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
Codford 25-7-15 9am Transport of regiment left CODFORD for service abroad 106 men and 3 officers
26-7-15 1.45pm 7th Bedfords left Codford for service abroad. Marching out strength 820 and 31 officers arrived Folkestone at 8.30 and embarked with 54th Bde HQ on S.S.Onward. On arrival at Boulogne sur Mer the battalion marched to Ostronove Rest Camp
27-7-15 7.5pm Battalion left rest camp for Gare Centrale, Boulogne. Entrained at 8pm and arrived at FLESSELLES at 2.15am
28-7-15 Talmas 28-7-15 Marched from FLESSELLES to TALMAS where the battalion was billeted . Brigade Conference at 5.30pm
29-7-15 Battalion spent the day cleaning billets. Company parades
30-7-15 Battalion route march NAOURS-LA VICOGNE-TALMAS. Trench digging in afternoon
31-7-15 Parades under company arrangements. Water supply in village becoming low Battalion probably moving back to NAOURS
WAR DIARY FOR AUGUST 1915
1-8-15 Sunday. Church parade for Battalion in the morning. Officers sketching class under Adjutant in afternoon. Weather hot and sultry slight rain towards evening
2-8-15 Battalion marches to VAL DES MAISONS with Brigade to be inspected by GOC 3rd Army at 2.30pm. Heavy rain on the way there and back. GOC expressed his entire satisfaction at the Brigade's turn out
3-8-15 Battalion route march TALMAS-VILLERS [BOCAGE]-TALMAS. Conference at HQ of Batt at 6pm. Weather wet
4-8-15 Musketry "rapid fire and loading" by companies in valley SW of TALMAS. Bombing practice for all bombers. Machine Guns inspected at Bde HQ NAOURS at 2.30pm
5-8-15 Bombing Parade and Coy parades in the morning demonstration in smoke helmets and respiration men made to pass through room full of chlorine gas. Weather wet and showery
6-8-15 Weather too wet for battalion route march. Conference of officers at 9.30am. Company route marches in the afternoon. Brigade conference at Middlesex HQ in the afternoon
7-8-15 Very wet day. Battalion at musketry in the morning
TALMAS 8-8-15 4pm Battalion marched with Brigade to LA NEUVILLE. Passed LA NEUVILLE starting point at 4.15. Arrived LA NEUVILLE at 10pm where Battalion billeted. Weather very hot and the march very trying. B Coy detached from Batt at MOLLIENS-AU-BOIS to act as rearguard. This coy arrived at midnight
LA NEUVILLE 9-8-15 9am Orderly Room 9am. Morning spent in cleaning and settling into billets
10-8-15 Parade for NCOs under Adjutant at 7am. Route march for Battalion 9.30am WERRIEUX [QUERRIEU?]-DAOURS-LA NEUVILLE weather hot and sultry. Lecture to officers and NCOs by Bombay[lacuna]
11-8-15 Musketry for all coys. Parade for Rt ½ batt at [lacuna] conference at 6pm
12-8-15 9am Route march LA NEUVILLE-LA HOUSSOYE-LA NEUVILLE [lacuna] NCOs at 7am under Sgt Major. Lecture [lacuna] for all trained bomb throwers
13-8-15 Headquarters visited Amiens to visit French [lacuna] GOC Brig and Div and Gen.Morland [lacuna] methods of French confluage [sic - camouflage]
14-8-15 9.30am Route march R ½ batt. 5½ miles forced march time taken 1hr 16 mins 2.10am Route march L ½ batt 5½ miles forced march time taken 1hr 12 mins packs behind. The left half batt perhaps started too soon after dinner and consequently lost 13 men
15-8-15 Church parade at 10.30am in the Middlesex area cancelled owing to rain. Holy Communion at 7am
16-8-15 Rapid marching to LA HOUSSOYE by companies in morning. Musketry under Company arrangements in the afternoon. 50 reinforcements arrived from Base Camp at Étaples
17-8-15 Parades under company arrangements
18-8-15 Musketry in morning. Route march in afternoon
DAOURS-PONT NOYELLES 19-8-15 Digging in morning. Musketry in afternoon. Weather showers 20-8-15 Rapid marching in morning. Bombing. Bayonet fighting. Lecture to all Subalterns by Adjutant in evening. Conference for all officers at 5pm. Weather fine
21-8-15 Parades under company arrangements
22-8-15 Batt moves to RIBEMONT by route vide attached table of march [not attached]
23-8-15 9am Col, Adj and officers of A & B Coys proceeded to trenches under guidance of Bde Major 154th Bde for preliminary view of trenches 6pm A & B Coys, Col and Adj proceed to trenches for instruction. A Coy attached to 8 A&S High, "B" to 5th Seaforths. Vide attached scheme [not attached]
24-8-15 9am Training carried out under Company arrangements 3pm Control Post furnished by Battalion at cross roads near SUCRERIE
25-8-15 9am Training carried out under Company arrangements. D Coy route march. Owing to absence of Adjutant in trenches the following entries were not made under his return 10am All last night enemy shelled our trenches but inflicted little damage. Sap at 475 was [overwritten on original and impossible to decipher]
26-8-15 Organised [unreadable] in order to try and dislodge [unreadable] of the enemy who was damaging our line. Last night quieter than the 25th 6pm C & D Coys left for trenches to undergo instruction. C Coy relieved A Coy and D Coy relieved B Coy. The Col and Adjutant were relieved by Major Mills [George Pilkington MILLS, DSO] the 2nd in command. The Col & Adjutant visited 8 East Surrey regiment during day to arrange movements for relief of that batt by the 7th Beds one slight casualty in the morning in A Coy 8pm Reliefs completed only one casualty in B Coy
27-8-15 Last night reported quiet by C Coy following report was sent 12MN to HQ by C Coy attached Appendix (4) [not attached] A & B Coys spent today in cleaning up kit etc.
28-8-15 Parade for A & B at 7am in arm drill, Draft of 20 men posted to Battalion on arrival
29-8-15 Situation unchanged. Church parade in morning
30-8-15 A & B Companies proceeded to trenches to undergo company instruction as such. They relieved C & D companies without casualties arriving at RIBEMONT at 4am on 31st
31-8-15 Day spent in cleaning up. A & B companies returned to RIBEMONT at 11.30pm. Showery.
WAR DIARY FOR SEPTEMBER 1915
1-9-15 Conference for all mounted officers at 10.30am HQ 54th Brigade. Parades under Coy arrangements. Weather variable
2-9-15 A & B Coys digging E of LAVIÉVILLE, cancelled owing to rain. O.C.Companies proceed to trenches to take over
3-9-15 Batt relieves 8th East Surreys in accordance with scheme attached [not attached]
BÉCORDEL 5-9-15 10pm 3 men of A Coy while returning from patrol were wounded. Trenches Two evacuated to FA one returned to duty otherwise bight passed quietly except for usual sniping
6-9-15 Say passed quietly at 4.45 our guns shelled working party in BOIS FRANCAIS at 5.40 Germans exploded a mine on left of us in MIDDLESEX line at 6.30 this was followed by bush fire on both sides from rifles and machine guns 8.30pm Our guns also firing some rounds. remainder of night peaceful
7-9-15 10.50am Germans fired two rounds of HE which fell to the S of BONTÉ REDOUBT. Our guns replied with three rounds of shell. Weather fine and warm. Casualties 3 wounded 10pm Royal Fusiliers blew up a mine. This was followed by rapid fire and machine gun fire. R.Fusiliers occupied lip of crater. Our casualties one killed one wounded
8-9-15 8am Work with every available man on SOUTH AVENUE communicating trench 4.15am 4pm-7pm our guns fired two shells on BOIS FRANCAIS. Germans replied with about 40 shells which caused no visible damage. Wire reported weak in front 91 & 92 steps are being taken to repair this; our patrols reported enemy's snipers in trench 486. these caused some trouble until our guns fired 5 rds which silenced sniping from this direction.
9-9-15 11pm Organised machine gun fire; at 8.30 our guns shelled crater in Fusiliers' lines. Parapet blown down & 10 casualties reported. At 11pm Germans exploded mine opposite R.Fusiliers 4.30pm Intermittent shelling all day. Enemy searched for our M.Guns behind trenches 93 & 94.
10-9-15 4.15am Heavy transport heard on MAMETZ-FRICOURT road. This shelled by our M.Guns. RONDALL AVENUE and ground in rear of trenches 93-94 shelled by enemy. German spy reported to be in trenches masquerading as an Artillery Officer. Train heard in direction of Fricourt. German flares are not now igniting. Red & green flares from behind FRICOURT are being used for enemy artillery guidance. 10am 22 Mortar Batty shells fired at trenches 87-88. One man of c Coy wounded 10.45 Trench mortar fire ceases. 4.30pm Sounds of work heard in No.3 listening post right of sector D2. Mining Expert sent to confirm this. M.Guns detected in long white house extreme edge of FRICOURT. Working party reported in German first line trench just S of FRICOURT. Trench Mortar fired 22 shots into centre section one man killed. Mortar believed to be situated due N 9 in 493 as ground is freshly broken here and a flash was seen at the same spot last night. Intermittent shelling
11-9-15 4am Morning Tactical Report. Intermittent shelling by Artillery between 5pm and 7pm. Working party reported at pt.491 not heard after 1am. A Dud shell fired by our guns at 10pm. Enemy observed in long grass opposite 93 trench. Fired at. Line reported held more strongly owing to considerable number more rifle flashes. Enemy's M.Guns located at corner of sq. trench due E of 3 in 493. Tunnel reported being dug from left to right of Aeroplane Trench not yet confirmed No.2 & 3 listening report sounds of mining at 2am. Train heard crossing a viaduct at 7.55 it then stopped. Trench 87 reports sound of dull thumps at regular intervals. German casualty whistle heard at 2.25 and 2.50am. Our officer Commdg D Coy reports great coolness of signallers who mended their wire in three places while under shell fire
12-9-15 4.15am Morning Tactical Report Sound of heavy transport on CONTALMAISON-FRICOURT Road at 9.45. Our guns were informed. Sound of train heard as usual at 9.45pm behind FRICOURT. Patrols sent out in front of trenches and on our right & left; return having nothing to report. Wire mended in front of trenches 91-92 & 93. Patrol at 6.45 reports new posts of enemy in junction of roads in front of trench 90. This was successfully bombed with rifle grenades much to the annoyance of the enemy who opened a hot fire without doing any damage. On our right enemy considerably quieter. This change suggests new regiment. Large explosion heard some distance on our right front between 3 & 3.30pm. Several rounds by big guns fired in same direction. 4.15pm Evening Tactical Report New German communication trench observed N of church at FRICOURT. Aeroplane activity considerable. Intermittent Artillery firing. Time fuses used by Mortar Battery the day before yesterday are being forwarded for your inspection. Situation unchanged.
13-9-15 4am Morning Tactical Report Mine exploded on right of Northants. Rapid fire opened on both sides. This was followed by Artillery fire from the enemy which was as usual preceded by green lights. Situation now quiet. One Coy of King's Own in trenches for instruction by platoons. Casualties 2 wounded. 4.15pm Evening Tactical Report Enemy trench mortar located in Willow Bed at 6 of 486 from listening post in trench 88 digging was heard surmised that they are continuing towards trench 487. Aeroplane reconnaissance by our aircraft. Situation otherwise unchanged.
14-9-15 4.15pm A shell exploded in rear of trench 88 this evening. A strong smell of pepper and snuff was experienced for about 25 mins. A German working party was shelled by our guns at 9.15pm. Three white flags have been observed in German second line between BAZENTIN-LE-PETIT & BAZENTIN-LE-GRAND. No apparent reason for these bombs thrown from Willow Bed at 6 of 486 after pointing out shot personally to Artillery C.O. C Coy reported no further action from the shot. German Gun reported in trees W. of 2nd line trenches FRICOURT 3.25pm Situation calm. Intermittent Artillery Fire at 6.10am. A man was observed at pt 495 in the open passing between two German trenches. He appeared to be dressed in civilian clothes, without rifle or equipment/ An N.C.O. firing front 92 trench hit a sniper at pt 486. casualty whistle blown and commotion caused. A man was observed firing near a cart 50 metres N of 486. Looked like a boy of 16 dressed in khaki.
15-9-15 3.20am Morning Tactical Report Trenches 87, 87, 93 & 94 heavily shelled by aerial torpedoes at 7.30pm 40 yds of communication trench & 30 yds of fire trench levelled by bombardment. Our patrol from 93 trench got right up to enemy's trip wire. Voices heard. Patrol reported rifles fired at regular intervals, are of an opinion that all rifles are fixed at regular intervals down the trench and are fixed [fired?] by anyone passing. Trenches & parapet during the night. Other patrols sent out during the night passed along enemy's front at about 60 yds away & report nothing heard. They are of opinion that line is very lightly held. they bear out opinion of first patrol re rotation & measure of enemy's rifle fire. Two shells fired during the bombardment gave out a very pungent smoke like phosphorus but had no evil effect as men passed through the fumes. 3.50pm Evening Tactical Report Artillery exchanged shots at 12.30 noon some grenades were fired at 6th Northants at about 12.30 noon. Situation otherwise unchanged. 4.30pm Ref D701 E.T.Report. Supplementary information herewith. During the last half hour a noise like the beat of an engine heard very plainly by numbers of men. The engine has half second beats & can be heard quite plainly even back at C Coy's Hd.Qrs. believe opposite to trench 89 & 88.
16-9-15 3.55am Morning Tactical Report Enemy fired two shells into BONTÉ REDOUBT at 7.30pm. These shells were amalgamated with phosphorous & a sample was forwarded to you last night. A Red rocket was sent up from FRICOURT at 9.15 pm a cart was seen over FRICOURT at 9.30pm to be ablaze in front of trench 92 this was probably due to a flare. At 7.30pm enemy shelled our fire trenches with Whiz Bangs. No damage was done. At 10.45pm a 2nd Red light was seen over FRICOURT. At 10.30pm a mine was exploded, this was followed by a little rapid fire from the enemy. Our guns replied to the above with a salvo of shrapnel & H. Explosive a patrol returned at 1.30 reported they had got right up to the German lines & heard voices & sound of rifles being loaded. Are of opinion trench in front of FRICOURT strongly held. Saw no enemy trip wire or patrols. Report German M. Gun in trench 92. Patrol reports flares are sent up from trenches behind a front trench. My right Coy report unusual quietness of enemy & report line very held [very lightly held?]. No sniping from this part of line & only occasional M.G. Fire. Patrols still out further information will be obtained later. 3pm Evening Tactical Report Situation very quiet. Desultory artillery fire on both sides 3 out of 5 of our H. Explosive shells fired at 12 noon to-day were "DUDS". Patrol which went out early this morning got within 30 yards of Aeroplane Sap but heard nothing.
17-9-15 3.15am A Coy King's Own left trenches at about 10.30pm. My O.C. right sector reports enemy shelled communication trenches in rear of D1 at 6.45. He is of an opinion that enemy heard relief taking place. Our artillery replied with shrapnel 3 of which failed to explode. Red lights were seen at 7.17pm & 7.25pm. Apparently one Red light means clear the fire trench & a double Red light a signal for artillery to commence fire. Patrols from 86 trench got within 30 yds of German trench report very little sound from enemy's trench. Further reported that they thought that sap opposite trench 84 & 85 was unoccupied and had not been increased 3pm Evening Tactical Report Situation very quiet. Sniper located by Observer in white in FRICOURT. 3 men observed working in new German trench N of FRICOURT. Patrols report only one or two men in German line in front of 9-291 trenches
18-9-15 2.55am Morning Tactical Report Explosion of German Mine at 9pm opposite TAMBOUR. More activity than usual from German trenches. Very few flares. Pumping heard from direction of FRICOURT at 5.15pm. Our guns fired on FRICOURT. A man was seen to run into a house. Transport heard behind German lines at 10.0pm. A sniper was located about 100yds from German lines shortly afterwards a shout was heard followed by a whistle probably casualty whistle. More firing from enemy trenches than usual. Reports from patrols will follow when they return. 18-9-15 3.0pm Evening Tactical Report Considerable aeroplane activity. Intermittent artillery fire from both sides. German working party seen in 2nd line opposite trench 88. Dispersed by our fire. Situation unchanged.
19-9-15 2.50am Morning Tactical Report Usual desultory artillery fire from 5.45pm. Rapid fire opened on TAMBOUR at 6.45pm at about same time enemy fired four small rifle grenades from trench in front of FRICOURT o to trench 91. Damage nil we replied by rifle fire. Enemy work in two reliefs one of which snipe more & are more active than the other. Bomb officer reports great visibility of Brock lighter situation otherwise unchanged. A Red flash away on the left at 12.15am. Cause not known. 19-9-15 2.40pm Evening Tactical Report Enemy exploded a small mine opposite 91 trench at 3.45am. No sequel. Enemy searched for our Machine Guns with artillery & although dropping a shell right on to one emplacement did no damage as the gun had been previously changed to another. we continue to harass them with this gun in WILLOW AVENUE. Aeroplane trench shelled by our Artillery this morning. Situation otherwise quiet.
20-9-15 3.30am Morning Tactical Report German seen in trench N of point 486 young about 19 wearing grey forage cap & uniform at 6.45 enemy fired 4 bombs at 91 trench. Our guns replied. 8pm sound of transport heard on our left. Also humming noise like a Zeppelin. enemy bombed our trenches with rifle grenades at 10.25pm. We replied with bombs from catapult. Situation unchanged. Mr.Hine wounded slightly while out on patrol duty. Probably only be away two or three days 20-9-15 3.0pm Evening Tactical Report Allied aeroplane shelled by enemy over FRICOURT at 8.0am this morning. Four rifle grenades were fired into a house behind 87 trench. Situation otherwise quiet.
21-9-15 3am Night quiet on the whole. Successful bombardment of AEROPLANE trench yesterday evening by our guns. Germans replied with 8 whiz bangs which did no damage. A German in a white coat was seen moving about in FRICOURT. Careful watch has been kept on point where railway cutting joins road passing through 87/88 trenches. At 8pm flames were seen at this point. Fire was opened & a M.Gun replied. Rapid [fire] was then given by us & this spot has been searched also by mine bombs. No further flashes have been seen from this point but a large bomb exploded about 50 yards from the centre of trench 88. Patrol from 93 trench report firing only from two places on a front of 200 yards. Patrol reached enemy trip wire. Firing reported to be done from holes level with ground and not from over the parapet or through loopholes. A direct hit was scored on enemy's trench by our mortar from 91 trench at 6pm. Alertness & co-operation of our Artillery specially mentioned by firing line. The M.Gun which is thought to fire when the enemy is standing to is now considered to be someone hitting on a box, but this is still uncertain Méaulte 21-9-15 6.34pm Regt relieved by Middlesex & returns to MEAULTE and is billeted there total casualties up to date OR 10 killed, 7 wounded, 1 Officer wounded. Regt congratulated by G.O.C. 54th Bde whose A.P.8 remarks are attached [not attached]. 1 Coy (B) at BÉCORDEL. 1 Coy. (C) at Pt.107.
22-9-15 Day spent in cleaning up of billets.
23-9-15 Attack Practice in the evening towards MORLANCOUR.
24-9-15 C Coy returned from Pt.107. Weather wet, advanced guard scheme in the evening towards Morlancourt.
25-9-15 A Coy relieved N.Hants at 107. Field manoeuvres in the evening. Weather wet.
26-9-15 10am Church parade 12pm Conference at noon for all Officers
27-9-15 Weather very wet
28-9-15 Weather very wet, route march & parade under Company Arrangements.
29-9-15 Whole Battn marched by Coys to VILLE SUR ANCRE for hot baths.
30-9-15 Manoeuvre parade on Morlancourt Rd, attack scheme. Weather cold[?] and indifferent
WAR DIARY FOR OCTOBER 1915
1-10-15 Weather fine Parades under Coy arrangements
2-10-15 Weather fine. Instruction in wire entanglements by coys in the morning.
3-10-15 Church parade. Weather fine.
4-10-15 Weather dull and showery, cold. Conference of 18th Div. at 4pm. 5-10-15 Battalion relieved 12th Middlesex in Sector D2 trenches. Relief orders and sketch map attached herewith marked [not included]
5-10-15 3.0pm Evening Tactical Report Situation unchanged
6-10-15 2.45am Morning Tactical Report Enemy shelled trenches 85 with whiz bangs at 5.15pm. Our guns replied on FRICOURT trenches. At 4pm evening fired 5 large trench mortars which filled part of Trench 88. Our guns replied with shrapnel and HE At 4.45pm enemy commenced bombardment with aerial torpedoes 40 of which were fired on trenches 87-90. Considerable damage and havoc was done. This is now being cleared. Our guns fired and scored hits on spot where these shells were thought to come i.e. just N of E in CIMRE at pt.06. At 11.15pm the enemy sent a shell in direction of MÉAULTE. Wind light E to NE. Night very foggy. 6-10-15 2.34pm Enemy fired four shells on SOUTH AVENUE as Oxford & Bucks were relieving. The shells which fell on C Company last night are reported to be 6in shells. Two of these were sent over at 2pm. They were fired from the direction of La Boiselle. Arrangements are now being made to shell these guns from Sector D3 as shrapnel is no use against them.
7-10-15 2.15am Morning Tactical Report Wind NE. Centre section of D2 heavily bombarded with aerial torpedoes. Bombardment started at about 3.0pm and continued at irregular intervals until 6pm. Some delay was caused in getting into communication with the heavy artillery owing to the wire to the Howitzer Batty being broken. At about 6pm our guns fired eight heavy shells and after a short interval several more. This stopped the bombardment. Nearly all shells fell in rear of 88 trench near well. One shell fell on 92 trench at 6.15pm. Considerable damage has been done in rear of trenches 87-88. Patrols report centre sap of aeroplane trench occupied and covered with wire. The road with the centre in front of this sap does not contain snipers holes in the bank as supposed. left sap unoccupied. Red lights observed over FRICOURT at 6.50pm and 7.50pm and green light at 8.35pm. Capt. King arrived at 8.30pm and is now superintending evacuation of buried men. Estimated casualties Oxford & Bucks 6 killed, 20 wounded, Bedfords 7 wounded. Mortar located pt.73 and at pt.50 NE of 73 in an angle of trench. Oxford & Bucks attached for instruction as per attached schedule AP10 [not attached] 7-10-15 2.45pm Evening Tactical Report Several High Explosive shells from enemy fell to left of Estaminets. Two aerial torpedoes exploded at 2.25pm near left sector Hdqrs immediate counter strafe by our Heavy Batty. It would appear that enemy's object is to raise [sic - raze] all buildings. Staff Captain of 18th Div is now down in the trenches. Wind NW.
8-10-15 2.15am Morning Tactical Report Enemy again threw aerial torpedoes on our centre sector starting at 2.25pm. Heavy Batty at once replied and firing ceased at 10pm. A working party on pt.43 was twice caught by our guns. It is thought that our Heavy batty did serious damage at this point. As the enemy were persistent with their working parties [they] were silenced by our howitzers. Wind ESE 8-10-15 2.20pm Evening Tactical Report Twenty rifle grenades fired into BOIS FRANCAIS at 11am from heap of sandbags at top end of middle sap in Aeroplane Trench. This was at once counter strafed by our guns. Enemy working party reported at point where our heavy shells exploded last night. They were seen to be carrying away felled wood to their trenches. These were fired on by our shrapnel. This party was dispersed three times by D82. Wind E. Patrol this morning in front of centre sector proceeded down Railway Cutting as far as road F9A68 and reported no sign of enemy.
9-10-15 2.15am Morning Tactical Report At 7.30pm German working party reported at point 73 our shrapnel & HE Guns opened fire noise of tools being hastily dropped was then heard. Transport heard E of FRICOURT 8.15pm. German sniper was shot opposite sector right yesterday while endeavouring to signal the direction of our shots. Patrols sent out report no hostile patrols encountered. Mine exploded at 6.30pm in BOIS ALLEMAND followed by short burst of rapid fire and grenades our guns fired a section salvo as counter strafe to this - wind dead calm now. Occasional easterly gusts. 9-10-15 2.15pm Evening Tactical Report Observatory report Germans seen carrying timber in aeroplane trench. A bright light was shown on road N of FRICOURT at 8pm last night at the same time German transport was heard. A German in blue uniform was seen in aeroplane trench at 11.30am. Wind North East.
10-10-15 2.15am Morning Tactical Report Considerable improvement noticed in enemy's shooting. At 9.50 enemy fired on ALBERT we at once counter strafed on FRICOURT. Observers and sentries reported two masked snipers east of aeroplane trench. These kept putting up dummies and firing from behind and between them. the dummies and snipers were dressed the same and could be easily seen through glasses. After 3 hours we scored a hit and the enemy ceased. Red flare sent up from FRICOURT at 9pm in an easterly direction. Enemy flares appeared to have increased in range. Wind NE increasing in strength. 10-10-15 2.30pm Evening Tactical Report Patrols report enemy wire opposite FRICOURT in hollow damaged in places. Working party noticed in trench 73. This was continually fired at by our Machine Guns. Dummies are being used to draw fire in enemy's line. Sounds of heavy heard in FRICOURT. Column of smoke went up from behind Hill (S) of Aeroplane Trench at 7am.Wind SE.
11-10-15 2.15am Morning Tactical Report Two rifle grenades fell behind well in centre of sector last night. These are reported to have been fired from pt.73 from the same spot as from where the aerial torpedoes came from. Large mound of earth reported in the trees at F3C93. A mine exploded in TAMBOUR at about 6.15pm. This was followed by a short burst of rapid fire from the enemy. Sound of orders shouted and movement of transport was heard in FRICOURT last night. Sound of music believed to be a band was also heard. 11-10-15 2.30pm Evening Tactical Report Patrols recovered flag put out by 12th Middx. Another patrol was hit in front of trench 88 apparently in [sic] from a MG about pt.75. Two Machine Guns located at F9B71 and F9B53. Two trench mortars were fired into D1 at 12.20 from trees at SW corner of FRICOURT not absolutely certain about it being at pt.73. A large column of smoke was seen in German trench at F9C54 at 6.45am. Wind ENE
12-10-15 2.15am Morning Tactical Report The trench mortar used against the Fusiliers yesterday afternoon was reported on as follows. It was firing from a range of about 700. The shells could be distinctly seen in the air. The shells were exploded by the time fuse as two burst in mid air while others buried themselves some time before exploding. position located is F9B17. After the guns had searched this spot no more firing was experienced from the enemy's mortar. At 3.15 several rifle grenades were thrown on to the well in the rear of trench 87-88 and also several whiz bangs one of which fell very near Coy hdqrs. Our guns retaliated. Between 6 and 8pm two large search lights were seen. These were thought to be operated on from behind the BOIS DE MAMETZ. AT 8.55pm a rocket was sent up from LA BOISSELLE which burst into many Very lights. This was followed by flares on both sides. Patrols sent by left sector report that they got quite close to the German lines. Fire reported to be only coming from 3 positions in a front of 300yds. Wind East. Yesterday there was a conference a Bde Hqrs Major Jones appointed CO BÉCORDEL garrison on the 9th October. Lt. Bull [Wilfred Herbert BULL] took over command of B Coy 12-10-15 2.30pm Evening Tactical Report Fresh earth has been thrown up 200yds east of communication trench behind AEROPLANE TRENCH. Spot is being watched. A German has been seen running along their parapet for last three mornings for about 50yds. A white flag was seen at German trench at 7pm. Wind SSE SSW
13-10-15 2.15am Morning Tactical Report Enemy fired 20 heavy trench howitzers at 2.30pm which fell around railway station and estaminet in left section of D2. Our guns replied with Lyddite and shrapnel. At 4.30pm the bombardment started again over 16 shells falling in the same place. Communication trenches round the estaminet were knocked in otherwise no damage was done. Parapet intact. Two trench howitzers fired into their position, is positively reported to be F3C8½/7. At 4pm German sniper was shot at F9B6/2 he was wearing a kind of brown canvas helmet with eye holes. Very heavy bombardment has been heard since 2pm on our left. Patrols reported all quiet and encountered no enemy patrols. We fired a bomb into German lines from trench 94 with some success. Wind very slight NNE. 13-10-15 2.15pm Evening Tactical Report Further inspection shows that the spots from which the trench mortars were fired are as stated in my report of yesterday. The emplacement appears to be covered by grass screens. Red glow seen in the sky last night thought to be a burning village about 15 miles north. 4 small HE shells were sent over the estaminet at 10am. Wind SSE.
14-10-15 2.15am Morning Tactical Report A few rifle grenades were sent over trench 88 at 4.20pm and fell away [in] the ruins. At 5pm enemy again started bombardment with trench torpedoes. A portion of the parapet was destroyed and communication trenches blocked in sections 91. These have now been repaired. We successfully bombed German trenches S of the TAMBOUR with catapults. Our guns replied to the torpedo bombardment. One shell appeared to hit direct on emplacements to prevent [fire?] but ricocheted this also happened in the case of two others which apparently hit the same spot. Can it be that the Germans dig a lot of loose earth round their emplacements to prevent shells from bursting? The emplacements were three reported yesterday viz F3C87, F3C8½7. This information is positive. Smoke caused by the discharge of torpedoes was clearly seen from Btn. HQ and again located to these spots. A large German working party was reported at SW corner house of FRICOURT at 9.8pm and again at 10.15pm and 1am. On each occasion our artillery fired a salvo of shrapnel and a great commotion and sounds of tools being dropped was heard. Up to this time the party have not returned. A French bullet was fired into our lines today from the enemy. A mine exploded in BOIS FRANCAIS at 5.20pm. No damage reported Méaulte
15-10-15 Battn relieved by 12 Middx in accordance with AP [Attached Plan - not attached] rest of day spent in cleaning up of billets
16-10-15 Parades on this day were, Bomb Drill and throwing, running & physical exercises. Afternoon spent in carrying out a practice alarm. weather moderate.
17-10-15 Church parade. Weather raw. Major Jones [Percy Vincent JONES] left for England.
18-10-15 Running parade at 6.30am. A Bomb attack was carried out by A & B Coys in the morning. Afternoon parades as on work programme. Weather fine.
19-10-15 Battalion was bathed in the morning. Bombing Drill was carried out at other times. In the afternoon a bomb attack was carried out. Weather fine.
20-10-15 Running drill at 6.30am. Bombing Drill was carried on during the day. Lt.Lacey [Walter Graham LACEY] appointed Bde M.G.Officer until further orders.
21-10-15 Parades as usual today. Weather still fine.
22-10-15 Running drill & physical exercise at 6.30am. Rest of day spent in Bomb Drill & Bomb Throwing. Weather fine warmer than usual.
23-10-15 Usual programme of work for this day, with Bombing chief parades. Weather fine.
24-10-15 Church Parade. Weather moderate. Pte.Waterton [19171 S. WATERTON] left on leave for England.
25-10-15 Battalion relieved 12th Middx in D2. Relief completed 10am. Weather Very Wet. 2/Lt.Baden [Reginald BADEN] and Sgt.Drummer left on leave to England. Trenches D2 25-10-15 2.15pm Hammering heard at F3D11. Observation is being kept on this point. Wind strong SE.
26-10-15 2.15am 8 Smoke Rockets fired from direction of FRICOURT fell near SOUTH AVENUE at 3.30pm. These were believed to be an Artillery Test as Guns fired directly afterwards. Other reports state these rockets came from our lines. Working party opposite trench S of pt.73 dispersed by Grenade & M.G.fire. Our 6" Batty fired 12 shots between 5 & 6pm into enemy's trenches behind BOIS ALLEMAND. Cat & dog seen by sentry in trench 85 going towards BOIS FRANCAIS, coming from German lines. Wind easterly. 26-10-15 2.0pm Considerable artillery activity on both sides this morning. Working party shelled in cemetery street we retaliated on German trenches. Notice boards have been put out by the enemy opposite 88 trenches. Two sections of enemy left trench at F4G03 they were dressed in grey and dirty drill. Wagon and cyclist seen on FRICOURT-MAMETZ road. Fired on by our Guns. Smoke observed from trench at F30C515. Flash and smoke from heavy Gun was noticed coming from a ravine near large tree in open ground 1000yds NW of MAMETZ. Reported to F.O.O.
27-10-15 2am During afternoon of 26th considerable artillery activity. AT 5.40pm two heavy trench mortars were fired in direction of D1. At 12.15 midnight enemy sent over a shell in direction of MÉAULTE we replied with two heavy shells. These burst at F3C82 with good effect. Trench mortars located at F9D88 but not absolutely certain. Enemy Machine Guns rather more active than usual. Very little rifle fire. Lt. & Qrs.Mr.F.Corner [Frank CORNER, MC] & Lt.Lloyd [Tom Edmund LLOYD] left for leave. 27-10-15 3pm Wind NNW. Artillery activity on both sides between 10.20am and 12 noon. Situation otherwise unchanged.
28-10-15 2.15am At 3.20pm small trench mortar bombs from F3C6552 fell on D2A and C our guns replied on FRICOURT. Between 3 & 4pm our Guns were busy registering an enemy's batty at X29A several shots were also fired at communication trench X27. At 4.25pm our guns successfully caught a party of enemy at F4b30. Enemy's snipers not nearly sp active. there is a peculiar absence of rifle fire. In spite of repeated shelling and fire from our Guns there appears to be still considerable activity in the wood SE of FRICOURT. Wind NNW. 28-10-15 2.15pm Evening Tactical Report Artillery activity between 10.30am and 12.30 noon and enemy fired small trench mortar bombs at 11am on trench 84 F9D57 and several at F9D46. Our artillery retaliated. Wind SW.
29-10-15 2am Morning Tactical Report At 8pm enemy fired rifle grenades and trench mortars at F9D6570. Our Guns retaliated. Frequent flares sent up from Aeroplane trench and trench 65 traversed by Machine Gun from FRICOURT. At 9pm our guns fired 6 rounds into BOIS ALLEMAND. Sentry reports sound of gong from enemy trenches directly this ceased. Rifle fire from F3C68513 is directed straight to the front and not to the flanks as was the former case. Different troops less highly trained are believed to be in front as the rifle fire is exceedingly scarce, the enemy only firing with mortars and rifle grenades. 29-10-15 2.35pm Evening Tactical Report Mine exploded at F3C37 at 6.30am. Enemy sent over Grenades and mortars into the left of our sector at 8.30am. Our Guns retaliated with H.E. on F3C7545 and the enemy ceased offensive action. Working parties of enemy at F4b30 and X21d44 fired on by our artillery. Trench mortars were fired from F3C7575 and F3b19. Wind SW
30-10-15 2am Morning Tactical Report German working parties were heard at F9B16 and F3C83, F9B1568 and at F9B55. These were fired on by our guns it is believed with some effect. Rather more rifle fire tonight. Enemy fired rifle grenades and shrapnel over left of trench 88F9A56. Our Guns retaliated on FRICOURT and German trenches opposite this spot. There was considerable artillery activity on both sides during yesterday afternoon. Working party caught by our rapid fire at 7pm at point F3C70. Wind SE. 30-10-15 2.45pm Evening Tactical Report Artillery activity on both sides 8am to 9am. Trench Mortars & Rifle Grenades were fired on Trench 91. Our artillery at once retaliated and enemy ceased hostilities. 9.50am working party reported F9a9508. Wind SW slight. Our artillery fired on working party.
31-10-15 2am Morning Tactical Report Between 1pm & 4.30pm considerable artillery activity on both sides . Our snipers report they shot a man at F3C83. Rifle grenades were fired from F3C8005 & F9H by enemy. Working Parties fired on at F9B52 & F2C80. 31-10-15 2pm Evening Tactical Report 3 aircraft passed over our lines at 8am going East. They were fired at by Enemy Machine Gun from pt.80. Enemy are making an emplacement at F3C7530. Enemy Machine Gun fired last night from pt.80.
WAR DIARY FOR NOVEMBER 1915
1-11-15 2.15am Morning Tactical Report Working party mending wire was reported between F9B18 and F9A9598 at 8pm. This was dispersed by our Guns. At 2pm bomb fell near railway bridge and did some damage. Our Guns replied. Much activity at pt.F3C73 this is probably used for observing in day and sniping. Occasional bombing and artillery fire (Lts.W.H.Bull [Wilfred Herbert BULL], L.H.Keep [Leslie Howard KEEP, DSO] & F.W.Smith [F.W. SMITH, DSO, DCM] and 2/Lt.Benson [Ernest Wallace BENSON] left for leave. 1-11-15 2.55pm 10.18am a mine was exploded in the BOIS FRANCAIS and another in the TAMBOUR at 3.25am. Artillery activity on the part of the enemy. Shells falling from F9C74. Enemy Machine Gun located at F3C5058 almost complete absence of rifle and Machine Gun fire. Wind SSE.
2-11-15 2.15am Morning Tactical Report At 5.30pm enemy fired heavy trench mortars from F3C7575 on to the left of our sector. We retaliated by blowing down their parapet with 6" shells & 18 pounders. At 7.30pm and 9.30pm enemy again sent over trench mortars but we replied in the same way with heavy artillery and they have now ceased. A M.Gun has been laid on the Gap in their parapet. Enemy M.Gun fired from F3C81 traversing the front of our sector. Earth has been thrown up at F9B3287. Sentry reports hearing whistle directly after our heavy guns had fired tonight (2/Lt.Baden [Reginald BADEN] & Sgt.Drummer returned from leave). 2-11-15 2.35pm Artillery Tested last night, time taken 3 mins. Short burst of enemy M.Gun fire believed to come from F9B71. Wind NNW. Situation otherwise quiet.
3-11-15 1.30am Our Guns registered with new ammunition yesterday at 3pm and enemy replied with some shrapnel on Railway Avenue. Sentry reports sound of mining at F9A84 but this has not yet been confirmed. Wind NW. 3-11-15 2.35pm Evening Tactical Report Artillery activity on both sides, otherwise situation quite quiet. Wind NW.
4-11-15 2.15am Morning Tactical Report Enemy transport heard at 8.45pm behind FRICOURT on CONTALMAISON Road. Our own transport distinctly heard at 7.15pm. This was very loud. 10pm sound of train E of FRICOURT. Enemy's transport appeared normal. Rather more rifle fire last night. Hitherto there has been a marked absence of the same. At 11.45 enemy sent three large shells into MÉAULTE. Working party reported at F3C5055. This was fired on by our Machine Guns. A party of 30 was seen to pass the Gap at F4B30 this afternoon. Lt.& Qr.Mr.F.Corner [Frank CORNER, MC] & Lt.Lloyd [Tom Edmund LLOYD] returned from leave. 4-11-15 2.30pm Evening Tactical Report Working party was heard at pt.73 at 9am this was shelled by our Howitzers and field guns. Trench Mortar reported to be firing from F3173 at 12 noon our guns retaliated. grenades were fired at the same time from F3C8602 just east of FRICOURT-CONTALMAISON Rd. Wind NE.
5-11-15 2am Morning Tactical Report At 6.55pm a red rocket which burst into 4 stars was sent up by enemy. This was immediately answered by a big German Gun from near BOIS ALLEMAND. Machine Gun active fired several times on BONTÉ REDOUBT. Sentries report hearing enemy transport at 7.50pm and 7.00pm and our own transport at midnight. Grenades reported to be fired from F3C8602 are now said to be fired from F3C81. Lt.Prior of Mining Coy investigated sounds heard at F9A84 he listened from two points and attributes noises heard to rats or to relief of sentries he intends to make doubly certain tomorrow when he will listen again. 5-11-15 2.40pm Evening Tactical Report Motor lorry heard behind enemy's lines going East from FRICOURT at 4.35pm [am?]. Artillery test on trench 91 2.30am took 7 mins. Enemy's artillery fired 3 shells in rear of 86 trench at 11.50am. Our artillery retaliated on pt.73 and F3C94. 12-18 noon our artillery retaliated on enemy's trenches opposite TAMBOUR where they had been firing whizbangs. WIND E.
6-11-15 2am Morning Tactical Report Enemies' transport heard in FRICOURT and sounds of movement in front trenches of enemy at 7.15pm. A heap of earth has been thrown up at F4C56 and a rectangular hole has been observed in the road bank at F3C7725. At 3.35pm enemy fired 4 rifle grenades from F3C81 on to F9A67. A train was heard near Mametz at 6-5pm and another in FRICOURT at 8pm. Wind NE Méaulte 6-11-15 6.10am Battn was relieved by 12th Middx Regt in D2. Relief complete 10am. Rest of day spent in cleaning up of billets etc. Weather fine, crisp.
7-11-15 Church Parade. Weather fine.
8-11-15 The Battn was bathed today. Afterwards bombing practices were carried out. weather fine.
9-11-15 Usual fatigues were carried out today. All other available men bombing parades. Running drill 7-7.30am. Weather moderate.
10-11-15 Fatigues and parades as usual today. Weather wet. Capt.W.H.Bull [Wilfred Herbert BULL], Lts.E.W.Benson [Ernest Wallace BENSON] & L.H.Keep [Leslie Howard KEEP, DSO] & 2/Lt.F.W.Smith [F.W. SMITH, DSO, DCM] returned from leave on the evening of the 9th.
11-11-15 Parades and fatigues as usual. Weather fine. Capt.& Adj.P.R.Meautys [Paul Reginald MEAUTYS], Capt.E.Clegg [Ernest CLEGG] & Capt.H.R.Ramsbotham [Herwald RAMSBOTHAM, OBE, MC] left for leave
12-11-15 Battn with Transport was inspected by GOC 54th Inf Bde at DERNANCOURT 10.30am today. Weather wet but rain stopped in time for the inspection. In the afternoon bombing drill was carried out.
13-11-15 Usual fatigues & parades today. Weather fair. Trenches D2
14-11-15 Btn relieved by 12 Middx in Sector D2. Relief complete 10am. 2.45pm Evening Tactical Report Front line trenches shelled at intervals by whiz-bangs & light HE. Four of the former were fired during relief at trench 87, no damage done. Trenches 84 & 86 were shelled at 11.30am, the former apparently from a Batty behind FRICOURT & the latter from a Batty N of FRICOURT. Our Artillery retaliated. Wind WNW light. We relieved 12th Middx at 10am.
15-11-15 1.50am At 8.30pm last night two coloured lights one red and one green were observed behind German trenches & fired in a backward direction. Night exceptionally quiet. Patrols sent out, but nothing to report.
[No more November 1915 War Diary is available]
WAR DIARY FOR DECEMBER 1915
Trenches D1 1-12-15 Nothing to report. Night extremely quiet. Wind SW.
2-12-15 We exploded a mine at C2 at 3.15 effect not yet known. At 8pm enemy exploded a mine in C/2 27 Norfolks reported buried in a sap. Between 7 and 9.45 enemy fired whiz-bangs which fell in the rear of Rue Albert. Our guns replied. Artillery test on Trench 82 took 1 minute and very little rifle fire. A Bomb exploded in front of 77 trench F - at 8.45pm. Our Artillery retaliated on enemies' lines. The mine at 8pm was followed by Trench Mortars to which our guns replied. Wind SE 2-12-15 2.15pm E.T.R. Enemy fired 6 Rifle grenades from F.10.C35b5. We replied with rifle grenades. At 12 noon enemy shelled Rue Albert with whiz-bangs, we retaliated with 2 rounds of Battery fire after which active hostilities ceased. Water seen thrown out of trenches at F10.C55 and fresh chalk thrown up at F10C3066. Signalling in Morse was reported from direction of Bray and answered from high ground E of Fricourt. Weather Wet.
3-12-15 2am M.T.R. Between 7 & 9pm enemy sent over several whiz-bangs which fell behind H.Q. our guns retaliated on Bois Allemand each time. A machine gun was observed to fire from F9D8570. It is noticed that enemy's flares are almost all sent up from 2nd line. Motor heard at work opposite 76 trench possibly a pump. Night very wet and trenches falling in. Every effort is being made to clean them. Wind S-SW. Mine expected to go off opposite 82 trench. 3-12-15 1.30pm E.T.R. Enemy working party dispersed with bombs from catapults opposite trench 82 early this morning. We accounted for one of the enemy at F9D85.75 he was shot by our sentry. This was confirmed by other sentries. Artillery test on trench 82 took 1 minute. Enemy bombed trench 77 at 2.15pm. We replied with artillery fire and trench mortars. 12.1pm General Maxse inspected D/1 Sector with Adjutant. Favourable report on appearance of men. 3-12-15 6.30 to 6.40pm Enemy played along parapets with machine gun 6.30 - 9pm Enemy sent over on R.3 some 10 to 12 whiz-bangs at least 8 of which failed to explode
4-12-15 2am M.T.R. Enemy fired several rifle grenades into trench 78 during afternoon causing 4 casualties. Artillery 18 pounders retaliated. About 3.30pm enemy working party reported opposite trench 82 who were immediately bombed with catapults. Whistles were heard which would indicate casualties on their side. About 5pm enemy fired a small camouflet opposite trench 80 F9D75.70 doing no damage to our trenches. No enemy activity during night. Wind Fresh NW. weather misty & wet. 4-12-15 2.20pm E.T.R. Increased activity in enemy's snipers. 1 man of ours killed at 8.30am. Enemy sniper located at F9D75.72. We bombed this spot & enemy retaliated with whiz-bangs. A mine exploded at 12 noon apparently on our right. Wind S.W. Weather Wet & changeable.
5-12-15 2am M.T.R. Afternoon & night very quiet with exception of desultory whiz-bangs fired most of which failed to explode. Our artillery retaliated on each occasion. Particularly no rifle fire. Wind SW. Dull & Wet. 5-12-15 E.T.R. Enemy sent over several rifle grenades this morning. We retaliated with trench mortars, catapults and artillery. Quiet since 12.30 noon. Wind slight S.W.
6-12-15 2am M.T.R. At 3pm artillery was tested with rockets at the same time the forward trench joined in the aggression & sent over 12 bombs from the West Gun and 6 rifle grenades. A direct hit was scored with the West Gun on an enemy sniper post at F10C06. Result not known. Between 7 & 9pm enemy sent over a few whiz-bangs which were all duds & fell behind our trenches. We retaliated shot for shot. Enemy machine gun twice traversed our trenches tonight. Enemy rifle fire rather more active. An attack was organized on the enemies' sap where smoke was seen yesterday, this attack is now in progress and a detailed report will be sent later. Wind S.W. Weather Rough & Wet. 6-12-15 2pm E.T.R. At 11am enemy bombed 78 trench. Our artillery replied. Otherwise quiet
7-12-15 2.5am M.T.R. At 3.30pm we bombed the enemy's lines at F10C73 with trench mortars. Officer reported seeing two wheels fly into air. At 4pm our guns fired on enemy machine gun emplacement at same spot. Enemy gun has not fired from there tonight. A patrol tonight carried out a long reconnaissance of ground at F10 C55-45. Detailed account to follow. Sample of enemy wire brought in. Enemy reported to be using a fixed rifle at F10C46. Otherwise quiet. Wind W, fair to wet. 7-12-15 E.T.R. Nothing to report - Line quiet. Wind S.W. One casualty through man meddling with detonator 8-12-15 2am M.T.R. Between 2.30 & 3pm yesterday the Trench Mortar Battery fired 5 rounds at enemy trenches about F10D19. The mortars were well placed & threw up a lot of black earth. At the same time we fired 2 new converted Mills Rifle Grenades one of which failed to explode. The other fell among enemy wire about F10C76. There has been practically no rifle or M.G. fire though earlier in the evening a machine gun from the Tambour fired a little, the bullets passing well above our heads to next Sector. Our 6 inch guns retaliated with 6 shells which fell just behind F10C25.65. Between 9.30 & 10pm about 15 whiz-bangs were sent over by the enemy apparently from opposite 81.82 trenches. No damage was done. Wind strong WSW. Dull & wet.
8-12-15 2.30pm German M.G. fired from F10C60.52 at 4.30am. Enemy shelled Rue Albert at 10.30am. We retaliated with trench mortars. Wind N.W. Fair to dull. Mine (ours) to go up at 4.45pm. 3.30pm Relieved by 12th Middlesex Méaulte
9-12-15 Companies bathed. Weather Wet. Nothing to report
10-12-15 Conference for Staff Capts & Adjutants at Bde Recreation Room. Weather Dull. Nothing to report
11-12-15 Nothing to report. Wind E. Day fair. Parades as per Programme of Work. General Hinckey C.O. 54th Bde. wounded with shrapnel in the leg
12-12-15 Nothing to report. Wind S.E. Day Dry & Cold. Parades as per Programme of Work
13-12-15 Nothing to report. Wind N.E. Day Dry & Cold. Parades as per Programme of Work
14-12-15 Nothing to report. Wind N.E. to E. Day Frosty & Cold. Parades as per Programme of Work. Lt.Col.Shoubridge took command of 54th Bde.
15-12-15 Morning Brigade scheme carried out on Morlancourt Road. Weather Fair Afternoon Bombing parades etc. as per Programme of work. Trenches D/1
16-12-15 3pm Relieved 12th Middlesex. Nothing to report. Weather fair.
17-12-15 2am M.T.R. Enemy active with rifle grenades against 77 & 78 trenches at 8pm. They were silenced by our guns. Line otherwise very quiet. Occasional enemy flares sent up fro their 2nd line. Enemy machine gun from F9B71 fired on 83 trench at 10.30pm. Wind S.E. 17-12-15 E.T.R. Enemy very active all day along the sector. the enemy carried out a bombardment of considerable intensity using canisters, trench mortars, sausages & whizbangs. We retaliated with West Guns, trench mortars, howitzers, field batteries & siege guns. The enemy were silenced at 1pm after several casualties to us. The enemy fired a considerable number of rifle grenades to which we replied with 15 bombs from the West Gun. Wind S.S.E. Weather fair to wet. 1st Cheshires on Right Flank, 11th R.Fusiliers on Left Flank, 12th Middx in reserve at Méaulte
18-12-15 2am M.T.R. At 7.35 pm enemy again started bombarding us with sausages but were silenced by the heavy battery and howitzers. Enemy keep sending over rifle grenades to which we reply with West Guns. Machine Guns have been laid over gaps in the enemy's parapets caused by our shells. Wind S. Weather - Fair 18-12-15 2pm E.T.R. Enemy very quiet all this morning. We sent over a few rifle grenades but they were not replied to. A machine gun was in position all last night to cover the gaps in the enemy's parapets which had been made by our guns yesterday. Wind S.
19-12-15 2am M.T.R. Between 3 & 4 o'clock the enemy started sending over rifle grenades, sausages, bombs & whiz-bangs. Five rifle grenades fell in rear of 78 trench and failed to explode. We retaliated with bombs from West Gun firing at enemy front line trench about F10C65 one or two trench mortars and a few shells when all was quiet again. Sausages fell in rear of Rue Albert behind trench 83 knocking in entrance to L/3 mine shaft, killing one man and wounding another. Position from which sausages were fired approx F9B1065. The siege battery traversed this trench effectively and silenced the enemy trench mortar. At 6.10pm sounds of hammering were heard as proceeding from about F10C75. A salvo from our artillery was fired and appeared to take effect. Simultaneously one M.G. fired and work ceased until 8.15pm when our M.G. again silenced them. At 8pm sentry reported wire being thrown out in front of enemy trench F9D89. Our artillery sent over two salvos of shrapnel & work was stopped. Several whiz-bangs were fired from the enemy lines up to about 10pm but no damage done. Wind fresh N.E. - Fair 1st Norfolks relieved 1st Cheshires in Sector C/11 on our right flank during night. 19-12-15 1.30pm E.T.R. Enemy sent over about 20 small mortars at intervals along our line this morning. This was probably in retaliation to wire-cutting which our guns were carrying out opposite trench 94. At 1pm enemy sent over about 12 small whiz-bangs. We replied with rifle grenades and West Guns. Enemy now quiet. Wind N.E.
20-12-15 2am M.T.R. Enemy fired 15 to 20 rifle grenades at our West Gun position. We replied with 18 bombs from west Gun and catapult. Sentry in 76 trench reported screams heard after one of our shots at F10C36. Several small trench mortars fired by enemy in pairs from close behind their first line. Night very quiet and no artillery activity. Wind fresh N.E. till 9pm since when calm. Weather - fair & dry 20-12-15 E.T.R. At 7am we bombed enemy's trench with West Guns. They replied with rifle grenades. German working party heard in trench at F10C26 were bombed by us. They retaliated with small mortars. Our artillery were active on Bois Allemand during the morning. Wind N.N.W. General Jackson, 55th Bde. visited D/1 and vicinity this morning
21-12-15 M.T.R. About 4.30pm enemy fired 12 rifle grenades. We retaliated with artillery. No damage done. At 7pm working party seen at F10C4560. M.G. fired one drum at them and then again at intervals but party did not appear again. Everything very quiet with little rifle fire. Wind light N.N.E. 21-12-15 E.T.R. Enemy very quiet. two mines exploded believed away on our right at 8.10am and 8.30am. At a practice alarm 12 minutes was taken for all support bombs etc. to be got in position. This included the platoons coming from R/3. Wind S.E. Weather wet & misty.
22-12-15 M.T.R. Night very quiet on the whole. Very little rifle fire. At 9.50pm enemy dropped 2 heavy shells on our trenches our guns retaliated. Enemy machine gun traversed our lines at 10pm position not yet located. Enemy shelled C/2 at 11.30 to which our guns retaliated. Wind N-W. 22-12-15 2pm E.T.R. Enemy quiet in D/1. Nothing to report in that Sector. A lively artillery duel has been taking place all morning. D/2 was shelled heavily. W: W.S.W. Fair to rain. Two 2/Lts joined from Base. H.Cathcart-Nicholls & F.E.Dealler [Francis Everard DEALLER]
23-12-15 2am M.T.R. At 2.15pm the enemy commenced a lively bombardment of our left sub-sector. They sent over several sausages and altogether about 60 shells of different calibre. we retaliated with our guns sending over 80 rounds including several heavy shells and some from our howitzers where upon the enemy ceased all offensive. No damage was done by the enemy. Mine explosions were felt at 6.10 & 9.30pm. Vicinity of these not yet located. At 8.30pm German heavy battery from Mametz fired 2 rounds. Wind W. 2pm E.T.R. Artillery activity on both sides during the morning. Our Machine guns fired at f10C50.45 and F10.C46 during the night. Germans have pushed over a lot more wire from their parapets at F10.C50.45. Morning otherwise quiet. Fair to Fine. 16th Royal Warwicks relieved 1st Norfolks on our right flank Sector C/2. Conference of C.O.s & Adjutants at Bde.H.Q. 3.30pm.
24-12-15 M.T.R. During yesterday afternoon we shot two men at approx F9D99 this making five men shot at that point. The work being carried on there appears to be important. At 2.15pm we fired 3 of the new Ball Bombs from West Gun to which enemy replied with rifle grenades. German heavy Arty Battery from S.E. of MAMETZ fired seven rounds about 2pm falling behind C.2. Our 18pdrs & 119th Hy Batty both registered during afternoon. Night very quiet. Wind strong S.W. 24-12-15 2pm E.T.R. A certain amount of artillery activity otherwise morning quite quiet. 8 Germans seen at 1.30pm crossing the gap in front of quarry in full marching order. It might mean a relief is taking place 3.30pm Relieved by 12th Middlesex Regt.
25-12-15 Football Tournament 4.30pm Christmas Dinner
26-12-15 Battalion bathing. Weather Fair
27-12-15 Early Morning: Running Parade. Morning: Musketry. Afternoon: Bombing
28-12-15 New Draft joins 7th Bedfords
29-12-15 5.0pm Heavy bombardment of D2. Coys stood to.
30-12-15 Attack scheme at MORLANCOURT. Weather Fair
31-12-15 E.T.R. Relief still in progress. All quiet, nothing to report. Wind S.E. 2pm Relieved by 12th Middlesex.
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