The Bedfordshire Regiment in the Great War
1917 War Diary
[Note that all remarks in squared brackets are my own additions and not part of the original text]
January 1917 War Diary
Domvast 1-1-17 Training carried on in vicinity of billets and Training Area.
2-1-17 Training carried on in vicinity of billets and Training Area. Boxing Tournament was held in the evening in a Barn used as a Recreation Room. The preliminaries had previously been contested, these being the finals some good Boxing was witnessed.
3-1-17 Training programme continued, most of the Corps were employed [in] intensive digging.
4-1-17 Training as above. Bn.Hd.Quarter Coy. was formed of all details and specialists. Major J.H.Bridcutt [John Henry BRIDCUTT, DSO] was appointed O.C. all Specialist Officers being i/charge of their respective detachments such as Signallers, Lewis Gunners, Snippers [sic], Scouts etc. etc. This organisation was started to keep under proper control men who were always away from their own Coys. Coys. continued to pay these men but all other administration was carried on independent of their Coys.
5-1-17 Training continued. Every man having been recently supplied with the new Box Respirators was passed thro. a "GASS" [sic] Chamber. the Chamber was improvised by the fitting up of a little out building of a French Cottage in the village of DOMVAST.
6-1-17 Coy. Training & Specialists Training pushed forward. 2/Lts Trewman & Kydd [Chester Bishop KYDD], Corpl.Mears, L/Cpl.Morris, L.Cpl.Hersted qualified as Bombing Instructors at 54th Bde.Bombing School.
7-1-17 Divine Service held in a field near billets.
8-1-17 Training continued.
9-1-17 Training continued. A draft of 10 men re-joined the Bn. after being away a short time suffering from slight wounds etc. they were re-posted to their former Coys.
10-1-17 Making all arrangements for moving forward to-morrow.
Line of March 11-1-17 Bn. left Domvast & march to PROUVILLE.
Line of March 12-1-17 Bn. marched from PROUVILLE to CANDAS.
Line of March 13-1-17 Bn. rested in Billets at Candas.
Line of March 14-1-17 Bn. marched to Rubempré Area. Advance parties sent forward to visit Trenches.
15-1-17 to 19-1-17 Bn. relieved the 2/6th Royal Warwick Regt. in the trenches Copy of Operation Orders attached.
20-1-17 Bn. quartered in Warwick Huts with detachments at THIEPVAL (in Support) the whole Bn. were employed on R.E. duties in the 54th Br. Sector.
21-1-17 Cleaning up during the day, trench digging at night.
22-1-17 to 23-1-17 Bn. was billeted in Warwick Huts with a detachment (C Coy.) at THIEPVAL, the Bn. was in Support & carried out R.E. fatigues every night.
24-1-17 to 27-1-17 Relieved 12th Middx. in Trenches where the Bn. remained until night of 27th. Copy of orders attd.
28-1-17 to 31-1-17 Bn. quartered in Huts in MARTINSART Wood, furnishing working parties for R.E. work, with one Coy. digging Communication Trenches near front Line, this Coy. is billeted in Support Line (Sleeping in Tents) working during the night, in spite of the intense Cold, frost & Snow the men appear very fit and are changed over (i.e. relieved by another Coy. every 3rd day). Every opportunity is taken to improve backward men. Classes for Drill, Musketry, Snipping [sic], Scouting, Signalling, also for N.C.Os & young Officers who require extra tuition are kept going daily except when the Bn. is actually in trenches. Casualty List for the month attached.
7th (S) BATTN BEDFORDSHIRE REGIMENT CASUALTIES DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY 1917
15270 Corpl Reynolds A "C" Wounded 20-1-17. 30070 Pte Dear B "D" Wounded 20-1-17. 13672 Sergt Forde J "D" Missing 20-1-17. 15571 Pte Major L "D" Missing 20-1-17. 29700 Pte Cannell A "D" Missing. 20-1-17 31345 Pte Allen W "D" Missing 20-1-17.
War Diary for February 1917 War Diary
Martinsart Wood 1-2-17 to 2-8-17. Battn billeted in huts in Martinsart Wood finding working parties to improve & dif new Trenches in 54th Bde Sector. Classes for Young Officers, N.C.O.s & backward men in progress. Training for all Specialists rapidly pushed forward i.e. Lewis Gun, Signalling, Bombing, Snipping [sic], Scouting Classes going daily from 10 A.M. to 1 P.M. Musketry for indifferent shots.
9-2-17 One Bn of the 54th Brigade (i.e. 11th Royal Fusiliers) moved into the line in relief of 8th Norfolk Regt. the rest of the Brigade including 7th Bedfords remained in Huts in Martinsart Wood every available N.C.O. & man being employed on fatigues in the trenches. Later in the day one Coy. (C Coy.) was ordered forward (in Support of 12th BN. Middx) the Coy. was billeted in STUFF REDOUBT and was employed on defence work under the orders of O.C. 12th Bn. Middx.
10-2-17 The Bn. (less C Coy. who remained in Stuff Redoubt) moved forward into Dug outs at THIEPVAL, with Bn. H.Qrs. in the Wonder Work, they, the Bn. were employed on night fatigues in vicinity of front line.
11-2-17 Arrangements for relief by 55th Infy.Bde. at night.
THIEPVAL 12-2-17 On the night 11/12 February. the Brigade was relieved by the 55th Infantry. Brigade. the 7th Bedfords being ordered to remain in their present position (Dug-outs in THIEPVAL).
Warwick Huts 13-2-17 Bn. moved into Warwick Huts every one employed in fatigue near front line making preparations for attack which was booked for 16/17 Feby.
14-2-17 Fatigue in front Line Sector, the whole Battn.
15-2-17 Checking all fighting Kit, ready for moving forwards for Operations each Coy. was paraded & inspected & everything checked. Extra S.A.A., Bombs, Very lights etc. etc. drawn & issued to individuals.
16-2-17 Bn. moved to its position in Support & was distributed as follows 2 Coys A & B in Dug-outs in FARBACK Trench 2 Coys C & D in Moucquet FARM, Bn H.Qrs in No.8 Dug-out in ZOLLERN Trench the above was in accordance with G.O.C.s instruction, 54th Bde.
17-2-17 [Comment: The Operations on the Ancre - the action of Miraumont] This was termed Z Day (day of battle) all arrangements were complete for the attack by 4 A.M. a report to that effect being sent to H.Qrs 54th Brigade. The attack to be carried out was planned on the usual System for attacking from trenches the final objective being the South MIRAUMONT TRENCH which defends the Southern portion of Petit Miraumont Village. At 5.45 A.M. our Barrage opened (The attacking troops being formed up ready before this hour during this forming up they were heavily shelled by the Bosche who had apparently detected or gained information that something was taking place. many casualties were suffered by this shell fire adding to the difficulties of making a good start) according to schedule time the assaulting troops 11th Royal Fusiliers & 6th Northants (& 12 Middx Dug-out clearing) advanced. 7th Bedfords being in Brigade Reserve were not allowed to move & so remained in their night positions. The battle progressed in the usual way until the 2nd objective was reached (a spot called the Boom ravine) about 500 yds short of the final objective (South Miraumont Trench) here it was found almost impossible to advance further as most of the officers has become wounded also many N.C.O.s & men. As soon as this fact had been established orders were issued by the G.O.C. 54th Bde for the assaulting troops to entrench & make dispositions for holding the ground they had gained, this was done & by nightfall the work of consolidation was well advanced. A Counter Attack was to be expected & in view of this the G.O.C. 54th Bde ordered Two Coys 7th Bedfords to be moved forward into Close Support. One Coy (A Co) moved to a spot about 500 yds behind the front line known as the GULLEY & B Co to REGINA Trench, the former Coy. assisted in consolidation work, Patrolling, Carrying etc. during the night. The front gained in the Battle by the 54th Bde. was reconnoitred by all Coy. Commanders ready in case of necessity to carry out the relief of the attacking Bns this however was found to be unnecessary & all troops remained in their present positions for the night and the obscurity of the position was quickly cleared up and a strong front line established with the remnants of the 6th Bn Northants, 12th BN Middlesex. the 11th Royal Fusilieres was after nightfall withdrawn to Moucquet Farm & placed in Reserve. the day following (18th Feby)
In the field 18-2-17 the whole Brigade was relieved by the 55th Infy. Brigade the 54th being withdrawn to Huts in the Martinsart Area. 7th Bedfords being in GLOUCESTER huts & employed on R.E. fatigues. During this period the 4 Coys of the Bn were commanded by the following: Captain H.C.Browning [Herbert Compton BROWNING, MC] A Coy, 2nd Lt.H.Driver [Harry DRIVER, DSO, MC] B Coy, Captain L.Keep [Leslie Howard KEEP, MC] C Coy., Capt.D.Keep [Douglas Scrivener Howard KEEP, MC] D Coy. Casualties for the fight are said to be (1000) one thousand N.C.O.s and men & 35 Officers. the 11th Royal Fusiliers & 6th Northants suffered the heaviest.
19-2-17 to 28-2-17 The Battn billeted in GLOUCESTER huts & employed on R.E. fatigues making wire etc.
War Diary for March 1917
St.Pierre Divion 1-3-15 to 4-3-17 Preparation & move from Gloucester Huts to tents and Dug-outs in St.Pierre Divion (A Coy Warwick Huts). The whole of the Bn employed on fatigue, road making, between Grandcourt and Miraumont. As many officers and N.C.Os. being sent to reconnoitre front line daily
5-3-17 The Battalion continues to be employed on road making area bring worked on East Miraumont Road Petit Miraumont end.
6-3-17 Only two companies required for road making. A Coy at Warwick huts employed on tramway Third Company at Mill road camp training its specialists.
7-3-17 Battalion employed on road making area East Miraumont Road.
8-3-17 Road making continued.
9-3-17 Road making continued.
10-3-17 [Comment: The Operations on the Ancre - the Capture of Irles] Battalion employed on mending East Miraumont Road. Warning received to prepare for a move into action.
11-3-17 All fatigues stopped. Battalion to make itself fit for action. A Company to remain at Warwick huts. 12-3-17 Operation orders received to the effect that the 54th Brigade will relieve the 53 Brigade in the line on the night 12/13 March. The 7th S Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment will be situated as follows on complete [sic] of relief. D Coy: Platoon in SP No 4 G 26 c 7.5. Platoon in SP No 4 G 26 c 4.2. Platoon in SP No 4 G 26 C 3.6. Platoon in SP No 4 G 25 d 6.c. [All above] now occupied by 6th Royal Berkshire Regiment MAP Sheet 57 d SE C Coy will occupy Resurrection Trench now occupied by 8th Suffolk Regiment B Coy will occupy South Miraumont Trench now occupied by 8th Suffolk Regiment A Coy will occupy Quarry L 35 d 1.6. Battalion Head Quarters will be at L 35 d 3.6. LINE facing LOUPART LINE 000012-3-17 8 AM Orders received from Brigade to occupy Loupart Line and push forward beyond, making final objective the sunken road on the face of Hill 130 and to consolidate the hill. Operation orders issued to companies. D Company will push forward in four waves and occupy the Loupart Line. C Company will follow in close support and pass over D Company in the Loupart Line and occupy the sunken road on Hill 130. D Company will act as close support to C Company pushing forward as soon as C Company has passed over them. A Company will occupy Loupart Line on the right of the Bihucourt road and B Company the Loupart Line on the left of the Bihucourt road acting as Battalion reserve when C & D Companies have pushed forward. Blankets will be dumped at present positions. Battalion H.Q. will be at Quarry b26.6 St.PIERRE DIVION
12-3-17 10 AM Brigade conference at Paisley dump on attack against Loupart Line. Operation orders were issued, but are of no consequence as the attack was undertaken prematurely and vital orders received. 8.40 PM D Company left St.Pierre Division to relieve 6th Royal Berks as for operation. 9.15 PM C Company left St.Pierre Division at relieve 8th Suffolks. 9.30 PM B Company left St.Pierre Divion to relieve 8th Suffolks. 8 PM A Company left Warwick huts to relieve 8th Suffolks. 9.40 PM Colonel Mills [George Pilkington MILLS, DSO], Cap Colley [William Joseph Wellesley COLLEY, MC & Bar] adjutant 2nd Lts Rednall [Reginald Barry REDNALL, MC] and Stewart [Hew Bertram STEWART, MC] left St.Pierre Division for L 35 d 3.6.
Trenches in front of LOUPART LINE 13-3-17 2 AM Relief reported complete. 3 AM Brigade order to send patrol along Loupart Line as message received from Australians East of Loupart Wood to the effect that the enemy were retiring. D Company were unable to send patrol by darkness but organised daylight patrol which reported Loupart Line evacuated. 11 AM D Moved to Loupart Line. C Company followed in support. The companies moved in four open waves each. Although under shell fire and considerably troubled with machine gun fire from ACHIET le PETIT the formations were splendid and the men were wonderfully steady. 12.15PM C Company passed through D Company and continued in four waves with scouts about 200 yards in advance until held up by heavy machine gun fire about the ACHIET LINE. 1 PM D Company moved close up behind C company and A & B companies occupied the LOUPART line. 2 PM D Company sent two platoons to hold the left flank while C Company consolidated Hill 130 after considerable resistance. 4 PM Finally the position held was the star roads on Hill 130 with the line falling back on the left following the 130 contour and joining up with the 11th Royal Fusiliers about b 26 B 5.9. with the 6th NORTHAMPTON regiment on the right. Hill 130 13-3-17 5 PM - 8 PM Spent in consolidating line G 22 C 9.1. G 21 D 2.5 G 26 B 5.9. 8 PM C Company ordered to occupy sunken road from star cross roads to Railway and connect with 62nd on left. A and B companies ordered to move up in close support. 10 PM Operations commenced.
14-3-17 [Comment: The German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line] 1 AM Sunken road occupied by C Company under very able leadership of Lt.Steel [Phillip Ponsonby STEEL, MC]. D Company also in the line on right of C Company A and B Companies in close support, shelling very heavy and intense machine gun fire. 7 AM - 7 PM Position held shelling and machine gun fire very heavy all day. 8 PM D Company took over whole front line. C Company in support. A & B in reserve.
15-3-17 8 AM - 12 Noon C Company ordered to attack the Bihucourt line. A Company to act as immediate support. C Company attacked the Bihucourt line, on opening of the attack a very heavy machine gun fire developed from ACHIET le PETIT and the BIHUCOURT trench heavy shelling also took place. The advance under such conditions became impossible and C company dug in about 200 yards down the hill. A company did not advance. 1 PM - 5 PM The position was held without change. 6 PM Under cover of darkness C Company was withdrawn. A Company held the original line on the sunken road. B Company were in support. D & C companies in reserve 12 mid night This order was maintained throughout the day.
16-3-17 6 PM - 12 MIDNIGHT B Company took over the front line from A Company.
17-3-17 5 AM All companies were warned to be prepared to advance at dawn. Active patrolling took place. 8 AM C Company was ordered to advance in four open waves their objectives being the BIHUCOURT line and finally ACHIET le GRAND and the high ridge beyond. D Company was ordered to support C Company. B Company was ordered to make a flank along the railway line as far as ACHIET le GRAND. A Company was to be in reserve. The operation was carried out with the greatest skill and urgency some machine gun fire was experienced at the commencement. Heavy artillery fire was experienced in entering ACHIET le GRAND from which we suffered casualties. 10 AM BIHUCOURT line was occupied. 2 PM ACHIET le GRAND was occupied. 3 PM We had occupied positions round the northern and eastern sides of ACHIET le GRAND and held a strong flank position along the railway on the western side. Positions were consolidated. 6 PM Rations were delivered to companies. Battalion H.Q. were established on southern edge of Achiet le Grand.
18-3-17 3 AM Brigade ordered posts to be put out 1000 yards in advance to cover the forming up of an advance guard. 5 AM Posts complete. 9 AM Advance guard of Yorkshire dragoons 6th Northamptonshire Regt and one battery of field guns passed through BIHUCOURT. 10 AM Battalion remained in Achiet le Grand.
19-3-17 1 AM Moved up to ERVILLERS. 6 PM B Company found out posts on roads round Ervillers. 8 PM D Company sent covering party of two platoons with artillery about two miles out towards St.LÉGER.
20-3-17 3 AM A B and D Companies made up two complete companies under Capt D.S.H.Keep [Douglas Scrivener Howard KEEP, MC] to support 6th Northants in an attack on Croisilles. 3 PM The 54 Brigade was relieved by the 7th Division. 4 PM The Battalion having been relieved by the 7th Division moved back to the LOUPART LINE.
21-3-17 10 AM The Battalion moved back to MARLBORO' Huts.
22-3-17 9 AM The Battalion moved back to Contay marched past the Corps Commander at SENLIS.
23-3-17 The Battalion moved to BERTANGLES.
24-3-17 The Battalion moved to BOVELLES.
25-3-17 The Battalion rested at BOVELLES.
26-3-17 3 AM The Battalion went to SALIEUX to entrain - waited 13 hours. 11.30PM Entraining completed.
27-3-17 5.30 AM The Battalion arrived at STEENBECQUE station and billeted at STEENBECQUE le BAS.
28-3-17 Cleaning up and refilling and arranging billets.
29-3-17 Organising companies.
30-3-17 Programme of work as follows, 9.30 AM Ceremonial Guards with band. Company Drill. 11 AM Break 11.15 AM Specialists classes 2.30 PM Football. Games
31-3-17 9.30 AM Ceremonial Guards. Company Drill. 11 AM Company Battle out posts A in the open B in defence of Village 12-1 PM March discipline and provision of march routine. Rifle inspection by Armourer 2.30 PM Football. Games 7th (S) Bn. Bedfordshire Regt.
Appendix; Officers going into action
Lieut.Col.G.P.Mills [George Pilkington MILLS, DSO] C.O. Capt. & Adjt.W.J.W.Colley [William Joseph Wellesley COLLEY, MC & Bar] Adjutant. 2/Lt.R.B.Rednall [Reginald Barry REDNALL, MC] Signal Officer. 2/Lt.H.B.Stewart [Hew Bertram STEWART, MC] Lewis Gun Officer. Capt.H.C.Browning [Herbert Compton BROWNING, MC] A Coy. 2/Lieut.A.J.Clarke [Alan Jardine CLARKE] A Coy. 2/Lieut.J.J.Murray [John James MURRAY] A Coy. 2/Lieut.Oliver-Jones [W.S. OLIVER-JONES] A Coy. 2/Lieut.S.R.Clasman [?] B Coy. 2/Lieut.F.E.Dealler [Francis Everard DEALLER] B Coy 2/Lieut.H.M.Woodyer [Henry Mawby WOODYER] B Coy. Lieut.P.P.Steel [Phillip Ponsonby STEEL, MC] C Coy. 2/Lieut.C.J.Luscombe [Cridland John LUSCOMBE] C Coy. 2/Lieut.C.A.Lawrence [Charles Alfred LAWRENCE, MC] C Coy. 2/Lieut.W.P.Cannell [Walter Percy CANNELL] C Coy. Capt.D.S.H.Keep [Douglas Scrivener Howard KEEP, MC] D Coy. Lieut.T.M.Elderton D Coy. 2/Lt.E.F.Piercy [Eric Fryer PIERCY] D Coy. 2/Lt.L.G.Angas [Lionel George ANGAS] D Coy.
Officers with 1st Line Transport
Major J.H.Bridcutt [John Henry BRIDCUTT, DSO] 2nd in Command. Lieut.E.W.Benson [Ernest Wallace BENSON, MC] Signal Officer. Lieut & Q.M. F.Corner [Frank CORNER, MC] Quartermaster. 2/Lt.A.W.Brawn [Arthur W. BRAWN] Transport Officer. 2/Lt.S.C.Tremeer [Sidney Charles TREMEER] A Coy. 2/Lt.C.B.Kydd [Chester Bishop KYDD] A Coy. 2/Lt.H.Driver [Harry DRIVER, DSO, MC] B Coy. 2/Lt.H.F.Trewman B Coy. Capt.W.S.Chimsidi [probably William Stuart CHIRNSIDE, MC & Bar] C Coy. Capt.L.H.Keep [Leslie Howard KEEP, MC] C Coy. 2/Lt.H.J.Cartwright [Henry Joseph CARTWRIGHT] D Coy. 2/Lt.A.H.Waddy [Alexander Harry WADDY] D Coy.
Officers & Other Ranks recommended
Lieut.P.P.Steel [Phillip Ponsonby STEEL, MC] Lieut.& Qmaster F.Corner [Frank CORNER, MC] 2/Lt.E.F.Piercy [Eric Fryer PIERCY]. 12702 Sergt. Mulrien, B [Bernard MULRIEN]. 14782 Sergt. Stuckey, G. 15703 Sergt. Clarke, HA [Harry Albert CLARKE], 12826 Sergt. Turville, A. 15321 L/Sgt. Blanshard, H.E. 5514 Pte. Franklin, A. 13908 Pte. Cox, C.A. [Christopher Augustus COX, VC] Lieut.T.M.Elderton wounded 14-3-17. 2/Lt.H.M.Woodyer [Henry Mawby WOODYER] wounded 14-3-17. 2/Lt.S.R.Chapman [Sydney Ronald CHAPMAN] wounded (still at duty) 14-3-17. Capt.H.C.Browning [Herbert Compton BROWNING, MC] wounded 15-3-17. Lieut.P.P.Steel [Phillip Ponsonby STEEL, MC] wounded 17-3-17. 2/Lt.W.P.Cannell [Walter Percy CANNELL] wounded 17-3-17. 2/Lt.E.F.Piercy [Eric Fryer PIERCY] wounded (still at duty) 17-3-17.
Other Ranks wounded (killed) in Action
13856 Sergt.Hawkes, J.W. A Coy 14-3-17. 18992 Cpl.Bellamy, A. A Coy 14-3-17. 53419 Cpl.Clark, A[quila] A Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 16809 Cpl.Parsons, C[ecil] C[urtis] A Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 43352 L/Cpl.Clifton[?], A. A Coy wounded 13-3-17. 19029 L/Cpl.Cook, [Fred] J[ames] A Coy 14-3-17 (killed). 20030 L/Cpl.Ely, R. A Coy 15-3-17 (still at duty). 13609 Pte.Baker, R. A Coy 13-3-17. 33751 Pte.Bamfield, P.B. A Coy 13-3-17 (still at duty). 21311 Pte.Battram, G[eorge] A Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 22788 Pte.Brazier, D.A. A Coy 13-3-17. 40521 Pte.Blundell, W[illiam] A Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 40494 Pte.Darvell, A[lfred] A Coy 13-3-17 (killed). 15316 Pte.Dent, C[harles] E[dward] A Coy 15-3-17. 40509 Pte.Dry, E.R. A Coy 14-3-17. 40510 Pte.Emery, W. A Coy 14-3-17. 13905 Pte.Folds, R. A Coy 14-3-17. 9872 Pte.Gay, A A Coy 13-3-17 (still at duty). 40500 Pte.Grief, J.C. A Coy 15-3-17. 17369 Pte.Harrison, W. A Coy 15-3-17. 16518 Pte.Pantling, A.E. A Coy 14-3-17 (still at duty). 13523 Pte.Povey, J.W. A Coy 15-3-17. 40517 Pte.Rawlinson, J. A Coy 14-3-17. 31171 Pte. Smith, A[rthur] T[homas] A Coy 13-3-17 (killed). 31375 Pte.Stebbings, A.G. A Coy 15-3-17. 31185 Pte.Turner, G.A. A Coy 15-3-17. 19364 Pte.Vernon, A. C Coy 13-3-17 (still at duty). 29464 Pte.West, B.J. A Coy 15-3-17. 30899 Pte.West, J.H. A Coy 15-3-17. 30902 Pte.Wilkinson, C.H. A Coy 15-3-17. 15021 Pte.Woods, A.E. A Coy 14-3-17. 29804 Pte.Wood, G[ilbert] H[enry] A Coy 15-3-17 [died 15-3-17]. 30797 Pte.Woods, W. A Coy 14-3-17. 12761 Pte.York, W.G. A Coy 15-3-17. 43263 Sergt.Willacy, R[obert] B Coy 13-3-17 (killed). 12704 L/Sgt.Peters, A. B Coy 14-3-17. 26575 Cpl.Durrant, H. B Coy 14-3-17. 29775 Pte.Batchelor, G[eorge] H[enry] B Coy 13-3-17 (killed). 15458 Pte.Coote, W.H. B Coy 14-3-17. 43294 Pte.Glover, J. B Coy 14-3-17. 43295 Pte.Gough, H. B Coy 14-3-17. 27500 Pte.Hawkes, A[lbert] B Coy 14-3-17. 23758 Pte.Henley, J. B Coy 14-3-17. 33759 Pte.Henson, A.G. B Coy 14-3-17. 43262 Pte.Johnson, W.J. B Coy 14-3-17. 12153 Pte.Memmott, J.A. B Coy 14-3-17. 27839 Pte.Miller, F[rank] B Coy 14-3-17 (killed). 27890 Pte.Morgan, W[illiam] B Coy 14-3-17 (killed). 30845 Pte.Riddle, F. B Coy 14-3-17. 40425 Pte.Samuels, J. B Coy 14-3-17. 18232 Pte.Smith, A.H. B Coy 14-3-17. 13143 Pte.Weston, L. B Coy 14-3-17. 33470 Sergt.Cronk, J[oseph] W[illiam] C Coy 13-3-17 [died 17-3-17]. 33470 Sergt.Cronk, J.W, died of wounds 17-3-17. 15610 Sgt.Halsey, R.C. C Coy 15-3-17. 12702 Sgt.Mulraney [sic Mulrien], B[ernard] C Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 15544 Cpl.Chapman, E[dwin] C Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 18657 Cpl.Farnham, J.S. C Coy 13-3-17. 25717 Cpl.Matthews, J.A. C Coy 13-3-17. 33440 Cpl.Sewell, F[rederick] C[harles] C Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 15905 L/Cpl.Leach, B. C Coy 15-3-17. 7562 L/Cpl.Merchant, J C Coy 13-3-17. 14774 L/Cpl.Norman, R.S. C Coy Missing believed Killed. 14351 L/Cpl.Ravenscroft, C. C Coy 15-3-17. 16318 L/Cpl.Robinson, C[ecil] C[lement] C Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 10432 Pte.Anderson, J[ames Frederick] C Coy 13-3-17 (still at duty). 18171 Pte.Aylott, J[ohn] C Coy 13-3-17. 25417 Pte.Barcock, F[rederick] C Coy 15-3-17 Missing believed Killed [killed]. 17481 Pte.Brown, C[harles] C Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 17642 Pte.Clarke, G.J. C Coy 15-3-17 Missing believed [Killed]. 29987 Pte.Gibbs, P[ercy] S[eaman] C Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 31670 Pte.Goble, F[rederick] C[harles] C Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 14445 Pte.Goldsmith, H. C Coy 13-3-17. 23059 Pte.Hales, W.G. C Coy 15-3-17. 29851 Pte.Halsey, J.W. C Coy 13-3-17 (still at duty). 29518 Pte.Higby, J[ohn] B[rackley] C Coy 14-3-17 killed [but amended to:] 29518 Pte.Higby J.B. died of wounds 18-3-17. 29992 Pte.Jarman, H.L. C Coy 15-3-17 Missing believed [Killed]. 29831 Pte.Judd, J[ohn] C Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 13652 Pte.Mason, A. C Coy 18-3-17. 27093 Pte.Murray, J[ohn] C Coy 13-3-17 died 20-3-17 [but amended to '20093':] 20093 Pte.Murray, J. died of wounds 20-3-17. 30001 Pte.Petchey, E[rnest] C Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 15340 Pte.Piercy, J.D. C Coy 13-3-17 (still at duty). 16395 Pte.Presland, E. C Coy 13-3-17. 27837 Pte.Rowell, W[illiam] C Coy 17-3-17 (killed). 23121 Pte.Smith, S[olomon] C Coy 15-3-17 (killed). 12988 Pte.Timson, C.P. C Coy 13-3-17. 33773 Pte.Tucker, H[arold Frederick] C Coy 13-3-17 (killed). 25880 Pte.Webb, J. C Coy 17-3-17. 33772 Pte.Wheton, J. C Coy 15-3-17 Missing believed Killed. 17519 Pte.Young, F. C Coy 17-3-17. 31378 Pte.Brunton, G. D Coy 18-3-17. 31264 Pte.Desborough, J. D Coy 13-3-17. 12038 Pte.Eggleton, W. D Coy 17-3-17. 43307 Pte.Inison, F. D Coy 12-3-17. 29970 Pte.Leggatt A. D Coy 14-3-17. 17325 Pte.Neville, F.H. D Coy 17-3-17. 29726 Pte.Prentice, R.J. D Coy 13-3-17. 19136 Pte.Randle, H. D Coy 13-3-17. 29527 Pte.Woods, E.A. D Coy 14-3-17. [Comment - 98 men listed as wounded or killed]
War Diary for April 1917
STEENBECQUE 1-4-17 Church Parade. Inspection of Billets Commanding Officer.
2-4-17 7 am Physical Training. 9.30 am Battalion Route March. Observers used. March discipline. Correct distance & use of water and correct method of carrying pack. 2.30 pm Foot Inspection. 3.30 pm Conference. 6 pm Concert.
3-4-17 7 am Physical Training. 9.30 am Ceremonial Guards with Band. 10.30 Company extending to Artillery formation from column of route, subsequently to form waves. The method of scouting ground immediately in front. 12 pm Specialist classes. Lewis Gunners, Bombers, Scouts. 2.30 pm Games, Football. Every man taking part. 6 pm Battalion Conference. Capt.W.H.Bull [Wilfred Herbert BULL] rejoined Battalion for duty. Draft of 7 N.C.Os. & 31 men joined.
4-4-17 7 am Physical Training. remainder of day devoted to Battalion Bathing. Draft of 1 man joined Battn.
5-4-17 7 am Physical Training. 9.30 am Battalion Parade. List of Co Organisation 10.30 Competition in ceremonial Guard mounting. Winners C Company. 2.30 Football & Physical Games. Draft of 1 man joined Battn.
6-4-17 7 am Physical Training. 9.30 am Ceremonial Guards with Band. Company Drill. 10.30 Specialists Training. Lewis Gunners, Scouts, Bombers. 12 pm Extended Order drill. 2.30 pm Football. Games. Draft of 2 men joined Battn.
7-4-17 7 am Physical Training. 9.30 am Ceremonial Guards with Band. Co. Drill. 10.30 Companies advancing in open formation with scouts in front carried out in form of a drill. 12 pm Specialists training. Lewis Gunners, Scouts, Bombers. 2.30 Inter Co. Football. 5.30 pm Battalion Conference.
8-4-17 10.30am Inspection of Billets by Commanding Officer. 11.30am Church Parade. 2.30 pm Brigade Transport Competition. The Battn awarded 1st in Pack Ponies class & 2nd in Limbers, Cookers & Water Cart. 3rd Medical Officers Cart.
9-4-17 7 am Physical training. 9.30 am Company Drill. 10.30 Musketry. 11.30 Specialists Training. 3 pm Games. Capt.G.L.M.Nutwyche [?] reported for duty. Divisional Transport Competition. 2nd prize in G.S. Limber, Wagons.
10-4-17 7 am Physical Training. 9.30 am Platoon Company Organisation. 2.30 Divisional 5 mile cross country race, C/SM DUFFIN finished 5th out of field of 50.
11-4-17 7 am Physical Training. 9.30 Musketry. Inter Co Lewis Gun Competition in general Turn Out, Changing Points, Tactical Handling & Companies were placed as follows D, C, B, A. 3 pm Football, Games etc. 6 pm Conference. Draft of 2 N.C.Os. & 4 other ranks joined.
12-4-17 7 am Physical Training. 9.30 am Companies were paraded for inspection by Brigadier, owing to bad weather postponed till following day & company training continued. 2 pm Conference Co. Commanders. 3 pm Football etc. The Battn won the final in Brigade Competition beating 80th Field Co. R.E. by 6 to nil.
13-4-17 7 am Physical Training. 9.30 am The Commanding officer inspected each Co. paying particular attention to Platoon organisation. 2.30 Inspection of Battn by Brigadier & he congratulated the C.O. in the good smart appearance of the men. 6 pm Company Conference.
14-4-17 7 am Physical Training. 9.30 am Extended Order drill. 10.30 Platoon Drill. 11.15 Company Outpost Scheme. Major A.E.Percival [Arthur Ernest PERCIVAL, DSO, MC] rejoined Battn for duty.
15-4-17 Church parade. Inspection of Billets by Major Percival [Arthur Ernest PERCIVAL, DSO, MC]. Major E.Clegg [Ernest CLEGG] rejoined Battn for duty.
16-4-17 7 am Company Training. Wet day. 2.30 pm Rugby match. Rt half Batt v. left half Batt. Result Left half 2 tries (6 pts) Right half Nil. 3.30 pm Soccer match. battn v. 54th M.G.Coy. Result 54th M.G.Coy. 2 goals, Beds 1 goal (Ballburst 10 minutes before time).
17-4-17 Brigade Training postponed on account of weather. Company training. 6 pm Captain C.C.Stewart [RAMC] arrived from 55th F.Ambulance to take over M.O. vice Capt.J.W.Turner.
18-4-17 Company training. Wet day. 2.30 pm Capt.J.W.Turner left for England.
19-4-17 9 am Route March. Inspection of Transport by Col. Commdg 18th Div. Train & Brig. 54th Inf. Bd.
20-4-17 8.30 am - 2 p.m. Batt. under Bde orders formed a line of Outposts N.W. of STEENBECQUE.
21-4-17 9 am Batt. left STEENBECQUE & marched to LA PIERRIERE (Map. ref. P19A centre sheet 36a) where it billeted at 12 noon).
LA PIERRIERE 22-4-17 10 am Church parade.
23-4-17 9 am to 6.45 pm BrigadeTraining. Outpost scheme.
24-4-17 Company Training.
25-4-17 Company Training.
26-4-17 12.45pm Left LA PIERRIERE, marched to BAILLEUL les PERNES arrived 6.30 pm & billeted there for night.
27-4-17 8.30 am Marched out by Road & entrained at BOURS at 2.30 pm for ARRAS (The Batt. should have entrained at Pernes but the train was de railed thus making the march 7 miles longer). 10.30pm Arrived ARRAS & marched to billets.
NEUVILLE 28-4-17 1.30 am Arrived at NEUVILLE VITASSE (S.E. ARRAS 5 miles) billeted in Hun Trenches (N.20 A 99 map 51 B, S.W. France) 8.45 pm Took over Trenches front line (N.W. CHÉRISY Map ref. O 25 D. Sheet 51 B. S.W) from 17th and 20th King's Liverpool Regt.
29-4-17 8.45 pm Relieved in trenches by 7th (Queens) W.Surreys returned to NEUVILLE VITASSE.
NEUVILLE 30-4-17 Billets in village.
War diary for May 1917
1-5-17 8.45 Relieved 6th Northants in R. sub sector Front trenches W. CHÉRISY
3-5-17 [Comment: The Battle of Arras - the Third Battle of the Scarpe] 3.45 am The 18th Div. attacked CHÉRISY. The 54th Bd on R. 55th on L. 53rd Reserve. see app [comment; appendices includes casualty list]. The attack was supposed to take place at dawn Zero being 3.45 am. As a matter of fact it was not light enough to attack until 4.15 am. The barrage commenced badly, being irregular. the Batt. left their trenches before Zero & formed up splendidly, the advance started at Zero, they soon slightly lost direction the men being extended at about 12 paces could scarcely see each other. The Regt. on the left also lost direction & crowded to the Right, thus confusing our attack & causing a further loss of direction. Four Tanks were to be used to attack FONTAINE village. One was unable to start, another went but a short distance another one made its way down Wood Trench & then turned & came through our advancing lines, this added to the confusion & some groups retired to the first line again. They were reformed at once by their Officers & again advanced, the Barrage had however gone on & the Batt. was held up at FONTAINE Trench was [sic] was strongly defended, also the wire was thick and undamaged. They came under heavy M.G. fire from VIS en ARTOIS - CHÉRISY - FONTAINE TR. and WOOD TRENCH. Small detachments pushed forward to angle formed by FONTAINE Tr. and WOOD Tr. At this time the majority of the 55th Bd. had reached their first objective on the Left. the position of the Batt. about 10 am was in front of FONTAINE Tr. with their R. thrown back facing WOOD Trench. At this time the Leicesters on the Right had not made good WOOD Trench except a small portion at the Western end. Some groups of the 55th Bd. reached a portion of their second objective. About 11.30 the 14th Div. further to the Left commenced retiring, followed by the 55th Bd. & the Middlesex & some groups of the Bedfords, but about 1 company still remained in Shell holes in front of FONTAINE & WOOD Trenches when at mid day the troops on our left had all got back to the starting Trenches. 7.15 pm A new Barrage started, & 2 Coys NORTHANTS attacked on our frontage in which elements of the Batt. joined & which was covered by rapid fire from our advanced Troops, this however was not successful as the enemy put up an intense barrage & the wire in front could not be forced. The whole lot fell back to original front line & held that during the night being relieved early in the morning by the NORTHANTS taking over.
4-5-17 2.30 am Bedfords relieved in front Trenches by NORTHANTS & fell back to Trenches at N.30.D. 2.30 pm The 54th Bd. relieved by 53rd Bd. The batt. marched back in small parties to Trenches at N.14 D 50. E of NEUVILLE VITASSE.
NEUVILLE 5-5-17 Batt. rested & bathed in NEUVILLE
6-5-17 to 7-5-17 Batt. rested
8-5-17 10 pm Batt reported at 10 pm in HÉNINEL for R.E. work in communication Trenches. Guides were confused & 2 companies returned not having guides. A Coy. had 1 man killed & 4 wounded.
9-5-17 Batt. resting.
10-5-17 10 pm Batt. reported to Sussex Pioneers for fatigue on front line Trenches.
11-5-17 Batt. resting.
12-5-17 10 pm Batt. reported to Sussex Pioneers for fatigue on front line Trenches.
13-5-17 3 pm Batt. moved out of Trenches at N.14 D 50 to new area at N.32 A.
14-5-17 10 pm Batt. digging front line Trenches.
15-5-17 Company drill.
16-5-17 to 24-5-17 Batt. resting at N.32.A & providing working parties every second night. N.32 a
24-5-17 to 27-5-17 Batt. still at N 32 a and finding working parties. 27-5-17 4.30 pm Batt. left camp at N 32 a & moved into camp near BOVELLES at S 23 a, changing with the 8th Suffolks.
27-5-17 to 31-5-17 Battn. in camp at S 23 a for Training purposes; latter consisted chiefly of Close Order Drill, bayonet Fighting & Specialist Training with a Brigade Tactical Scheme on the 30th May.
War Diary for June 1917
1-6-17 LA BOVELLE. Getting ready for move to trenches. Two Football matches & one cricket match played while here, all of which were won. 2-6-17 Trenches. 2.30 pm Battn moved up into support trenches opposite FONTAINE relieving 7th Queens (55th Bde.) Battn H.Q.s & "D" Coy. in HINDENBERG SUPPORT (SHAFT TRENCH), "C" Coy in CONCRETE TR., "A" & "B" Coys in the ROOKERY.
2-6-17 to 9-6-17 Battn in support in above & finding working parties by night 9-6-17 Relieved 6th Northants in Front Line Trenches (Left Sector) "A" Coy (right) & "B" Coy (left) in front line, "C" & "D" Coys in support. One man wounded in "A" Coy. One German shot by "A" Coy's No.3 Post.
10-6-17 Fairly quiet except for some shelling of the HORSESHOE POST "A" Coy had one casualty.
11-6-17 100 yards. of wire put out by "D" Coy. Patrol sent out by "B" Coy. reported German Bomb Block in CABLE TRENCH held.
12-6-17 D Coy. relieved "B" Coy in Left Sector. 100 yds of wire put out by "C" Coy.
13-6-17 Two Germans shot by "D" Coy's HORSESHOE POST at 2.20 a.m. Identification 459th Regt. Heavy shelling & Trench Mortaring on left Coy's sector during the evening & following night. Lt. F.N. Sherwell [Ferdinand Nigel SHERWELL] was badly wounded by a shell & died at 8.45 p.m. "D" Coy. also had 1 man killed & 5 wounded.
14-6-17 378 Gas Projectors discharged from WOOD TR. at 2.46 a.m. Reported that 200 Germans were seen being carried away on stretchers. Heavy shelling of CURTAIN TR. at 2.15 a.m. & 11 a.m. Day otherwise quiet.
15-6-17 3 a.m. Heavy Barrage on our trenches. This was followed by heavy shelling of CURTAIN TR, throughout the day & during the night there was much shelling & Trench Mortaring. 1 man in "A" Coy. killed.
16-6-17 Some shelling during the day, but on the whole rather quieter.
17-6-17 3 men wounded in "B" Coy. at 8 am; otherwise a quiet day. Battn. relieved in evening by 5th DURHAM L.I. (50th Div.) and marched back to camp at S.17
18-6-17 6.30 pm Left camp at S 17 & marched to MONCHY-AU-BOIS, where Battn. bivouacked for night 18th/19th. Lt.Col.Mills [George Pilkington MILLS, DSO] went on leave and Major A.E.Percival [Arthur Ernest PERCIVAL, DSO, MC] took over command of the Battn. during his absence. 11 pm Capt.R.O.Clark [Robert Oswald CLARK] joined the Battn. & was posted to "A" Coy.
19-6-17 HÉNU. 5.30 am Battn left bivouacs & marched to billets at HÉNU. Draft of 198 O.R. arrived.
19-20-6-17 Bathing, clothing & refitting.
23-6-17 Musketry on range at COIGNEUX.
24-6-17 C. of E. Service at 10 a.m.
25-6-17 Musketry & Wiring.
26-6-17 Divisional Cross-Country Race. Battn. finished 6th.
27-6-17 Musketry. Battn. Transport Competition.
28-6-17 Wiring & Digging. Battn. Sports.
29-6-17 Training, Attack Formations etc.
30-6-17 Wiring & Attack Formation. Divisional Sports.
War Diary for July 1917
1-7-17 10 am Church Parade. 2 pm 2nd Lt.Conyers [Eric Cater Hodgson CONYERS] joined the Battn. & was posted to "D" Coy. Draft of 18 O.R. arrived.
2-7-17 Company training.
3-7-17 2.30 pm The Battn. (less "D" Coy.) marched to DOULLENS and entrained there at 10.15 p.m. Major J.H.Bridcutt D.S.O. [John Henry BRIDCUTT, DSO] rejoined the Battn. from Senior Officers' School, Aldershot.
GODEWAERSVELDE 4-7-17 6 am Battn. detrained at GODEWAERSVELDE and after taking breakfast merched to billets, arriving about 9.30 a.m. Billets were in scattered farms about 1½ miles N.W. of ABEELE. "D" Coy. followed later in the day & arrived about 7 p.m. Major J.H.Bridcutt D.S.O. [John Henry BRIDCUTT, DSO] took over command of the Battn. Major A.E.Percival [Arthur Ernest PERCIVAL, DSO, MC] becoming 2nd-in-command.
5-7-17 3 p.m. All officers of the Bn. interviewed by Gen.Jacob G.O.C. 2nd Corps.
OUDERDOM 6-7-17 7.30 pm Bn. marched into camp near OUDERDOM - (Palace Camp). Draft of 37 O.R. joined the Bn.
8-7-17 700 men sent up for burying cable S. of ZILLEBEKE LAKE - a good deal of shelling, but no casualties.
9-7-17 Camp shelled at intervals during the day - one man killed. Companies were moved to more scattered positions.
10-7-17 Company Training.
11-7-17 700 men engaged in carrying gas shells & T.M.Bombs up to the front line. Heavy shelling all night. Casualties - 3 Killed, 19 wounded.
12-7-17 Company Training.
13-7-17 Company Training.
14-7-17 Working Parties of about 650 found for burying cable. Heavy shelling with Gas Shells prevented any work being done. This shelling lasted for over two hours, during the whole of which time the men wore their Respirators.
15-7-17 2 am Capt.D.S.H.Keep [Douglas Scrivener Howard KEEP, MC] was killed by a shell on W. edge of ZILLEBEKE LAKE. Other casualties: - 3 wounded, 4 gassed.
16-7-17 6.30pm Capt.Keep [Douglas Scrivener Howard KEEP, MC] was buried in RENINGHELST CEMETERY with full military honors.
17-7-17 9.30 pm Shell burst in our lines demolishing one of "B" Coy's Tents, but causing no casualties. 550 men sent up on working parties, Burying cable, carrying etc. casualties in "A" Coy - 4 Killed, 5 wounded.
18-7-17 "A" & "B" Coys. bathed in afternoon at RENINGHELST.
19-7-17 Attack formation practice in morning.
20-7-17 8 am Lt.Col.G.P.Mills [George Pilkington MILLS, DSO] returned from leave & resumed command of the Battn. Major J.H.Bridcutt [John Henry BRIDCUTT, DSO] becoming 2nd-in-command. C & D Coys. bathed. About 450 men sent up on working parties in evening to ZILLEBEKE Area carrying T.M. ammunition etc. casualties 11.
21-7-17 Intermittent shelling of PALACE CAMP during evening & following night; no damage.
WIPPENHOEK 22-7-17 9 am Battn. marched into camp at WIPPENHOEK (CONNAUGHT CAMP) arriving about 11.30 a.m.
23-7-17 Practice in attack formation.
24-7-17 7 am Left camp at about 7 a.m. & marched to billets about 2 miles N.W. of STEENVOORDE.
25-7-17 Practice in attack formations.
26-7-17 Practice in attack formations. Second anniversary of Bn's arrival in France.
27-7-17 Practice in attack formations. 8 pm 2nd Anniversary of Bn's arrival in France was celebrated by a dinner in STEENVOORDE, at which the following, who landed with the Bn. in 1915 were present: Brig.Gen.G.D.Price, Lt.Col.G.P.Mills [George Pilkington MILLS, DSO], Major J.H.Bridcutt [John Henry BRIDCUTT, DSO] (guest), Major A.E.Percival [Arthur Ernest PERCIVAL, DSO, MC], Capt,W.J.Colley [William Joseph Wellesley COLLEY, MC & Bar], Capt.H.Driver [Harry DRIVER, DSO, MC], Capt.O.Kingdon [Oliver KINGDON], Capt.H.Ramsbotham [Herwald RAMSBOTHAM, OBE, MC], Lt.S.R.Chapman [Sydney Ronald CHAPMAN], Lt. & Q.M.F.Corner [Frank CORNER, MC]. Draft of 6 O.R. joined the Bn.
28-7-17 Practice in attack formations.
29-7-17 6 am Left billets & marched to camp at WIPPENHOEK (CONNAUGHT CAMP). 10 pm Left WIPPENHOEK & marched to PALACE CAMP, OUDERDOM, arriving early in the morning of the 30th.
30-7-17 Resting at PALACE CAMP.
31-7-17 2 am Moved to NEW CANAL RESERVE CAMP, In readiness for the 2nd Battle of YPRES, which started at 3.50 a.m. 9.15 am Commenced to move forward by platoons from NEW CANAL RESERVE CAMP, but on arrival at CH.SEGARD the Bn. was stopped & ordered to return to NEW CANAL RESERVE CAMP, where they spent the rest of the day.
War Diary for August 1917
1-8-17 The Battalion in accordance with Brigade Orders moved to Chateau Segard Area No.4.
CHATEAU SEGARD 2-8-17 Spent at Chateau Segard. The men were rested as much as possible and only scouts and runners were sent forward to reconnoitre the route up for pending operations.
3-8-17 A general inspection of kit took place in the morning. In the evening at 7 PM the Battalion moved up by companies to "Railway dugouts" at Shrapnel Corner arriving about 9 PM.
RAILWAY DUGOUTS 4-8-17 Each company spent the day in cleaning out their dugouts and improving the path at the foot of the embankment. the battalion was in support during its occupation of these dug outs.
5-8-17 The companies continued to improve the path at the foot of the embankment and built an esplanade along the triangle pond. Eight scouts and two runners per company and Headquarters reconnoitred the route up to the HOOGE TUNNEL dug outs at the elbow in the HOOGE MENIN Road where our Headquarters were to be for the pending operations. Major Bridcutt DSO [John Henry BRIDCUTT, DSO] and the Adjutant attended a conference at Brigade H.Q. at DORMY HOUSE end of RITZ trenches at 6 PM to discuss the general principles of the intended attack.
6-8-17 Scouts again reconnoitred the route up to the wire. Officers also went up to insure that no mistake should take place when the battalion moved up to the line either to counter attack or relieve the garrison. A practice standing to was ordered at 5.30 PM. B Company reported ready to move off at 5.40 PM and was duly congratulated upon this fine performance.
7-8-17 Warning orders having been received the Battalion prepared for a move up to the line during the day. Orders were received in the afternoon to relieve the 12 MIDDLESEX in the line in the evening and to carry out the intended attack during the ensuing forty eight hours. All companies had dumped their packs issued their iron rations and water by 6.30 PM. D Company moved off at 7 PM followed by A Company at 7.30 PM, B and C Company moved at 8 PM and 8.30 PM. D Company relieved two platoons of the 12th Middlesex Regiment in the front line from SURBITON VILLAS to the road in J7D (app 1) A company relieved a company of the same regiment in the HOOGE TUNNEL at the elbow in the HOOGE MENIN Road marked with a cross in App I. This company was detailed as counter attack company. B and C companies were situated in the RITZ trenches as Brigade reserve. Battalion headquarters relieved the 12th MIDDLESEX H.Q. in the HOOGE TUNNEL at the elbow in the MENIN road. The relief was completed by about midnight. The night was fairly active, A and D companies encountered considerable hostile shell fire in moving up through SANCTUARY WOOD. Cap H.Driver DSO [Harry DRIVER, DSO, MC] and Cap O.Kingdon [Oliver KINGDON] put out wire forming up lines about 100 yards in advance of our trenches during the night to facilitate the laying of the forming up tape for pending operations. Lt.Stewart [Hew Bertram STEWART, MC] also put down a white tape to make a convenient route from Bn HQ to the firing line in SURBITON VILLAS.
HOOGE TUNNEL 8-8-17 The battalion held the line. Officers and NCOs were carefully instructed in the ground to be attacked and peculiar features and land marks were pointed out to them, they were subsequently examined to ascertain whether they had thoroughly grasped the situation. Enemy strong points and wired areas were pointed out and noted. About 7 PM a heavy storm blew up and intense rain fell, the ground became exceedingly heavy and very muddy. The attack arranged for the 9th was postponed 24 hours.
9-8-17 The day proved fine with a good breeze blowing which helped to dry the ground. Officers and NCOs continued to examine the features of the landscape to be attacked over on the following day. In the evening the weather again appeared threatening but blew up fine during the night. Cap H.Driver [Harry DRIVER, DSO, MC] and Cap O.Kingdon [Oliver KINGDON, MC] put out the forming up tapes about 10 PM. At 11 PM the leading platoons of B and C companies began to arrive as described in App II [See Appendices]. After receiving tea and rum the platoons were passed forward with guides to their forming up positions.
7th (S) Bn.Bedfordshire Regt. Officers to go into Action. Headquarters Major J.H.Bridcutt D.S.O [John Henry BRIDCUTT, DSO] Comdg. Officer. Capt.W.J.W.Colley M.C. [William Joseph Wellesley COLLEY, MC & Bar] Adjutant. Lieut.H.B.Stewart [Hew Bertram STEWART, MC] Lewis Gun Officer. Lieut.S.R.Chapman [Sydney Ronald CHAPMAN] Signal Officer. Capt.J.A.Vlasto (R.A.M.C.) Medical Officer "A" Company. Capt.R.O.Clark [Robert Oswald CLARK] O.C.Coy. 2/Lieut.F.Halsey [Frederick HALSEY]. 2/Lieut.K.H.Bishop [Kenneth Harley BISHOP]. "B" Company Capt.H.Driver D.S.O. [Harry DRIVER, DSO, MC] O.C.Coy. 2/Lieut.G.R.Craig [Gordon Robert CRAIG] "C" Company. Capt.O.Kingdon [Oliver KINGDON, MC] O.C.Coy. 2/Lt.C.A.Lawrence [Charles Alfred LAWRENCE, MC]. 2/Lt.N.C.E.Cockburn [Noel Christy Everist COCKBURN]. 2/Lt.S.M.Connor [Samuel Maurice CONNOR]. "D" Company. Capt.J.C.M.Ferguson [John Charles James Moore FERGUSON] O.C.Coy. 2/Lt.G.S.Richards. 2/Lt.E.C.H.Conyers [Eric Cater Hodgson CONYERS].
GLENCORSE WOOD 10-8-17 [Comment: The Battles of Ypres 1917 - the capture of Westhoek] At 3.30 AM all companies were formed up for the attack timed for 4.35 AM. C company on the right B Company on the left A Company in close support and D Company in reserve under Caps O.Kingdon [Oliver KINGDON, MC], H.Driver DSO [Harry DRIVER, DSO, MC], R.O.CLARK [Robert Oswald CLARK], J.C.M.FERGUSON [John Charles James Moore FERGUSON]. The forming up was carried out in an exceedingly steady manner under considerable enemy artillery and M/G fire and great credit is due to the company commanders for the cool and deliberate manner in which they handled their companies. At zero hour 4.35 an intense British barrage opened and the battalion moved forward close under its protection. A full account of the glorious manner in which all ranks carried out their duties appears in APP.II The battalion famous for its fighting spirit in the past eclipsed all former deeds of gallantry, when heavy wire held up the foremost men, those behind stood on lumps of earth and rubbish and fired over the heads of those cutting the wire, seldom have any troops shown such brilliant dash and utter contempt for the Bosch. By 5.13 AM NONNE BOSSCHEN Wood was reached and at the same time all other objectives occupied. Within an hour SAA Lewis gun drums etc had been dispatched to the advanced positions and much consolidation had been carried out. Very early in the operations the 11th Royal Fusiliers operating on our right and the Queens operating on their right became adversely involved with a Bosch strong point at the N.W. Corner of INVERNESS COPSE and the whole attack on our right became confused and fell back. The Fusiliers fell back from their advanced posts on to a line running along the ridge from the SW Corner of GLENCOURSE WOOD to CLAPHAM JUNCTION. This change in the situation exposed our right flank and necessitated the partial expenditure of D Company to make a defensive flank which was carried out by Cap Ferguson [John Charles James Moore FERGUSON] in a quick and clever manner. Very severe fighting resulted later in the day through the unsatisfactory position in which our troops were placed. About 5.30 PM the Bosch showed considerable movement and it became evident that a heavy counter attack was imminent: by 6 PM the attack developed and by 7 PM the situation was severe, the Bosch attacking in mass and our own guns shooting desperately short. This condition lasted till 9 PM by which time although we had lost connection with our advanced posts the main position was still firmly in our hands and the enemy casualties were extremely heavy. About 8.30 PM the 6th Royal Berks were sent up to relieve our companies and one company of Norfolks took over the strong point at the SW Corner of GLENCOURSE WOOD from which the Fusiliers had previously been relieved by us. By 2 AM the Regiment had been completely relieved by the Royal Berks and moved back to CHATEAU SEGARD Area No.4. Roll of officers in action APP III Casualties APP IV Operation Orders APP V Aeroplane [all in Appendices] Photo APP VI CHATEAU SEGARD 11-8-17 The morning was spent in rest. 2 PM The Battalion moved to DICKEBUSH NEW CAMP The afternoon was spent in clothing and fitting.
12-8-17 4 AM The Battalion received orders that the 54 Brigade less 7th Bedfordshire Regt would move back to rest billets. The 7th Bedfordshire Regt would be attached to the 53 Brigade. The Battalion was reorganised into four companies of two platoons each, each platoon had one rifle section one rifle grenadier section one bombing section one L/G section. Total Battalion strength about 300. 11 AM Orders were received from Division to move into a field close to Div.H.Q. and rest there until the evening. 2 PM After dinners the Battalion moved to the field mentioned where the Div.General (General Lee) address [sic] a few words to the men and thanked them for their gallant behaviour in the action of August 10th. He also said that he had given instructions to [sic] we were not to be used unless absolutely necessary. 18 DIV H.Q. 6.30 PM The afternoon having been spent in receiving SAA rations etc the companies moved off at 6.30 PM A and D companies to CRAB CRAWL C and B and HQ to RAILWAY DUGOUTS. 11 PM The Battalion was in support to 53 Brigade.
13-8-17 The companies prepared for action if necessary, guides etc reconnoitred the routes. During the night HQ and B & C Companies were heavily shelled with gas shells.
14-8-17 Early in the morning we received orders to relieve the 10th Essex Regiment at STIRLING CASTLE. Guides were at once sent up to arrange the relief. Orders were received for us to make an attack on INVERNESS COPSE on the 16th inst. we were surprised after what the general had said only two days before, but all were cheery and ready to do all they could. Major Bridcutt [John Henry BRIDCUTT, DSO] and the Adjutant went up to STIRLING CASTLE to arrange the relief of the 10th ESSEX. MAJOR BRIDCUTT [John Henry BRIDCUTT, DSO] remained up and the Adjutant returned to RAILWAY DUGOUTS to see the companies off. 7.30 PM The companies set out for the relief. 12 MIDNIGHT Relief complete. Battle Order A and D companies in front line with one platoon C Company attached to each. B Company in reserve.
STIRLING CASTLE 15-8-17 The night having passed off quietly with only the usual amount of shelling the Battalion continued to hold the line. the 6th Royal Berks were on our left and a Battalion of North Staffs on our right. Heavy shelling of our positions took place during the day. B Company was detailed to carry out the attack on the Bosch strong point at J14 c 4.4 NW Corner of INVERNESS COPSE.,see APP I on the 16th inst. 2Lt.Craig [Gordon Robert CRAIG] being in command examined the ground and explained the situation to his company.
16-8-17 B Company having formed up on the tapes put out by 2nd Lt.Craig [Gordon Robert CRAIG] during the night attacked the enemy strong point at J14 c.4.4. (APP I) This attack was carried out in conjunction with a large offensive by the Division on our left; a heavy shrapnel barrage opened at ZERO hour (4.45 AM) and 4.5 howitzers shot on strong points. Owing to some mistake a battery of 4.5 howitzers detailed to shoot on the enemy's strong point at J 14 c.4.4 fired short and on to our B Company about to move forward to the attack, knocking 50% of their effectives out. Cap Ferguson [John Charles James Moore FERGUSON] at once supported with a platoon of D Company but owing to the heavy enemy M/G fire little could be done and the attempt to capture the strong point was abandoned. 7 AM The day was chiefly spent in artillery duals no further infantry activity taking place on our sector.
17-8-17 The Battalion continued to hold the line, the 6th Royal Berkshire were relieved by the 12 MIDDLESEX also lent to 53 Brigade by 54 Brigade. This relief took place during night of 16/17. During the night 17/18th the Battalion was relieved by the Rifle Brigade and moved back to DICKEBUSH RAILHEAD.
7th (S) Bn. Bedfordshire Regt. Casualties: 2/Lt.S.M.Connor [Samuel Maurice CONNOR]. Killed in Action 10.8.17. 2/Lt.F.Halsey [Frederick HALSEY] Missing 10/8/17. Capt.H.Driver D.S.O. [Harry DRIVER, DSO, MC] Wounded 10.8.17. 2/Lt.E.C.H.Conyers [Eric Cater Hodgson CONYERS] Wounded 10.8.17. Capt.J.C.M.Ferguson [John Charles James Moore FERGUSON] Wounded still at duty 10.8.17. Lieut.H.F.Trewman Wounded still at duty 7.8.17. 2/Lt.G.R.Craig [Gordon Robert CRAIG] Wounded still at duty 8.8.17.
Summary of Casualties O.R.s Killed 35 Wounded 163 Died of Wounds 5 Missing 47 Missing Believed Killed 6 Missing Believed Wounded 3. 259 Incurred from 10/8/17 to 17/8/17 inclusive.
DICKEBUSH RAILHEAD 18-8-17 11.30AM The Battalion entrained from DICKEBUSH RAILHEAD and moved to ARNEKE arriving at 4 PM and marching to billets at BUYSSCHEURE arriving at 8 PM. BUSSES were supplied for kits and men who could not march.
BUYSSCHEURE 19-8-17 The Battalion rested.
20-8-17 The Battalion refitted and Bathed.
21-8-17 A draft of 70 having arrived companies commenced reorganising into four platoons.
22-8-17 Training Platoon and Company Drill.
23-8-17 6.30 AM The Battalion went to the sea side by bus for a holiday, 7.30 PM the scene of these festivities was near DUNKIRK.
24-8-17 The V Army musketry range was allotted to the Battalion. The men were taken there by lorries starting at 9 AM. the rifle shooting of the men was good each man fired 15 rounds at a figure target, and L/Gs had plate firing.
25-8-17 Platoon training.
26-8-17 11 AM Church parade.
27-8-17 Company training.
28-8-17 Brigade rifle range was allotted to us but owing wet weather we could not use it. A Route March took place.
29-8-17 Companies had a [sic] advantage of training under a special Bayonet fighting instruction.
30-8-17 Company training and specialists training.
31-8-17 Company training.
September 1917 War Diary
1-9-17 Battn carried out practice attack. Blank ammunition was used & the new form of attack was adopted. 5 pm Divisional Cross Country Race. The Bn. obtained 4th place in the 5 mile contest. Conditions: Teams of 8, first 6 to count. First 5 of Bn team were well up but the 6th man dropped a lot of points.
ARNEKE 3-9-17 12.30 Moved by Route March from BUYSSCHEURE to ARNEKE. Here the Bn was billeted in farms, being very scattered.
4-9-17 Musketry on 5th Army Range EPERLECQUES. Bn was conveyed in lorries and each man fired 3 practice.
5-9-17 7 am Parade. The abolition of the entry parade had not proved a success, as it led to much slackness. 9 am Coy Training - Guard Mounting, Specialists, Coys in attack, Platoon Drill.
6-9-17 Specialist Training followed by Battn in attack.
BUYSSCHEURE 7-9-17 7 am Early morning parade. 9 am Specialist Training, followed by Platoon Drill.
8-9-17 7 am Early morning parade. 11 am Demonstration of Gas Cloud, whole Battn attended.
9-9-17 11.30am Voluntary Church Parade. 2nd Lt.R.W.Curtice [R.W. CURTIS] joined the Battn & was posted to "B" Coy. 2nd Lt.T.N.Donovan [Terrence Norman DONOVAN] joined the Battn & as posted to "A" Coy.
10-9-17 7 am Parade. 8 am - 5 pm Bathing.
11-9-17 Bn. carried out a practice attack with 12th M'x as Moppers Up.
12-9-17 7 am Parade. 9 am Specialist Training & Coy. Drill.
13-9-17 "C" & "D" Coys "Moppers Up" to 11th Royal Fusiliers in attack scheme "A" & "B" Coys. acted as enemy.
14-9-17 7 am Early Parade. 9 am Specialist Training & Platoon Drill. 3 pm Cricket match.
15-9-17 Bn. carried out a very successful attack scheme with "Moppers Up" & Enemy, found by 11th Royal Fusiliers. "C" & "D" Coys were attacking "B" Coy Support, "A" Coy Reserve.
16-9-17 5 officers & about 300 O.R. proceeded to the seaside near MARDYCK for the day. Weather good & all ranks much enjoyed themselves.
17-9-17 5 officers & 200 O.R. proceeded to seaside. Remainder carried out Specialist Training. Tactical scheme for officers in evening. Bn. received 1 Bar to M.M. & 29 M.M. for good work on 9th/16th Aug.
18-9-17 Early Parade & Specialist Training. Work stopped by rain. Draft of 16 O.R. M.C. awarded to Lt. & Qr.F.Corner [Frank CORNER, MC] & Capt.J.A.Vlasto, R.A.M.C. and a Bar to M.C. to Capt.W.W.Colley [William Joseph Wellesley COLLEY, MC & Bar].
19-9-17 Whole Bn. bathed. "C" & "D" Coys acted as "Moppers Up" to 11th Royal Fusiliers in tactical Scheme. 3 pm All officers & Platoon Sgts attended demonstration of wiring by 80th Field Coy. R.E. at LEDRINGHEM.
ARNEKE 20-9-17 Coy. Training; platoons in attack scheme. Draft of 16 O.R. having joined the Battn. on the 19th were posted on this date.
21-9-17 9 am Platoons in attack scheme. 10.45am "D" Coy's Drill Competition won by No.15 Platoon. 12.30pm Presentation of M.C.'s, D.C.M.'s & M.M.'s to 1 officer & 29 O.R. by Brig.-Gen.C.Cunliffe Owen C.B. 2nd Lt.G.H.D.Adams [Gerald Howard Day ADAMS] & 20 O.R. joined the Bn. on this date.
SINT-JAN-TER-BIEZEN 22-9-17 Bn. moved by train from ARNEKE to HUPOUTRE and marched from there to TUNNELLING CAMP, near SINT-JAN-TER-BIEZEN, just W. of POPERINGHE.
23-9-17 CHURCH PARADE at 10 a.m.
24-9-17 Platoon training; 8 officers proceeded to 18th Coys School at VOLKERINGHOVE for 4 day course.
25-9-17 Platoon in attack. 5 officers went to 18th Coys School for the day.
26-9-17 Platoon in attack. 5 officers went to 18th Coys School for the day. Draft of 12 O.R. arrived.
27-9-17 Specialist Training & Musketry. 5 officers to 18th Coys School. Draft of 6 O.R.
28-9-17 Specialist Training, wiring etc. 2nd Lts A.W.Brawn [Arthur W. BRAWN], R.C.S.Ransom [Robert Cyril Starling RANSOM], F.H.Fox [Frank Herbert FOX] & H.W.Haward [Hereward Warren HAWARD] joined the Bn. on this date. Bn. dinner to celebrate anniversary of THIEPVAL & SCHWABEN REDOUBT victory.
29-9-17 Coy.Training. Aeroplane Raid at night.
30-9-17 CHURCH PARADE.
War Diary for October 1917
1-10-17 9 am Demonstration of new form of attack to all officers & N.C.O's. Bn. Route March. 2nd Lt.T.H.FLAVELL [Thomas Henry FLAVELL] joined Bn. & posted to "C" Coy.
2-10-17 Coys. in attack schemes. In consequence of several Bombing Raids, 2 Coys were moved into a camp in the wood.
3-10-17 Specialist Training.
4-10-17 Bn. practiced attack over plit-locked trenches etc.
5-10-17 Coy. Training. Draft of 9 O.R. arrived.
6-10-17 Bn. again practiced attack. 8.30 pm Night operations. Forming up etc.
7-10-17 Church Parade. Very wet day. 2nd Lt.MAW [Harry MAW] reported for duty.
8-10-17 Coy. Training. Night operations.
9-10-17 Battn. in attack in conjunction with 12th Middlesex Regt.
10-10-17 Coy. Training.
11-10-17 Battn. in attack.
12-10-17 [Comment: The Battles of Ypres 1917 - the First Battle of Passchendaele] Night operations.
13-10-17 Coy. Training and Route Marches. During the whole of the week ending on this day the weather was very wet, and seriously interfered with training.
14-10-17 Church Parade. Great improvement in the weather.
15-10-17 Rifle Practice on the Range. Every man firing 10 Rounds.
TUNNELLING CAMP 16-10-17 10 am The Battalion embussed for Canal Bank, arriving there about 12.30 pm. The rest of the day was spent in preparing companies to go up the line.
CANAL BANK 17-10-17 Officers and Scouts reconnoitred the line held by the Royal Fusiliers in order to relieve them the following day. Two days rations were issued to the men in the evening in order to avoid carrying rations up to the line when the Battalion went in.
18-10-17 2 p.m. The Battalion moved off up the line to relieve the Royal Fusiliers. A halt was made at Hurst Park to rest the men, and allow the day light to give way to dark. The relief was completed soon after 8 pm.
In the Line 19-10-17 The Battalion held the line without any undue incident other than a severe shelling by Gas Shells. The mud was very bad and duck-boards few. The men suffered considerably from cold & wet. The line held consisted of shell holes filled with water.
20-10-17 The line was held by the Battalion until the evening, when it was relieved by the Queens. The Battalion moved back to Irish Farm where it entrained for Tunnelling Camp, arriving there about 7 am in the morning. A certain amount of difficulty was experienced in carrying out the relief owing to bad communications. "D" Coy whose relief was somewhat delayed decided to wait until daylight when shelling would not be so bad. They consequently did not reach Tunnelling Camp until mid-day.
Tunnelling Camp 21-10-17 The afternoon was spent in refitting, bathing the men and attending to feet & boots.
22-10-17 The men were rested and refitted in anticipation of proceeding up the line again.
23-10-17 Some drill exercises were carried out, S.A.A., Lewis Guns etc completed and final arrangements for proceeding to the line for another tour.
24-10-17 9 a.m. The Battalion embussed for Canal Bank, from whence it marched to Cane Trench. Dinners were served at Cane Trench and rations, water etc. served out to the men for a 48 hours tour in the trenches. In the evening the Battalion relieved the Royal Fusiliers in the line. The relief was completed in the early morning.
In the line 25-10-17 The Battalion held the line successfully. There was a great deal of shelling and incidentally our own guns fired very short.
26-10-17 The Battalion held the line and was relieved in the Evening by the 2/Londons. This relief was about the worst on record, the relieving troops losing their way up and becoming thoroughly disorganised. The relief was not complete until about 10 a.m. next morning, when the Battalion embussed at Canal Bank for Dirty Bucks Camp.
Dirty Bucks Camp 27-10-17 The men spent the day resting.
28-10-17 Refitting and cleaning. Preparing to move in the following day.
29-10-17 9.45 am The Battalion set out by Route March via International Corner to Putney Camp, arriving there for dinners at 2 p.m.
Putney Camp 30-10-17 Re-organisation of companies & platoons and a little parade drill.
31-10-17 Training commenced in earnest. The usual programmes were prepared and the men carried out Physical Exercises before breakfast and Company and Platoon Drill in the morning. Congratulatory message from Corps Commander All Battalions. 54th Machine Gun Company. 54th Trench Mortar Battery. The XVIII Corps Commander sends his hearty congratulations on the success of the 18th Division on the 22nd instant. He adds that this success was gained in spite of bad weather, bad mud and hot artillery fire, and that all concerned deserve great credit from highest to lowest. A.E.Percival, Major [Arthur Ernest PERCIVAL, DSO, MC] a/Brigade Major 54th Inf. Bde. 31st October 1917
War Diary for November 1917
1-11-17 Training as per programme (see appendix I). [not all training appendices included]
2-11-17 Training as per programme (see appendix I).
3-11-17 Training as per programme (see appendix I).
4-11-17 The Battalion moved to Ondank - Box Camp, entraining at 1 p.m. at PROVEN.
Box Camp 5-11-17 Spent in organising camp, clearing drains, putting up Bomb protection round huts and tents etc.
6-11-17 Training as per programme (see appendix I).
7-11-17 Training as per programme (see appendix I).
8-11-17 Training as per programme (see appendix I).
9-11-17 Training as per programme (see appendix I).
10-11-17 The Battalion relieved the 6th Royal Berks Regt. in Baboon Camp, BOEZINGE, and took over the duties of support Battn to the 11th Royal Fusiliers who were in the line.
Baboon Camp 11-11-17 - 13-11-17 Working Parties were found by day and night for carrying up R.E. material to the Front Line. On the evening of the 13th the Battalion relieved the 11th Royal Fusiliers in the Front Line - Houthulst Forest, the boundaries being SANCTUARY ROAD on the right and FAIDHERBE ROAD on the left, in conjunction with the 43rd French Regiment.
Front Line 14-11-17 No particular incident.
15-11-17 At 4.45 pm the Bosche delivered an attack on the junction of the French and British Armies but was repulsed with heavy losses. Colonel Carot commanding the 43rd Regiment personally congratulated the 54th Brigade and in particular the Bedfordshire Regiment on their keeness and dashing manner in repelling the German attack.
16-11-17 No particular incident occurred. Midnight The Battn was relieved by the 6th Royal Berks. Throughout the relief the enemy indulged in severe Gas shelling, which somewhat hindered the relief but on the morning of the 17th at 2 am the relief was complete.
Box Camp 17-11-17 The Battn moved down from the Line by train from BOEZINGE, detraining at Ondank Siding, and moved into Box Camp, and spent the remainder of the day resting.
18-11-17 The Battn refitted and sick were attended to and Coys reorganised for training.
19-11-17 Training as per programme (see appendix I). [not all training appendices have been included]
20-11-17 Training as per programme (see appendix I).
21-11-17 Training as per programme (see appendix I).
22-11-17 The Battn relieved the 6th Royal Berks in Canal Bank Camp, Boezinge entraining at Ondank Siding at 1 pm and detraining at Boezinge at 1.45 pm. In the evening working parties were found.
Canal Bank 23-11-17 The usual Working Parties were found and a systematic programme of improving the camp was carried out.
24-11-17 Working parties were found for the line and camp improvement programme was continued
25-11-17 Work on camp was continued.
26-11-17 On the evening and early morning of 25/26 the Battn relieved the Royal Fusiliers in the line as per Operation Orders No.182 (see App.II). The relief was complete at 12.30 am. No particular incident occurring. Front Line No particular incident to report during the day.
27-11-17 The Battn held the Front Line without incident.
28-11-17 The Battn held the Front Line without incident.
29-11-17 During the night of 28/29 the Battn was relieved by the 6th Royal Berks. The relief was complete at 12.30 am and the Battn entrained at BOEZINGE, detraining at International Corner and proceeded to "J" Camp, spending the remainder of the day resting (see Operation Order No.183, appendix 2)
"J" Camp 30-11-17 The Battn spent the day refitting.
December 1917 War Diary
1-12-17 Refitting and re-organisation of Companies. Special training of Stretcher Bearers.
2-12-17 Church Parades and Bathing at 17th Divisional Baths.
3-12-17 Training as per programme (see appendix I).
4-12-17 The Battalion relieved the 6th Bn. Royal Berks at BABOON CAMP in accordance with Order No.184 (see appendix 2)
Baboon Camp 5-12-17 The Battalion provided Working Parties from Baboon Camp carrying up to the 11th Royal Fusiliers who hold the line.
6-12-17 The Battalion remained in support in Baboon Camp and again supplied carrying parties for the 11th Royal Fusiliers in the Front Line.
7-12-17 The Battalion still remained in Reserve to the 11th Royal Fusiliers and again supplied Working Parties.
8-12-17 The Battalion relieved the 11th Royal Fusiliers in the Left sub-sector of the line in front of HOUTHULST FOREST on the night of 7th and 8th. The relief was duly completed without incident. Operation Orders attached N.170 (see appendix 2). For photographs of the line see Appendix 3 [not attached].
In the Line 9-12-17 The Battalion held the Left Sub-sector in the Front Line without incident.
10-12-17 The Battalion again held the line in the front of HOUTHULST FOREST without incident and carried out a certain amount of Wiring.
"J" Camp 11-12-17 The Battalion was relieved by the 7th Royal West Kent Regiment on the night of 10th/11th and entrained at BOEZINGE for "J" Camp, arriving about 7 a.m. The remainder of the day was spent in resting. operation Orders attached see Appendix 2.
12-12-17 Refitting and Inventory taken of damage to equipment etc.
13-12-17 Re-organisation of Companies and inspection of the same by Major A.E.Percival, M.C., [Arthur Ernest PERCIVAL, DSO, MC] Commanding the Battalion.
14-12-17 Lieut.Col.G.P.Mills D.S.O. [George Pilkington MILLS, DSO] returned to the Battalion from Commanding the Brigade, and duly took over Command from Major A.E.Percival, M.C. [Arthur Ernest PERCIVAL, DSO, MC] Company Training was carried out.
15-12-17 Promotions and Appointments were made to complete establishment and Training was carried out as per attached programme (see appendix I).
16-12-17 The Battalion moved from "J" Camp to CLAUDE CHAPPE CAMP, [ROESBRUGGE] HARINGE AREA for Rest period. General Sadleir Jackson took the March - Past and was pleased with the general turn-out of the Battalion. The Battalion arrived in new area in time for dinner; each company being billeted in a separate hut, and one detached Company in Northampton Lines. There was also a Cinema Hall in the Centre of the Camp, which subsequently provided the troops with excellent charcoal.
CLAUDE CHAPPE CAMP 17-12-17 Capt.H.C.Browning [Herbert Compton BROWNING, MC] took over duties with the Battalion again having been attached to Brigade. A course of five weeks' Training was commenced, as per programme (see appendix I). Major Percival [Arthur Ernest PERCIVAL, DSO, MC] proceeded on short leave to England.
18-12-17 The cinema Hall was burnt down at 10.30 pm. Fire picquets turned out and the Divisional Fire Brigade attended, but the Hall was completely demolished. A certain amount of danger existed through proximity of other huts and the Horse Transport Lines, which were kept doused with water and fortunately escaped damage.
19-12-17 Training as per programme (see appendix I).
20-12-17 Training as per grogramme (see appendix I) and Inter Platoon Football Matches.
21-12-17 Lieut.Col.G.P.Mills, D.S.O. [George Pilkington MILLS, DSO] proceeded on leave to England. Training was carried out as per programme (see appendix I). lecture by Captain Long, R.E., on "Interception of Wireless Messages and Telephonic Messages" at 2.30 pm. Captain W.J.W.Colley, M.C. [William Joseph Wellesley COLLEY, MC & Bar] took over command of the Battn.
22-12-17 Training as per programme. A Brigade Rifle range was commenced and one Company was employed daily in its construction.
23-12-17 Church Parade and Football occupied the day.
24-12-17. 25-12-17, 26-12-17 Christmas Holidays. No Parades were held. Christmas Dinners were held by Companies separately from 12 noon to 4 p.m. each man received a Quart of English Beer and Turkeys were obtained from PARIS. There were also Hams, nuts and sweets provided; dinners generally considered a great success. Gen.Sadleir Jackson went round the Brigade to see the Battalions at the Christmas Dinners, and met with a great reception in this Battalion. The Officers held a Dinner at 7 pm in ROESBRUGGE [HARINGE] which, with the efforts of Mr.Davies, the Battalion Mess President, was a great success. A draft of 75 O.Rs. arrived at 11.45 am on 25th and were greatly surprised at having Xmas Dinner provided for them. they were chiefly men from 19-25 years of age, and largely from the Sussex district.
27-12-17 Training was carried out as per training programme (see App.I) Football in the afternoon. Capt.S.Tabor, Act. Adjutant proceeded to England on leave & handed over his duties to Capt.H.C.Browning [Herbert Compton BROWNING, MC].
28-12-17 Training was carried out as per Training Programme (see App.I) The draft was inspected and definitely allotted to Companies. The Battalion had the use of the Divisional Baths in ROESBRUGGE and clean clothing.
29-12-17 Training as per programme (see App.I) Football in the afternoon. General Sadleir Jackson inspected the Battn and Transport at 8 a.m. and witnessed a Tactical Scheme carried out by the Battn. during the morning. Two Companies of the Royal Fusiliers and a detachment of Vickers Guns supplied an enemy for this scheme. At the Conference afterwards the General pointed out the excellent manner in which the N.C.O's and Section Commanders handled their Commands, and the intelligent manner in which all ranks carried out their duties. In the tactical Scheme it was generally considered to be very much above the average.
30-12-17 Church Parades (Voluntary) Football in the Afternoon.
31-12-17 Training as per programme (see App.I) and games in the Afternoon.
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