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]
WAR DIARY FOR JANUARY 1917
1 Jan 1917 - Hohenzollern Left Sector Battalion relieved 2nd York & Lancaster Regt in HOHENZOLLERN LEFT SECTOR. Relief was complete by 4 PM no casualties. Trenches in very bad state no working parties required other than improving our trenches.
2 Jan 1917 Situation quiet with exception of a few inclusive[?] trench mortars casualties nil.
3 Jan 1917 Situation quiet one casualty (slightly wounded in carrying rations to front Coy) Patrolling work done by front Coys but nothing important observed
4 Jan 1917 Situation quiet casualties nil. RSM [7468 Samuel ARMSTRONG, DCM] awarded DCM in New Years Honours and CO, Capts Steyn [Pierre STEYN, DSO], Pares [William Thomas PARES, MC] & 2Lt Smith [Walter Thomas SMITH] mentioned in despatches
5 Jan 1917 - support trenches Relieved by 2nd York & Lancaster Regt. & went into support line trenches in fine conditions casualties nil
6 Jan 1917 Baths allotted to Battalion at VERMELLES also had to supply about 200 men for working parties. New draft of 1 off & 174 OR arrived a very good lot of men
7 Jan 1917 Working parties supplied . Casualties nil a further draft of 98 OR arrived very good but mostly specialists. CO inspected draft of 174 O R
8 Jan 1917 Working parties supplied casualties nil CO inspected draft of 98 OR
9 Jan 1917 - Hohenzollern Left Sector Moved up the line again & relieved 2nd York Lancaster trenches still in a bad state but showed sign of slight improvement Casualties nil
10 Jan 1917 Supplied 30 men to R.E's to make new dug outs in support line enemy fire about 200 light trench mortars over our front line casualties nil he received good retaliation from our artillery otherwise enemy quiet
11 Jan 1917 Companies all working on improvement of trenches situation quiet our artillery slightly active casualties nil.
12 Jan 1917 Weather bad, but very little sickness in spite of condition of trenches situation quiet
13 Jan 1917 - Noyelles-les-Vermelles and Lancashire Trench Battalion relieved by 2nd York Lancs Regt & proceeded to huts in NOYELLES for short rest. Weather very bad. 1 Coy remained in LANCASHIRE TRENCH
14 Jan 1917 Baths allotted to Battalion. 30 men per Coy attended Church Parade. 2 new drafts were allocated & joined their respective Coys
15 Jan 1917 Companies trained at 10.30 pm Battalion ordered to stand to and sent 1 Coy up to support an attack & as expected this did not take place & Coy returned next day.
16 Jan 1917 Companies continued training 75 men under 2Lt Batt [possibly Evelyn Ernest BATH] proceeded to Divisional training school for further training also the Battalion started an 8 day course at transport for purpose of training Lewis Gunners
17 Jan 1917 - Hohenzollern Left Sector Battalion moved up line again & relieved 2nd York & Lancasters weather very bad heavy snow fall relieve [sic] completed by 12.50 PM enemy quiet casualties nil
18 Jan 1917 Enemy quiet. At 3 pm our trench mortars carried out a shoot on enemy's front & support line no retaliation casualties nil
19 Jan 1917 Enemy quiet our artillery carried out a shoot opposite our front. Good results were observed. Casualties nil. We sent out patrols at night. Casualties nil.
20 Jan 1917 Enemy quiet our artillery fairly active cutting wire etc. At 11 pm 2Lt MATTEY [Charles Percival MATTEY] & Sgt HUNTER went out on patrol & did not return. It is feared they were taken prisoner. At 3 A M Lt Fleming [Alan McKinsty FLEMING, MC] with an NCO went out to look for them, but could find no sign
21 Jan 1917 The battalion was relieved by 2nd Y&L. It proceeded to Support Lines. Enemy quiet our artillery & T M's fairly active still wire cutting also our heavies fired a number of rounds behind enemies lines. Working parties were supplied by battalion. Casualties nil. C Company went back to huts NOYELLES in order to train for projected raid under Capt G D Brewster [Gordon David BREWSTER] Eighty of these men were sent to DIVISIONAL GRENADE SCHOOL for instruction
22 Jan 1917 Working parties supplied by battalion also baths for men. Casualties nil
23 Jan 1917 Working parties supplied by battalion also baths for men. Casualties nil
24 Jan 1917 Our artillery again active as before our trenches selected for prospective raid. Working parties supplied. Casualties nil
25 Jan 1917 - Hohenzollern Left Sector Battalion moved into line again relieving 2nd Y&L enemy quiet. Patrols sent out . Our snipers active & claimed at least two hits. casualties nil. Successful raid carried out by Brigade on our left. Enemy retaliated slightly on us, but no damage done
26 Jan 1917 Enemy quiet. Our artillery again fairly active. Casualties nil. Another small raid by left Brigade at 11 pm. Enemy hardly retaliated.
27 Jan 1917 Our Artillery active also TM cutting wire [unreadable] our left front in preparation for prospective raid by Battalion. Casualties nil
28 Jan 1917 Artillery & TM completed cutting wire also shelled enemies support lines. Sgt Jarvis of D Coy accidentally wounded by Pte Fall who discharged his rifle whilst cleaning. C Coy at 11 pm moved from NOYELLES to LEFT FRONT SECTOR preparatory to raid enemies trenches at 3.30 AM 29th inst. No casualties
29 Jan 1917 - Noyelles-les-Vermelles and Lancashire Trench A raid was made on enemy trenches called LITTLE WILLIE & HINDENBURG Trench. The guns started at 3.30 am. Raiders 150 man party from C Coy under Capt Brewster [Gordon David BREWSTER] started at 3.37 under cover of our artillery barrage. Enemy's front line was quickly taken but as the raid was limited to 35 mins the raiders did not have time to enter 2nd Line. 2 prisoners were taken (very important identifications) several Germans killed also six dug outs were bombed with mobile charges. Casualties 1 officer very slightly wounded. 1 OR killed 1 severely wounded 3 lightly wounded.. Enemy put up very poor resistance. Battalion returned to reserve billets later in the forenoon 1 Coy to Lancashire Trench.
30 Jan 1917 Routine work in billets.
31 Jan 1917 Routine work in billets.
WAR DIARY FOR FEBRUARY 1917
1 Feb 1917 - Noyelles-les-Vermelles Battn in hutment camp in Brigade Reserve. Training and inspection of arms.
2 Feb 1917 - opposite Hohenzollern Redoubt Battn. relieved 2/York & Lancaster Regt in left subsector of 16 I.B. front opposite HOHENZOLLERN REDOUBT. A, B, & C Coys in front line & saps. D Coy in Support.
3 Feb 1917 Battn in line as above. Enemy snipers and machine guns very active. Casualties 1 O.R. killed, 2 O.R. wounded. Our snipers claim 3 hits.
4 Feb 1917 Battn in line as above. Enemy less aggressive except for trench mortars Casualties 1 O.R. killed.
5 Feb 1917 Battn in line as above. Our retaliation with 4.5 howitzers appears to have caused hostile TMs to stop. Casualties 1 O.R. killed 7 OR wounded.
6 Feb 1917 - Railway Reserve, Junction Keep, Central Keep, Reserve Line Battn relieved by 2/York & Lancs. Moved into Bde. Support - A Coy Railway Reserve B Coy Junction Keep, C Coy Central Keep, D Coy Reserve Line.
7 Feb 1917 Furnished working parties during day & night for front line system.
8 Feb 1917 Furnished working parties during day & night for front line system.
9 Feb 1917 Furnished working parties during day & night for front line system.
10 Feb 1917 - Hohenzollern Left Subsector Bn. relived 2/York & Lancs Regt in left subsector HOHENZOLLERN. B, C & D Coy in front line & saps. A Coy in support
11 Feb 1917 Bn in line as above - Enemy snipers active. Casualties 2/Lt Batt [possibly Evelyn Ernest BATH] wounded. 3 O.R. killed, 4 OR wounded.
12 Feb 1917 Battn in line. Hostile T.Mortars active, snipers less so. Our snipers claim 2 hits
13 Feb 1917 Battn in line. Enemy quiet though nervous. Our snipers claim 2 hits. Casualties 2 O.R. wounded
14 Feb 1917 Battn in line. Enemy activity normal
15 Feb 1917 - Beuvry Battalion relieved by 9th Leicester Regt & marched to billets in BEUVRY.
16 Feb 1917 - l'Ecleme Marched to L'ECLEME near LILLERS.
17 Feb 1917 Cleaning up of equipment, clothing and billets
18 Feb 1917 Open air church service
19 Feb 1917 Coys training during forenoon. Inter platoon football & cross country running in the afternoon. A & D inspected by C.O.
20 Feb 1917 Coys training during morning. Inter platoon football & cross country running in the afternoon. B & C inspected by C.O.
21 Feb 1917 Coys training during forenoon. Inter platoon football & cross country running in the afternoon. Transport inspected by C.O.
22 Feb 1917 Coys training during forenoon. Inter platoon football & cross country running in the afternoon
23 Feb 1917 Coy training - recreational afternoon. Inter platoon competition.
24 Feb 1917 Coy training - recreational afternoon. Inter platoon competition. Bn scheme with Contact Aeroplane
25 Feb 1917 Open air church service
26 Feb 1917 Battn Scheme with Contact Aeroplane.
27 Feb 1917 Coys training. Afternoon - Bde Cross Country Race.
28 Feb 1917 - Bethune Marched to Bethune & billeted
WAR DIARY FOR MARCH 1917
1 Mar 1917 - Mazingarbe Marched to MAZINGARBE, via NEOUX-LES-MINES[sic] and billeted
2 Mar 1917 - Maroc Moved into support at MAROC near LOOS and relieved 8/East Lancashire Regt.
3 Mar 1917 - Loos-en-Gohelle and Travers Keep and St.James' Keep, Maroc B, C, & D Coys & Bn. H.Q. relieved 9/North Staffordshire Rgt in LOOS DEFENCES. A Coy remaining MAROC with a platoon in each of TRAVERS and ST.JAMES'S KEEPS.
4 Mar 1917 As above. Working parties at night, repair of keeps by day.
5 Mar 1917 As above. Working parties at night, repair of keeps by day. Casualties 2 O.R. Killed 2 OR wounded.
6 Mar 1917 As above. Working parties at night, repair of keeps by day.
7 Mar 1917 As above. Working parties at night, repair of keeps by day.
8 Mar 1917 Relieved 1/The Buffs in left subsector of LOOS SECTION. Enemy activity normal during night. A. B & D Coy in front line, C Coy in Support.
9 Mar 1916 In trenches as above. Enemy heavy trench mortars & aerial darts active. Casualties 2 O.R. killed - 3 O.R. wounded.
10 Mar 1916 In trenches as above. Enemy trench mortars aggressive doing much damage to our front trenches. Casualties 4 O.R. wounded.
11 Mar 1916 In trenches as above. Combined shoot by our heavy & field artillery on locality enemy has active from.
12 Mar 1916 In trenches as above. Heavy mortars & aerial darts again aggressive, night quiet. Relief suspected. Casualties 1 O.R. wounded.
13 Mar 1917 In trenches as above. Heavy mortars very active about noon. Machine guns active at night.
14 Mar 1917 - les Brebis and Maroc In trenches as above. Relieved at night by 1/the Buffs and move back to billets at LES BREBIS, one Coy (C) at MAROC.
15 Mar 1917 Cleaning of kit, equipt,& arms, followed by inspection to enable unserviceable articles to be replaced.
16 Mar 1917 In billets. Inspection by Bde Armourer Sgt of all arms. Coys. training in close order drill and rifle exercises.
17 Mar 1917 In billets. Coy practicing by platoon new formation for attack laid down in S.S.144
18 Mar 1917 In billets. Battalion Church service in Church Army Hut.
19 Mar 1917 In billets. Coys practicing attack (S.S.144) using Lewis Gun fire and dummy rifle grenades Battalion Concert in evening.
20 Mar 1917 - Loos-en-Gohelle left subsection Relieved 1/The Buffs in left subsection LOOS at night. A, B and D front line, C Coy in support.
21 Mar 1917 In trenches - Enemy activity normal - snipers active. Heavy mortars less frequent. Casualties 1 O.R. killed (C.S.M.Smith)
22 Mar 1917 In trenches. Enemy activity normal. Casualties 3 O.R. wounded.
23 Mar 1917 In trenches. Enemy active with aerial darts. Our Heavies & field guns had an hours shoot at enemy lines.
24 Mar 1917 In trenches. Casualties 1 O.R. killed, 1 O.R. wounded. Enemy quiet except for trench mortars & few light field gun shells.
25 Mar 1917 In trenches. Enemy activity normal. Machine guns active at night. Aerial darts by day. Casualties 2 O.R. killed 3 wounded.
26 Mar 1917 - Loos-en-Gohelle support trenches, St.James' and Travers Keeps In trenches. Enemy activity normal. His trench mortar active during afternoon. Relieved at night by 1/The Buffs and moved back to Bde. Support in LOOS DEFENCES, 1 Coy in ST JAMES'S & TRAVERS KEEPS.
27 Mar 1917 In support. 300 men working on defences - 75 men on Bde. work
28 Mar 1917 In support. 300 men working on defences - 75 men on Bde. work
29 Mar 1917 In support. 300 men working on defences - 75 men on Bde. work
30 Mar 1917 In support. 300 men working on defences - 75 men on Bde. work. Casualties 2 O.R. wounded.
31 Mar 1917 In support. 300 men working on defences - 75 men on Bde. work
WAR DIARY FOR APRIL 1917
1 Apr 1917 - Loos-en-Gohelle left subsection Relieved 1/The Buffs in LOOS left subsection at night. A, C & D Coys front line, B Coy in support.
2 Apr 1917 In trenches. Enemy activity normal. Considerable number of hostile aircraft present whole day and observation balloons up. Casualties 1 O.R. killed.
3 Apr 1917 In trenches. Enemy activity normal. Intense bombardment of our front line for 10 min. about 10.0 p.m., but nothing followed. Machine guns move active afterwards during night. Lt. Col. Lord Ampthill [Arthur Oliver Villiers RUSSELL, the Lord Ampthill] joined the battalion. Casualties 1 O.R. killed & 13 O.R. wounded.
4 Apr 1917 In trenches. Colonel Lord Henry Scott left to proceed to G.H.Q. Lt.Col.Lord Ampthill assumed command of the battalion. Enemy active with aerial darts especially at night. Casualties 1 Officer wounded (2Lt Clark), 1 O.R. killed 3 O.R. wounded
5 Apr 1917 In trenches. Enemy activity normal, machine guns active at night. Enemy used gas shells. Casualties 2 O.R. killed, 3 O.R. wounded.
6 Apr 1917 In trenches. Enemy field guns more active. Machine guns quieter at night. Casualties 1 O.R. killed.
7 Apr 1917 - les Brebis and Maroc In trenches. Enemy activity normal, slight shelling of back areas after dark. Relieved at night by 1/The Buffs. H.Q. A.C.& D.Coys to LES BREBIS B Coy to MAROC.
8 Apr 1917 In billets. Cleaning & inspection of arms, equipt & clothing. H.Q. & Coy Commanders reconnoitring best route to support 18th & 71st Infy Bdes, also our own brigade.
9 Apr 1917 In billets. Coys. at drill & rifle exercises. Comdg officer's conference of Coy Commanders.
10 Apr 1917 In billets. Coys training in the attack as laid down In SS143. Casualties 2 O.R. wounded.
11 Apr 1917 In billets. Coys close order drill and rifle exercises. Too wet for attack practice.
12 Apr 1917 In billets. Coys close order drill and rifle exercises. Too wet for attack practice.
13 Apr 1917 In billets. Coys practising new formations for attack (S.S.143). Enemy reported retiring from trenches near DOUBLE CRASSIER. battn ordered to move to reserve line.
14 Apr 1917 - trenches between Vermelles and Grenay In trenches between VERMELLES - GRENAY in Bde Reserve.
15 Apr 1917 [Comment: The Battle of Hill 70] In trenches between VERMELLES - GRENAY in Bde Reserve. At noon orders issued for battn to attack in conjunction with 1/The Buffs. Battn moved up to south of LOOS under heavy hostile barrage and finally occupied position in prolongation south of LOOS CRASSIER. C & A Coy firing line, B & D in Support. Casualties 28 O.R. wounded.
16 Apr 1917 - After artillery bombardment C & A Coy bombed their way to first objective & consolidated. Bn on our left failed to reach this and retired on former position. Both C & A Coys flank were in the air, but despite this and enemy bombing attacks they maintained all ground gained. Casualties 2 OR killed & 17 wounded.
17 Apr 1917 At 5 a.m. after artillery bombardment forward movement continued by bombing down trenches. A Coy was held up by strong point in front of brigade on right. C Coy again took their objectives, captured 27 prisoners and a machine gun with trench mounting. Capt.G.D.Brewster [Gordon David BREWSTER] & 2Lt.W.T.Lymer [Thomas William LYMER, MC] doing splendid work. Remainder of day enemy bombarded newly won ground and back areas with heavy howitzers, but despite casualties and difficulties met with in getting up supplies the ground taken towards Hill 70 was held. In this attack the 1/K.S.L.I. were on our left and also gained their objective. The battalion was congratulated for their good work by the Brigadier and G.O.C. 6th Division Casualties 3 O.R. killed & 17 wounded.
18 Apr 1917 At 5.0 am an attack from three points was made by D Coy on the strong point mentioned above which threatened our right flank (During the night B had relieved C in the front line and D Coy had relieved A Coy). This failed through the devastating fire poured on to them from concrete emplacements by hostile machine guns. B Coy bombed down to their right to connect with D Coy but as strong point was not taken this was not effected. Hostile artillery active the whole day and at periods became intense. Three more prisoners taken during the day. Casualties Lt J.L.ASH [John Luxton ASH] wounded. 7 OR killed & 33 wounded.
19 Apr 1917 - Maroc All ground previously gained was held despite many bombing attacks by the enemy and a very heavy hostile barrage. At night battalion was relieved by 14th Durham Light Infantry. Relief was not completed until 6.30 am, 20 inst. Battalion moved back to MAROC. Casualties Capt J.E.BLACK, [James Elliot BLACK, MC] RAMC & 2/Lt TAYLOR [John Oswald TAYLOR] killed. 2/Lt Balls [possible Hedley Albert BALLS], Betty [George MacMasters BETTY, MC], Hendrie [James Matthew HENDRIE] & Wright [Donald Samuel WRIGHT] wounded 17 O.R. killed & 91 wounded.
20 Apr 1917 - Philosophe Battn marched to PHILOSOPHE and placed under orders of 71st Bde. Men had baths and change of underclothing. Casualties 3 killed & 7 wounded (O.R.)
21 Apr 1917 - Cite St-Elie Sector Battn cleaning up and resting. At night moved up in relief of 1/Leicestershire Regt in right subsection of ST. ELIE SECTOR. Night quiet. Enemy used gas shells on back areas. Casualties 1 O.R. killed & 1 wounded.
22 Apr 1917 In trenches as above. Enemy quiet on our front. Heavy artillery whole day on our right near LOOS. Casualties 2 O.R. wounded
23 Apr 1917 In trenches as above. Enemy quiet though much movement observed in his back areas. Casualties 6 O.R. wounded.
24 Apr 1917 In trenches as above. Enemy active with his artillery, shelled our reserve & village lines almost continuously the whole day. His aircraft also much in evidence Casualties 1 O.R. killed and 3 O.R. wounded.
25 Apr 1917 In trenches as above. Enemy again active with artillery. Shelled reserve support & front lines with 5.9 & 4.2 howitzers from 10.30 am to 6.30 pm. At 11.0pm a hostile patrol slipped through a large gap on our front immediately after the place had been patrolled. They bombed one of our posts causing several casualties and took away one man as a prisoner. Casualties 1 O.R. killed, 6 wounded, and 1 prisoner of war.
26 Apr 1917 - Cite St-Elie reserve line In trenches as above. Enemy artillery less active than on previous two days. relieved at night by 2/York & Lancaster Regt and moved back to Brigade Reserve in Reserve Line.
27 Apr 1917 In Reserve trenches. Quiet day except for slight occasional shelling. Draft of 6 O.R. joined.
28 Apr 1917 In Reserve trenches. Enemy shelled back areas during day & at times portion of our trenches. Draft of 100 O.R. joined, but kept back for further training at Divl Training Coy.
29 Apr 1917 In Reserve trenches. Quiet day, 3 small working parties furnished for T.M. Batteries. Casualties 1 O.R. wounded.
30 Apr 1917 - St.Elie Centre Subsection In Reserve trenches. Day quiet. Relieved 2/8th Manchester Regt in Centre Subsection at night.
WAR DIARY FOR MAY 1917
1 May 1917 - trenches opposite Cite St-Elie In trenches opposite ST.ELIE astride HULLUCH - VERMELLES ROAD - A, B & C Coy in front line, D Coy in support. Casualties 1 O.R. wounded. Enemy machine guns active at night. Hostile artillery shelled portion of our line during the day.
2 May 1917 In trenches as above. Enemy artillery non active. Casualties 3 OR Killed, 5 OR wounded
3 May 1917 - trenches in Hulluch Left Subsection In trenches as above. Day quiet & uneventful. At night relieved by 9/Suffolk Regt and then moved to left subsection HULLUCH SECTOR. Bn. N. boundary HULLUCH ROAD, S. boundary 7A2 BOYAU and down VENDIN ALLEY. C Coy in front line at HULLUCH TUNNELS; A, B & D Coys in close support in RESERVE TRENCH. Casualties 1 OR wounded.
4 May 1917 In trenches as for 3rd. Hostile machine gun activity at night. Artillery mainly aggressive on back areas and batteries during day. At midnight we fired gas shells into enemy lines from projectors. These were fired simultaneously by electric current, followed after 20 minutes interval by shrapnel and H.E. barrage. Casualties 2 OR wounded
5 May 1917 In trenches as for 3rd. Much movement observed in enemy back areas presumed to be a relief. Enemy aggression normal. At midnight enemy patrol about 15 strong entered our lines between 75 & 76 BOYAU. He was immediately bombed out by four men of C Coy. Enemy left 2 dead behind which were brought in. We suffered no casualties during this affray. Identification was normal (72nd R.I.R.) Casualties nil
6 May 1917 In trenches as for 3rd. Considerable aircraft activity on both sides both by day and night. An enemy machine shot down by our 'planes at 6.30 pm. Enemy machine guns active at night. Back areas shelled during day with occasional bursts on our trenches. Casualties 2/Lt. TW Lymer [Thomas William LYMER, MC] & 3 OR wounded.
7 May 1917 In trenches as for 3rd. Quiet day except for occasional hostile shelling. Aircraft on both sides active. The superior flying abilities of our new triplanes observed in an air fight about 6.30 pm. Relief at night by 1/The Buffs. Relief complete at 1.20 am, 8th inst. Battalion marched back to MAZINGARBE and billeted. Casualties nil.
8 May 1917 - Mazingarbe In billets. Men resting. Draft of 6 O.R. (sick & wounded rejoined) from Base.
9 May 1917 In billets. Coys inspection of clothing, arms & equipment. Draft of 18 O.R. arrived sick and wounded from Base.
10 May 1917 In billets. Coys at drill, bayonet fighting and physical training - 53 O.R. joined battn. from Divisional Training Coy. mainly composed of men transferred from A.S.C. and A.P.C.
11 May 1917 - trenches in Hulluch Left Subsection In billets. Coys at drill & bayonet fighting. Leather Jerkins & Woollen Vests withdrawn from the men & returned to A.D.D. At night moved up in relief of 1/The Buffs in left subsection of HULLUCH SECTOR. B Coy front line, A, C & D Coys in support.
12 May 1917 In trenches as for 11th. Enemy non aggressive during day except for trench mortars. At night machine guns active. Casualties 1 OR. wounded.
13 May 1917 In trenches as for 11th. Enemy quiet. Hostile shelling chiefly on back areas. Aircraft active whole day. During night a patrol under 2/Lt H.T. KENT [Henry Taylor KENT] was caught by our own fire. Casualties 2Lt. H.T.KENT wounded 1 OR killed, 9 OR wounded.
14 May 1917 In trenches as for 11th. Enemy extremely quiet. At night gas was released from the Brigade front and gas bombs fired from projectors followed by a barrage on communications by our artillery and machine guns. Enemy's reply was feeble. Casualties nil.
15 May 1917 - Mazingarbe In billets as for 11th. Enemy quiet except for trench mortars which were speedily silenced. Casualties 1 OR. wounded. relieved at night by 1/K.S.L.I. and moved back to MAZINGARBE in Brigade Support.
16 May 1917 In billets. Cleaning up and inspection of kit and equipt.
17 May 1917 In billets. Baths and changes of clothing and inspection of rifles, Lewis Guns & revolvers
18 May 1917 In billets. Coys training in drill, bayonet fighting and physical exercise.
19 May 1917 - trenches opposite Hulluch In billets. Coys training in drill, bayonet fighting and physical exercise. Lieut Colonel Lord Ampthill G.C.S.I. G.C.I.E. left the battalion and proceeded to G.H.Q. for employment under the Director of Labour. At night battalion moved up in relief of 2/York & Lancaster Regt opposite HULLUCH - A,B, & D Coy in first line. C Coy in support. Major H.R.McCullagh [Herbert Rochfort McCULLAGH] commanding battalion.
20 May 1917 In trenches as above. Enemy quiet except for aerial activity. Casualties 4 O.R. wounded.
21 May 1917 In trenches as above. Enemy mortars and aerial darts were active. At night a combined machine gun shoot carried out on Bde. front. Enemy retaliation feeble. Casualties 1 O.R. killed, 9 OR wounded.
22 May 1917 In trenches as above. Dull day and enemy movement above ground increased. 1/Leicestershire Regt made a raid with one Coy. at 12 noon using smoke barrage. Barrages, both artillery & smoke appeared good. Casualties nil.
23 May 1917 - Mazingarbe In trenches as above. Weather warm & clear. Very little enemy movement observed. Hostile shelling increased probably due to our annoying him by cutting wire opposite HULLUCH. Relieved at night by 2/York & Lancaster Regiment & moved back. Bde Support at MAZINGARBE.
24 May 1917 In billets. Coys cleaning up and inspection of kits.
25 May 1917 In billets. Coys training during day and furnished small working parties at night.
26 May 1917 In billets. Coys at baths & training. Small working parties at night.
27 May 1917 - Fouquieres-les-Bethune In billets. Church service near Brewery. Battalion marched off at 8.0pm to FOUQUIERES for training and became Divisional Reserve.
28 May 1917 In billets. Coys at drill, bayonet fighting, and physical training.
29 May 1917 In billets. Coys at drill, bayonet fighting, and physical training. Also musketry and live bomb practice
30 May 1917 In billets. Coys at drill, bayonet fighting, and physical training. Major Jones attached as Second in Command from 2/Durham Light Infantry.
31 May 1917 In billets. Coys training. Musketry on short ranges & live bomb practice.
WAR DIARY FOR JUNE 1917
1 Jun 1917 - Fouquieres-les-Bethune In billets. Battalion carried out a Contact Aeroplane scheme in conjunction with 'C' Flight No.2 Squadron R.F.C. Observer plotted position of lighted flares on sketch map, both original position and advanced parts and messages were sent successfully by signalling panel to the aeroplane. In the evening Major-General Comdg 6th Division lectured officers & NCOs on work done and to be done.
2 Jun 1917 In billets. Coys Route Marching during the forenoon. Afternoon spent on long range firing application & Rapid practice.
3 Jun 1917 - Mazingarbe In billets. Open air church service. Marched to MAZINGARBE in the evening and came into Brigade Support.
4 Jun 1917 - G.17.b.80.10 (Ref Map 36c.XI.W) In billets. Coys cleaning up and resting during the day. Relieved 1/K.S.L.I. in left subsection 16 I.B. sector. Quiet relief - no casualties. D Coy in front line, A, B & C Coys in RESERVE TR.
5 Jun 1917 Trenches. Quiet day and no unusual occurrences. Coys working on own trenches.
6 Jun 1917 Trenches. Wire cutting opposite our front by 4.5" Hows. and T.M.s at 5.0 pm. Enemy retaliation negligible.
7 Jun 1917 12.15 am Trenches. Dummy Raid by ST.ELIE group Artillery on our left in conjunction with a Raid by 18 I.B. on our right; certain amount of enemy retaliation on our lines. 2/Lt J.D.Northcroft [Ernest George Drennan NORTHCROFT] & 1 OR slightly wounded. Quiet day; heavy thunder storm about 5.0 pm.
8 Jun 1917 Trenches. Artillery Bombardment, assisted by M.T.M.s & Stokes of enemy front line at 12 noon. In order to assist operations undertaken by 46th Div. on our right, enemy line in front of us was bombarded by artillery & T.M's from 8.30-9.15 pm. At 8.30 also we loosed a Smoke screen between Cardiff Sap and the Craters lasting about 35 minutes. Enemy retaliation fairly heavy. No casualties. Patrol of 1 off. & 6 O.R. from A Coy attempted to enter enemy line near Cardiff Sap between 10.30 & 11.30pm, but were seen, so had to retire.
9 Jun 1917 Trenches. Brig. on our left projected gas at 2.0 am. Enemy retaliation on us practically nil. Smoke barrage shot[?] on enemy front line by left brigade from 9.45 - 9.55 pm.
10 Jun 1917 Quiet day, with nothing unusual.
11 Jun 1917 12.30 am Trenches. Shoot & smoke barrage on enemy front & support line in conjunction with raid by 71st I.Brigade on right. Enemy retaliated on our front and support line. Quiet day otherwise: Casualties 1 O.R. wounded.
12 Jun 1917 Trenches. Spasmodic shelling of RESERVE line during the early morning. Bombardment of enemys front & support line with Stokes & T.M. at 6.0 am in conjunction with a raid by the 18th I.B. on our right. Quiet day. Relieved by 2 Y&L Regt. during night 12/13 & proceeded to MAZINGARBE where Battn came into Bde Support. Very late relief - complete 3.25 am. Casualties 2 OR wounded.
13 Jun 1917 - Mazingarbe In billets. Companies bathing. 2 Working parties one of 1 NCO & 12 men & one of 2 NCOs & 25 men found for pumping trenches. Draft of 23 O.R. arrived from the Base.
14 Jun 1917 In billets. Companies cleaning up & inspections. Same Working Parties as yesterday.
15 Jun 1917 In billets. Coys parading under Coy Commanders. Working Party of 4 officers & 200 O.R. found at night for clearing Support Line in 16 I.B. Sector. Capt.Body [Frank Lydford BODY] and 1 O.R. wounded. Major R.le Huquet [Reginald Le HUQUET] took over command of the Battalion.
16 Jun 1917 Hulluch trenches Billets. Companies resting & packing up during the day. Relieved 1/K.S.L.I. in Right Sector 16 I.B. front C, A & 'B' Coys in front line, D Coy in support. Casualties 2 OR wounded.
17 Jun 1917 Trenches. Quiet day with nothing unusual. 2Lt [?] T.P.Jones joined the Batt. from the base. Casualties 2 O.R. killed, 2 O.R. wounded.
18 Jun 1917 Trenches. Quiet day. Battalion sidestepped one Coy. front to the right, "C" Coy relieving a Coy. of 1st W.Yorks Regt. and becoming right front Coy. "D" Coy. relieved a Coy of same Regt in Reserve Line. "A" Coy 1/K.S.L.I. relieved our D Coy & came under the command of our C.O. Casualties - 1 O.R. killed, 2 O.R. wounded.
19 Jun 1917 Trenches. relief complete 1.50 am. Quiet day. Casualties - nil.
20 Jun 1917 Trenches. Enemy activity normal. Hostile artillery activity in afternoon and machine gun & rifle fire at night. Our attempt to lay & fire Bangalore torpedoes under enemy wire failed owing to alertness of enemy and entanglement of leads. Casualties nil.
21 Jun 1917 Trenches. Enemy activity normal. At 3.0 am, 22nd inst enemy opened up with concentrated intense mortar fire on B & C Coys front. At 3.10 am 'S.O.S.' signal was observed to go up from our front line which was repeated at Bn. H.Q. and sent through our Bde. by telephone to the artillery. A small party of 1 offr & 15 Germans managed to enter our front line between two of our posts under cover of smoke & darkness. They surprised and believed to have captured nine of our men. Also a patrol of 1 NCO & 2 men who were in No man's land when the bombardment commenced are missing. Enemy only managed to enter our front line for a few minutes although he kept his intense barrage on till 3.45 am.
22 Jun 1917 In trenches. Enemy made much use of his trench mortars on right coy. His aircraft active but none crossed our line. Casualties 5 O.R. killed, 7 O.R. wounded, 12 O.R. missing. 2/Lt H.J.Weller [Henry John WELLER] wounded.
23 Jun 1917 In trenches. Enemy much less aggressive. Much movement observed in his back areas. Casualties 1 O.R. killed, 7 O.R. wounded.
24 Jun 1917 In trenches. Enemy quiet. At 9.0 pm 1/The Buffs on our left raided the enemy trenches remaining in their line for 2 1/2 hrs. The battalion cooperated by putting up a smoke barrage and exposing dummy figures representing troops leaving our trenches, which drew the enemy's fire. The Bdes on our right & left (18th & 147th) also assisted with a smoke barrage. 15 prisoners & 2 serial dart machines were captured many dugouts blown in & enemy killed. Casualties 2 O.R. killed, 2 O.R. wounded.
25 Jun 1917 - reserve trenches and Mazingarbe In trenches. Enemy quiet except for occasional burst of artillery fire on our dumps & trenches. Our artillery frequently retaliated during the night on enemy dumps. Battalion relieved at 3.10 am, 26th inst by 2/York & Lancaster Regt A & D Coys moved into Reserve Trench. Bn. H.Q. & B & C Coys to MAZINGARBE. Casualties 2 O.R. killed, 8 O.R. wounded.
26 Jun 1917 In billets. Relief of battalion completed at 2.50 am. A & D Coys remained in the line under command of O.C. 2/York & Lancaster Rgt and O.C. 1/The Buffs respectively. B & C Coys cleaning up equipt & clothing & overhauling casualties - 2/Lt F.J.Smith [Frederick John SMITH] & 7 O.R. wounded.
27 Jun 1917 In billets. Coys drilling & training. Furnished small working parties at night. Casualties 2Lt.H.N.F.Forge [Henry Noel Francis FORGE] wounded.
28 Jun 1917 - Fouquieres-les-Bethune In billets. Coys training. At 8.opm Bn. H.Q. & B and C Coys relieved by 1/K.S.L.I. and marched to FOUQUIERES. Rained in torrents the whole way & in several places roads knee deep in water. Casualties 9 O.R. killed, 7 O.R. wounded.
29 Jun 1917 In billets. Drying of men's clothing. Drill & bayonet fighting afterwards. A & D Coys relieved in the line by 1/K.S.L.I. and marched to MAZINGARBE.
30 Jun 1917 In billets. B & C Coys on training ground working on short ranges & assault courses. A & D Coy marched to FOUQUIERES at 5.0 pm.
WAR DIARY FOR JULY 1917
1 Jul 1917 - Fouquieres-les-Bethune In billets. Church parade in Church Army Hut. A & D Coys baths.
2 Jul 1917 In billets. A & D Coys training on ranges and rifles, Lewis Guns & bombs. B & C Coys Disinfection of S.D.Clothing & Inspection of Arms by Bde Armr. Sgt. in morning & bayonet fighting & drill during afternoon. battalion concert at night
3 Jul 1917 In billets. B & C carried out A & D coys programme for previous day & vice versa.
4 Jul 1917 In billets. Rained hard the whole day. Coys training in billets and lectures.
5 Jul 1917 In billets. Battalion Contact Aeroplane Scheme with No.2 Squadron, R.F.C. - Scheme very successful. Aeroplane plotted position of flares accurately & received our messages sent by ground panel & lamp. Afternoon - Battalion Sports, Very enjoyable afternoon following [sic] by variety concert given by Divisional "Fancies".
6 Jul 1917 - Mazingarbe In billets. Coys training under Coy Commanders. Marched to MAZINGARBE in the evening and relieved 2/York Lancaster Rgt.
7 Jul 1917 - trenches in Hulluch Left Subsection In billets. Coys at training during forenoon. Working parties in afternoon & packing up. At night 1/K.S.L.I. in left subsection of Bde front opposite HULLUCH. 'A' & 'D' Coys front line, 'B' & 'C' in support. relief complete 1.5 am, 8th inst.
8 Jul 1917 In trenches. Enemy activity normal during day. At midnight short heavy hostile bombardment on Bde front on our right. At 1.0 am, 9th inst, we released gas from cylinders and fired projectors into HULLUCH and PUITS 14 BIS. - Practically no retaliation by enemy. He used varied coloured lights for his alarms. Casualties nil.
9 Jul 1917 In trenches. Enemy quiet both day & night. Our patrols had No Mans Land to themselves. Casualties - Capt P.Steyn D.S.O. [Pierre STEYNE, DSO] wounded. 7 O.R. wounded.
10 Jul 1917 In trenches. Enemy quiet all day. machine Guns & snipers active at night. No patrols met in No Man's Land. Casualties - nil.
11 Jul 1917 In trenches. Enemy aircraft activity increased. Enemy put down barrage for one minute on two occasions on our front & support line at night. Probably testing sight lines of new batteries. casualties 1 O.R. killed 3 O.R. wounded.
12 Jul 1917 In trenches. Quiet day except for aircraft activity. At night at 11.30pm 3 fighting patrols of 12 O.R. crossed NO MANS LAND under cover of artillery, mortar and machine Gun barrage. Two to enter German front line and one to cut out enemy post in an advanced sap. A, C, & D Coy furnished these patrols. A Coy's patrol got into the German front line, killed several Germans, brought one back, and destroyed entrance to 2 Dugouts. C Coys patrol failed to get in owing to opposition of 3 hostile M. Guns. D Coy's patrol rushed the sap but found it unoccupied. Enemy apparently clearing when our barrage opened. Casualties 6 O.R. wounded, 4 O.R. missing.
13 Jul 1917 In trenches. Quiet day, much rain visibility poor. Casualties nil.
14 Jul 1917 In trenches. Enemy aircraft active working in patrols of six to ten machines. Very little movement observed by day, but enemy heard by patrols to be busy working on his front line. Casualties nil.
15 Jul 1917 In trenches. Enemy non-aggressive. Much rain at intervals making our trenches difficult in many places. Casualties 1 O.R. wounded.
16 Jul 1917 - Mazingarbe and Reserve Trench In trenches. Except for occasional shelling on back areas the day was quiet. At night enemy harassed our roads & tracks with intermittent bursts of shells. H.Q. & A & D Coys relieved by 2/York & Lancaster Regt and moved back to billets in MAZINGARBE
17 Jul 1917 In billets. Cleaning up, kit & equipment inspection and baths. B & C Coys remained in RESERVE TRENCH under command of O.C. 2/York & Lancaster Rgt.
18 Jul 1917 In billets. Drill & bayonet fighting for A & D Coys. B & C in trenches as for 17th inst.
19 Jul 1917 - trenches opposite Hulluch In billets. Drill & training. B & C Coys moved to right subsector in RESERVE TRENCH in relief of 2 Coys, 1/Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. H.Qrs & A & D Coys moved up & relieved H.Q. & 2 Coys 1/K.S.L.I. at night. Casualties Lt. B.H.B. Lethbridge [Brian Hugh Bridgeman LETHBRIDGE] & 2/Lt. H.C.Moxon [Hugh Cecil MOXON] died of wounds, 2 O.R. wounded.
20 Jul 1917 In trenches. Day quiet except or [sic] much aircraft activity. Night raid on our left by 2/York & Lancaster did not produce any identification. Enemy retaliation for our barrage much heavier than on previous raids of late. Casualties 1 OR killed & 6 O.R. wounded.
21 Jul 1917 In trenches. Day misty & quiet, aircraft active towards evening. Casualties 1 OR killed.
22 Jul 1917 - Mazingarbe In trenches. Hostile artillery non active also aircraft due to good visibility. Relieved at night by 5/Lincolnshire Regt. Marched back to MAZINGARBE
23 Jul 1917 - Bailleul-aux-Cornailles Enbused at 3.30 am at MAZINGARBE. Reached BAILLEUL-AUX-CORNAILLES at 7.30 a.m. and went into billets.
24 Jul 1917 In billets. Cleaning and improvement of billets. Inspection of kit, equipment, and arms.
25 Jul 1917 In billets. D Coy commenced musketry - A, B, & C Coy at Drill, bayonet fighting & open warfare training. Battalion drill half an hour. Specialists training & lectures during afternoon.
26 Jul 1917 In billets. D Coy musketry - A, B, C, Coy practising artillery formation & extension on Brigade Training Area during morning. Afternoon Specialist training.
27 Jul 1917 In billets. D Coy musketry, remainder training near billets
28 Jul 1917 In billets. D Coy musketry on long range. A Coy commenced preliminary musketry training. B & C training near billets.
29 Jul 1917 In billets. D Coy musketry on long range. Remainder Church Parade which was cancelled owing to rain
30 Jul 1917 In billets. D Coy musketry, only half day owing to rain, which upset training of remainder
31 Jul 1917 In billets. D Coy. musketry on long range. A Coy preliminary musketry training, remainder training near billets.
WAR DIARY FOR AUGUST 1917
1 Aug 1917 - Bailleul-les-Cornailles In billets. Rained hard whole day. Musketry & route march abandoned.
2 Aug 1917 In billets. Rain again interfered with training. Battalion sports and concert arranged to commemorate BLENHEIM DAY were postponed. Officers dined altogether having as guests Brig. General W.L.Osborne D.S.O. & his Bde Major Capt R.B. Leslie M.C.
3 Aug 1917 In billets. A Coy musketry, remainder training in open warfare.
4 Aug 1917 In billets. A Coy musketry. Much rain interrupted with continuous training.
5 Aug 1917 In billets. Church parade (open air service). Battalion sports held during afternoon. Fine day and very successful meeting.
6 Aug 1917 In billets. Lt. Col Robertson [James Robert ROBERTSON] left battalion to command 1/4th Leicestershire Rgt. Major R. le Huquet [Reginald Le HUQUET] assumed command. B Coy musketry remainder training. Presentation of medal ribbons by Corps Commander to whole Brigade recipients
7 Aug 1917 In billets. B Coy musketry remainder drill & open warfare training
8 Aug 1917 In billets. B Coy musketry remainder drill & open warfare training. Heats for Bde Sports decided during afternoon. Tug-of-war ream of Officers and of other Ranks both qualified.
9 Aug 1917 In billets. B Coy musketry. Remainder drill and practising formations laid down for Open Warfare in S.S. 143 & S.S. 135.
10 Aug 1917 In billets. C Coy musketry. Remainder continued training as above. Bde. Sports held in afternoon. Both Officers' and Other Ranks' Team Tug-of-War won the finals & qualified for Divisional Competition.
11 Aug 1917 In billets. C Coy musketry. Remainder route marching & practicing advance & rear guards.
12 Aug 1917 In billets. Church Parade and Baths.
13 Aug 1917 In billets. C Coy musketry. Remainder practising Artillery Formation.
14 Aug 1917 In billets. C Coy musketry. Remainder training. Divisional Gymkhana in afternoon. Both Officers and Other Ranks Team for Tug-of-War won their finals pulls. Teams were coached by R.S.M. C.E.Armstrong.
15 Aug 1917 In billets. C Coy completed musketry. Remainder continued training in Artillery formation and extensions.
16 Aug 1917 In billets. Coys training in Artillery formation & deploying into attack formation.
17 Aug 1917 In billets. Coys training in mopping up of villages etc.
18 Aug 1917 In billets. Divisional Rifle Meeting. Men not attending continued training.
19 Aug 1917 In billets. Divisional Rifle Meeting continued. Church Parade service during forenoon. Reinforcements 7 O.Ranks arrived
20 Aug 1917 In billets. Coys training in open warfare. A Coy on assault course during afternoon. Reinforcements 100 O.Ranks arrived.
21 Aug 1917 In billets. Coys training in open warfare. B Coy on assault course during afternoon.
22 Aug 1917 In billets. Coys training at open warfare. C Coy on assault course during afternoon.
23 Aug 1917 - Maisnil-les-Ruitz In billets. Battalion marched to MAISNIL-LES-RUITZ & billeted
24 Aug 1917 - Noeux-les-Mines In billets. Marched to NEOUX-LES-MINES [sic] & billeted
25 Aug 1917 In billets. Coys at drill & practising rapid wiring drill. Concert in the evening in Y.M.C A Hut.
26 Aug 1917 - Mazingarbe In billets. Church service in morning. Marched to MAZINGARBE & came in to Bde Reserve in the evening.
27 Aug 1917 In billets. Coys at drill & training.
28 Aug 1917 In billets. battalion had baths, training & drill
29 Aug 1917 - Village Line and Mazingarbe In billets. Three Coys moved up at night into Village Line. B Coy remaining at MAZINGARBE.
30 Aug 1917 In trenches. Furnished working parties to assist in consolidation of Bde Front near Loos (Hill 70).
31 Aug 1917 - northern slope of Hill 70 In trenches. Relieved 1/The Buffs in right sub-setion east of PUITS 14 BIS northern slope of Hill 70.
WAR DIARY FOR SEPTEMBER 1917
1 Sep 1917 - trenches at Hill 70, Loos-en-Gohelle In trenches on HILL 70. Relief was complete by 11.40 pm, 31st Aug. Day quiet & fine drying up trenches considerably and assisting in consolidation. Casualties nil.
2 Sep 1917 In trenches on HILL 70. Day fine, much aerial activity on both sides especially towards evening. Except for an occasional burst on CHALK PIT WOOD hostile artillery did not trouble our line, but carried out considerable counter-battery work and dropped very heavy shells into LOOS. Casualties 2 O.R. wounded.
3 Sep 1917 In trenches on HILL 70. Fine day. Aircraft active. At 1.0 am Capt G.D.Brewster [Gordon David BREWSTER] & 2Lt T.A. Jones whilst in No Man's Land with a patrol were unfortunately wounded by a HUN bomb. Valuable information obtained. Artillery more active during day. Between 12 midnight & 2.0 am night 3/4 Sept. he used intense barrages but did not leave his trenches. Casualties 2 officers wounded (as above).
4 Sep 1917 In trenches on HILL 70. Day quiet. Hostile artillery less active. Usual machine gun activity at night. Casualties 1 O.R. wounded.
5 Sep 1917 - Support trenches In trenches on HILL 70. At 12 midnight 4/5 Sept. Enemy put down an intense gas shell barrage in vicinity of LOOS CRASSIER. Bombardment practically continuous until 2.0 am. Battalion suffered no casualties owing to direction of wind. No infantry attack followed. Relieved at night by 1st The Buffs. Relief complete at 9.55 pm. Casualties 2 O.R. wounded.
6 Sep 1917 In trenches. In Bde Support. Furnished working & carrying parties at night. Casualties 5 O.R. wounded.
7 Sep 1917 In trenches. In Bde Support. Furnished working & carrying parties at night. Casualties nil.
8 Sep 1917 In trenches. In Bde Support. Furnished working & carrying parties at night. Casualties. Casualties nil.
9 Sep 1917 In trenches. B Coy under Capt Fleming [Alan McKinsty FLEMING] to MAZINGARBE to train for raid. Casualties 3 O.R. wounded.
10 Sep 1917 - right subsector left of Hill 70 In trenches. B Coy under Capt Fleming to MAZINGARBE to train for raid. At night battalion, less 'B' Coy, relieved 3 Coys, 1/The Buffs, in right subsector on left of HILL 70.
11 Sep 1917 In trenches. Day moderately quiet. At night hostile artillery active on dumps & cross country routes. Our machine guns & artillery also used harassing fire. Casualties 3 O.R. wounded.
12 Sep 1917 In trenches. Day quiet, aircraft active. At night B Coy rejoined & took up position in trenches opposite enemy line to be raided on night 13/14th Sept. Usual night firing. Casualties 3 O.R. killed, 6 O.R. wounded.
13 Sep 1917 In trenches. Day dull & quiet. ZERO HOUR for raid 1.10 am, 14th inst. At 11.40 pm 13th inst, 2Lt Webb [Ernest Charles WEBB] reported Bangalore Torpedoes in position under enemy wire & connected up to explode by leads. At 1.0 am raiding party (2 officers & 85 O.Ranks) formed up outside our wire. At 1.8 1/2 a.m. torpedoes successfully fired. At 1.9 am our artillery, machine guns & mortar barrage opened intense fire until ZERO. Raiding Party advanced under cover of barrage. Wire was found to have been cut but enemy alert and standing to arms shoulder to shoulder. Several attempts were made by us to force our way into enemy trench, but only a few got in. Hastily erected blocks & obstacles has been made which had not previously been noted by our reconnoitring patrols, causing confusion. The enemy's closely packed trench was heavily bombed by our raiders causing them considerable casualties. All bombs having been used the raiders withdrew to our trench at ZERO plus 30 being guided by a vertical beam from a searchlight in rear. Our casualties were light. 2 O.R. killed and 10 O.R. wounded. No one missing & all killed & wounded brought in. the night was pitch dark and the enemy found in much greater strength than expected, so although we did not obtain an identification our brush with the enemy was not altogether a failure. Enemy position raided is trench running through BOIS HUGO from H.26.c.42.72 to H.26.c.65.55. (Ref Map - LOOS, 1/10,000). Enemy's barrage chiefly mortars and 77 m.m. guns. Had he used his rifles instead of relying wholely on bombs for defence our casualties would have been much increased.
14 Sep 1917 In trenches. Day quiet, hostile aircraft activity increased. Night quiet exceot for usual machine gun fire. Casualties 2 O.R. killed 11 OR wounded.
15 Sep 1917 - les Brebis In trenches. Day, slight shelling on HUMBUG ALLEY & HULL ALLEY. Relieved at night by 9th Norfolks and moved back to billets in LES BREBIS. Casualties 4 O.R. wounded.
16 Sep 1917 - Noeux-les-Mines In billets. Marched to NEOUX-LES-MINES [sic] during afternoon and billetted.
17 Sep 1917 In billets. Battalion cleaning up, Inspection of kits, arms, equipment.
18 Sep 1917 In billets. Baths for half battalion. Remainder training drill, bayonet fighting & physical training.
19 Sep 1917 In billets. Baths for remainder of battalion and training. Town shelled by H.V. Gun. No casualties.
20 Sep 1917 In billets. Training. Town again shelled by 3 H.V.Guns, one of large calibre about 9 inch. No casualties.
21 Sep 1917 In billets. Training & checking of fighting equipt & dress previous to move next day.
22 Sep 1917 - Cite St.Pierre In billets. Transport & QM Stores to LES BREBIS in morning & kit in excess of that for Fighting Order. Bn. marched off by platoon at 5.0 pm. Occupation of cellars in CITE ST. PIERRE complete at 11.10 p.m. night quiet.
23 Sep 1917 In cellars. day quiet. Heavy hostile bombardment commenced at 5.10 pm on front of Bde on our right lasting till 8.30 p.m. Germans said to have raided but no identifications were obtained.
24 Sep 1917 In cellars. Day quiet except for aircraft activity. Night furnished carrying & working parties for front line system. 2Lt. STUBBINGS [Walter STUBBINGS] wounded. 1 O.R. wounded.
25 Sep 1917 In cellars. Except for aerial activity day was quiet. Night furnished working parties in front line system.
26 Sep 1917 In cellars. Day quiet. Night enemy used harassing fire on roads. Working parties furnished.
27 Sep 1917 In cellars. day quiet. Night furnished working parties on Bde. front system.
28 Sep 1917 In cellars. Day quiet. Furnished working parties at night. Casualties 1 O.R. wounded Hostile raid on 2/York & Lancasters front driven off 1 prisoner captured.
29 Sep 1917 In cellars. Day quiet. Night working parties.
30 Sep 1917 In cellars. Day quiet enemy aircraft very active flying low over our line despite our rifle & Lewis Gun fire. Relieved 1/K.S.L.I. in right subsection of front line at night, just south of CITE ST EDOUARD.
WAR DIARY FOR OCTOBER 1917
1 Oct 1917 - trenches SE of Cite Edouard, Lens In trenches S.E. of CITE EDOUARD before LENS - Day quiet - Enemy machine guns & trench mortars active at night. At 3.0 am 3 escaped German prisoners from DIEPPE were re-captured in our support line whilst attempting to rejoin the Huns. Casualties [nil?]
2 Oct 1917 In trenches as above. During [day] hostile 5.9 howitzers active on our front, also H.T.M. Night quieter probably due to a little rain falling.
3 Oct 1917 In trenches as above. At intervals during day & night H.T.M. activity on our front also occasional Artillery activity on reserves.
4 Oct 1917 In trenches as above. Day quiet with the exception of harassing fire on reserves. At 7.0pm intense fire opened on right principally H.T.M developing on our front. Front Line was obliterated but no raid or attack developed. Bombardment ceased at 9.30p.m. Casualties 3 killed, 24 wounded & shocked.
5 Oct 1917 - Cite St.Pierre In trenches as above. Day quiet. Bn. relieved by 1st The Buffs, relief complete at 2 a.m. 6.10.17. Took over Brigade Support at CITE ST. PIERRE
6 Oct 1917 BRIGADE SUPPORT AT CITE ST. PIERRE. Working Parties found at night.
7 Oct 1917 BRIGADE SUPPORT AT CITE ST. PIERRE. Working Parties found at night.
8 Oct 1917 In Brigade Support at CITE ST PIERRE. Shelling during morning principally on C Coy area. Casualties 1 O.R killed. C Coy.
9 Oct 1917 - right sub-section Cite St.Emile In Brigade Support at CITE ST. PIERRE. Very heavy hostile shelling near Bn H.Qrs. in morning - Casualties - 1 O.R killed - B Coy. EVENING Bn. relieved 1/K.S.L.I. in the right sub-section at at [sic] 8 p.m. at CITE ST. EMILE.
10 Oct 1917 In trenches at CITE ST. EMILE - Day very quiet. Night quiet with the exception of harrasing [sic] fire on back areas.
11 Oct 1917 In trenches as above. Day & night particularly quiet - usual harrasing [sic] fire on back areas.
12 Oct 1917 In trenches as above - Enemy machine guns active at night. Practically no aerial activity owing to weather conditions.
13 Oct 1917 - Cite St.Pierre In trenches as above. Quiet during day. Bn. relieved by 1st The Buffs early in evening. Moved back to Brigade Reserve in CITE St. PIERRE.
14 Oct 1917 In Brigade Reserve at CITE ST PIERRE. Working parties at night.
15 Oct 1917 In Brigade Reserve at CITE ST PIERRE. Working parties at night.
16 Oct 1917 In Brigade Reserve at CITE ST PIERRE. Working parties at night.
17 Oct 1917 - Houchin Brigade relieved by 71st I.B. Batt. relieved by 1st Leicestershire Regt. - moved back into Divisional Reserve at HOUCHIN. Lorries provided to convey Bn to HOUCHIN. Rendezvous GRENAY CHURCH.
18 Oct 1917 In billets and in Divisional Reserve at HOUCHIN.
19 Oct 1917 - Laires Brigade moved & batt moved to LAIRES. Lorries provided. Arrived in new billets at 5 pm
20 Oct 1917 In billets at LAIRES refitting and cleaning up. Football in the afternoon
21 Oct 1917 In billets at LAIRES. Church parade taken by Rev C.F. PLATT CF.
22 Oct 1917 In billets at LAIRES. Platoon and Coy training
23 Oct 1917 In billets at LAIRES. Platoon and Coy training PT & B.F Instruction attached.
24 Oct 1917 In billets at LAIRES. Platoon and Coy training PT & B.F Instruction attached.
25 Oct 1917 In billets at LAIRES. Battn. training PT & B.F Instruction attached.
26 Oct 1917 In billets at LAIRES. Battn. training
27 Oct 1917 In billets at LAIRES. Battn. training
28 Oct 1917 In billets at LAIRES preparatory to move
29 Oct 1917 - St-Michel-sur-Ternoise and Roellecourt Division moved. Battn moved by route march to ST.MICHAEL-SUR-TURNOISE [sic] and ROELLECOURT distance of 17 miles. Arrived in new billets at 1 pm. Weather fair.
30 Oct 1917 - Souich Division moved. Battn moved by route march to SOUICH and BREVILLERS a distance of 15 miles, halted just S. of ETREE-WAMIN [sic] for dinners at 12 noon. Arrived in new billets at 3. pm. Weather very wet after noon. Starting point X road ROELLECOURT.
31 Oct 1917 - le Souich Brilliant weather. In billets at SOUICH. Rest and cleaning up. Billets good.
WAR DIARY FOR NOVEMBER 1917
1 Nov 1917 - le Souich In billets at LE SOUICH. Training. Reinforcements 28 O.R. arrived all Expeditionary Force men.
2 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH.
3 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH. Baths at BOUQUEMAISON. Training for Inter Brigade Football, Lewis gun, Runners & Knock out Competitions
4 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH. Church parade (open air). Rev C.W. Platt's C.F. farewell service.
5 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH. Training. Weather wet
6 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH. Training. Weather wet
7 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH. Route march to BLAVINCOURT to TANKS demonstration. Very wet day.
8 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH. Route march to DENIER to TANKS and INFY demonstration. Dinners on route at ETREE-WAMIN [sic]. Very wet after mid-day.
9 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH. Training.
10 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH. Training.
11 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH. Training.
12 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH. Officer & NCOs practising skeleton attack (Brigade) at LIENCOURT
13 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH. Battn marched at 1.50 am for Brigade practice attack for co-operation with tanks. Transport moved to ORVILLE area. Battn remaining at LE SOUICH.
14 Nov 1917 In billets at LE SOUICH.
15 Nov 1917 - Moislains Battn move by route march (less transport) to BOUQUEMAISON entrained here & proceeded to PERONNE, detrained and marched into camp at MOISLAINS at 10.45 pm. Fine day.
16 Nov 1917 - Bois Dessart In camp at MOISLAINS moved off at 7 pm by route march to BOIS DESSART.
17 Nov 1917 - Fifteen Ravine near Gouzeaucourt Under canvas in BOIS DESSART moved off at 5.30 pm into Brigade Support at FIFTEEN RAVINE (NE of GOUZEAUCOURT) TANKS also in the wood
18 Nov 1917 In FIFTEEN RAVINE much work done issuing stores and equipment for coming attack, dull day and very quiet. Guns at intervals of 50 yds along the trench
19 Nov 1917 - trenches N of Villers-Plouich In FIFTEEN RAVINE dauu day, enemy quiet, except for slight shelling of GOUZEAUCOURT with heavies. Moved from FIFTEEN RAVINE 5.30 pm and reached first position of assembly for the attack on the 20th at 7.30 pm. Assembly position just NORTH of VILLERS PLOUICH. Tanks arrived into position and the Batt was reported in final position behind tanks ready for the attack at 4.52 am 20th Nov 1917.
20 Nov 1917 [Comment: The Cambrai operations - the Tank attack] - Highland Ridge N of Villers-Plouich. Batt. and tanks ready for the attack 4.52 am. At 6.10am the Tanks commenced the advance, at ZERO hour 6.20 am our artillery barrage opened with a deafening roar and in blaze of fire. At 6.29 am the first tanks passed over the German outpost line, and the enemy artillery opened a feeble reply, putting a very thin barrage in NO MANS LAND 6 35am First wave of Infy passed over enemy outpost line, the Batt going over well, men lighting pipes and cigarettes on their way. 5.45 am Advanced tanks followed by infantry approaching HINDENBURG MAIN LINE on the left. 7.5 am Reported that the Batt appeared to have taken the first offensive the MAIN HINDENBURG LINE, including both front and support lines (ref 57 e NE 1/20000) L31d L32a a frontage of 650 yds running E from the VILLERS PLOUICH - RIBECOURT road. 7.20 German officer and 6 men for prisoners arrived at Batt Hdqrs enemy shelling more heavily but very erratic 7.55 Report received from B. Coy that objective captured OC Coy CAPT. NCF NIXON [Noel Charles Frederick NIXON]. 8.10 Liason platoon on left under 2/Lt HAWKES [Albert HAWKES, MC] report having gained objective and in touch with 9th SUFFOLKS on left 23 prisoners sent down. Section on left under 2/LT. HUGHES in touch with 2Y&Lancasters. 8.13 Batt Hdqrs moved forward to HINDENBURG MAIN FRONTLINE at L.31.d.45.0 The whole of our objective completely captured. Prisoners coming in fast, Infantry & tanks continuing and all going well the enemy on the run 9.5 Batt Hdqrs established in HINDENBURG FRONT LINE just S of RIBECOURT and WEST of COUILLET WOOD Total Prisoners sent down 5 officers 200 O.R including Batt Commander, Medical Officer and a Staff Lieutenant. Consolidating trenches gained 1.30pm Pack animal convoy arrived with water and ammunition Our casualties 2/LT H.F.R.AMESBURY [Hugh Frederick Raleigh AMESBURY] killed. 2/LT E.G.D.NORTHCROFT [Ernest George Drennan NORTHCROFT] slightly wounded. 2/LT T DUNN [Thomas DUNN] wounded 10 other ranks killed, 38 other ranks wounded and missing. 2/LT HNF FORGE [Henry Noel Francis FORGE] killed (attached to 6th Divl. SNIPING COY.) Weather fine but turned to rain in the afternoon. Companies commanded by - A Coy Capt A.W.ELLIOTT [Arthur Winterbottom ELLIOTT, MC] B Coy. CAPT N.C.F. NIXON C.Coy LT. H.W.WRIGHT D.Coy 2/LT H.F.R.AMESBURY. A very successful day and all ranks in high spirits quite ready for further action. TANKS did very good work. 2pm Remainder [sic] of day spent in cleaning up an [sic] consolidating.
21 Nov 1917 - Hindenburg Main Line N. of Villers-Plouich 8 am Moved forward to Front line of the SUPPORT SYSTEM of trenches to the HINDENBURG LINE South of the GRAND RAVINE canal and N.E. of RIBECOURT (Ref Sheet 57a NW) L27a. Pack convoy brought up water. 3 pm Moved forward to front line halted just W of MARCOING and waited for guides, moved forward again over the PREMY RIDGE to Quarry L.16.c. under shell fire and relieved the GUERNSEY L.I. Batt (86th Brigade) holding line in front of NINE WOOD WEST OF NOYELLES towards CANTAING. No trenches but posts partly dug in. Relief complete at 5.50pm. 4th Gordons on our left. Situation fairly quiet. Batt Hdqrs in Quarry in NINE WOOD. Casualties nil. Weather wet.
22 Nov 1917 - Nine Wood W. of Noyelles-sur-Escaut Considerable aeroplane activity weather fine CAPT ELLIOTT [Arthur Winterbottom ELLIOTT, MC] slightly wounded by bomb dropped from enemy aeroplane. Royal Scots on our left today. Batt consolidating positions enemy frequently shelled our position and searched NINE WOOD. 1pm Enemy reported attacking on our left at FONTAINE (51st Div on our left) 4pm Few of the enemy appeared to be approaching our line from small wood N. of NOYELLES driven off by Lewis gun fire. Transport at RIBECOURT and rations were brought up by limber to S. end of NINE WOOD. Quiet night casualties CAPT ELLIOTT slightly wounded 1 O.R. wounded.
23 Nov 1917 [Comment: The Cambrai operations - the Battle of Bourlon Wood] 9.30 Counter attack expected but not delivered. Enemy shelling fairly heavily 10.30am 19 men going on leave reported to Batt Hdqrs. Attack in progress on our left NINE WOOD again shelled. Batt Hdqrs splintered. 5 pm C Coy moved up to front line and took over half the front held by B Coy. Quiet night Grenadier Guards on our left tonight. Casualties 1 O.R. killed 4 OR wounded.
24 Nov 1917 Fine and clear. Quiet on our front but continuous activity on our left at FONTAINE and BOURLON WOOD. Occasional search by enemy artillery of NINE WOOD Hdqrs trench destroyed. Casualties 1 O.R. wounded.
25 Nov 1917 Clear and windy NINE WOOD frequently shelled for short durations otherwise quiet. Short hail storm in the afternoon.
26 Nov 1917 - Hindenburg Support Line NE of Ribecourt-la-Tour Bright day, enemy quiet except for usual shelling. Batt. relieved by 9th Norfolks (71st IB) relief complete 7.35pm Batt moved into Divl Reserve in HINDENBURG SUPPORT LINE, N.E. of RIBECOURT.
27 Nov 1917 - old British front line in front of Villers-Plouich Resting as above, at 5.30pm moved to HINDENBURG MAIN LINE but found it already occupied, after a few hours orders received to move back to Old British front line in front of VILLERS PLOUICH, night spent in bivouac there.
28 Nov 1917 - Hindenburg Main Line S of Ribecourt-la-Tour 9am Moved forward to HINDENBURG MAIN LINE occupying that part captured by the Batt on the 20th just S of RIBECOURT. Batt resting.
29 Nov 1917 Battn in captured German Trenches S of RIBECOURT. Working party of 350 for work on MARDEN ROAD (i.e. VILLERS PLOUICH - RIBECOURT ROAD).
30 Nov 1917 [Comment: The Cambrai operations - the German counter attack] - Beaucamp - Villers-Plouich Road 10AM Battn received message that enemy were putting in a strong attack on the right of 29th DIVISION and that the Battn would proceed to vicinity of DEAD MAN'S CORNER. Q.23.c.7.2. 11.30am The battn moved from HINDENBURG MAIN LINE in Artillery formation and were shelled lightly at this period. About 12 noon the Bn. was ordered by DIVISION to hold a line from Q18 central to R.13.D covering the line BEAUCAMP - VILLERS PLOUICH. Order of companies holding this line were 'B' Coy Right Front 'D' Coy Left Front with 'C' Coy Right support and 'A' Coy left support. 2pm Companies reported that they had taken up the positions allotted to them word was then sent to 16th I.B.H.Q. These positions held by the battn. until orders were received at 2 A.M 1-12-17 to move to DEAD MAN'S CORNER.
WAR DIARY FOR DECEMBER 1917
1 Dec 1917 - Lincoln Avenue 2AM Order received to withdraw Battn from VILLERS PLOUICH - BEAUCAMP line and to move to DEAD MANS CORNER 4AM Battn started to move to DEAD MANS CORNER by companies taking a route VIA LINCOLN AVENUE. During this move all was quiet and the Battn. arrived without suffering any casualties and were reported in their new position about 6AM. 6AM Battn. took up a position on BORDER RIDGE with left on Q24 central and Right on R.23.D.5.0. and dug in. 'B' Coy and 'D' Coy holding front line with 'C' Coy and 'A' Coy in Support in LINCOLN AVENUE. This position was held until the afternoon when orders were issued to withdraw. 3.30PM Orders were received from 16th I.B. that the battn. would withdraw to LINCOLN AVENUE prior to move early following morning. The two companies in front line started to withdraw at 5.P.M. 6.45P.M. Orders were received from 16th IB. that the Battn. would move early the following morning and would be responsible for the defence of HIGHLAND RIDGE against attack from the EAST.
2 Dec 1917 - Plush Trench and Marcoing to Ribecourt-la-Tour Road 1 A.M. Orders re the defence of HIGHLAND RIDGE were cancelled and the battn. ordered to move to PLUSH TRENCH and take up a position from Q.6.B.50.25 to junction of PLUSH TRENCH with HIGHLAND ROAD, Battn. moved off by companies at 5 minutes interval leading coy ('A') moving off at 2.15 A.M. route taken VIA LINCOLN AVENUE. 6.45 A.M. All companies were reported to be in position in PLUSH TRENCH. Passed very quiet day in line until about 5.15 P.M. when orders were received that the Battn. would be in Brigade Reserve with Battn. HQ and two companies in HINDENBURG Support Line astride MARCOING - RIBECOURT road. The other two companies under 2nd in Command (MAJOR SAUNDERS) remaining in PLUSH TRENCH Ref MAP 57c N.E.
3 Dec 1917 - Railway Bridge, Hindenburg Support Line, Talmas Lock Passed fairly quiet morning with exception of slight shelling causing some casualties (1WO and 15 men). 1.30 P.M. Orders were received that the two companies in PLUSH TRENCH were to move up & rejoin the battalion. 1.45 P.M. Brigade order arrived that 1 coy was to be sent to reinforce the 14th D.L.I. who had been heavily attacked but had repulsed the enemy. 'A' Coy under 2/Lt DOLMAN [Leonard DOLMAN] at once moved off by small parties under a heavy enemy artillery barrage and crossed RAILWAY BRIDGE and BARGE BRIDGE in L23D (ref map 57c NE) and succeeded in joining up with the 14th D.L.I. who had again been attacked & lost a slight portion of their line. 'A' Coy went & counter-attacked along with the 14th D.L.I. and retook the portion lost. 3.5 PM 'B' Coy under CAPT PARES [William Thomas PARES, MC] was ordered up to reinforce 14th D.L.I. and 'A' Coy or in any case to hold two bridges in L23D9 1/2. 2 1/2 to RAILWAY BRIDGE in L23C60.90 or L23D20.20 (ref map 57c N.E) This coy moved forward under enemy Barrage and succeeded in taking possession of the bridges and holding them. The remaining two companies arrived in HINDENBURG Support Line about this time from PLUSH TRENCH. 8 P.M. A message was received that the 1st K.S.L.I. had withdrawn from TALMAS LOCK and that steps were at once to be taken to prevent the enemy crossing. 'C' Coy under Lt Wright was ordered up to take possession of this lock and to hold it at all costs. This coy succeeded in establishing themselves & guarding this lock. Orders were received that all troops on EASTERTN side of canal were to be withdrawn to the WESTERN side as orders had been issued that all the bridges were to be blown up. This withdrawal was accomplished without losing a man the battalion being the last to cross all positions being held by them until orders were received that the bridges were ready for demolition. The bridges were then blown by R.E. with assistance from the battalion
4 Dec 1917 Nothing of importance occurred [sic] throughout the day and the situation was very quiet no reports were received owing to runners being unable to get back to battn. H.Q. by daylight. 7 P.M. Brigade orders were received that the 71st I B were establishing an outpost line from PREMY CHAPEL to Railway about L22c7.2 which would be the outpost line until 4AM 5.12.17 at which time they would withdraw (Ref. MAP 57c NE)
5 Dec 1917 - Ridge Trench and Ridge Support Trench 1AM Bn. started to withdraw under cover of the outposts this was carried out by companies from the left each company sending word when they had got clear of their position. 2AM Companies reported to be all clear Bn.H.Q. then moved back leaving R.E.s to destroy the dug-outs. The Battn. marched by companies to billets in RIBECOURT where a quiet spell was spent 3.15PM Orders were received that the battn. would move at dusk from RIBECOURT to RIDGE Trench and RIDGE Support Trench REF MAP 57 C N.E. 5.45PM Battn moved off by companies at 100 yds interval & reached position without any casualties. 9PM Reports received that all companies were in position.
6 Dec 1917 Passed quiet day in line. At night furnished carrying parties for R.E (strength 100) All coys were working at night on trenches making fire-steps and Lewis Gun positions
7 Dec 1917 Coys working on line cleaning trenches relaying trench-boards, furnished 100 O.R for carrying party to 509th Field Coy R.E.
8 Dec 1917 Coys working on trenches during forenoon. Situation during this time quiet. 1.30PM Orders received that the Battn. would be relieved that night by a battn. of N.STAFFORDSHIRE REGT (8th) 67th I.B, 19th DIVISION. Guides were sent to reconnoitre overland route during the afternoon and then to meet the relieving Bn. on the TRESCAULT - RIBECOURT road K36.C02.05 (Ref MAP 57C NE) 10PM Relieving Bn. started to arrive and by 1AM 9th relief was reported complete.
9 Dec 1917 - Sorel 1AM Bn. H Q started to march to SORREL [sic] (distance 8 miles) where guides met the Bn. & conducted them to their billeting areas which consisted of NESSEN HUTS. 5 guides from Bn. were left in the line under 2/Lt MOODY 1st Buffs to guide the 8th N.STAFFORDSHIRE REGT. into the front line that night. A very quiet day was spent in billets.
10 Dec 1917 Battn. spent the day resting in billets baths were alloted in the afternoon 450 men were bathed & got clean clothing. General cleaning up of equipment & clothing.
11 Dec 1917 - Courcelles-le-Comte 3.15AM Orders were issued that the battn. would move by bus to billets at COURCELLES-LE-COMTE (5 miles N.W. of BAPAUME) 8.50AM Battn. paraded and marched to a point 500 yds SOUTH of Mill on FINS - NURLU Road and embussed at 9.15 A.M. 4P.M. Arrived in new billets NO1 CAMP COURCELLES-LE-COMTE area, accommodated in large huts with wire beds for the men.
12 Dec 1917 8AM Received warning order to "Stand to" which was cancelled about 8.30 AM. Companies were at disposal of Coy Commanders for cleaning inspections & reorganisation during the morning and afternoon. 6PM. Orders were received that the Battn might have to move from present area during the night to MORY. This move did not take place.
13 Dec 1917 6.30AM Battn. 'standing to' in fighting order ready to move as an attack was expected on 3rd Divisional Front. Order to stand down was issued at 7.45 AM. Baths alloted to the Battn from 8AM to 10AM 150 men had bath which completes the battn since coming out of the line. Companies carrying out inspection during the forenoon. Companies played football in afternoon 'B' Coy gave a concert at night. 2/Lt.MADDISON was admitted to Hospital.
14 Dec 1917 Companies at disposal of company commanders during the forenoon. Football matches were played between companies in the afternoons.
15 Dec 1917 Companies at disposal if Coy commanders during the day for P.T. & B.F. Drill Musketry and attack formations.
16 Dec 1917 Companies at disposal if Coy commanders during the day for P.T. & B.F. Drill Musketry and attack formations.
17 Dec 1917 - MORY 9.15AM Battn. proceeded by route march to MORY and were accommodated in huts and were in reserve to the 3rd. DIVISION. Route taken by Battn. was COURCELLES - GOMIECOURT - ERVILLERS - MORY. Companies arrived about 11 A.M. but did not get into billets until 12.30 as they were occupied by another unit (The KINGS 3rd DIVISION) Snow fell throughout the whole of the march a fatigue party of 4 officers & 200 O.R. was furnished at night for carrying wire to front line.
18 Dec 1917 8.45AM Commanding officer and two officers per coy proceeded to reconnoitre the front line to be taken over by the Battn. returning about 2P.M. Companies carried out usual daily inspections.
19 Dec 1917 Companies had inspections etc during the day also a conference as to best method for holding the line during the Battns tour of duty. Box Respirators were inspected by Brigade N.C.O. and drill carried out. LIEUT H.W.WRIGHT [Howard Watson WRIGHT] granted permission to wear the badges of rank of Captain. 3 OR proceeded to join 16th Trench Mortar Battery.
20 Dec 1917 - Railway Reserve and front line near Bullecourt Forenoon cleaning up camp and getting ready to proceed to trenches. 3.15PM Battalion moved off to trenches to relieve the 2nd DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY in the left SUB SECTOR of the RIGHT SECTOR of the 18th INFANTRY BRIGADE. Relief was reported complete by 9P.M. Battalion had no casualties during the relief. the line was held by the Battalion as follows. 'A' COY (CAPT. MC BRIDE) [Andrew Best McBRIDE] from U23D70.00 to U23D10.35 and from U29A.65.70 to U29A45.85. 'B' Coy (CAPT PARES) [William Thomas PARES, MC] from U.23.D.10.35 to U22D55.70 and from U23D00.40 to U22D55.30. 'C' Coy (CAPT WRIGHT [Howard Watson WRIGHT]) from U29A25.95 to U29C50.60 a newly dug trench which was held chieflt by posts as the trench was not completed to allow communication 'D' Coy (CAPT KNIGHT [Richard Brodnax KNIGHT]) in SUPPORT in TANK AVENUE. Battalion H.Q. were in RAILWAY RESERVE C5A10.40 (REF MAP BULLECOURT TRENCH MAP)
21 Dec 1917 At about 6.30 AM a patrol of the enemy (strength 15) attempted to raid our block at U29A65.70 but were repulsed by Lewis Gun and rifle fire. Our casualties were 1 officer wounded 2/Lt DOLMAN [Leonard DOLMAN]. Our snipers claim to have hit 3 of the enemy during the day. 6PM Ration limbers arrived at Battalion H.Q. 'D' Coy furnished all ration carrying parties for front coys. 150 men from 1st The Buffs reported to us for work on the New Trench line Weather very cold with hard frost Companies all in good spirits
22 Dec 1917 - Mory 6AM About this time the enemy threw 10 bombs into our block at U29.A65.70 wounding 2 men lightly. Lewis Gun fire was opened on them but results could not be seen owing to the darkness. 1 O.R. was wounded in the morning by a sniper. Patrol reports sent in by companies showed that all the objects the patrols had been sent out to ascertain had been accomplished. Operation Orders were received that the battalion would be relieved that night by the 7th K.S.L.I. 8th INFANTRY Brigade and on completion of relief would march to Billets at MORY. 6P.M. The leading company of relieving battalion arrived at Battalion H.Qrs. the relief of the battalion was carried out in good time and without any trouble. 1 O.R. of A Coy was killed during the relief. 10.15P.M. All companies reported that they were present in billets.
23 Dec 1917 - No.1 Camp, Courcelles-le-Comte 10AM The battalion was ready to vacate billets on arrival of 12th WEST YORKS Regiment 9th INFANTRY Brigade Head Quarters moved off at 10.15AM followed by companies at 200yds distance and marched to No1 CAMP at COURCELLES-LE-COMTE Route taken by battalion was MORY-ERVILLERS-GOMIECOURT-COURCELLES-LE-COMTE The weather was cold with hard frost roads were in a good condition for marching. All companies were reported in billets about 12 NOON
24 Dec 1917 Companies were at disposal of Coy Commanders during the day for inspections & cleaning up. 8.30PM The band of the Battalion played round the camp and then went to Brigade HQ of 16th Infantry Brigade Christmas eve was spent very quietly by the men.
25 Dec 1917 6.30AM Christmas Day was brought in by the band blowing the Long Reveille on bugles During the forenoon arrangements were carried out which enabled the battalion to have a splendid Christmas dinner which was enjoyed very much by all ranks. During the afternoon a football match was played between officers and Sergts and after a very enjoyable & hard game the sergeants proved the winners 5 goals to 4. 8 PM Officers dinner which proved to be a great success and a very happy & enjoyable evening was afterwards spent in sings & speeches which were much appreciated.
26 Dec 1917 - Berles-au-Bois 10.30AM The battalion moved by route march from it [sic] present camp to billets at BERLES-AU-BOIS Route taken by Battalion was AYETTE-ADINFER-RANSART BERLES-AU-BOIS. The marching was good considering the state of the roads which were covered with snow. The Transport experienced some difficulty during the march but all arrived in billets and up to time. The battalion was reported to be in billets at 2.30P.M. (Ref MAP LENSII) Billets for the battalion consisted mostly of barns, men receiving straw beds to lie on.
27 Dec 1917 - Courcelles-le-Comte 10AM Orders were received that the battalion must be prepared to move at 3 hours notice. Companies were warned of this but the usual parades were carried out until 11.30AM 11.30AM Orders were received from 6th DIV H.Q that the battalion would move back to COURCELLES-LE-COMTE 2.15PM the battalion moved off by route march to COURCELLES-LE-COMTE Route taken was RANSART - ADINFER - AYETTE - COURCELLES-LE-COMTE which was reached at 6PM. On arrival it was found that the billets allotted to the battalion were very much scattered BN. HQ and 'C' Coy being in No4 camp 'A' & 'B' Coys were under canvas 'D' Coy being in a hut in No1 Camp. the huts taken over were in a bad condition having no stoves or inner lining to them.
28 Dec 1917 The battalion carried out training programme by companies during the morning The afternoon being devoted to games CAPTAIN ADDY J C.F. [James Frederick ADDY] attached to the Battalion.
29 Dec 1917 The battalion still on training programme most of the huts were supplied with a stove[Andrew Best McBRIDE] and Sgt JACCARD proceeded to Third Army school of instruction. 2.30 Church service for the battalion. 2nd LIEUT WEBB [Ernest Charles WEBB] & 1 O.R. to Musketry course at IV Corp School
30 Dec 1917 10.45AM 2nd LIEUT BLAND [Robert BLAND] & 1.O.R. to Gas course at IV Corp School.
31 Dec 1917 - Courcelles-le-Comte Companies carried out training as per programme issued to Coy Commanders. Report received that 2/Lt DOLMAN [Leonard DOLMAN] had died of wounds at NO45 C.C.S.
The following number of reinforcements joined during the month. 1 officer (LIEUT VERNER) and 26 O.R. The following numbers were struck off the strength during the month 1 officer 2/Lt WELLER [Henry John WELLER] and 43 O.R. (Killed 6, Wounded 54 To England 1 officer and 30 O.R.
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