The Bedfordshire Regiment in the Great War
1917 War Diary appendices
[Note that all remarks in squared brackets are my own additions and not part of the original text]
Defence Scheme for Left Battalion G.1. Subsector
1. The Subsector extends from GIRL STREET (inclusive) to Sap G.16.a., and is held by 2 Companies in the front line, one Company in Support, and one Company in Reserve in AGNY. 2. The Front Companies are disposed as under: - RIGHT COMPANY 2 Platoons in front line from GIRL STREET (inclusive) to Trench G.13 (inclusive), with 2 Platoons in the Support Line. Right Company Headquarters at M.14.b.1/3 in GIRL STREET. LEFT COMPANY. 2 Platoons in front line from G.14 (inclusive) to Sap G.16.a. (inclusive) with 1 Platoon in support line on the West side of the Railway and one platoon in support line on the east side of Railway. Left Company Headquarters at M.15.a.Central under the railway. SUPPORT COMPANY. Disposed as under: - 1 Platoon in a dug out in GIRL STREET about M.14.b.1/4. This Platoon is at the immediate disposal of O.C. Right Company without further reference. 1 Platoon in dug outs in the Reserve Line where it crosses the Railway Line about M.9.c.5/2. This Platoon is at the immediate disposal of the O.C. Left coys without further reference. 2 Platoons under the O.C. Support Company in the dug outs in CHEMIN CREUX. RESERVE COMPANY - as under. 1 Company in the village of AGNY, with 1 Section and 1 Lewis Gun in GOAT POST; these will be increased to 1 Platoon in case of alarm. The remaining 3 Platoons will at once garrison the defences of AGNY until the arrival of the Pioneer Company who will take over and be in charge of the Defences. The 3 Platoons of the Reserve Company will be then withdrawn and reinforced by one Platoon of the Right Battalion, will be at the disposal of the O.C. Battalion for use as the situation requires. 3. ACTION IN CASE OF ATTACK. IN case of attack the front line will be held at all costs. If the enemy succeeds in penetrating our line, O.C.Companies will take immediate steps to eject him by counterattacks. Support Platoons will always be held in immediate readiness and properly organised to counterattack before the enemy has time to settle down. The Support Platoons of Support Company may be immediately called upon by O.C.Companies to assist. Runners will be immediately sent to report the situation to Battalion Headquarters. GAS ATTACK. In case of attack, helmets to be at once put on, Strombos Horns to be sounded by Gas Guards, a slow rate of fire to be opened, all ranks to at once quit dug outs. MUTUAL SUPPORT. If the Sector on the flanks of the Battalion is attacked, O.C. Flank Companies will assist as much as possible with Lewis Gun and rifle fire. O.C.Companies are responsible that all their Officers and N.C.O's get to thoroughly know all trenches in the Subsector and the shortest route to assist the Companies they are supporting. 4. O.C.Companies will prepare a scheme to be acted upon at once in case of Attack or a Raid on their Company Front. This is to be made known to all ranks, so that everyone knows at once what to do. A copy of Scheme to be forwarded to Headquarters. 5. "S.O.S" Signal is 3 Green Rockets. 6. REPORTS. Immediate reports on the situation must be frequently sent by Runner as the telephone will probably be broken. 13.2.17. J.W.Hurrell [John William HURRELL, MC] Lieutenant & Adjutant for Lt.Colonel Commanding 2nd Bn.Bedfordshire Regiment
DEFENCE SCHEME FOR RIGHT BATTALION "G" 1 SUBSECTOR
1. BOUNDARIES. GAME ST. inclusive on the right, GIRL ST exclusive on the left. 2. DISTRIBUTION OF TROOPS. Right Company. Boundaries - GAME ST. inclusive to GEORGE St. exclusive. Two Platoons in the Front Line. two Platoons in Support. Company Headquarters. GATE ST. M.14.c.2/2. Left Company. Boundaries - GEORGE ST. inclusive to GIRL ST. exclusive. Two Platoons in the Front Line. Two Platoons in Support. Company Headquarters. Support Line. M.14.c.2/8. Support Company. In the Reserve Line. Company Headquarters. Near GEORGE ST. M.14.c.3/8. Platoons disposed as under. One Platoon - Dugouts in GAME ST. One Platoon dugouts in GATE ST. One Platoon - 2 Sections near GATE ST. 2 Sections dugouts near GEORGE ST. One Platoon Dug-out in SEM ST. Reserve Company. Dugouts in SUNKEN ROAD. Company Headquarters about M.13.d.3/8. One Section of this Company - permanent garrison of MILL POST. 3. ACTION IN CASE OF ATTACK. (a) The Front Line will be held. If the enemy succeeds in entering our Front Line Officers Commanding Front Line Companies will take immediate steps to eject him by counter-attack. Support Platoons will always be held in readiness, and properly organized to counter-attack on a pre-arranged plan. (b) SUPPORT COMPANY. the Support Company will stand to in the Reserve Line. Platoons will be grouped by the four main communication trenches, and NOT scattered along the line. Any two Platoons may be used by O.C. Support Company for purpose of immediate counter-attack without reference to Battn H.Q. He will immediately advise Battn H.Q. of such action.. The remaining two Platoons are at the disposal of the Bn.Commander. (c) RESERVE COMPANY. O.C.Reserve Company will immediately increase garrison at MILL POST to one Platoon. One Platoon is at the disposal of O.C. Left Subsector for the defence of AGNY, until the defences of the Village are taken over by the Pioneer Company. The Platoon will then return to the SUNKEN ROAD. Immediately on coming into Reserve the Commander of this Platoon will report to O.C. Left Sub-Sector for orders in case of attack. The remaining two Platoons are in Battalion Reserve and will stand to in their dug-outs. O.C. Reserve Company will report personally to Battn H.Q. (d) MACHINE GUNS AND TRENCH MORTARS. Machine Guns - V.1 in Support Line of Right Company, enfilading No Man's Land in front of Left Company. V.4., V.5., V.6., in Reserve Line. Only available for the defence of this line. Stokes Guns. Two in Support Line of Right Company. Stokes Guns and V.1 Machine Guns will open barrage fire. (e) GAS ATTACK. Gas Helmets will be immediately put on and Gas Alarms sounded by Gas Sentries. The parapet will be manned and a slow rate of fire opened. (f) MUTUAL SUPPORT. If Sector on Right or Left of Battalion is attacked, the Company on that flank will render assistance with rifle and Lewis Gun fire. 4. S.O.S. SIGNAL will be three Green Rockets. 5. GENERAL O.C.Companies will draw up scheme to meet probable forms of attack and will forward same to Orderly Room. Sd. G.A.Anstee [Geoffrey Arthur ANSTEE, MC], 2/Lieut. Acting Adjutant, 2nd Bn.Bedfordshire Regt. 25/2/17
Defence Scheme for Right Company Left Battalion G.1. Subsector
1. The Sub.cont.sector extends from GIRL STEEET (inclusive) to G.13 (220 bay) and is held by 2 platoons in the front line, 2 platoons in the support line and 1 platoon of the Support Company in GIRL STREET about M.14.b.1/4. 2. Dispositions Front Line. Will extend from GIRL STREET (inclusive) to G.13 (220 bay) with 3 Lewis Guns at the top of GIRL STREET, front line opposite GOAT STREET and the sap in G.12.a. Support Line Right support platoon situated behind front line near GIRL STREET. Left platoon support near GOAT STREET. Support Platoon, Support Company. 1 Platoon in a dug out in GIRL STREET at M.14.b.1/4. 3. Action in case of Attack In case of attack the front line will be held at all costs. If the enemy succeeds in penetrating the line immediate steps will be taken to eject him and Support platoons will be held in immediate readiness to counterattack at once. The Support platoon if Support Company will be immediately called upon to come up in support. Reports will be sent immediately to Bn.H.Q. If the enemy succeeds in partially penetrating the line, flank platoon or sections will at once be organised to bomb him out. Support platoons will move forward up GIRL ST, GINGER ST or GOAT ST. with bombing sections and establish blocks at all communication trenches & bar excess to the rear. In every case Lewis Guns will support with flanking fire. 4. Gas Attack In case of attack helmets to be put on at once. Stombos Horns to be sounded by Gas Guards, a slow rate of fire to be opened and all ranks to quit dug outs immediately. 5. Mutual Support. Flanked sectors attacked will be assisted with enfilade fire from Lewis Guns and rifles. Lieutenant L.A.L.Fink, M.C. [Lawrence Alexander Lewis FINK, MC]. OC 'C' Coy. Platoon Comdrs & Sgts Please note the following rules will be rigidly complied with in trenches. I). An officer on duty will inspect front line & support dug outs. At night time no one except Platoon Sergeants will remain in front line dug outs. II). Attention is drawn to DIV TRENCH ORDERS. All men will wash 7 shave each day & present a clean appearance as possible. III). Sergeants on duty will report to Officers on duty 10 minutes before time. IV). "Stand to" and "Stand down" will be passed down to Coy H.Q. by the officer on duty. V). Platoon Comdrs & Sergts please note that non-compliance with any orders with reference to discipline in the trenches falls on them & severe disciplinary action will be taken as well as all indulgences stopped, such as leave etc. Please initial Lieutenant L.A.L.Fink, M.C. [Lawrence Alexander Lewis FINK, MC], Lt. OC 'C' Coy. A.Rowley LSgt No.9 12 A Thorogood A/Sgt. 11 JGS Sgt. 10. G.C.Batcher Sgt. Plumpton Segt L.E.
Operation Order by Major E.S.M.Poyntz, Commanding 2nd Bn.Bedfordshire Regt, 5th March 1917
In view of the possibility of the Germans withdrawing from the front now held by this Brigade it is possible that the Battalion (if in the Line) may be ordered to advance at extremely short notice. PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTIONS 1. Boundary on LEFT The Boundary between 21st Infantry Brigade and 89th Infantry Brigade will be a line drawn from Sap G.16.A through M.15.A.80/42, M.15.C.92/75, M.15.D.05/50, M.21.B.30/85, M.21.B.75/05. 2. Boundary between BATTALIONS. The dividing line between Battalions will be a line drawn from the Top of GOAT STREET (inclusive to the LEFT BATTALION), M.14.D.98/75, through the Base of SAP X.11 (inclusive to the RIGHT BATTALION), to the point where it cuts the ARRAS - BUCQUOY ROAD, at M.21.C.48/35. 3. BOUNDARY on RIGHT. the Boundary between the 89th Infantry Brigade and 175th Infantry Brigade will be notified later. 4. It is probable that four gaps will be cut on our Front, viz: - One between Y.4 and Y.6. One between Y.8 and Y.12. One on each side of railway between Y.13 and Y.20. It is possible however that these gaps will not be ready by the time the Advance is ordered and Companies must be prepared to cut through by hand. As many wire cutters as possible will be provided. 5. METHOD OF ADVANCE The advance will be carried out on the following system: - (a) the Battalion will advance on a Front of Two Companies. (b) Each Company will push forward a strong patrol of one Platoon and a Lewis Gun whose duty will be to keep in touch with the retiring enemy, these Strong Points must push forward as vigorously as possible, and their Commanders must realize that every time they are delayed by a small post it gives the enemy more time to effect a withdrawal and lessens our chance of causing him casualties. (c) As soon as these patrols have occupied a position Company Commanders should immediately warn Battalion Headquarters who will give the order to push up their men and consolidate their position while the Patrols will continue to push forward. The Battalion IN SUPPORT will be used to occupy and continue the consolidation of captured positions, when the leading Battalion advances further. (d) the 2nd Bn.Bedfordshire Regiment dispositions will be: - See attached Sketch. (e) Two Signallers will move forward with the Scouts and keep in constant communication with the Fighting Patrol who will relay to Company Headquarters. (f) The greatest attention should be given to nettoyage the men selected for this must be instructed not to leave any dugout unsearched or on any account whatsoever overlook any likely place of concealment for the Sniper or Machine Gun. (g) After the front line of enemy trenches has been occupied Company Commanders may find it advisable to push out Stronger Patrols. It is of paramount importance that Patrols should keep in touch with their flanks. the importance of this cannot possibly be exaggerated. 6. COMMUNICATION It should be impressed on all Officers, N.C.O's and men, that what appear to be small matters to them may be of vital importance to the higher authorities, so they should be warned to report anything of consequence. 7. LEWIS GUNS One Lewis Gun will proceed with each Fighting Patrol and one with each Leading Platoon. The Support and Reserve Companies will each have three Lewis Guns with them. This will leave four Guns in reserve at Battalion Headquarters (providing we are issued with the extra two guns to make us up to 16). 8. BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS. Brigade Headquarters will move up to the Chemin Creux as soon as the order to advance is given. NOTE: - This Operation Order is liable to amendment according to the Front we occupy and any fresh instructions issued by Brigade. Sd. G.A.Anstee [Geoffrey Arthur ANSTEE, MC], 2/Lieutenant Acting Adjutant, 2nd Bn.Bedfordshire Regiment.
89th INFANTRY BRIGADE SPORTS held at BUIRE-AU-BOIS on 16th. May 1917 RESULTS
(a)1st. Sgt.Bryan 17th Bn.K.L.R. 2nd Pte. Isaacs 2nd Bn. Beds. R. 3rd RSM Lovelady 17th Bn. K.L.R. 4th Pte. Chamberlain 2nd Bn. Beds. R. (b) 220 yards race. 1st Sgt. Chappell Machine Gun Coy. 2nd 2nd Lt. Shakury 2nd Bn. Beds. R. 3rd Pte. Whitehead 17th Bn. K.L.R. 4th Pte. Tingle 2nd Bn. Beds. R. (c) 440 yards 1st Pte. Isaacs 2nd Bn. Beds. R. 2nd Pte. Tudor 17th Bn. K.L.R. 3rd Pte. Howett 2nd Bn. Beds. R. 4th Pte. Tilley 20th Bn. K.L.R. (d) Half Mile Race 1st Cpl. Jeffery 2nd Bn. Beds. R. 2nd 2nd Lt.Childs 17th Bn. K.L.R. 3rd Sgt. Mallins 19th Bn. K.L.R. 4th Pte. Tranter 2nd Bn. Beds. R. (e) Mile Race 1st Cpl. Jeffery 2nd Bn. Beds. R. 2nd Sgt. Mallins 19th Bn. K.L.R. 3rd Pte. Spittles 2nd Beds. R. 4th Pte. Humphrey 2nd Beds. R. (g) High jump 1st Pte. Sutcliffe 17th Bn. K.L.R. 2nd CQMS Jack 17th Bn. K.L.R. 3rd Cpl. Aveling 2nd Bn. Beds. R. 4th L/Cpl. Anderson 17th Bn. K.L.R. (h) Long jump 1st Pte. Jones 17th Bn. K.L.R. 2nd Sgt. Chappell Machine Gun Coy. 3rd Pte. Wiffen 2nd Bn. Beds. R. 4th Sgt. Hawson 20th Bn. K.L.R. (i) Relay race. Winners 17th Battn K.L.R. (k) Tug of r Winners: 2nd Battn. Bedfordshire Regiment Runners up: 19th Battn K.L.R. (l) Wrestling pickaback. Winners: 20th Battn. K.L.R. (m) 1. "Turn out" Winners: 20th Battn. K.L.R. 2. pair of H.D. or L.D. with harness. Winners: 19th Battn. K.L.R. The winners of events will take part in Divisional Sports to take place on Sunday next, 20th inst., with the exception that each UNIT is allowed to enter one complete "Turn out" with vehicle. The Hurdle race will take place on a date to be notified later, on arrival of hurdles. The Committee Meeting called for 6 p.m. tomorrow will take place at Headquarters, 2nd Battn. Bedfordshire Regt. at BUIRE-AU-BOIS, and not at the 20th Battn. K.L.R. as previously stated. 16th May 1917. (sd) C.A.EMERY, Captain, 20th Battn. K.L.R. Secretary 89th Brigade Sports Commitee.
The following is a copy of a letter received from The Right Hon. E.G.V. Earl of DERBY, K.G., G.C.V.O., C.B., by the Major General Commanding.
"I am sorry that my visit to you yesterday was all too hurried but I am sure that you and your Division generally will realise that I was obliged to hurry back home having been away for 4 days. I cannot tell you what pleasure it gave me, not only to see the 89th Brigade, but those members from the whole of the Division who have received Honours in the late fighting. I have been associated with the Division from its very beginning and have taken and do take the greatest possible interest in its doings and feel as proud as the Division itself must feel when it receives well merited Honours. I shall never forget the satisfaction I felt when in the SOMME Battle I received telegrams from Sir DOUGLAS HAIG and General RAWLINSON congratulating me on the success of the Division, and I am even more proud of the Division now than I was then, when I feel that after continuous fighting they still uphold the splendid reputation they then gained. I fear there is much more fighting in front of us before the enc comes but however much fighting there is and however severe it may be I have no fear but that the Division will retain the confidence now felt in it by all Commanders and I am certain that you personally will appreciate having under your command such a magnificent lot of Officers and Men. I hope you will keep me informed on your doings and will realise the deep interest I feel in the welfare of all ranks."
23rd May 1917 2nd Bn.Bedfordshire Regt. Daily Intelligence Summary - 31st May, 1917
1. Identifications. NIL 2. Operations (a) Enemy. Very inactive on the whole. At 12.5 p.m. enemy fired 4 5.9 just outside front line of Right Company, and then lifted on to Support Line. Enemy shelled intermittently throughout the day. (b) Our Artillery dispersed Boche working party in I.13.c. at 3.15 p.m. They fired intermittently during the day. 3. Enemy activity and attitude. There has been no rifle fire and a Machine Gun which traversed our front line was firing over the heads of men working on the parapet. The enemy was observed holding trench in front of CROSS Street very strongly at night, as though "Standing to" in anticipation of an attack. 4. Enemy defences (a) trenches Enemy is building up his parapet. A man was seen on the parapet this morning and new planks were seen. (b) Wire. Nil. (c) O.Ps. Nil (d) M.G's. Nil. 5. Movement No movement has been observed. 6. Signals A few lights were observed to have been fired in advance of main enemy line. 7. Air Activity. Nil. 8. Patrols See Patrol Report 9. Miscellaneous Nil. H.Hargreaves Lieut for Major Commanding 2nd Bn.Bedfordshire Regiment.
Report on Operations, night of 27/28th July, 1917 "A" Company
1. Strength. "A" Company formed up with a strength of 3 Officers, 14 N.C.Os and 43 men. Each man carried 2 Bombs, 220 Rounds of S.A.A. Nearly all men had shovels and 2 Boxes of Bombs were sent to the second line to be carried up as a Company Reserve. 2. Formation All "A" Company closed on the top of CRAB CRAWL Trench and went into No Man's Land under their Platoon Sergeants. The formation adopted was two extended lines at 15 yds distance. The extension was to 5 paces. Nos 3 & 4 platoons were in front line, Nos 1 & 2 were in second line. One Lewis Gun went with each line and two with Right Half of Battalion Headquarters. 3. Patrols. (a) 1 N.C.O. and 3 men were sent out about 100 yards with orders to stay out until the Company passed through them. (b) Later, two parties of 1 N.C.O. and 3 men were sent out at an interval of 50 yards and were told to go out 150 yds (i.e. about 50 to 70 yds the other side of JEFFREY Trench). They were told to stay there and send one man back to report all clear. Two men were sent back with this message and were told to return to their patrols and tell their N.C.Os that they must remain there as soo [ sic] as we moved forward they would advance with us making a left incline. These two men could not find their patrols consequently the patrols withdrew after a short while. On the supposition that 3 N.C.O's and 9 men were out in front of us an officer and 3 men were sent out. the orders given to the Officer were to the effect that he would gather the men who were out and form a strong patrol. he was then to push out another small patrol and work on to JEFFREY RESERVE. he was to report when he had reached the 9 men and had pushed out a further patrol. He (the officer, 2nd Lt.I.T.M. Collins [Ivan T.M. COLLINS]) sent back a runner with a message. The runner was wounded and lost the message. the three patrols mentioned in (a) and (b) of this para came back without orders and 2/Lt.Collins [Ivan T.M. COLLINS] is left now with 2 men somewhere in front of JEFFREY TRENCH. 3. Keeping in Touch. (a) "A" Company to keep in touch with "B" Coy had to move along 150 yds to our left. Then three patrols were sent out to get in touch but all returned not having found "B" Coy. Later "B" Company was seen in the trench & communication was established. (b) The Company got in touch with the battalion on our right and received the information that they had sent out a strong patrol which found the enemy 400 yards in front of their line (Buff's front line.) Sd. G.R. Jacob [Gordon Robert JACOB], Lt. O.C. "A" Company 28/7/17. 2nd Bn.Bedfordshire Regt.
Report on operations, night of 27/28 July, 1917 "B" Company.
12.30 a.m. My Company, consisting of myself, 2nd Lt P.A. Page [Percival Arthur PAGE, MC], and 40 O.R. took up a position in WARRINGTON AVENUE with the intention of making a preliminary reconnaissance and if possible ultimately occupy the Bosche front line system as far as J.19.b.0.5. on the left to J.19.c.7.8. inclusive. With this party were two Lewis Gun Teams. The right rested on junction VANCOUVER STREET - WARRINGTON AVENUE. The sentry on duty in advanced sap in WARRINGTON AV reported six Very lights fired from 11 p.m. to 12 m.n. from his first line, second line, and also behind the ridge, this was confirmed by our own observation. I despatched immediately a patrol of 1 N.C.O. and 4 O.R. On returning they reported having reached Bosche wire roughly at I.19.a.4.2. A Very Light was put up, several forms were seen moving in the trench. They were this time lying on the parapet. As only half of the party returned I sent out a second patrol to find the remainder. Both parties however returned individually but their reports were identical, additionally one party heard mumbling in Bosche front line and movement on duck boards. The other party was sniped at on their way back. Their Light Guns seemed to be well up. 1.15 a.m. Our Light Guns were shelling his front line system, i.e., our objective. 1.30 a.m. Enemy machine guns firing half right from WARRINGTON AV enfiladed No Man's Land. 1.45 a.m. Liaison Patrol I had despatched to Left Battalion returned & reported that none of them had gone over from their front and the officer they spoke to said the Bosche was still there. 2 a.m. The enemy traversed whole of front line some few times with Machine Guns. At this time it was my opinion that we should not go forward. 2.30 a.m. At 2.30 a.m. according to instructions I sent out two patrols each of 1 Sgt and 4 O.R., with instructions to establish themselves in the enemy's front line. Both parties going to different parts of the trench reported they were fired on by Machine Guns and rifles. 3.26 a.m. A Liaison patrol dispatched to Left Battalion reported they were still "Standing To" and had no information. Under instructions from my Commanding Officer I got into touch with the Trench Mortar Officer who arranged to put a barrage on the enemy system from 5 a.m. to 5.15 a.m., which was my objective. This he did, and at 5.15 a.m. our own Artillery barrage opened. The patrol I detailed (Cpl.Fulford and 10 men) were "Standing To" but I would not allow them to leave the trench as simultaneously with our own barrage, the enemy opened heavy Artillery fire on our front line system combined with Machine Gun and Rifle fire. I did not consider it advisable for this party to leave trench until 5.35 a.m. when matters had eased somewhat. This they did under cover of Smoke and Dust got through the wire and on to Bosche parapet. A sentry on their left immediately shot at the, shouted, and our patrol heard answering shouts in the near neighbourhood. He retired and reached our front line without casualties. I had arranged to support this patrol and the remainder of my company immediately on receiving information from him, but I consider he was justified in returning as my support would have consisted of 2 Officers, 13 O.R's and 1 Lewis Gun. Sd. Wm.J.Holbrook, [William James HOLBROOK, MC] Captain. Commanding "B" Company.
Description of Raid made on 2nd Bn. Bedfordshire Regt on night 8th/9th September
At 11.55 p.m. the enemy put down an intense Box barrage, consisting of light Trench Mortars and 77 mm shells, on a front of 400 yards to a depth of 300 yards (approx). The front portion of the barrage, which consisted chiefly of light T.M's fell on the front line taking in about 150 yards of "A" and 150 yards of "B" Coys. The tail end of the barrage fell on and behind the supporting Platoons, the majority of this was 77 mm shells. At 12 m.n. the barrage lifted off the front line for 100 yards (marked on sketch) the enemy then attempted to rush two of our posts, both of which were Lewis Gunners, they both saw the Bosche coming and opened fire, the Lewis Gunner of "A" Coy. succeeded in keeping the Raiders off and killing two, but the Bosche managed to get round the Right flank of "B" Coy Post. I should imagine the enemy were in our trench for 2 minutes, certainly no longer. I managed to get to my right Post about 12.2 a.m., the Bosche had just left our Trench. I then put up Very Lights for 10 minutes but could not see any movement, but saw the two bodies about 20 yards from my Right Post, we at once got them in. The barrage lasted until 12.10 a.m. but after that everything was very quiet. The place the enemy raided as you will see by the sketch, was only part of our line that we had no wire out. Directly the barrage lifted I sent out a Patrol to see if "B" Coy. were alright, but found they had lost some men. (sd) J.P. Pitts [James P. PITTS, MC]. Captain. Officer Commanding "A" Coy
Operation Order No.175 by Lieut.Colonel C.H.de St.P.Bunbury Commanding 2/Bn Bedfordshire Regt 16th September 1917 Reference Map WYTSCHAETE 1/10,000
1. INTENTION A party of two Officers and 50 Other ranks of the 2nd Bn Bedfordshire Regt. will raid the enemy's Centre of Movement at O.12.c.25/70 at ZERO hour on Z day for the purpose of capturing Prisoners, Machine Guns and damaging Dug-Outs, in conjunction with a party of 8 Royal Engineers. The party will not proceed beyond OBJECTIVE. 2 FORMATION OF ATTACK The party will be formed into two sections each section consisting of Five Groups of One N.C.O. and Four men. An Officer will be in charge of each Section. 3. BARRAGE The Artillery Barrage will be put down at ZERO on line O.6.c.93/27 - O.11.d.79/28 - O.17.b.87/00. The Barrage will remain on this line from ZERO to ZERO PLUS 11 MINUTES and will then move forward at the rate of 100 yards in six minutes. The R.A. will fire some Smoke Shells on the Objective at ZERO as a guide to the position of Objective 4. ENEMY DISPOSITIONS Enemy's Dispositions, report as to Wire, and best Route for Advance, and withdraw will be ascertained by previous reconnaissance 5. MACHINE GUNS Our Machine Guns will fire on Ground East of OBJECTIVE from vicinity of JUNCTION BUILDINGS and LOCK SIX B. 6. ASSEMBLY The party will move to point of assembly which will be notified later on Y Night. The R.E. Party joining them there. 7. DRESS Belt and Water-bottle (full) 50 rounds S.A.A. and 4 Bombs per man. 6 P.Bombs will be issued for distribution at discretion of the O.C. Party. Box Respirators will be carried at the Alert Position. 8. ADVANCED AID POST An Advanced Aid Post will be established at FORRET FARM, "C" Coys Headquarters. 9. COVERING PARTY After "Cleaning up" the OBJECTIVE the O.C. Party will fire a White Very Light to his rear as a signal to the R.E. Party who will advance, under the Officer detailed by the C.R.E., to "Blow" enemy Dug-Outs, the Raiders forming a Covering Party. The O.C. Party on being informed by O.C. R.E's that their work has been performed, he will withdraw to Battalion Headquarters. 10. PRISONERS. Prisoners will be evacuated as soon as captured to Battalion Headquarters by their captors personally. Simultaneous with the above Raid the 19th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regt. will be raiding an Enemy's Post at O.11.d.90/30 wit ha small party sd G.A.Anstee [Geoffrey Arthur ANSTEE, MC], CAPTAIN Adjutant 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment.
OPERATION ORDER No. 46 by Lieut. Colonel G. ROLLO D.S.O. Commanding 19th Battalion The King's (Liverpool Regiment). Reference Map 28.S.W.2. 16th September 1917
INTENTION I. The 19th Battalion K.L.R. will raid the enemy position known as THE TWINS O.11.d.95/23, on a date to be notified later. STRENGTH II. the strength of the party will be 1 Officer and 25 other ranks. One Officer and 11 men of the R.E. will co-operate. A raiding party of the 2nd Bn. Bedfordshire Regt. will simultaneously raid the enemy position at O.12.c.35/65. OBJECT III. The object of the raid will be: - (a) To secure prisoners (b) To capture Machine Guns and Trench Mortars (c) To destroy the position TROOPS ON FLANK IV. The raid will be carried out in conjunction with operations of the Division on our left. BARRAGE V. A barrage will be put down on a line O.6.c.93/27 - O.11.d.79/26 - O.17.b.87/00 at ZERO hour, and will remain on this line until ZERO plus 11 minutes, when it will advance in conformity with the barrage of the Division on our left. It will advance at the rate of 100 yards in 6 minutes, after which it will halt for 30 minutes on a line with the left Division 1st objective. MACHINE GUN BARRAGE VI The machine gun barrage will be as explained verbally. STOKES MORTARS VII At ZERO plus 10 minutes, the Stokes Mortars will open a hurricane bombardment on BANG FARM. LEWIS GUNS VIII Os.C. CENTRE and RIGHT Companies in the line will arrange to fire on BANG FARM continuously from ZERO plus 10 minutes to ZERO plus 40 minutes SMOKE SHELLS IX These will be placed on the objective by the Artillery, to assist direction POSITION OF ASSEMBLY The Raiding Party will be divided into four groups, who will take up a position in shell holes in "NO MAN'S LAND" approximately on a line from O.11.d.30/40 to O.11.d.55/65. The R.E. party, with their explosives, will assemble on a line roughly 100 yards in rear of above line (O.C. "D" Coy, 19th K.L.R. will arrange to guide this party to their positions). All parties to be in position by ZERO minus 2 1/2 hours. METHOD OF ADVANCE XI The Raiding Party, 19th Bn.K.L.R. will follow the barrage as closely as possible, in four parties in single file, and will deploy when circumstances demand. One party will be told off as a covering party in front of THE TWINS. One party will be told off for the left part of the objective. One party will be told off for the right part of the objective. One party will be told off the [sic] guard the right flank. Any Germans discovered in the Dug-outs will be persuaded to come out peaceably. Should any refuse, Mills bombs will be thrown in. As a last, and only as a last resource, "P" bombs will be thrown. After dug-outs have been cleared, O.C. 19th K.L.R. raiding Party will signal to the R.E. Party by means of a "Very Light" fired in their direction, when they will advance and prepare their explosive charges. When this has been completed, O.C. R.E. Party will report to O.C. 19th K.L.R. Raiding Party, who will signal by means of two "Very Lights" fired in quick succession to the whole party to return to our lines. PRISONERS XII Any prisoners will be taken direct by the shortest route to LN de STERKTE CABARET, and handed over to O.C. Cage there DRESS XIII Equipment, rifle and bayonet, 100 rounds S.A.A., 2 bombs per man, water bottle, small box respirator. Each man will carry a wire cutter, S.A. Eight "P" Bombs and four electric torches will be carried in all. RETURN XIV All parties will on the signal to return to our lines proceed by the nearest and safest means, and report to Battalion Headquarters in RAVINE WOOD. REPORTS XV O.C. 19th Bn. K.L.R. raiding Party and O.C. R.E. party, will report as soon as possible to Battalion Headquarters in the RAVINE. TIME XVI Watches will be synchronised at Battalion Headquarters at11.30 p.m. on "Y" Day. MEDICAL ARRANGEMENTS XVII Aid Post will be at HOPE FARM ZERO XVIII Will be notified later 58th Brigade BM.3193 89th Brigade B.553 The Officer Commanding 6th Bn. Wiltshire Regt. With reference to Offensive. In order to enable the 2 machine guns allotted to your battalion to take up a position on the RAILWAY EMBANKMENT from which to bring flanking fire to bear along the front of your final objective you will push a Post along the Canal to about O.6.c.6 1/2. 5 1/2. The 2nd Bn. Bedfordshire Regt. will at the same time as your advance takes place push forward a Post along the West side of the Canal to a point on the West bank opposite point O.6.dc. 6 1/2. 5 1/2. In order to ensure liaison between your Right and the 2nd Bn. Bedfords left you will detach a party of 1 N.C.O. and 3 men to move with the left party of 2nd Bedfords. The latter battalion will detach a similar party to move with your right party. O.C., 2nd Bn. Bedfords will send an Officer to your Headquarters at I.36.c.3/0 on the morning of the 19th instant to arrange details. (Sd) A.E.Glasgow. Brig.Genl. Commanding 58th Infantry Brigade. 16th September 1917
The following are the arrangements made provisionally for the operation on THE TWINS and THE GIANT. 1. The parties of R.E. will join their respective Infantry parties partaking in the raid the (evening before the operation) at points to be fixed by Officers Commanding Field Companies and Battalions. 201st Field Company will arrange with 19th Bn. King's Liverpool Regt. and 202nd Field Company with 2nd Bn. Bedford Regt. 2. Barrage opens at Zero. At Zero + 11 minutes infantry go forward and clear objectives. When cleared, Officers i/c Infantry will fire a VERY Pistol back to where their respective R.E. parties are assembled. R.E. parties will advance and place the charge in position. Infantry officers will be at the two objectives and as soon as the charge is ready to fire, R.E. officer will inform Infantry officer, who will withdraw his men. R.E. will withdraw as soon as each man has placed his charge under orders of R.E. officer. When the Infantry officer informs R.E. officer that his men are clear, the charge will be fired. Fuses are to be within the following limits: - TWINS - Not less than 3 minutes, not to exceed 4 mins. GIANT - Not less than 3 minutes, not to exceed 3 1/2 mins. The charges of the two R.E. parties will be fired independently of one another. Care must be taken that parties are clear before firing and that when retiring all get under cover as soon as possible; at least two hundred yards away (but the further the better).
89th Infantry Brigade Operation Order No.131 Headquarters 17th September 1917 Reference Map: - WYTSCHAETE, 1/10,000
1. In connection with larger operations the 89th Infantry Brigade will carry out two raids at a time and date to be notified later. 2. The 19th Battalion K.L.R. will raid THE TWINS, (O.11.d.95/23) with a party of 1 Officer and 25 Other Ranks. The 2nd Bn. Bedfordshire Regt. will raid the centre of movement at O.12.c.25/70 with a party of 2 Officers and 50 Other Ranks. Royal Engineers will accompany each party for the purpose of blowing up any machine gun emplacements or concrete blockhouses which may be found. 3. ARTILLERY BARRAGE The artillery barrage will commence at ZERO, and the lifts will be as shown on the attached map (sent to 19th Battalion K.L.R. and 2nd Bn. Bedfordshire Regt. only). Artillery will fire a few smoke shells at the objectives at ZERO. 4. MACHINE GUNS A machine gun barrage will be fired under arrangements to be made by the D.M.G.O. on the ground to the East of the objectives from ZERO to ZERO plus 50 minutes. 5. 89th TRENCH MORTAR BATTERY The 89th Trench Mortar Battery will fire a hurricane bombardment on BANG FARM from ZERO plus 11 minutes to ZERO plus 40 minutes. Four guns will be in position and fire will be maintained from at least one throughout the period. 6. SYNCRONISATION OF WATCHES Arrangements for synchronising watches will be notified later. 7. PRISONERS Any prisoners which are taken will be sent without delay to the Divisional Prisoners' Cage at LN DE STERKTE CABARET (O.15.a.35.15). The 17th Battalion K.L.R. will detail I N.C.O. and 2 men to take charge of the prisoners at this point, under the orders of Lieut. HAKE, Divisional Intelligence Officer, and to escort them to the Corps Cage at N.6.c.3/1. The route to this point must be carefully reconnoitred beforehand by the escort. 8. In addition to the above operations the 2nd Bn. Bedfordshire Regt. will advance their left flank to about O.6.c.65/40 moving in conjunction with the 6th Battalion Wiltshire Regt. on the left. Detailed instructions as to the liaison with 6th Bn. Wiltshire Regt. have been issued separately.
ADDENDUM TO 89TH INFANTRY BRIGADE OPERATION ORDER NO.131. Headquarters 17th September 1917
Delete para. 5 and substitute: - The 89th Trench Mortar Battery will fire a hurricane bombardment with two guns on BANG FARM from ZERO plus 11 minutes to ZERO plus 16 minutes. This will be renewed at any time during the operation if any machine gun or rifle fire is opened by the enemy from BANG FARM.
Operation Order No.177 by Lieut.Colonel C.H.de St.P.Bunbury Commanding 2/Bn Bedfordshire Regt 18th September 1917 Reference Map WYTSCHAETE S.W.2. 1/10,000
1. INTENTION In conjunction with the 6th Bn. WILTSHIRE REGIMENT on our Left Flank, "B" Company of the 2nd BN.BEDFORDSHIRE REGT. on the 19/20th September 1917 at ZERO will advance their Left Flank along the West side of the YPRES - COMMINES [sic] and establish a lone from No.9 Post to CANAL, in prolongation of the 6th Bn. Wiltshire Regt. Consolidation of New Line will at once be proceeded with. O.C. "B" Coy. will send an Officer to 6th Bn Wiltshire Regt Headquarters I.36.c.3/0 tomorrow at 9 a.m. 19th September to arrange details. 2. ZERO Zero Hour will be notified later. 3. LIASON To ensure liaison between our Left flank and the 6th Bn. Wiltshire Regt, O.C. "B" Coy will detail a party of One N.C.O. and 3 men to move with the Right Party of the 6th Bn Wiltshire Regt, the latter Battalion will detach a similar party to move with "B" Coys Left Flank 4. PRISONERS Any Prisoners taken will be sent forthwith to Battalion Headquarters with a suitable escort 5. DRESSING STATION A Dressing Station will be established in the vicinity of Support Coys Headquarters O.5.c.75/20. 6. REPORTS A Report as to progress will be sent to Battalion Headquarters on arrival at objective. (sd) G.A.Anstee [Geoffrey Arthur ANSTEE, MC], captain. Adjutant 2nd Bn. Bedfordshire Regiment.
89th Brigade No.B.566- 30th Division. G.278/920. The Officer Commanding, 17th, 19th, 20th Battalion Liverpool Regiment. 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment 89th machine Gun Company. 90th Machine Gun Company 89th Trench Mortar Battery Description of Raid made by the 2nd Bedfordshire Regt on the morning of 20th September 1917
(1) On the morning of 20th September 1917, Zero hour 5.40 a.m. the Battalion carried out 2 minor operations in conjunction with a general advance of the 2nd and 5th Armies. (2) Captain W.J.Holbrook M.C. [William James HOLBROOK, MC] and 2/Lieut.T.G.Searle M.C. [Thomas George SEARLE, MC] were in command of a party consisting of 50 Other ranks, with orders to raid the Centre of Movement at O.12.c.25/70 for the purpose of collecting information, capturing Prisoners, Machine Guns and damaging Dug-outs. They were accompanied by a party of 8 R.E's with blasting charges. The party on nearing their objective were fired on heavily both with Machine Guns and Rifles. This fire, so intense, and the wire discovered to be uncut, made further advance and return impossible. The party, among whom were several wounded, remained in shell-holes during the whole day and returned about 9 p.m. to our own line. Much valuable information was collected from this enterprise (3) Simultaneously with the above "B" Company on our left flank pushed forward their left post on the YPRES - COMINES CANAL to a line from No.9 POST to CANAL in prolongation of the 6th Battalion Wiltshire Regt thereby advancing about 300 yards. Our line then joined the Canal at about O.6.c.65/40. This operation was entirely successful. C.H.de St.P. Bunbury [Charles Hamilton De St. Pierre BUNBURY] Lieut. Colonel Commanding 2nd Bn, Bedfordshire Regiment
"A" Company 2/Bn Bedfordshire Regt NOMINAL ROLL OF CAPT HOLBROOK'S PARTY
[Comment; the initials "K", "W", "W+M" seem to be someone's personal notes on who was killed, wounded or wounded and missing - a rather sad reflection without date or author].
A Company: Captain W.J.Holbrook M.C. [William James HOLBROOK, MC], 2/Lieut. T.G.Searle M.C. [Thomas George SEARLE, MC] W+M, 8966 Sgt. S.Unthank, 9552 Sgt. G.Baker M, 9931 Sgt. P. Compton [Percy COMPTON, DCM], 9297 L.Sgt. G.Gurney, 9660 Cpl. J.Bruty W, 13404 Cpl. A.Harvey W, 9818 Cpl. A Seagraves, 9863 L.Cpl. F.King, 18932 Pte. C.Arnott K, 9754 Pte. S.Bray, 27510 Pte. C.Bull K, 29268 Pte. C.Bumfrey W+M, 21285 Pte. R.Baggott [Richard BAGGOTT, MM], 4/6748 Pte. H.Barnes W, 43375 Pte. T.Cook K, 29194 Pte. R.Frankland W, 45026 Pte. J.Finedon, 29480 Pte. C.Freeman, 18721 Pte. A.Green K, 10835 Pte. A.Girdlestone [Albert GIRDLESTONE, MM], 18153 Pte. F.Goodwin, 29303 Pte. A.Golding M, 39763 Pte. W.Hagger, 31142 Pte. F.Hiscock W, 25250 Pte. T.Higdon, 4/6813 Pte. E.Osbourn W, 32281 Pte. H.Osborne, 39461 Pte. J.Parr W+M, 29254 Pte. B.Payne, 7866 Pte. E.Robe, 43382 Pte. E.Rogers, 201515 Pte. F.Ruffett, 32254 Pte. S.Rowe K, 200250 Pte. H.Saunders, 9197 Pte. C.Shillingford W, 33768 Pte A.Smith K, 28115 Pte. H.Sparrow M, 40038 Pte. H.Snell W, 39807 Pte. P.Tillett W, 14319 Pte. G.Tasker W+M, 26257 Pte. F.Tibbles, 3/7141 Pte. E.White, 18830 Pte. W.Wilsher M, 14573 Pte. A.Welling, 25510 Pte. A.Woods W, 10809 Pte. F.Wootton, 10788 Pte. F. Wells K, 3/7430 Pte. E.Hubbocks [Edgar HUBBOCKS] K, D Company: 33678 Pte. S.Ward W, 18640 Pte. F.Crockett W, 21138 Pte. F.Adams W, 20501 Pte. R.Pleasants.
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