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 JULY 1915
30 Jul 1915 - 7am The Battalion entrained at Ludgershall station. Transport under command of Major B.P.Newbolt [Bertie Phillip NEWBOLT] B & C Companies under command of Lt.Col.H.F.Barclay [Hubert Frederick BARCLAY] at 9 a.m. & A & D Companies under command of Major R.Le Huquet [Reginald Le HUQUET] at 11 a.m. Detrained at Southampton. The Battalion less the Transport embarked on the Empress Queen at 6.30 pm
31 Jul 1915 - 7.30 am - Havre [sic] The Battalion disembarked and marched No.5 Camp
WAR DIARY FOR AUGUST 1915
1 Aug 1915 - 3.30pm The Battalion entrained at the Gare de Merchandisis.
2 Aug 1915 - 8.30 - Zutkerke [sic]. Detrained at Audrucq [sic] at 8.30 a.m. and marched to Zutkerke [sic] into Billets.
4 Aug 1915 - Arques Marched from Zutkerke at 8 a.m., joined 112th Brigade at Nordusque [sic] and reached Arques at 4.45 p.m.
5 Aug 1915 - Hazebrouck Marched from Arques at 8 a.m. and reached Hazebrouck at 1 p.m. and went into billets.
8 Aug 1915 The Battalion was inspected by Lt.General Sir H.Plumer commanding the 2nd Army.
10 Aug 1915 - 6am A detachment of 557 and 17 Officers under Command of Major B.P.Newbolt [Bertie Phillip NEWBOLT] marched to LOCRE.
11 Aug 1915 - Locre The Detachment commenced digging Reserve Trenches under an Engineer officer about 1 mile N. of KEMMEL.
19 Aug 1915. Whilst digging at night, 2nd Lt.G.A.SMITH-MASTERS [George Arthur SMITH-MASTERS] advanced out of the trenches and was shot dead it is supposed by a Sniper.
21 Aug 1915 - Hazebrouck Major B.P.Newbolt [Bertie Phillip NEWBOLT] returned in order to take over command of the Battalion.
22 Aug 1915 Lt.Col.H.F.BARCLAY [Hubert Frederick BARCLAY] relinquished command and left for ARMENTIERES.
24 Aug 1915 - 1.30pm The Battn. proceeded by march Route to GODEWAERSVELDE and arrived in Billets there at 4.30 p.m. where Lt.Colonel R.T.TOKE [Roundel Tristram TOKE] (1st Welch Rgt) joined and proceeded to take over command of the Battn.
26 Aug 1915 - 2.33am - Godewaersvelde The Battn entrained & Proceeded by rail to DOULLENS arriving there 9.30 a.m. then proceeded by march route to billets at ORVILLE.
27 Aug 1915 - Orville Very hot day. Battn. engaged in settling into billets which were not good.
28-29 Aug 1915 Battn. engaged in route marches & parades.
30 Aug 1915 Battn. inspected by Genl. Sir C.Monro Commdg. 3rd Army.
31 Aug 1914 All officers of Battn instructed in bombing.
WAR DIARY FOR SEPTEMBER 1915
1 Sep 1915 - Orville In billets. Route March.
2 Sep 1915 In billets. Route March
3 Sep 1915 In billets. Company parades.
4 Sep 1915 In billets. Company parades & route march.
5 Sep 1915 - Fonquevillers Marched to FONQ UVILLERS [sic]. A & B. Coys. went into the trenches for instruction under 143rd Brigade. Trenches Very good.
6 Sep 1915 2 Coys in the trenches. 2 Coys in Village. Daily lectures on trench duties. Pte Hathaway [12170 Alfred F. HATHAWAY] & Pte Castle [probably 14507 William H. CASTLE] B.Coy. Wounded.
7-8 Sep 1915 As above. Germans Very Quiet. Our Artillery fired on Germans. Very little reply.
9 Sep 1915 Germans fired on [an?] Aerial torpedo gun - largest size - fired about 6 rounds but all fell short C & D Coys. went into the trenches. Lce.Corp.Stacey [12439 Donald W. STACEY], Ptes Burden [17628 George BURDEN] & Wildman [probably 17687 James WILDMAN] wounded.
10 Sep 1915 Our Artillery fired on the Germans all morning. Our Machine Guns fired during the night.
11 Sep 1915 Left FONQUVILLERS & marched to HUMBERCAMP [sic] & rejoined the 112nd [sic] Brigade.
12 Sep 1915 - Humbercamp In billets. Men employed digging defences round Village. Billets not very good.
13-14 Sep 1915 As above. Very hot.
15 Sep 1915 Left HUMBERCAMP & marched to BIENVILLERS. Billets very good.
16 Sep 1915 - Bienvillers-au-Bois Working parties out all day & night. Working on front line trenches at HANNESCAMP [sic].
17 Sep 1915 Our Artillery active, but very little reply from enemy. Heavy Bombardment going on in direction of ARRAS.
18 Sep 1915 Working parties out digging all day & night.
19 Sep 1915 German aircraft active but driven off by our airmen.
20 Sep 1915 Our Artillery active all day, but very little reply from Germans and then only small "whiz-bangs".
21 Sep 1915 Moved to HANNESCAMP and relieved Loyal North Lancs in trenches. Germans sent over a good many shells & some 4.5 Howitzer shells about 9 p.m. No damage done.
22 Sep 1915 - Hannescamps Our Artillery fired all day on German trenches and Villages. Germans shelled POMMIER. Trenches fairly good, but traverses bad. Dug-outs good. Support trenches not dug in some places.
23 Sep 1915 Our Artillery again very active. Corpl.Hornsby [12836 Albert Edward HORNSBY, MM] wounded. Thunderstorm in evening. Very heavy rain.
24 Sep 1915 Trenches very muddy. Our Artillery fired all the afternoon cutting enemy's line - Very little reply - only one or two small shells.
25 Sep 1915 More rain all day. Our Artillery firing all day on German line & trenches. Very little reply.
26 Sep 1915 Germans shelled gun-position at BIENVILLERS with shells of about 6" calibre between 30 and 40 shells sent over, very rapidly, some in salvos of three. A great number failed to burst.
27 Sep 1915 Relieved in trenches by 12th Rifle Brigade. Marched back to billets at HUMBERCAMP.
28 Sep 1915 Cleaning Billets. 29 Sep 1915 600 men digging on Corps line Defences at SOUASTRE.
30 Sep 1915 300 men digging on Village defences at HUMBERCAMP.
WAR DIARY FOR OCTOBER 1915
1 Oct 1915 - Humbercamps In Billets men employed digging defences round village.
2 Oct 1915 As above.
3-5 Oct 1915 In Billets. Coy parades & working parties employed making wire entanglements round village defence line.
6 Oct 1915 Battn route march very windy, cold & wet.
7 Oct 1915 600 men employed digging in Corps line at SOUASTRE.
8 Oct 1915 Men employed making wire entanglements round village defences.
9 Oct 1915 - Bienvillers-au-Bois Relieved 13th Bn Rifle Brigade in Billets at BIENVILLIERS [sic].
10 Oct 1915 Working parties out all day and all night working on front line trenches at HANNESCAMPS.
11-13 Oct 1915 As above.
14 Oct 1915 As above 2/Lt Aylwin [Walter Edgar AYLWIN] wounded in HANNESCAMPS also Ptes Clayton [12198 Harry CLAYTON] & Baker.
15 Oct 1915 - Hannescamps Relieved 10th LN Lancs Regt in trenches.
16 Oct 1915 Artillery inactive on both sides, weather damp & misty.
17 Oct 1915 Enemy's artillery active on our front line. Fine weather, strong wind.
18 Oct 1915 Our artillery active. Lt Wace [Walter Melville WACE] with 9 men in patrol from 4am to 6pm & occupied disused trenches in front of our line.
19 Oct 1915 Germans fired minnewerfers on right of our line. German artillery active on our trenches. Capt Blake [Denis Henry BLAKE], L/C Nobbs [10650 Richard NOBBS], Pte Dean [probably 12533 William E. DEAN], Pte Smith wounded by shell bursting in trenches. Lt Columbine [Roland Herbert COLUMBINE] with 10 Bombers & scouts on patrol from 5.30pm to 8.45pm Pte Bahan [12378 James BAHAN] killed while on this patrol.
20 Oct 1915 German artillery inactive, weather cold & misty
21 Oct 1915 - Bienvillers-au-Bois Relieved in trenches by 13th Rifle Brigade. Took over new billets from 7th Leicesters. Billets very good.
22 Oct 1915 Our artillery active but little reply from Germans.
23 Oct 1915 Parties digging by night.
24 Oct 1915 Working parties by day. Bombers practice. Ptes Grantham [12961 George GRANTHAM] & Townsend [12319 Frederick TOWNSEND] slightly wounded during this practice.
25-27 Oct 1915 In Billets. Working parties by day & night. Coy parades.
28 Oct 1915 - St-Amand. Relieved at BIENVILLIERS [sic] by 11th R.Warwick Regt and went into billets at SAINT AMAND.
29 Oct 1915 Cleaning Billets.
30 Oct 1915 Coy parades.
31 Oct 1915 600 men digging in Corps Line at SOUASTRE
WAR DIARY FOR NOVEMBER 1915
1 Nov 1915 - St-Amand Wet day. No digging parties out.
2 Nov 1915 - Bienvillers-au-Bois Relieved at ST AMAND by 13th KRR. Weather very wet.
3 Nov 1915 Our Artillery active, working parties from Battn employed on front line communication trench
4 Nov 1915 Enemy put a few shells into BIENVILLERS. No damage done, working parties out as on previous day.
5 Nov 1915 Working parties out as on previous day.
6 Nov 1915 Working parties out as on previous day. B Coy practised manning subsidiary line.
7 Nov 1915 - Bienvillers-au-Bois Church parade. Weather fine.
8 Nov 1915 - Hannescamps Relieved 10th LN Lancs in trenches. Trenches very wet and muddy. HQr moved to HANNESCAMP [sic]
9 Nov 1915 Heavy rain in the evening. trenches very wet.
10 Nov 1915 Heavy rain all day. Trenches 59, 60, 61 Knee deep in water & mud. L/Cpl Kitchener [17911 George KITCHENER] killed and Cpl.Jackson slightly wounded by a shell.
11 Nov 1915 Fine morning, very cold. Men all employed draining & repairing trenches. Many traverses & portions of parapet fallen in. Lieut Wace [Walter Melville WACE] accidentally wounded by one of our men who mistook him for a German when he was returning from patrol.
12 Nov 1915 Very wet night Enemy fired a few small shells over trenches 56-58.
13 Nov 1915 Much colder. More rain in the night. Trenches still very wet & muddy.
14 Nov 1915 Fine day. relieved by 13th R.B. marched back to HUMBERCAMP [sic]. Very cold hard frost.
15 Nov 1915 - Humbercamps Fine day. 6 slight cases of trench feet during last 6 days in very wet trenches. Men used anti frost bite grease daily. Socks were sent out of trenches to be dried. Mens feet rubbed. A Coy went to PAS on attachment.
16 Nov 1915 About 2 inches of snow fell during the night. Men went to PAS to bathe.
17 Nov 1915 Fine day. Battn digging in 110th Brigade Area.
18 Nov 1915 Hard frost in night. Very cold. Pte Field slightly wounded digging in 110th Bde Area. 6in heavy guns shelled MONCHY.
19 Nov 1915 Battn digging in 110th Bde area. Our heavy guns firing on Germans.
20 Nov 1915 Very cold.
21 Nov 1915 Lieut Dann [Ernest DANN] severely wounded when out with working party in 110 Bde area. 2 bullets in abdomen.
22 Nov 1915 Lieut Dann [Ernest DANN] died and was buried at HENU near PAS-en-ARTOIS. Companies instructed in wire cutting with rifle attachments.
23 Nov 1915 Army Commander inspected Bombers. Battn digging in 110th Bde area.
24 Nov 1915 Battn route march. 350 men digging.
25 Nov 1915 A Coy returned from PAS.
26 Nov 1915 - Bienvillers-au-Bois Relieved 13th R.B. at BIENVILLERS. Very cold hard frost.
27 Nov 1915 Fine hard frost. Digging parties out.
28 Nov 1915 Hard frost. Men attended Divine Service
29 Nov 1915 Thawing - some rain. Relieved 10 N.Lancs in trenches at HANNESCAMP [sic]. Very wet night.
30 Nov 1915 Went round trenches 56-61. Trenches 59 & 60 in a very bad state. Water & Mud Knee deep. Sides of trenches continually falling in owing to the sudden thaw. Communication trench behind 56-57 deep in sticky mud. 2 large shells 6" or 8" fell into HANNESCAMP but no damage done. Our artillery fairly active.
WAR DIARY FOR DECEMBER 1915
Trench Map Sheet 57 D NE 122 (pts of); Scale 1:10,000 square E11c, 17a, 160, 22B 1 Dec 1915 - Hannescamps Battn in the trenches. Trenches very wet and deep in mud.
2 Dec 1915 Relieved in trenches by 10th Bn N Lancs Regt. Marched back to BIENVILLERS in support. Corpl Leck [?] wounded.
3 Dec 1915 - Bienvillers-au-Bois In support. Battn furnished working parties. 2/Lt CP Isaac [Charles Percival ISAAC] joined.
4 Dec 1915 Our artillery shelled Germans in the morning Enemy retaliated and sent about 100 shells into BIENVILLERS Numerous small howitzer shells failing to explode. Ptes Walker [12484 Charles WALKER, DOW 6/12/1915] & Oakley [12404 Benjamin G. OAKLEY] wounded subsequently died, Ptes Heard [4/7081 Frederick HEARD] & Lancaster [probably 17591 Joseph LANCASTER] also wounded.
5 Dec 1915 Relieved by 10 N Lancs Regt Battn moved up to trenches at HANNESCAMP [sic]
6 Dec 1915 - Hannescamps Our artillery shelled the Germans, reply feeble.
7 Dec 1915 Germans sent a few small howitzer Shells into the trenches. Artillery bombardment at 3.45 to which the Germans replied. Rained all the afternoon. Sergt White [13223 Arthur H. WHITE] wounded.
8 Dec 1915 Enemy shelled trenches 56-58 No damage done Relieved by 13 Rifle Brigade. Marched back to HUMBERCAMP [sic]
9 Dec 1915 - Humbercamps In brigade Reserve
10-11 Dec 1915 Wet days. Battn furnished working parties of 350 men for front line 2/Lt A.Jesson [Arthur JESSON] joined on the 11th.
12 Dec 1915 Much colder and some snow 2/Lt BV Colchester [Bernard Valentine COLCHESTER] joined.
13-15 Dec 1915 Cold and frost at night. Furnished working parties for trenches on 15th.
16 Dec 1915 Battn did route march.
17-19 Dec 1915 Battn digging in the 18th Instructional parade Training of Grenadiers in Machine Gun detachments 2/Lt RFS Denning joined on the 19th.
20 Dec 1915 Relieved 13 Rifle Bde at BIENVILLERS. Pte Batchelor [12593 Charles BATCHELOR] killed.
21-22 Dec 1915 - Bienvillers-au-Bois Furnished working parties for front line trenches.
23 Dec 1915 Our artillery bombarded Germans, reply feeble
24 Dec 1915 Very wet night
25 Dec 1915 A little shelling in the morning. Otherwise very quiet day. Rained all day.
26 Dec 1916 Wet day Relieved 10 L.N.Lancs in the trenches.
27 Dec 1915 - Hannescamps Germans shelled working parties coming from BIENVILLERS, HANNESCAMP [sic] also shelled L/Corp Curry [10508 Legh CURRY] , Corp Hall and Pte Waters wounded Trenches very wet and all communication trenches impassable.
28 Dec 1915 Fine day Germans shelled all our working parties. Coming up from BIENVILLERS. Shelled HANNESCAMP [sic] between 2 & 3 pm 6 German aeroplanes came over our lines 4 of which got through and went in direction of SOUASTRE. 2 were turned back by our aircraft.
29 Dec 1915 German artillery active Front line trenches all shelled from left to right HANNESCAMP [sic] shelled at intervals during the day, but no material damage done. Our Artillery replied with some vigour Aircraft on both sides active.
30 Dec 1915 Foggy morning, less artillery activity.
31 Dec 1915 2 Communication trenches made passable to left of line. 48 Division on our right heavily bombarded the German position between 12 & 2 Germans sent 11 shells into HANNESCAMP [sic] No damage done. Rain in the afternoon Short burst of rapid musketry fire opened by both sides at midnight. Much noise in German lines. Steam whistles blowing. 2 Minnewerfer shells of largest calibre sent over at 12.10 am.
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