2 Lt.H A Chamen [Harold Ashcombe CHAMEN] accidentally impaled on bayonet.
War Diary for August 1915
1 Aug 1915 - trenches near Festubert In trenches relieved by 1st H.L.I., SIRHIND Bde. & Battalion marched to BELLERIVE Billets near GONNEHEM. Casualties for period 22 July - 1 August 1915. Officers 2 wounded Other ranks 4 Killed 23 wounded
2 Aug 1915 - Bellerive In Billets BELLE RIVE. Battalion arrived at 6.30 a.m.
3 Aug 1915 In billets 2 p.m. Major General T.D.PILCHER C.B. Colonel of the regiment inspected the Battalion & distributed Bravery Certificates. He complimented the men on their smart appearance and their work in the field throughout the campaign & wished them every success in the future.
4 Aug 1915 In billets. Company parades.
5 Aug 1915 In billets.
6 Aug 1915 In billets. Inspection of Drafts of 30 by Brigadier-General WATTS, C.B. Test alarm at 9.23 p.m. Battalion with M.Guns ready to march at 10.30 p.m. 1st Line Transport ready at 11.21 p.m.
7 Aug 1915 Formation of Battn Sniper Squad under Lt. H. de Buriatte [Harold de BURIATTE]. 2/Lt. Shaw [Robert Leslie SHAW] proceeds on Machine Gun Course. Extracts from London Gazette: - "To be Lieutenant Colonel (Temp.) Major C.C. Onslow [Cranley Charlton ONSLOW, CB, CMG, CBE, DSO] To be Captain (temp) Lieut J.W. Hurrell [John William HURRELL, MC]."
8 Aug 1915 In billets. Church Parade.
9 Aug 1915 Battalion Route March.
10 Aug 1915 In billets. lecture by Major Bidder [Harold Francis BIDDER, DSO] "Grenades & their uses". Captain J.W.Hurrell [John William HURRELL, MC] appointed Acting Adjutant vice Capt.C.C.Foss, D.S.O. [Charles Calverley FOSS, VC, DSO] appointed Brigade Major 20th Bde. Lieut. R.O.Wynne [Richard Own WYNNE, DSO] takes over command of "C" Coy from Captain J.W. Hurrell [John William HURRELL, MC]. 2.Lt. A.H.O. Riddell [Alexander Herbert Oliver RIDDELL, MC] assumes duties of Regimental Transport Officer.
11 Aug 1915 Lt. G.E.F. BUDGE A.V.O proceeds to join 2nd Bde R.G.A.
12 Aug 1915 Inspection of Draft (35) by Commanding Officer.
13 Aug 1915 In billets. Gas Demonstration.
14 Aug 1915 Lecture by Capt. J.McM. Milling [John McMaster MILLING, MC] to all Officers of "Duties in the Field". The Brigadier General remits the Suspended Sentence on 9022 Pte Milliard [Albert William MILLIARD] for "Good Work in the Field".
15 Aug 1915 2.Lt. C.J. Hunter [Charles James HUNTER] joins the Battalion from Artists Rifles. Receive orders to move into trenches to-morrow.
16 Aug 1915 - reserve trenches Estaminet Corner Moved into Reserve trenches at ESTAMINET CORNER, "D" Company in the Village Line. 15 O.R. joined.
17 Aug 1915 Positions as on 16th.
18 Aug 1915 Ditto. Fatigue parties for strengthening parapets.
19 Aug 1915 Ditto. Lord Kitchener visited arty. pns. in neighbourhood but not the bn.
20 Aug 1915 Positions & fatigues the same.
21 Aug 1915 - front line east of Festubert relieved 2nd Bn R. Scots Fus. in trenches. A & C Company & 1 Coy 8th Devons in firing line. B Coy. in support. D Coy. in reserve. East of FESTUBERT. A Coy. Cmdr. Lt. H. de Buriatte [Harold de BURIATTE] "B" Coy. Commander Lieut (Temp. Capt) J.W. Hutchinson [James Walter HUTCHINSON]. "C" Coy commander Lieut. R.O. Wynne [Richard Own WYNNE, DSO]. "D" Coy Commander Capt. J. McM. Milling [John McMaster MILLING, MC]. 2 Lieut T.C.Pearson [Terence Charles PEARSON] sick.
22 Aug 1915 Trenches as above. 2nd.Lt. R.T. Oldfield [R.T. OLDFIELD, MC], 2nd.Lt.K.L. Stephenson [Kenneth Langton STEPHENSON], 2nd.Lt. L.K. Lawrence [Leonard Kingsley LAWRENCE] joined. and posted to "D" - "C" & "B" coys respectively. Enemy exceptionally quiet all day.
23 Aug 1915 Trenches as above. Our snipers reported 6 direct hits on enemy, during the day. 2nd Lt. H.S. Armstrong [Harold Simon ARMSTRONG, MC] wounded when returning from patrol early morning 24th.
24 Aug 1915 Trenches as before, Coy of 8th Devons relieved in the evening by "B" Coy. "D" Coy going up into support & "D" Coy of 2 R.S.F. taking "D" Coys place in reserve. Snipers claimed 3 hits during day.
25 Aug 1915 Trenches as above. Very quiet day - Temp. Capt. & A/Adjt. J.W. Hurrell [John William HURRELL, MC] proceeds on leave. Capt. J.McMilling [John McMaster MILLING, MC] acting 2nd in Command & Adjutant. Lieut. H. de Buriatte [Harold de BURIATTE] appointed Battn. Grenade (& sniper) officer. No. 8963 Sergt. W. Shaw [William Arthur SHAW, MC], gazetted 2nd Lieut to date from 19/7/15 & posted to "A" Coy. Snipers claimed 1 hit
26 Aug 1915 - Gorre and le Touret Trenches as before. relieved by 8th Devonshire Regt. & 1 Coy of 9th Devons. Relief completed at 11 p.m. Bn to billets. "A" & "D" Coys to GORRE. "B" & "C" Coys to LE TOURET. Capt. J.C. Monteith [John Cassells MONTEITH] arrived and posted to "C" Coy - also 2nd in Command. Notification received that H.M. the King had awarded the VICTORIA CROSS to Capt. C.C. Foss, D.S.O., [Charles Calverley FOSS, VC, DSO] 2nd Bn. Bedfordshire Regt. for gallantry at NEUVE CHAPELLE. "For most conspicuous gallantry at NEUVE CHAPELLE on 12th March 1915. After the enemy had captured a part of one of our trenches, and our counter attack made with 1 officer and 20 men having failed, (all but two of the party being killed or wounded in the attempt), Capt. FOSS on his own initiative, dashed forward with 8 men, under heavy fire, attacked the enemy with bombs, & captured the position, including 52 Germans occupying it. The capture of this position from the enemy was of the greatest importance, & the outmost bravery was displayed in assaying the task with so very few men". Also the following decorations were notified on this day, as being awarded by H.I.E. The Tsar of Russia: - Cross of the Order of St. George 4th Class - 9822 Act. L/Sgt. W.G. Peggs [William G. PEGGS]. Medal of St. George 2nd Class - 7785 C.Q.M.S. S. Mart [Samuel MART, DCM]. 3rd Class - 9078 Pte. W.Eade [William R. EADE, DCM]. During the period 16th - 26th Aug. search parties discovered the bodies of several men who had fallen on the 17th May. Of these, 14 had been previously reported as "missing", & formed a cemetery close to where they fell. (ref. BETHUNE combined map 1.. 40,000 in S 26.d) Casualties for 16th - 26th Aug. 1 officer wnd. 1 officer sick 2 O.R. kld. 2 O.R. wnd. 21 O.R. sick.
27 Aug 1915 Billets as above.
28 Aug 1915 - le Quesnoy Moved to Bde. Reserve Billets in LE QUESNOY at 4 pm. Bn. supplied 2 M.Gs in trench line in front of GIVENCHY. 9969 L/Sgt.W. Wilson [William A. WILSON] wounded. 2 Lieut C.A.Forward [Charles Arthur FORWARD] appointed Bn. Grenade Officer (temporarily). 2nd Lt. R.T. Oldfield [Reginald Theodore OLDFIELD, MC & Bar] & 57 O.R. went for training to Grenade School. Bn. employed on mining fatigue.
29 Aug 1915 Billets as before. Fatigues as before. 2nd Lt. R.E. Gibson [Robert Bowness GIBSON], 3rd S. STAFFORD R. sick.
30 Aug 1915 Other 2 M. Guns under 2 Lt. W. Sharpe [William SHARPE, MC] to front line. Billets & fatigues as before. 1 O.R. accidentally wounded at Grenade School. Capt. J.C. Monteith [John Cassells MONTEITH] lectures Subns. Recd. notice of probable move to trenches on 1st Sept. in relief of 2 R.S.F. 2nd Lt. W.A. Shaw [William Arthur SHAW, MC] on leave.
31 Aug 1915 Billets as before, also fatigues. 2nd.Lt. A.H. Goldie [Archibald Harold GOLDIE] to R.F.C. on probation. Capt. J.C. Monteith [John Cassells MONTEITH] lectures subaltern officers
War Diary for September 1915
1 Sep 1915 - Front Line at Givenchy Battalion leaves Reserve Billets in LE QUESNOY at 2.30 p.m. to relieve R.S.F. in front line trenches at GIVENCHY. The battalion occupies practically the same trenches as on June 15th 1915. Dispositions. Front line D.Coy. Right. B.Coy. Left. Support C.Coy. Reserve A.Coy. Bn. H.Q. WINDY CORNER. Relief is completed at 4.30 p.m. Night fairly quiet. LE PLANTIN and WINDY CORNER slightly shelled at 9 p.m. During the night the Bn. is employed repairing parapet , & bailing water from trenches. A trench mortar bomb exploded on our front parapet, but men standing within 5 yards were not troubled.
2 Sep 1915 Battalion in trenches, no alteration in dispositions. Patrols report enemy having wiring parties out, which were fired on by us. Throughout the night enemy rather active throwing bombs & grenades into WARREN and RIFLEMANS Redoubts. About 60 trench mortar bombs, chiefly small, & 50 rifle Grenades exclusive of hand grenades being fired by them. Artillery asked to retaliate 3 times, as no trench mortar officers or teams could be found & there were no rifle grenades available. Our bombers continued most cooly at their posts throwing about 250 bombs into different enemy positions. About 11.45 p.m. an R.E. Officer reports that he heard enemy mining under our mine in SUNKEN ROAD. Precautions were taken in our line in that direction & all preparations made for eventualities. Nothing however happens. During this night no casualties are reported in the Bn. 2 Lieut T.C.Pearson [Terence Charles PEARSON] rejoins from hospital.
3 Sep 1915 - Bethune At 4.30 p.m. the 1st Bn.Queens R. commences to relieve Bn. The relief is completed by 5.50 p.m. The battalion march unto billets at BETHUNE (Cemetery Area) arriving about 8.30 p.m. There was a continual downpour of rain from 6 p.m. onwards. 2/Lieut.R.B.Gibson [Robert Bowness GIBSON] 2/Lieut.H.E.Mudford [Harold Ernest MUDFORD] rejoin from Hospital. During this tour in the trenches the Bn. broke the record. This is the first tour in which we have suffered no casualties.
4 Sep 1915 - Bellerive At 7 a.m. the Bn. leaves billets in BETHUNE and marches to billets in BELLERIVE, arriving at 8.30 a.m. 2/Lieuts.R.Hopkins [Ronald HOPKINS] joins the battalion from the 1st Royal Berks.R. & posted to A.Coy. The day is spent in cleaning kits etc.
5 Sep 1915 Billets BELLERIVE. Attack Practice under Coy.Arrengements.
6 Sep 1915 Billets BELLERIVE. Appointment Lieut.(Temp.Capt.) J.W.Hurrell [John William HURRELL, MC] is appointed Adjutant of 2 Bn.Bedf.R. (received on 5th).
7 Sep 1915 Billets BELLERIVE. Attack Practice.
8 Sep 1915 - Labourse Orders received at 6.50 a.m. for Bn. to move at once to LABOURSE & pass temporarily under command of 20th Bde. The Bn. leaves Bellerive at 10 a.m. & marches by Companies arriving at LABOURSE at 1.15 p.m. 2/Lieut.B.R.Taylor [Basil Read TAYLOR, MC] proceeds on leave. Billets in LABOURSE very dirty.
9 Sep 1915 - Noyelles-les-Vermelles Billets LABOURSE. The Bn. receives orders to move to NOYELLES & take over reserve billets from 1st S.Staffords between 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. At 1 p.m. this day the Bn. passes under command of the 22nd Bde. Battalion arrives in billets at 3.30 p.m. Aircraft active on both sides. Lt.R.O.Wynne [Richard Own WYNNE, DSO] takes over command of 'C' Coy. Sick wastage for week ending 9th Sept. 17 O.R. Whole Bn. employed as working parties.
10 Sep 1915 Reserve Billets NOYELLES. During night the whole Bn. is employed on working parties.
11 Sep 1915 Reserve Billets NOYELLES. Draft of 25 O.R. join from base. Considerable activity in the air.
12 Sep 1915 Reserve Billets NOYELLES. The whole Bn. on night working parties.
13 Sep 1915 - Fauquereuil Moved to FAUQUEREUIL. Large working party at night.
14 Sep 1915 Billets at FAUQUEREUIL. Working parties.
15 Sep 1915 Same.
16 Sep 1915 - trenches at Vermelles Took over trenches at VERMELLES from 1st Queens.
17 Sep 1915 Trenches VERMELLES. Lt.L.F.Beal [Leonard Frank BEAL, MC] proceeded to base on instructional duty.
18 Sep 1915 Trenches VERMELLES
19 Sep 1915 Trenches VERMELLES
20 Sep 1915 Trenches VERMELLES. Lt. W.A. Shaw [William Arthur SHAW, MC] to 1st Bn.
21 Sep 1915 Trenches VERMELLES. Bombardment of German lines begins.
22 Sep 1915 Trenches VERMELLES. Lt.Stonier [William John STONIER] rejoins from base.
23 Sep 1915 - Fauquereuil Trenches VERMELLES. Relieved at 9.30 p.m. by 2nd Gordon Highlanders and marched to billets in FAUQUEREUIL. Troops marched through heavy rain.
24 Sep 1915 Arrival FAUQUEREUIL 4 a.m. 40 O.R. joined.
25 Sep 1915 - [The Battle of Loos] attack at Vermelles and Cit-St-Elie 12.5 a.m. Bn. proceeded to position of assembly at NOYELLES, arriving there 3.35 a.m. From there it proceeded at 6.5 a.m. moving by platoons at 200x distance to VERMELLES - moving up CHAPEL ALLEY. At about 11.30 a.m. the BN. debouched from the front line BRITISH TRENCH and proceeded on a front of two Companies in Column of Platoons extended at 50 yards distance with the right on the HULLUCH ROAD. The 20th Brigade were a considerable distance ahead, and the Wiltshire Regiment was on the left of the Battalion. The Battalion moved across and over the first line GERMAN TRENCH, practically without Casualties. As soon as it began to advance across the open behind the GERMAN front line it came under a very heavy Rifle fire from the direction of the QUARRIES and the NORTHERN houses of CITE ST. ELIE. the Battalion now suffered severely but continued to advance by rushes of small parties until GUN TRENCH was reached. 2 Lieut Forward [Charles Arthur FORWARD] was Killed & Lt.Col.C.C.Onslow, C.M.G. [Cranley Charlton ONSLOW, CB, CMG, CBE, DSO], Capt & Adjutant J.W.Hurrell [John William HURRELL, MC], Capt.J.W.Hutcinson [James Walter HUTCHINSON], 2/Lieut.H.E.Mudford [Harold Ernest MUDFORD], 2/Lieut.R.Hopkins [Ronald HOPKINS] were wounded. Between TWO and THREE hundred Other Ranks became casualties. Two platoons got about 100 yards in front of GUN TRENCH, but being unsupported had to fall back by Ones or Two's - 2/Lieut.R.L.Shaw [Robert Leslie SHAW] was then wounded, also Capt.J.McM.Milling [John McMaster MILLING, MC]. The Battalion remained in GUN TRENCH holding the GUN PITS NORTH of the road during the afternoon, digging itself in. At dusk the men of the 20th Brigade who were in the trench were sorted out and rejoined their Brigade. All four Machine Guns were in the trench. At about 7 P.M. "A" and "C" Companies were withdrawn from GUN TRENCH and started digging a Support trench about 100x in rear. At about midnight a number of men were seen coming down the HULLUCH ROAD at a Double calling out "Don't shoot we're the GORDONS"; close behind them came a number of GERMANS. Almost at the same time the BORDERS holding GUN TRENCH South of the road began to retire. At once bombs were rained upon GUN TRENCH and men began to leave it in increasing numbers, falling back on SUPPORT Trench, where they stopped. The Company on the left of "B" Coy. was not attacked and stood firm. Two Machine Guns were with the company & remained in action. A heavy fire was brought to bear from Support Trench and shortly afterwards a charge was organised, which was completely successful, practically all the GERMANS in GUN TRENCH were Killed or taken prisoners, including the Artillery Captain who led the Counter-attack. 2 Lieut T.C.Pearson [Terence Charles PEARSON] & 2/Lieut.K.L. Stephenson [Kenneth Langton STEPHENSON] were Killed and 2/Lieut.C.J. Hunter [Charles James HUNTER] wounded. The Left Company suffered some casualties from our own Shrapnel during this Counter-Attack. The rest of the night passed quietly. Two Companies were in GUN TRENCH and TWO Companies in Support Trench. At the commencement of the action. Capt. H.de Buriatte [Harold de BURIATTE] Commanded A Co. Capt. J.W.Hutchinson [James Walter HUTCHINSON] Commanded B Co. Lieut.R.O.Wynne [Richard Own WYNNE, DSO] Commanded C.Coy. Capt.J.McM.Milling [John McMaster MILLING, MC] Commanded D.Coy. 2/Lieut.R.B.Gibson [Robert Bowness GIBSON] and Lieut.B.R.Taylor [Basil Read TAYLOR, MC] both of 3/S.Stafford regt. attached took command of B. and D.Coys. respectively after Capt.Hutchinson [James Walter HUTCHINSON] & Capt.Milling [John McMaster MILLING, MC] were wounded. 2/Lieut.W.J.Stonier [William John STONIER] took over A/Adjutant. Lieut.A.F.Logan [Arthur Fancourt LOGAN, MC] was wounded on this date.
26 Sep 1915 - between Vermelles and Cit-St-Elie The Battalion remained in their position nothing material occurred. The Battalion was relieved about 8 P.M. by the R.S.F. & went back in the old GERMAN TRENCH (First LINE) remaining there for the night of 27/28th Oct. During these two nights working parties were supplied for the advanced Trenches. Major General CAPPER commanding 7th Division was wounded. 2/Lieut.G.H. D'Avigdor [Gerald H. D'AVIGDOR] admitted to Hospital Sick whilst attending a course of Trench MORTAR at ST.VENANT.
27 Sep 1915 Battalion in GERMAN first line Trench. (Support) "Working Parties" Major Genl. CAPPER died of wounds.
28 Sep 1915 Battalion in GERMAN first line Trench (Support) "Working Parties".
29 Sep 1915 - Breslau Trench and Stone Alley near Hulluch On the evening of the 29th the Battalion relieved the 1/4th CAMERON HIGHLANDERS in BRESLAU AVENUE and STONE ALLEY with the right of the R.S.F. who were in GUN TRENCH. The night passed quietly as did the following day. A Draft of 70 other [ranks] joined but remained with Transport & did not go up into action.
30 Sep 1915 The Battalion had a post of Bombers in the communication Trench running E. from the North Gun Emplacement. At about 9 P.M. their front observed that GERMANS were running over the open on our right and had penetrated into the GUN Emplacement held by the R.S.F. and were working round their rear. They were the assailed by bombs from Three Sides. This party of bombers made its way back to STONE ALLEY with great difficulty. Meantime the men holding the right of the Battalion position had been forced to give way and were holding a block about 20x down the trench. The GERMANS came on, bombing with great violence, and owing to the clumsiness of the Ball Grenades with which our bombers were mostly armed, it was found hard to cope with them. Two Machine Guns that had been in GUN TRENCH and had got isolated, managed to extricate themselves by moving alternately & covering one another's retirement with GUN & Rifle fire. These were mounted on the parapet of STONE ALLEY, and assisted to prevent the enemy's bombers coming across the open. At about 1 a.m. a counter Bomb attack was attempted, this made some progress but the supply of good bombs was very limited to give a chance against the great numbers thrown by the enemy. 2/Lieut.E.F.S. Dyer [Edward Felice Swinton DYER] was wounded. Towards sawn under Orders from Brigade H.Q. 30 yards of STONE ALLEY was filled in and a block established. The GERMANS had been throwing bombs hard all night, and had been trying to work round the flanks. They had also brought up a Machine Gun to fire down STONE ALLEY. Our own Machine Guns were able to deal with this.
War Diary for October 1915
1 Oct 1915 Stone Alley and Breslau Trench near Hulluch At Dawn Major J.C. Monteith [John Cassells MONTEITH] who had taken command of Battalion after Lt.Col.C.C. Onslow [Cranley Charlton ONSLOW, CB, CMG, CBE, DSO] was wounded was Killed while directing the work on the block. Major H.F.Bidder [Harold Francis BIDDER, DSO], Royal Sussex Regiment was sent from Brigade H.Q. to take command. The day passed without incident and the Battalion was relieved by the 2nd H.L.I. at about midnight, and marched to Billets at LE QUESNOY. 2/Lieut.R.E. Oakley [Robert Edwin OAKLEY, MC], 2/Lieut.H.A. Deacon [Harold Augustus DEACON] Joined. Casualties of other Ranks during 25.9.15 - 1.10.15. KILLED 45 MISSING 40 WOUNDED 270 - 355.
2 Oct 1915 - le Quesnoy Battalion arrived in Billets LE QUESNOY about 5-30 a.m.
3 Oct 1915 Billets LE QUESNOY - Battalion cleaning up & resting.
4 Oct 1915 - Cuinchy Billets Le QUESNOY. Battalion took over trenches at CUINCHY from 2nd Bn. The QUEENS Relief completed at about 6-30 P.M. Capt. J.H. Mayne [Joseph Herbert MAYNE], 2/Lieut.L.H.WALKER, 2/Lieut.F.Anns [Frederick ANNS], 250 Other Ranks joined Battalion.
5 Oct 1915 Trenches CUINCHY. Capt J.H Mayne [Joseph Herbert MAYNE] took over a/Adjutant.
6 Oct 1915 Trenches CUINCHY. 2/Lieut B. Newton [Bernard NEWTON] joined. 2/Lieut J.T. Coe [John Thomas COE] & 20 other Ranks joined.
7 Oct 1915 Trenches CUINCHY 2/Lieut. B.R. Taylor [Basil Read TAYLOR, MC] 3/S' STAFFORD Regt wounded.
8 Oct 1915 Trenches CUINCHY Capt P.C. Cavan [Phillip Charles CAVAN] 2/Lieut H.C. Lovely [Herbert Clyde LOVELY], 2/Lieut E.H.Gudgeon [Ennis Hugh GUDGEON] joined. 2/Lieut J.T. Coe [John Thomas COE] took over command of D Coy. 6 P.M. Information received that enemy were bombarding along whole British Front, and attacking LOOS. Orders issued accordingly. Our own trenches were shelled fairly heavily throughout the day. Quietened down about 8 P.M.
9 Oct 1915 - Cambrin Trenches CUINCHY. 2/Lieut. W. RUSSELL-SMITH joined. Capt P.C. Cavan [Phillip Charles CAVAN] took over Command of D Coy from 2/Lieut J.T. Coe [John Thomas COE]. Battalion relieved about 5 P.M. by Highland L.I. (1/Glasgow Highlanders) & went into Billets & dug-outs at CAMBRIN 171 bodies of 9th Highland Division buried during tour of duty in these trenches.
10 Oct 1915 Reserve Billets CAMBRIN about 9 A.M. our Airmen brought down an Enemy Aeroplane.
11 Oct 1915 Reserve Billets CAMBRIN. Working parties.
12 Oct 1915 Reserve Billets CAMBRIN C.O. distributed parchments to N.C.O's & men for good work during operations 25/9/15 - 1/10/15. C.O. inspected last 4 Drafts.
13 Oct 1915 Reserve Billets Cambrin. XIth Corps attacked QUARRIES, and FOSSE 8. 7th Div. co-operated in this attack with Gas-smoke and Machine Gun Fire. 21st Bde covered the assault with MG Fire. Bombardment commenced 12 noon. Enemy did not shell CAMBRIN. 2/Lt. W. Sharpe [William SHARPE, MC] & 9 O.R. proceeded on Leave.
14 Oct 1915 - Beuvry Reserve Billets CAMBRIN. Battalion relieved by 8th DEVONS about 3-30 PM & withdrew to Billets at BEUVRY. 2/Lieut. G.F. Reid [George Frederick REID, MC] 4/Bedf.R. and 80 Other Ranks joined Battalion. Enemy shelled Town slightly about 7 PM and 12 M.N. Casualties in Battalion from 2nd Oct To this date - 2 other Ranks Killed 20 other Ranks Wounded. Sick Wastage 6 other Ranks.
15 Oct 1915 - Bellerive Billets BEUVRY. Town was not shelled by Enemy. Battalion relieved by York & Lancaster Regt & withdrew to Billets at BELLERIVE arrived about 11 P.M.
16 Oct 1915 Billets BELLERIVE. Cleaning up.
17 Oct 1915 - Bourecq Billets BELLERIVE. 11 a.m. Church Parade. 12 noon. Brigadier Genl. inspected Drafts. 3-30 P.M. BN left for BOURECQ arriving about 5-30 P.M.
18 Oct 1915 Billets BOURECQ. Company drills, etc. Capt. R.O. Wynne [Richard Own WYNNE, DSO] & 6 other Ranks proceeded on leave.
19 Oct 1915 Billets BOURECQ. Received Orders at 2-30 P.M. to be ready to move any time after 4-30 P.M. This Order cancelled at 6-5 P.M. Capt & Q Mr Cressingham [Hugh CRESSINGHAM] proceeded on Leave.
20 Oct 1915 BILLETS BOURECQ. Drums formed under Sergt.Godsall [possibly 19575 Sidney H. GODSALL].
21 Oct 1915 Billets BOURECQ. Sick Wastage Week Ending 21st 14 Other Ranks.
22 Oct 1915 - Hingette BILLETS BOURECQ. Battalion leaves billets at 1 P.M. for billets at HINGETTE arriving at about 5-30 P.M.
23 Oct 1915 BILLETS HINGETTE.
24 Oct 1915 - Shrine to Duck's Bill, Givenchy-les-la-Basse BILLETS HINGETTE. Battalion left billets at 8-15 am. to take over trenches at GIVENCHY from the 8th DEVONS arrived 12 noon. relief completed 2 P.M. Battalion held line in "B" 2 Sub-section - SHRINE to Ducks Bill, Distribution of Battalion: A.Co. LEFT FLANK B.Co. Centre C.Co. RIGHT FLANK D.Co. GIVENCHY KEEO HILDERS REDOUBT HERTS REDOUBT MOATED FARM REDOUBT MAIRIE REDOUBT H.Q. WINDY CORNER
25 Oct 1915 TRENCHES GIVENCHY Quiet Day.
26 Oct 1915 TRENCHES GIVENCHY Quiet. Enemy shouted across saying that they did not dislike the BEDFORDS but did not like the YORKSHIRE REGT, they also said they were "not GERMANS we are SAXONS".
27 Oct 1915 Trenches GIVENCHY
28 Oct 1915 Trenches GIVENCHY. Quiet. 2/Lieut W.J.Stonier [William John STONIER] proceeded on leave.
29 Oct 1915 - Bellerive Trenches GIVENCHY. Battalion relieved at 1-30 PM by the ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS relief completed about 4-30 PM & marched to Billets at BELLERIVE arriving about 8 P.M. Lieut Beal [Leonard Frank BEAL, MC] rejoined from BASE.
30 Oct 1915 BILLETS BELLERIVE
31 Oct 1915 Billets BELLERIVE. Church Parade. Bn finds working party of 400.
War Diary for November 1915
1 Nov 1915 - Bellerive Capt. J.H. Mayne [Joseph Herbert MAYNE] admitted to Hospl. sick - Lieut L.F.Beal [Leonard Frank BEAL, MC] took over duties of A/Adjutant.
2 Nov 1915 2/Lieut. W. Hobbs [Wilfred HOBBS, MC] and 6 O.R. proceeded on leave.
3 Nov 1915 The following Special Order of the day received from His Majesty the King. "I am happy to have found myself once more with my Armies. It is especially gratifying to me to have been able to see some of those that have been newly created. For I have watched with interest the growth of these Troops from the first days of Recruit Drill and through the different stages of training until their final inspection on the eve of departure for the Front as organised Divisions. Already they have justified the general conviction then formed of their splendid fighting worth. Since I was last among you, you have fought many strenuous battles. In all you have reaped renown and proved yourself at least equal to the highest traditions of the British Army. In company with our noble Allies you have baffled the infamous conspiracy against law and liberty in Europe, so long and insidiously prepared. These achievements have involved vast sacrifices. But your countrymen who watch your campaign with sympathetic admiration will, I am well assured, spare no effort to fill your ranks and afford you all supplies. I have decorated many of you. But had I decorated all who deserve recognition for conspicuous valour, there would have been no limit, for the whole Army is illustrious. It is a matter of sincere regret to me that my accident should have prevented my seeing all the Troops I had intended, but during my stay amongst you I have seen enough to fill my heart with admiration of your patient cheerful endurance of life in the trenches, a life either of weary monotony or of terrible tumult. It is the dogged endurance evinced by all ranks which will at last bring you to victory. Keep the goal in sight and remember it is the final lap that wins."GEORGE R.I. Nov. 1st 1915.
4 Nov 1915 Major H.S. Poyntz [Hugh Stainton POYNTZ, DSO] joined the Battalion. Coy's at Drill & bomb instruction Major H.S. Poyntz [Hugh Stainton POYNTZ, DSO] was slightly wounded in the forehead about 11 a.m. whilst witnessing a bomb practice, but remained at duty. Sick wastage Week ending 5/11/15 18 Other Ranks.
5 Nov 1915 - Bethune Battalion left at 2.30 p.m. for billets in BETHUNE arriving about 4.15 p.m.
6 Nov 1915 - la Basse Canal near Duck's Bill BILLETS BETHUNE ("E".11.b.20. ref. Map BETHUNE 1/40,000). Battalion left at 9 a.m. to relieve the 2nd Bn. YORKSHIRE REGT. in "B".2.a. Sub-section of the GIVENCHY trenches situated just N. of the LA-BASSEE CANAL which included the DUCKS BILL in front of which was a System of CRATERS. The section extended from WILLOW ROAD (right flank) to SHAFTESBURY AVENUE (left flank) the 2/Bn. R.S.F. being on our Right and the 20th Bde. on our left. At 11.30 a.m. while the relief was proceeding verbal orders were received from the Brigadier to the effect that a mine would be exploded at 3 p.m. if possible and that the LIP of the resulting CRATER must be occupied, at the same time the near edges of the other CRATERS in front of the DUCKS BILL was to be occupied and also that of the detached CRATER on the left towards which there was already a Sap. As it was expected our Trenches would be filled with debris, parties were to de detailed to clear and hold them. All men within 200yds of the mine were to be withdrawn. Orders were accordingly issued, and by 3.45 p.m. the battalion was ready. The Companies detailed to go forward were "B" Coy. (left) "C" Coy. (centre) & "A" Coy. (Right). D Company in Support. A Company commanded by Capt. H. de Buriatte. [Harold de BURIATTE] B Company commanded by Capt. R.B.Gibson [Robert Bowness GIBSON]. C Company commanded by Capt. R.O.Wynne [Richard Own WYNNE, DSO]. D Company commanded by Capt. P.C. Cavan [Phillip Charles CAVAN]. They were to send out small parties of 3 Riflemen & 3 bombers to occupy the CRATER edges, each party to be followed by a consolidating party of 10 men with shovels. Six of each were detailed. Additional bombs and Sandbags were sent up to CAMBRIDGE TERRACE. At 4.10 p.m. the mine was exploded, all the parties went over the parapet, the near edge of the CRATER on the left was occupied and made good & the SAP completed. The new CRATER was just in front of the two old ones, these were occupied & observation & communication saps were dug. One party got across the NEW CRATER and for a short time established themselves on the far edge of it, they were however bombed out, losing 2/Lieut. H.C. Lovely [Herbert Clyde LOVELY] (Wounded) and 3 Other Ranks wounded by bombs. A fairly heavy rifle fire was developed by the enemy on the lips of the CRATERS occupied, and 2/Lieut.F.Anns [Frederick ANNS] was killed whilst superintending a digging party in one of them. Work was continued all night, and by the morning the position, which was required for observation only was secure. The enemy had thrown a large number of bombs but they all fell just short of the CRATERS occupied. The whole of the CRATERS A B and C can be seen from the observation posts, and are connected up by trenches as shown [diagram not included]. The G.O.C. 1st Army presented No.4/6722 Pte W. Jackson [Walter JACKSON of Royston] with the French decoration CROIX de GUERRE. This man was awarded the D.C.M. for the following act of gallantry. On the night of 30th Sept. 1915, near HULLOCK when the enemy had gained a footing in GUN TRENCH he continued firing his Machine Guns although attacked on three sides. On his GUN failing he picked it up & retired across the open for 50x with the GERMANS at his heels and succeeded in regaining our trench.
7 Nov 1915 The day passed without any unusual incident. 2/Lieut. Lawrence [Leonard Kingsley LAWRENCE] & 9 O.R. proceeded on leave. The casualties during this 48 hours tour of duty was - One Officer Killed. One Officer Wounded. One Other Rank Killed. Twelve Other Ranks Wounded.
8 Nov 1915 - Bethune Battalion relieved by the 2nd Bn. YORKSHIRE REGT. relief completed by 2.0 p.m. and marched to billets in BETHUNE arriving about 4.15 p.m.
9 Nov 1915 BILLETS BETHUNE. ("E".11.b.2.0.).
10 Nov 1915 - la Basse Canal near Duck's Bill Major H.S. Poyntz [Hugh Stainton POYNTZ, DSO] took over command of battalion from Lt.Col. H.F. Bidder [Harold Francis BIDDER, DSO] (Royal Sussex Regt.) The Battalion left at 8.45 a.m. to relieve the 2 YORKSHIRE REGT in the same Section of trenches as last period. relief completed at 2.5 p.m. The R.S.F. were on our Right and 2/BORDER REGT. on our left. the battalion's disposition was as follows: B. Company Left flank. C. Company Right flank. D. Company SUPPORT A. Company RESERVE. The day and night passed quietly.
11 Nov 1915 TRENCHES GIVENCHY. From 12 Noon to 5 p.m. the enemy shelled PONT-FIXE with about 550 H.E. Shells.
12 Nov 1915 - Bethune The night passed quietly. the Battalion was relieved by the 2nd and 6th GORDONS relief completed about 2.30 p.m. and marched to billets in BETHUNE (billeted in the AVENUE de BOURAY [sic]). 4 Other Ranks was [sic] wounded during this tour in the Trenches. 2/Lieut R.T. Oldfield [R.T. OLDFIELD, MC] and 11 O.R. proceeded on leave. Lieut. T.E.AMYOT R.A.M.C. was admitted to Hospital Sick. Lieut. B.E. WRIGHT R.A.M.C. joined the Battalion. 25 O.R. joined from 7th Intrenching Battalion. Sick Wastage for week ending 12th 7 - Other Ranks.
13 Nov 1915 - Bellerive The Battalion left at 10 a.m. for billets BELLERIVE arriving at 12 noon. BILLETS BELLERIVE (road running through "V".6.c.d. ref Map BETHUNE 1/40,000.[)]
14 Nov 1915 The C.O. inspected Coy's and last Draft of 25 men. BILLETS BELLERIVE
15 Nov 1915 Church Parade. Major H.F. Bidder [Harold Francis BIDDER, DSO] left the Battalion.
16 Nov 1915
17 Nov 1915 - Essars Bn. left at 9.30 a.m. for billets in ESSARS arriving at 12 noon. Bn. Billeted on road running through X.25.a. ref. Map BETHUNE 1/40,000. The Bn. had the services of 7th Divisional Band on the march from BELLERIVE to ESSARS.
18 Nov 1915 - trenches near Givenchy-les-la-Basse BILLETS ESSARS. 2/Lieut. R.E. Oakley [Robert Edwin OAKLEY, MC] & 11 O.R. proceeded on leave. Battalion left at 8.45 a.m. to relieve the 2/YORKSHIRE REGT. in the Trenches GIVENCHY ("B"3 Sub Section). Bn. held line from BERKLEY STREET to GRENADIER ROAD. Relief completed by 2 p.m. Disposition of Bn. D. Co. Left. A Co. Right. C. Co. SUPPORT. B. Co. RESERVE. Bn. H.Q. WINDY CORNER. Nothing unusual occurred during the day. 25 Other Ranks joined the Bn. from 7th Intrenching Bn.
19 Nov 1915 TRENCHES GIVENCHY. Night passed quietly. - about 10 a.m. The enemy sent over GAS BOMBS on left Coy's. front "6 men gassed". casualties week ending 19/11/15. Wounded 1 O.R. Gassed 6 O.R. Sick wastage 7.
20 Nov 1915 - Essars Bn. relieved by 2 YORKS relief completed - 1.15 p.m. Bn. returned to billets in ESSARS.
21 Nov 1915 BILLETS ESSARS. Church Parade.
22 Nov 1915 - trenches near Givenchy-les-la-Basse Battalion left at 8.30 a.m. to relieve 2 YORKS in "B"3 Sub-Section line held same as Nov. 18th. Relief completed 1 p.m. C. Co. left. B. Co. Right. A. Co. Support. D. Co. Reserve. One Coy. of 19th Royal Fusiliers attached to Bn. for instruction.
23 Nov 1915 TRENCHES GIVENCHY. Nothing unusual occurred. 2 Lt. H.A. Deacon [Harold Augustus DEACON] and 11 O.R. proceeded on leave. A/C.S.M. Stringer [possibly 9409 Alfred STRINGER, DCM & Bar] Wounded.
24 Nov 1915 - Ferme du Roi Nothing unusual occurred. Casualties during this tour 5 Other Ranks wounded. The Battalion was relieved by the 2 Yorkshire Regt. Relief completed about 1 p.m. & marched to billets at FERME DU ROI. 2/Lieut. R.J. Saunders [Robert John SAUNDERS] 4/BEDF. R. 2/Lieut. E.E.A. Collisson [Evelyn Ernest Arnold COLLISSON] 2/BEDF.R. joined the Battalion.
25 Nov 1915 BILLETS FERME DU ROI E.6.c. and d. ref. BETHUNE Map 1:40,000. On Oct. 28th 11.30 a.m. H.M. the KING inspected representative troops of 1st Corps near HESDIGNEUL-LES-BETHUNE. None of the 21st Infantry Brigade were able to be present on account of the Brigade being in the trenches. Brigadier General Cochrane 5th Inf. Bde. commanded the parade. The King rode up with the G.O.C. 1st Army and G.O.C. 1st Corps and G.O.C. Divisions of 1st Corps and received the Royal Salute, after which the massed Divisional Bands of 2nd and 7th Divisions played selections while the King rode along the front line. After this H.M. the King returned to the centre of the line. The A.Q.M.G. 1st Army having presented Captain C.C. Foss [Charles Calverley FOSS, VC, DSO] to his Majesty read out the official account of Captain Foss's act. Captain Foss then advanced and the King pinned the VICTORIA CROSS on to Captain Foss's jacket and shook hands and said "I have very great pleasure in presenting you with the VICTORIA CROSS. I am very proud to hear of your gallant deed and am glad I have been able to do so on this occasion. I hope you will live long to enjoy the reward of your act". Captain Foss then saluted and withdrew and the parade gave three hearty cheers for His Majesty as he rode off the parade ground. It was as His Majesty was leaving the next parade of the FLYING CORPS that he met with his most unfortunate accident.
26 Nov 1915 - trenches near Givenchy-les-la-Basse BILLETS FERME DU ROI Battalion left at 8.30 a.m. to relieve the 2 YORKS in "B" 3. Sub-Section. Battalion held the line as on Nov.18th. Relief completed 1.15 p.m. A Co. Right. C. Co. 19 R. Fusiliers Left. B. Co. Support. D. Co. Billets WINDY CORNER. O.C. D. Co. Officers & Sergeants of D. Co. attached to C. Co. R.F. to instruct this new unit in Trench Duty. 30 Other Ranks joined the Bn.
27 Nov 1915 TRENCHES GIVENCHY. Our Artillery fired about 500 rds. to cut the enemy's wire on a front of about 80 yds. The enemy artillery was also active.
28 Nov 1915 - Ferme du Roi The Battalion was relieved by the 2 YORKSHIRE REGT. relief completed 1.30 p.m. The battalion then marched back to billets in the FERME DU ROI with the exception of one Officer & 120 men of "C" Coy. which remained behind as a working party until the night of the 30th. The casualties during this tour of duty was - 2 Other Ranks Killed. 4 Other Ranks Wounded.
29 Nov 1915 BILLETS FERME DU ROI. Church Parade. 2/Lieut. E.H. Gudgeon [Ennis Hugh GUDGEON] admitted to Hospital sick.
30 Nov 1915 2/Lieut. E.G. Hankinson [Errole G. HANKINSON] 2/Bedf. R. joined the Battalion & posted to A Company.
War Diary for December 1915
1 Dec 1915 - Bellerive Billets FERME DU ROI. Bn. left at 10-45 A.M., for billets at BELLERIVE arriving at 12-15 P.M.
2 Dec 1915 - Guarbecque Billets BELLERIVE. Bn. left at 8-45 A.M. for billets at GUARBECQUE arriving about 11.15 A.M. Sick wastage week ending 2-12-15, 9 Other ranks.
3 Dec 1915 Billets GUARBECQUE.
4 Dec 1915 Billets GUARBECQUE, Lieuts. E.S.M.POYNTZ & J.W.H.T. Douglas [Johhny W.H.T. DOUGLAS] & 2/Lt A.Grover [Albert GROVER] joined the Bn., and posted to C.D&B. Coys. respectively.
5 Dec 1915 Billets Guarbecque. Lieut T.E.AMYOT R.A.M.C., rejoined from Hospital, 2/Lt. E.H. Gudgeon [Ennis Hugh GUDGEON] also rejoined but was readmitted into Hospital same day. Lieut. B.E.Wright, R.A.M.C., (On Leave) struck off strength on Lt. AMYOT joining, Lieut. G.H.BROUGHTON returned to 21st F.A.
6 Dec 1915 - Fourdrinoy Billets GUARBECQUE. Bn. left at 3.30 A.M., to entrain at LILLERS for FOURDRONOY. Arrived at LILLERS at 5-5 A.M. The whole Bn. with its compliment of Horses & Vehicles entrained in one train, No.8, with the exception of the R.Q.M.S., & 3 Cyclists, who proceeded by N. 7 train. Left Lillers at 6.41 A.M. arriving at SALEUX at 3.15 P.M. where the Bn. detrained and had tea. The Bn. (with transport) left here at 4.15 P.M. and arrived at FOURDRINOY at 8.15 P.M. The Bn. from this, are now on strength of the 13th CORPS.
7 Dec 1915 Billets FOURDRINOY, Ref Map AMIENS Sheet 12 1/80000. 2/Lt. R.F.C.Ballard [Robert Francis Cooper BALLARD] 28th Bn. London Regt. joined & posted to C.Coy. Bn. Football League & Boxing Competitions arranged.
8 Dec 1915 Billets FOURDRINOY
9 Dec 1915 Billets FOURDRINOY
10 Dec 1915 Billets FOURDRINOY. 20 Other Ranks joined from 3rd Entrenching Battalion.
11 Dec 1915 Billets FOURDRINOY. 2/Lts. A.M.B.Gaze [Alfred Malcolm Brockway GAZE] & A.YOUNG joined Bn., and posted to D.Coy. Sick wastage week ending 11-12-15: - 12 Other Ranks.
12 Dec 1915 Capt. R.B.Gibson [Robert Bowness GIBSON] & 11 O.Ranks, proceeded on leave.
13 Dec 1915 Billets FOURDRINOY
14 Dec 1915 Billets FOURDRINOY
15 Dec 1915 Billets FOURDRINOY. Battalion Boxing Competition. MIDDLES, 1st Sgt. Nicholls, 2nd Cpl. Eade. LIGHTS, 1st Pte Pilkington, 2nd L/C Mason. FEATHERS, 1st Pte Golby, 2nd Pte Gorham 6 RDS CONTEST, Pte Coxall beat Sgt. Taylor. 6 RDS. CONTEST Cpl. Eade beat L/C Scrivener
16 Dec 1915 Billets FOURDRINOY. Farewell Message. The following message has been received from Lt.Gen H.P.Gough C.B., Commanding 1st Corps. "Will you please let the 7th Division know how sorry I was to part with them, and not to be there to wish them farewell and good luck, and I do appreciate the great example of gallantry, discipline, and endurance that they always set for which and the results which they obtained by it, they have earned the deep gratitude of their Country and their Commander".
17 Dec 1915 BILLETS FOURDRINOY. Lieut. T.E.AMYOT R.A.M.C., proceeded on leave. Lieut. B.E.WRIGHT, R.A.M.C., temporarily attached to Bn. during his absence. Lieut W.White [William WHITE] and 2/Lt. A.H.O.Riddell [Alexander Herbert Oliver RIDDELL, MC] and 10 Other Ranks proceeded on leave. Sick wastage for week ending 17-12-15: - 11 O.Ranks. Extract from London gazette d/13-12-15, "Temp.Lt. L.F.Beal [Leonard Frank BEAL, MC] to be Temp. Captain, Sep. 26th 1915. 2/Lt W.Sharpe [William SHARPE, MC] to be Temp.Lieut. Sept. 18th 1915. Lieut. J.W.H.T. Douglas [Johhny W.H.T. DOUGLAS] & Lieut. E.S.M.POYNTZ, to be Captains Sept. 24th 1915". Captain J.W.H.T. Douglas [Johhny W.H.T. DOUGLAS] took over command of A.Coy. from Captain H.de Buriatte [Harold de BURIATTE] on 11-12-15. Captain E.S.M.POYNTZ took over command of B.Coy. from Captain R.B.Gibson [Robert Bowness GIBSON] on 12-12-15. To be Temporary Lieut. Col., Major H.S. Poyntz [Hugh Stainton POYNTZ, DSO], 10-11-1915. Captain R.B.Gibson [Robert Bowness GIBSON] & Captain H.de Buriatte [Harold de BURIATTE] reverts to 2/Lts. from 11-12-15 & 10-12-15 respectively on relinquishing command ob B & A Coys. respectively.
18 Dec 1915 BILLETS FOURDRINOY. 2/Lt. E.H. Gudgeon [Ennis Hugh GUDGEON] Sick, 5-12-15, Transferred to England 9-12-15, and struck off strength of Bn.
19 Dec 1915 BILLETS FOURDRINOY
20 Dec 1915 - Ribeaucourt and Barlette Billets FOURDRINOY. Bn left at 7.30 A.M., for billets at RIBEAUCOURT and from this date is transferred to the 89th Bde., 30th Divn., but remain attached to the 21st Bde. until the 89th Bde. returns from the trenches. The Bn. marched via PICQUIGNY - LA CHAUSSEE - BOIS DU GARD - ST-OUEN - ST-LEGER - DOMART - RIBEAUCOURT - BARLETTE. Arrived at ST LEGEG at 12.30 P.M., where Bn. had Dinners - left here at 1.25 P.M., Distance of March about 16 miles. D.Coy. billeted in BARLETTE, H.Q., A.B.& C.Coys billeted in RIBEAUCOURT, Ref. Map AMIENS 1/80000 Sheet 12. From this date the whole of the 21st Bde is transferred to 30th Divn. and the 91st Bde. joined the 7th Divn., The 2/Yorks & 2/Wilts. remained with 21st Bde., 2 Bedf.R., to 89th Bde., 2/R.S.F. to 90th Bde., & 1/4 Camerons to 91st Bde. The C.O. congratulated all ranks on their splendid marching. This was also complimented by two General Officers. Special Order Of The Day, by Field Marshal Sir J.D.P.FRENCH G.C.B., O.M., G.C.V.O., K.C.M.G., Commander in chief, British Army in the Field. "In relinquishing the Command of the British Army in France I wish to express to the Officers, N.C.Os. & Men, with whom I have been so closely associated during the last sixteen months my heartfelt sorrow in parting with them before the campaign in which we have been so long engaged together, has been brought to a victorious conclusion. I have however, the firmest conviction that such a glorious ending to their splendid and heroic efforts is not far distant, and I shall watch their progress towards this final goal with intense interest, but in the most confident hope. The success so far attained has been due to the indomitable spirit, dogged tenacity which knows no defeat, and the heroic courage so abundantly displayed by the rank and file of the splendid Army which it will ever remain the pride and glory of my life to have commanded during over sixteen months of incessant fighting. Regulars and Territorials, Old Army and New Army have ever shown these magnificent qualities in equal degree. From my heart I thank them. At this sad moment of parting my heart goes out to those who have received life long injury from wounds and think with sorrow of that great and glorious host of my beloved comrades who have made the greatest sacrifice of all by laying down their lives for their Country. In saying good-bye to the British Army in France I ask them once again to accept this expression of my deepest gratitude and heart-felt devotion towards them and my earnest good wishes for the glorious future which I feel to be achieved. J.D.P.French, Field-Marshal, Commanding in Chief, the British Army in France 18th December 1915." "Farewell Order. In taking leave of the 21st Infantry Brigade the Divisional Commander wishes to express his regret that it should have become necessary, in the interest of the Army, to part with the Brigade with which he has been so long associated. He also wishes to express his admiration for the magnificent services which the battalions of this Brigade have rendered since the 7th Division landed in Belgium, and his confidence that they will continue to maintain the same high standards of gallantry and efficiency in the new formation to which they are going. he wishes them the best of luck and success in the future".
21 Dec 1915 Billets RIBEAUCOURT
22 Dec 1915 Billets RIBEAUCOURT
23 Dec 1915 Billets RIBEAUCOURT
24 Dec 1915 Billets RIBEAUCOURT. Draft of 25 O.R. joined from 3rd Entrenching Battalion.
25 Dec 1915 Billets RIBEAUCOURT. A Football Match was played in the afternoon between the Officers and Sergeants the Officers winning by 9 goals to 1.
26 Dec 1915 Billets RIBEAUCOURT A Boxing Competition was held during the afternoon. The 89th Brigade returned from the trenches, and we were permanently transferred to them. 2 Lieut F.A.Sloan [Frank Alan SLOAN, MC], Cambridgeshire Regt. joined and was posted to 'C' Coy.
27 Dec 1915 Billets RIBEAUCOURT
28 Dec 1915 Billets RIBEAUCOURT. Christmas Message from His Majesty the King The following message has been received. "Another Christmas finds all the resources of the Empire still engaged in War and I desire to convey on my own behalf and on behalf of the Queen a heartfelt Christmas greeting and out good wishes for the New Year to all who on Sea and Land are upholding the honour of the British name. In the officers and men of my Navy, on whom the security of the Empire depends, I repose in, common with all my subjects, a trust that is absolute. On the Officers and men of my Armies whether now in France, in the East or in other fields, I rely with an equal faith, confident that their devotion, their valour and their self sacrifice will, under God's guidance lead to Victory and an honourable Peace. There are many of their comrades now, alas, in hospital and to these brave men, also I desire with the Queen, to express our deep gratitude and our current prayers for their recovery. Officers and men of the Navy and Army another year is drawing to a close, as it began, in toil, bloodshed and suffering but I rejoice to know that the goal to which you are striving draws nearer to sight. May God Bless You and all your Undertakings". signed George R.I. The following message has been despatched To - His Majesty The King, Buckingham Palace, London "The Army in France under my Command desires to be allowed to express its warmest thanks to Your Majesty and to Her Majesty the Queen for the gracious message received. On behalf of the troops I respectively beg Your Majesties to accept the most heartfelt good wishes of all ranks for Xmas and the New Year and an expression of their firm and lasting determination to prove themselves worthy of the great trust which Your Majesty reposes in us." Christmas Day 1915. From Sir Douglas Haig Message from the Earl of Derby In reply to a message of Good wishes for Christmas and New Year sent to him on behalf of the Division by the G.O.C. the following telegram has been received from the Right Honourable The Earl of Derby K.G., G.C.V.O., C.B. "General Fry, 30th Division B.E.F. Many thanks for Kind telegram. Very heartily reciprocate. Good Wishes. Trust 30th Division will find Xmas at Home next year. I wish all ranks A Happy New Year".
29 Dec 1915 Billets RIBEAUCOURT
30 Dec 1915 Billets RIBEAUCOURT. Inspection of the Battalion by Brigadier General Stanley of the 89th Brigade. Christmas Message from the Duke of Connaught. To General Sir Douglas Haig, Comdg. British Expeditionary Force, France. "Accept from me warmest Xmas greetings and New Year wishes to yourself and all serving under you". The following reply was sent "To - His Royal Highness The Duke of Connaught. 24th December 1915 the Army in France desires to be allowed to return its warmest thanks for Your Royal Highness' good wishes which are most heartily reciprocated by each one of us. From Sir Douglas Haig "
31 Dec 1915 Billets RIBEAUCOURT
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