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
3-1-17. The Bn relieved the 1st Cambs Regt on the left Hill Top sub section.
4-1-17. Divisional routine orders published the following awards earned on the 13th November D.S.O.: Captain A.G. Clark [Aylmer G. CLARK, DSO, MC], M.C.: Lieut F.R. Hart [Frederick Reginald HART, MC], Captain E.B. Smallwood [Eric Butler SMALLWOOD, MC], Lieut L.R. D'A Fisher [Lionel Robert D'Arcy FISHER, MC], 2/Lt G.H.Y. Gilby [George Harold Yates GILBEY, MC], 2/Lt J.R. Johnston [John Rodney JOHNSTON, MC], 2/Lt A.M. Gallo [Antonio Marie GALLO, MC], Captain G.M. Brown [George Macdonald BROWN, MC]. D.C.M: 2099 C.S.M. Gregory, G.S. [2099, later 265282 George Stanley GREGORY, DCM, MM], 4589 Sgt Gladding J. [Joseph W. GLADDING, DCM], 1853 Sgt Warterton [Harry WARTERTON, DCM], 2544 Cpl Willey [George A. WILLEY, DCM], 2145 Cpl Barrington [Horace Leonard BAVINGTON, DCM], 2942 Cpl Hibbert [Wallace HIBBERT, DCM], 4549 Pte Gray [John GRAY, DCM], 3318 Pte Hobbs [John Henry HOBBS, DCM, MM].
The following also appeared in the New Years Honours mentioned in despatches: Lieut. Col. F. Page [Frank PAGE. DSO & Bar], Captain C.F. Hacker [Charles Frederick HACKER, MC, RAMC], 2283 Sgt. G.F. Curtis [George F. CURTIS, MM].
The following Officers who are now detached from the Regiment also appeared in the New Years Honours: Military Cross: Captain E.G. WHATELEY (Staff Captain 6th Brigade) Captain A.M. KENNEDY G.S.O. 3rd ANZAC Corps) Mentioned in Despatches: Brig. Gen. Viscount Hampden [Lord Thomas Walter HAMPDEN, CMG], Capt. P.E. Longmore [Phillip Elton LONGMORE] (D.A.A.G. 2nd Army), Capt. G.M. Brown [George Macdonald BROWN, MC] (Staff Capt. 118th Bgde), Capt. S. Milburn, D.S.O., M.C. [Booker MILBURN, DSO, MC].
6-1-17. The following Officers joined the Bn: 2nd Lieut. K.J. Ritchie [Kenneth James RITCHIE], Lieut. S. King [Sydney or Simmonds KING], 2nd Lieut. R.T.N. Hickley [Richard Trollope North HICKLEY], Capt. H.M. Tyler [Hector Malcolm TYLER] (12th Sussex).
7-1-17. At 2.45am under cover of an intense barrage the Germans raided on the front held by the Bn. They managed to reach one of our posts and unfortunately 3 men were taken prisoner. From another post which was also attacked the Germans were driven off and for conspicuous gallantry at this post 2254 Cpl Beer [Henry BEER, MM] was awarded the Military Medal. Our casualties were : Capt. E.B. Smallwood [Eric Butler SMALLWOOD] killed. 3 O.R.'s died of wounds. 1 O.R. killed and 14 O.R.'s wounded. A draft of 57 O.R.'s from base joined the Bn.
8-1-17. The Bn was relieved by the Cambs Regt. and moved into dugouts on the CANAL BANK.
11-1-17. Captain B.C. Molony [Brian Charles MOLONY], Lieut. W.L. Grice [William Lucas GRICE] rejoined & 2/Lt W. Thompson [Wilfred John THOMPSON] & 2/Lt R.I. Edwards [Ronald Irving EDWARDS, MC] joined the Bn.
12-1-17. The Bn relieved the 10th Liverpool Scottish in the WIELTZE sub sector. During the relief the Germans heavily bombarded the front line with Minnewerfen. Our casualties during the relief were 3 O.R. killed and 4 O.R. wounded.
14-1-17. Captain Tyler [Hector Malcolm TYLER] left the Bn being posted Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry. Capt. C.F. Hacker [Charles Frederick HACKER, MC, RAMC] left the Bn to do duty with No.10 C.C.S. Lieut. A.C. MURRAY took his place as Medical Officer.
18-1-17. The Bn was relieved by the 1st Cambs. Regt. & moved to dugouts on the CANAL BANK near YPRES.
24-1-17. The Bn was relieved by the 17th Notts & Derby Regt. & moved to C CAMP. [Comment; Lieut. Frederick Reginald HART died of wounds on the 28-1-17.]
Appendix 1/1 Herts Date 7th January 1917 Unit 1st/1st Herts Regt.
Point of Entry - C.15.c.7.5. between Nos. 4&5 posts. Results - Our casualties Killed 1 Officer, 2 O.R.'s, Wounded 15 O.R.'s, Missing 3 O.R.'s. One Lewis Gun smashed, Front and Support lines seriously damaged. Enemy raiders killed or captured garrison of No.4 Post. Remarks - At about 2.45am two hostile barrages were formed by artillery and trench mortars. (c) Along front line from C.15.c.9.4. to C.15.c.1.8. lifting to approximately an E. and W. line through TURCO FARM. (b) Along Support Trenches from C.15.c.13.7 C.20.a.9.6. S.O.S. Signal was sent up and responded to by our artillery. Bombardment ceased about 3.20am. Our front line in this sector is held by a series of posts all overlooked by the enemy. Enemy attacked on a front from Post 4 to Post 7 inclusive. Posts 5,6 & 7 repulsed attack with Rifle fire. Party of enemy about 40 strong got through wire, which had been cut, between Posts 4&5 unobserved and attacked Post 4 from the rear as well as from the front. The garrison of this post was either killed or captured. Nos. 3 & 5 Posts delivered bombing attacks towards No.4 Post to help Garrison. Directly after capture of No.4 Post the enemy retired rapidly under heavy rifle fire. After the raid all posts were immediately re-garrisoned and a strong working party sent forward to repair wire and trenches.
War Diary for February 1917
3-2-17. The Bn relieved the 17th Notts & Derby Regt on the CANAL BANK near YPRES. 2 Companies remained at C CAMP. 2 Lieuts E.M. Paul [Eric Macleane PAUL], R.H. Secretan [Reginald Herbert SECRETAN], E.A. Taylor [Edward Algernon TAYLOR] and F.S. Walthew [Frederick Selby WALTHEW] joined the Bn from England.
4-2-17. The Bn relieved the 16th Notts & Derby regt. in the WEILTZE sub section.
7-2-17. 2342 Pte Messenger A. [Alfred MESSENGER, MM] & 2626 Pte Terry J. [James Henry TERRY, MM] rescued a wounded man of the 4/5th Black Watch from off the wire. For this they were awarded the Military Medal by G.O.C. VIII Corps.
9-2-17. The Bn was relieved by the 1/1 Cambs and moved back to dugouts on the CANAL BANK near YPRES.
12-2-17. The two companies which had been training at C CAMP rejoined the Bn. It had been intended that these two companies should raid the enemy trenches but owing to the fact that the cutting of the wire could not be observed, the party was cut down to 3 Officers and 64 O.R. At 11.15pm this party, after a successful assembly in "No Man's Land" entered the German trenches. Two Germans from a listening post were captured but the rest of the area which was raided was found to be so knocked about that the enemy had evacuated there. After staying in the trenches for 15 minutes the party withdrew. Our casualties were slight, 5 O.R.'s being wounded. 2/Lieuts Drury [Follett McNeill DRURY], Thompson [Wilfred John THOMPSON] & Hardy [Robert L. HARDY] were the three Officers in charge of the party. For their very good work during this raid No. 2771 L/Cpl Reeves W. [William REEVES, MM] was awarded the Military Medal by the G.O.C. VIII Corps. 2/Lieut R.N. Farwell [Robin Noel FARWELL] joined the battalion.
14-2-17. The Bn relieved the 1/1 Cambs in the WEILTZE sub section.
16-2-17. The Bn was relieved by the Liverpool Scottish and moved to CANAL BANK dugouts.
17-2-17. The Bn was relieved by the 5th Loyal N. Lancs Regt. and proceeded by train to POPERINGHE and marched from there to Y Camp.
25-2-17. A draft of 78 O.R.'s joined the Bn from the reinforcement camp.
27-2-17. The battalion marched through POPERINGHE to "ST. LAWRENCE CAMP".
Appendices dated - 12th February 1917, 11.15pm. Unit 1st/1st Hertfordshire Regt., 39th Division.
Officers 3, O.R.'s 60. Point of Entry - C.29.a.55.66. Result - The enemy wire well cut & trenches badly damaged. Two prisoners taken, bith 161st Inf. Regiment. Our casualties 4 O.R.'s slightly wounded. Narrative - The bombardment of the enemy trenches for five days prior to the rid and "drill" barrages were carried out each night to deceive the enemy. No serious opposition was encountered, the few Germans in the area being at once overpowered. Three of the enemy were found where No.1 Sap joins the front line, one was bludgeoned and two others captured. The enemy retaliation was very light.
Report of the raid carried out by the 1st/1st Hertfordshire regiment on the night of 12th/13th February 1917.
The raiders left the CANAL BANK and moved via LA BRIQUE and St. JEAN to front British Line and thence to the assembly position in no man's land according to the programme. The whole of this movement was carried out without a hitch and without it being observed by the enemy. At Zero minus 2 the raiders advanced to their objective. The patrol to ARGYLE FARM found it unoccupied. The two parties detailed to deal with Nos. 3&4 saps found these saps obliterated and also unoccupied. The remainder of the raiding party (with the exception of the southern flanking party which took up its position in NO MAN'S LAND) entered the German trenches and worked over the area as pre-arranged. They found the German wire well cut and lying around in a tangled mess. It consisted principally of rusty barbed concertina wire and knife rests. The trenches themselves were badly knocked about by our shell fire. There is no doubt the raid was a surprise to the enemy and the few men in the area were at once overpowered. Three Germans were found where No.1 Sap joins the front trench, one of them was bludgeoned and the other two captured. A number of dead Germans were seen partly buried in the damaged trench. The raiders worked rather beyond the allotted area and it appears that this part of the German line ws very lightly held. One NCO reports that he saw a number of Germans in their support line and he thinks they were preparing to counter attack. A raider says he approached the Support Line and found it wired. The raiders withdrew on the signal being given (blue rockets) and waited a short while in NO MAN'S LAND to allow the enemy gunfire to die down. They then returned to the CANAL BANK with the exception of a few who reported in accordance with orders to advanced battalion headquarters, WIELTJE. All the raiders were accounted for by 2am. The two prisoners belonged to the 1st battalion, 161st Regiment. They were brought to WIELTJE by 11.54am and, having been searched, were sent under escort to the 1st/1st Cambridgeshire Regiment at ST. JEAN. The 3 Officers who led the raiders 2/Lieut F.M. Drury [Follett McNeill DRURY], 2/Lieut R.L. Hardy [Robert L. HARDY] and 2/Lt W. Thompson [Wilfred John THOMPSON] all returned to WIELTJE before 12 midnight. There were only 4 casualties, all slight. Our artillery barrage was exceedingly good. The enemy reply to it was feeble and fell chiefly on or near our front line, some being sprinkled in NO MAN'S LAND. He did not barrage his own front line. The hostile gunfire consisted of 77mm shells and 2 or 3 inch "Minnies". Small pieces of the enemies trench which remained intact were found to be revetted with brushwood and had plank floors. They were dry. Width of trench about 3'6 to 4'6 at top, depth about 5'6". A small dugout with brushwood roof was found in the front trench and 3 or 4 funk holes, large enough to hold about 4 men each with concrete roofs built into the parados. These funk holes were in front trench south of Sap 1, 100 yards of which were explored. No.1 Sap was partly blown in; it is merely an unrevetted trench. No machine gun was found in it, only a broken box of machine gun ammunition. There was a machine gun emplacement marked E.M.14 at C.29.a.54.60 but no machine gun, There was no trace of Gas Cylinders nor were there arms or equipment lying around. "P" Bombs were used to destroy the woodwork of the trenches. It is reported that a party of about 15 to 20 Germans were out wiring further North and were caught by our barrage. A machine gun was fired from No.5 Sap. The raiders appeared to have carried out the programme exactly as rehearsed and the conduct of both Officers and men was all that could be wished. They belonged to Nos.1 and 4 companies and were trained by Captain B.C. Molony [Brian Charles MOLONY] and Lieut. L.R.D'A Fisher [Lionel Robert D'Arcy FISHER, MC].
War Diary for March 1917
2-3-17. A draft of 84 OR's joined the Bn. Inspection of the Bn by Lieut.-Gen. Sir MORLAND K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O. commanding X Corps
3-3-17. The Bn moved into Divisional Reserve. Headquarters at KRUISTRAAT.
6-3-17. The Bn relieved 1st/1st Cambs. Regt. on left sub section, OBSERVATORY RIDGE sector.
9-3-17. The Bn was relieved by 14th Hants and marched to Infantry Barracks, YPRES.
12-3-17. The Bn relieved the 1st/1st Cambs Regt in the left sub sector - HOOGE.
15-3-17. The Bn was relieved by the 12th Bn Sherwood Foresters and marched to ST. LAWRENCE CAMP. Capt. A.G. Clark, D.S.O., MC. [Aylmer G. CLARK, DSO, MC] rejoined the Bn from England.
21-3-17. The Bn moved into Divisional Reserve. Headquarters at KRUISTRAAT.
24-3-17. The Bn relieved the 1st/1st Cambs Regt in OBSERVATORY RIDGE sector.
25-3-17. On the night 25th/26th March the enemy attempted to raid our trenches after an intense barrage. They were repulsed by Lewis Gun and rifle fire before reaching our trenches.
27-3-17. The Bn was relieved by the 11th Royal Sussex Regt. and marched to Infantry Barracks, YPRES.
War Diary for April 1917.
1-4-17. The Bn relieved the 1st/1st Cambs Regt in the left sub sector - HOOGE.
3-4-17. The Bn was unexpectedly relieved by 16th R.B. and moved by train to ST. LAWRENCE CAMP.
5-4-17. The Bn moved to reserve billets in HOUTERQUE.
6-4-17. Divisional Routine Orders published that 265298 Pte F. Aldridge [Frederick ALDRIDGE, MM & Bar] had been awarded a Bar to the Military Medal and that 265202 Cpl. F.W. Waters [Frederick William WATERS, MM] and 269583 Pte W. CRANE [Comment: 269583 is Private Arthur FINCH, so I am unable to verify who this is with any certainty] had both been awarded the Military Medal.
9-4-17. The Bn marched to B CAMP
11-4-17. The Bn moved to tents and a few huts in C CAMP and except for a slight redistribution of huts on the 17th remained her until the 28th, employed on constructing a new railway close by.
28-4-17. The Bn relieved the 14th Hants Regt. in the HILL TOP sub section.
Reinforcements: April 12th - a draft of 27 O.R. joined the battalion April 23rd - a draft of 50 O.R. joined the battalion April 24th - 2/Lieut. F.G. Lake [Frank Gilbert LAKE] rejoined the Bn from the R.F.C.
War Diary for May 1917.
3-5-17. The Bn was relieved by the 1st Cambs Regt and on relief marched to dugouts on the CANAL BANK. On this tour in the trenches two raids were carried out through our lines. On the 29th the Welsh carried out a successful raid and on the 30th another Bn of the Welsh also carried out a successful raid. The enemy's retaliation on our trenches was not very heavy and we were fortunate in having only one casualty.
10-5-17. The Bn relieved the 1st Cambs Regt. in the HILL TOP sub section.
13-5-17. 2/Lieut. B.H. Johnson [Basil H. JOHNSON] was unfortunately hit by a bullet in the left forearm.
15-5-17. The Bn was relieved by the 17th Sherwood Foresters and on relief half the Bn marched and half went by train to C CAMP and carried on with Railway construction.
18-5-17. 2/Lieut. H. Symons [Henry SYMONS] rejoined the Bn from England.
23-5-17. The Bn less Nos.1 & 4 Coys relieved the 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers in the WIELTJE sub sector - Nos.1 & 4 Coys remained at C CAMP.
26-5-17. 2/Lieut. B.V.A. Tennant [Bernard Victor Ashlin TENNANT] joined the Bn. London Gazette published that the undermentioned have been mentioned in Despatches: Lieut. Col. F. Page D.S.O. [Frank PAGE, DSO & Bar], Lieut. Col. G.E. Whitfield, M.C. [Geoffrey Ernest WHITFIELD, MC], Major T. Barber [Quartermaster and Honorary Major Thomas BARBER, OBE, TD], Captain A.G. Clark D.S.O., M.C. [Aylmer G. CLARK, DSO, MC], Captain T.P. Gibbons [Thomas Pilling GIBBONS, MC], 2/Lieut. G. McMullen [Gordon McMULLEN], 265292 Sgt. Rand S. [Sidney RAND].
27-5-17. The Bn was relieved by the 14th Hants Regt. and rejoined Nos.1 & 4 Coys at C CAMP.
29-5-17. The Bn marched to WORMHOUDT.
War Diary for June 1917.
3-6-17. The Kings Birthday was celebrated by a Parade at WORMHOUDT.
6-6-17. Lieut. D Perry [Donovan PERRY] joined the Bn.
11-6-17. The Bn marched to ARNEKE.
12-6-17. The Bn marched to TATTINGHAM.
13-6-17. The Bn marched to BAGENGHAM-LEZ-SERINGHAM.
21-6-17. The Bn marched to SERQUES.
24-6-17. Captain V.H. Palmer [Vernon Hugh PALMER] and 2/Lieut. R.H.J. Rowley [Robert Halford Taylor ROWLEY, MC] joined the battalion.
28-6-17. Lecture by General Sir IVOR MAXSE, commanding 18 Corps (sic?).
29-6-17. The Bn marched to WATTEN and entrained for POPERINGHE and on arrival marched to tents at C CAMP.
30-6-17. The Bn marched to the CANAL BANK and relieved the 17th Sherwood Foresters in the HILL TOP left sub section (Reserve). Captain G.E. Whitfield M.C. [Geoffrey Ernest WHITFIELD] joined the Bn.
War Diary for July 1917.
1 to 7-7-17. Bn in Reserve on CANAL BANK in HILL TOP sector, YPRES.
7 to 16-7-17. Bn relieved 1st Cambs Regt. in Front Line system, HILL TOP sector
16-7-17. Bn was relieved by the 6th Border Regt. and marched to C CAMP.
17-7-17. Bn marched to POPERINGHE station and entrained to WATTEN where it detrained and marched to billets at HAULE, arriving 7am 18th inst.
18 to 21-7-17. Bn did splendid training for offensive action.
22-7-17. Bn moved by bus to Z CAMP, arriving about 2am 23rd inst.
23 to 28-7-17. Bn continued special training and equipping.
29-7-17. Bn moved to bivouacs near C CAMP.
30-7-17. Bn moved into assembly positions about X lines, HILL TOP sector.
31-7-17 [The Battles of Ypres 1917 - the Battle of Pilkem]. About 3.50am the Bn moved forward in 4 lines behind the 116th & 117th Inf. Bdes. east of the river STEENBEEK. Up till this time the casualties had been very slight indeed but as the Bn advanced from the STEENBEEK toward the LANGEMARCK line (the Bn objective) casualties grew heavier from sniper and machine gun fire. However the Bn continued advancing. About half way to the objective some of No.3 Coy came upon a German strong point which they gallantly charged, capturing or killing most of the garrison and sending the remainder back as prisoners. On reaching the enemy wire this was found to be practically undamaged (expect in one place) & very thick. 2/Lieut Marchington [Eric William MARCHINGTON, MC] & a handful of men of No.3 Coy got through the only gap and got into the enemy trench & killed a lot of Germans. The remainder of the Bn, being unable to get through the wire and suffering severe casualties from enfilade MG fire & the Germans making a strong counter attack from our left flank about this time, had to fall back having suffered exceptionally heavy casualties. The remnants of the battalion subsequently dug themselves in in line with the 1st Cambs Regt. on the west side of the STEENBEEK.
Casualties to Officers were: Lt. Col. F. Page D.S.O. [Frank PAGE. DSO & Bar], Captain S.H. Lowry M.C. [Sidney Henry LOWRY, MC], Captain A.R. Milne [Alexandra Richard MILNE], 2/Lts Gallo [Antonio Marie GALLO], Secretan [Reginald Herbert SECRETAN], Scott [Cecil SCOTT] & Macintosh [Eric MACINTOSH] killed. Lt Lake [Frank Gilbert LAKE], 2/Lts Walthew [Frederick Selby WALTHEW], Thompson [Wilfred John THOMPSON] & King [Sydney or Simmonds KING] missing. Lt Head [Basil William HEAD] & 2/Lts Hardy [Robert L. HARDY] & Francis [Wilfred Frederick FRANCIS, MC] wounded & missing. Captain Fisher [Lionel Robert D'Arcy FISHER, MC], Captain C. Charles [John James Percival CHARLES, MC] RAMC, & 2/Lts Marchington [Eric William MARCHINGTON, MC], Edwards [Ronald Irving EDWARDS, MC], Gilbey [George Harold Yates GILBEY, MC] & Ritchie [Kenneth James RITCHIE] wounded.
Estimated casualties to the other ranks were 29 killed, 5 missing believed killed, 132 missing, 68 wounded & missing, 223 wounded & 2 died of wounds, making a total of 459 casualties to other ranks. Died of wounds; Officers 2, OR's 6. Missing; Officers 9, OR's 120. Wounded; Officers 8, OR's 180.
War Diary for August 1917.
2-8-17. Major Phillips [Eric Charles Malcolm PHILLIPS, CB, DSO, TD, DL, JP], Captain Whitfield [Geoffrey Ernest WHITFIELD, MC] and 2nd Lieut. E.M. Paul [Eric Macleane PAUL] went up to the line to take charge of the 130 Other Ranks who remained from the fight on the 31st July. This party remained at TOWER POST and IRISH FARM.
3-8-17. The party went forward in support of the 116 Bde, staying in the old German front line system until the 5th; the trenches being in a terrible condition owing to the almost continuous rain since the evening of the 31st July.
5-8-17. Bn moved to bivouac camp by REIGERSBURG CHATEAU.
7-8-17. Bn entrained at VLAMERHINGHE and detrained at CAESTRE whence it was conveyed in buses to camp near THIEUSHOUK.
9-8-17. 118th Inf. Bde was addressed by MAJOR GENERAL G. CUTHBERT, C.B., C.M.G. Party of Officers and Other Ranks left out of the battle rejoined the Bn. Draft of 15 OR's joined the Bn.
10-8-17. Brigade was inspected by General Sir H.C.O.PLUMER G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., K.C.B., A.D.C. commanding second army. Draft of 24 OR's joined the Bn.
11-8-17. Draft of 15 OR's joined the Bn.
12-8-17. Captain A.G. Clark, D.S.O., M.C. [Aylmer G. CLARK, DSO, MC] and a draft of 113 OR's joined the Bn
14-8-17. Bn moved by buses to camp at RIDGE WOOD.
19-8-17 [The Battles of Ypres 1917 -the Battle of Langemarck]. Bn relieved 17th Notts & Derby regt. in the front line - KLEIN-ZILLEBEKE trenches. 1 killed, 2 Missing. Draft of 25 OR's joined the Bn.
23-8-17. Bn was relieved by 1st Cambs Regt. and moved into Reserve (Brigade). While in Reserve casualties were 9 wounded.
27-8-17. Bn was relieved by 14th Hants Regt. and moved into Divisional Reserve near RIDGE WOOD. Div Orders dated 7th August - Military Medal awarded to: 265176 L/Sgt Gaines [William GAINES, MM] No.3 Coy, 265256 L/Sgt Ensby [Alfred ENSBY, MM].
30-8-17. Draft of 33 OR's joined the Bn. [Comment; Lieut. Herbert Norman BAKER died today].
War Diary for September 1917.
2-9-17. The Bn relieved the 3rd Bn R.B. and units of the 24th Division in MOUNT SORREL left sub section with Bn HQ at CANADA TUNNELS.
5-9-17. Draft of 20 OR's joined the Bn.
6-9-17. The Bn was relieved by the 1st Cambs Regt. and moved into support in the area of LARCHWOOD TUNNELS.
8-9-17. The Bn was relieved by the 14th Hants Regt. & moved to CHIPPENA CAMP. Raft fo 32 OR's joined the Bn.
10-9-17. Draft of 112 OR's joined the Bn.
11-9-17. Lt G.F.C. Gudgeon [George Finlay Charles GUDGEON] rejoined the Bn from Portugese Division HQ.
12-9-17. Bn marched to ASCOT CAMP near WESTOUTRE.
13-9-17. Lieut. J.W. Church [John William CHURCH] joined the Bn. Draft of 17 OR's joined the Bn.
14-9-17. Draft of 61 OR's joined the Bn.
18-9-17. Bn marched to camp ear RIDGE WOOD. Draft of 7 OR joined the Bn.
19-9-17. Bn was equipped in fighting order for the forthcoming operations. Bn marched to ZWARTELEEN. Strength 14 Officers, 556 OR's. Remainder proceeded to Divisional reinforcement camp.
20-9-17 [The Battles of Ypres 1917 -The Battle of the Menin Road]. 117 Inf. Bde attacked at dawn. At 2pm two Coys 1st Herts regt moved from ZWARTELEEN to trenches round IMAGE CRESCENT and were placed under orders of GOC 117 Inf. Bde. 2/Lieut. C.D. Lovering [Cecil D. LOVERING] (1st Hereford Regt) & 54 OR's joined the Bn for duty.
21-9-17. Bn relieved 16th & 17th Bns Notts & Derby Regt. in right sub section BULGAR WOOD sector as soon as it was dark, taking over the line captured & consolidated on the 20th.
22-9-17. Bn was relieved by the 11th Bn Royal Warwick Regt (37th Div.) and moved into support in MOUNT SORREL, taking over from details of 41st Division. Lt G. Hicks [Gordon HICKS] & 61 OR's joined the Bn for duty.
23-9-17. Bn relieved the 1st Cambs Regt & details of 41st Div. in front line, SHREWSBURY FOREST area, taking over the line captured by the 41st Division on the 20th.
25-9-17 [The Battles of Ypres 1917 -The Battle of Polygon Wood]. Bn was relieved by the 1st Cambs Regt and 4/5th Black Watch who moved up to assembly positions on neighbourhood of BASSEVILLEBEEK during the night 25th/26th Sept and attacked at 5.50am on the 26th.
26-9-17. Bn moved into support in trenches on MOUNT SORRELL before dawn on 26th Lieut. B.C. HARTLEY, 2/Lts C.S. Ringer [Claude Stewart RINGER] and F.E. Allen [Frederick Ernest ALLEN] & 18 OR's joined the Bn for duty.
27-9-18. Bn was relieved by 8th Somerset Light Infantry during afternoon and marched to BUS HOUSE where it embussed for CORUNNA CAMP near WESTOUTRE. A party of 2 Officers & 100 OR's remained to fetch down wounded from TOWER HAMLETS RIDGE and rejoined Bn on the 28th. During the period of 20th to 28th the Bn experienced heavy hostile shelling whilst holding newly won positions and casualties amounted to 3 Officers & 206 OR's.
AWARDS. The following decorations were awarded for gallantry & devotion to duty on 31st July (39 Div. R.O. No. 1061, 1039). Bar to Military Cross: Rev. A.E. Popham MC [Alfred Edgar POPHAM MC & Bar], att 1st Herts. Military Cross: T/Capt. J.P Charles [John James Percival CHARLES, MC] RAMC Att 1st Herts. 2/Lieut. E.W. Marchington [Eric William MARCHINGTON, MC], 2/Lieut. R.I. Edwards [Ronald Irving EDWARDS, MC], D.C.M. 265033 RSM S. Tite [Sydney G. TITE, DCM], 266629 Sgt S. Allibone [Stephen ALLIBONE, DCM], 265405 Sgt S. Osborne [Stephen Harold OSBORNE, DCM], 265494 Cpl W. Ashwell [William ASHWELL, DCM], 265630 Cpl A. Baker [Alfred BAKER, DCM], 473174 Pte F. BASS RAMC att 1st Herts. Bar to Military Medal: 265603 L/Cpl W.E. Taylor [William Edward TAYLOR, MM & Bar], 266544 Pte A.S. Hansford [Albert S. HANSFORD, MM & Bar), Military Medal: 265874 Pte H. Kent [Herbert KENT, MM], 265746 L/Cpl S.J. Darby [Stanley James DARBY, MM], 265588 Cpl R.A. Gough [Richard A. GOUGH, MM], 265626 Pte W.C. Smith [William Charles SMITH, MM], 266134 L/Cpl C. Parsloe [Charles PARSLOE, MM], 265457 L/Cpl W. Litchfield [Walter James LITCHFIELD, MM & Bar], 267001 Pte A.G. Sapsed [Alfred George SAPSEAD, MM], 265264 L/Cpl J.R. Cockman [James Horace COCKMAN, MM], 265813 Cpl F.G. Phillips [Frederick George PHILLIPS, MM], 266173 Pte C. Forbes [Charles FORBES, MM], 265330 Pte W. Sell [William Jeffrey SELL, MM], 269771 Pte H.W. Miles [Henry William MILES, MM], 265611 Cpl J.E. Taylor [Joseph Edward TAYLOR, MM], 265643 L/Cpl F. Waller [Frederick WALLER, MM], 266814 Pte E.J. Marshall [Edward John MARSHALL, MM], 266531 Pte W. Mardell [Will Alfred MARDELL, MM].
Casualties during September 1917: Killed - 26 OR's Died of wounds - 2 OR's Wounded - 2/Lieut F.N. Drury [Follett McNeill DRURY], 2/Lieut. R.H.T. Rowley [Robert Halford Taylor ROWLEY, MC], 265033 RSM S. Tite [Sydney G. TITE, DCM], 128 OR's. Missing - 9 OR's Shell Shock - 43 OR's Gassed - 6 OR's
War Diary for October 1917.
1-10-17. Bn was inspected by Brig. General H.C.P. BILLINGHAM D.S.O. commanding 118th Inf. Bde near the camp, CORRUNA CAMP.
2-10.17. 118th Inf. Bde was inspected by Major General E. FEETHAM, C.B., C.M.G. and ribbons were awarded to recipients of decorations in the Bde.
3-10-17. Bn carried out training.
4-10-17. Moved up to camp near SWAN CHATEAU 2,000 yards south west of YPRES under orders of 1st ANZAC CORPS in order to work on railways under the 5th Canadian Railway Troops. From 5th to 13th 500 men were employed daily on the railway lines between WESTHOEK & ZONNEBEKE; from 14th to 17th only ½ the battalion was employed daily. On 16th the 9th C.R.T. relieved the 5th C.R.T. Casualties during the period were; Killed - 5, died of wounds - 1, wounded - 1
3 9-10-17. Following reinforcements joined on the 9th inst. 2nd Lieut. F. Mc N. Drury [Follett McNeill DRURY], Captain J.F. Christie [John Fairfax CHRISTIE, MC], 2/Lts F.H. Underhill [Frank H. UNDERHILL], C.F. Nicholls [Cecil Frank NICHOLLS], & 40 OR's. Captain J.D.B. Fergusson [John D.B. FERGUSSON] left the Bn to be attached to H.Qrs 118th Inf. Bde as [unreadable] in Staff Duties.
10-10-17. Lieut. G.F.C. Gudgeon [George Finlay Charles GUDGEON] appointed Adjutant vice Captain J.D.B. Fergusson [John D.B. FERGUSSON].
11-10-17. 70 OR's joined the Bn as reinforcements.
16-10-17. 2/Lt White [E.E. WHITE?] & 52 OR's to be attached for Special work to 234 Field Coy R.E.
17-10-17. Moved to camp at N.5.d.4.5. (Sheet 28 BELGIUM & FRANCE 1/40,000) near BRASSERIE.
18-10-17. 2/Lieut. Allen [Frederick Ernest ALLEN] & 104 OR's; left to be attached for special work to 234 Field Coy R.E.
19-10-17. Major H.J. WYLD 1/1 Herts Yeomanry joined Bn.
20-10-17. Following Officers joined Bn; Captain A.G. Grinling [Anthony G. GRINLING, MC], 2/Lts T.G. STUBBING, H.W. Blanchflower [Horace William BLANCHFLOWER], J.E. Broad [John Eric BROAD], F.R. Stonnill [Frank Roland STONNILL], E.F.M. Brown [Edward Frederick Montague BROWN].
22-10-17. Cinema Operator from G.H.Q. filmed the Bn in camp [comment; this film is available at the Imperial War Museum, code IWM 1099]. Lieut. J.M. WORCESTER K.S.M.G. left the Bn en route for No.11 General Hospital being relieved by Captain J.G. JOHNSTONE RAMC.
23-10-17. Bn moved to CHIPPEWA CAMP near RHENINGHELST. 2/Lt F. Clayton [Frank CLAYTON] joined the Bn.
24-10-17. 2/Lt White [E.E. WHITE?] & 101 OR's joined from 234 Field Coy R.E. Bn. Dinner in evening attended by 30 Officers.
25-10-17. Brigadier General E.H.C.P. BELLINGHAM D.S.O. & Captain F.A. MARR M.C. Bde Major dined with the Bn having previously attended a concert given by the Bn in the YMCA Hut.
26-10-17 [The Battles of Ypres 1917 -the Second Battle of Passchendaele]. The Bn came under 1 hours notice as from 5.40am in view of our attack on the Second Army front.
27-10-17. The Bn remained in camp awaiting orders.
28-10-17. The Bn relieved the 1st R.W.F. on the left TOWER HAMLETS sector front line, relief being complete by 10pm. 2/Lt T.E. Penny [Thomas Edward PENNY] wounded whilst reconnoitring the line in the morning. 2/Lt E.F.M. Brown [Edward Frederick Montague BROWN] wounded on the way up to the relief. The Bn suffered a few casualties during the relief.
31-10-17. The Bn was relieved by the 1st/1st Cambs Regt, relief being completed by 10pm. Bn moved into support with H.Qrs. & Nos 1&4 Coys at BODMIN COPSE in dugouts & trenches. Nos 2&3 Coys went into support at JAR TRENCH. Casualties from 28-10-17 to 31-10-17; Killed - 6, Died of Wounds - 1, Died of Gas Poisoning - 1, wounded - 21, gassed - 9 + some cases of Trench Foot. Major A.G. Clark D.S.O., M.C. [Aylmer G. CLARK, DSO, MC] assumed command of the Bn on 6-10-17 during the Temp. absence of leave of Lieut. Col. E.C.M. Phillips [Eric Charles Malcolm PHILLIPS, CB, DSO, TD, DL, JP].
War Diary for November 1917.
1-11-17. Bn in BODMIN COPSE with 2 Coys in JAR TRENCH. Certain amount of gas shelling.
2-11-17. Nothing of importance.
3-11-17. The Bn was relieved by 12th Bn Royal Sussex Regt. Casualties from 1st to 3rd; Killed - 2 OR's, died of wounds - 2 OR's, gassed - 5 OR's, wounded - 8 OR's. The Bn moved by buses to CHIPEWA CAMP arriving at about 3.30am on the 3rd/4th.
4-11-17. Lieut. Col. E.C.M. Phillips [Eric Charles Malcolm PHILLIPS, CB, DSO, TD, DL, JP] rejoined the Bn from leave. 2/Lt L.L. Norris [Leslie Lascelles NORRIS] joined the Bn. The men were rested.
5-11-17. The Bn moved to VIERSTRAAT N2, relieving the 17th Bn Sherwood Foresters.
6 to 8-11-17. The Bn was employed on salvage & other work in the forward areas. Wounded 1 OR.
9 to 10-11-17. The Bn rested & carried out training. 35 OR's who were gassed at BODMIN COPSE were sent to hospital.
11-11-17. The Bn moved to BEDFORD HOUSE and had difficulty in finding accommodation.
12-11-17. The Bn moved into right sub section POLDERHOEK, taking over the front line from 16th Bn Sherwood Foresters.
13-11-17. Slight activity.
14-11-17. The Bn was relieved by 1st/1st Cambs Regt. & moved to BODMIN COPSE with 2 platoons of No.4 Coy and 3 platoons of No.1 Coy in closer support at TOWER & VELDHOEK.
15-11-17. The Bn employed in carrying parties.
16-11-17. The Bn was relieved by 16th Bn Sherwood Foresters & moved by lorry from SHRAPNEL CORNER to CHIPPEWA CAMP. Casualties during tour; Killed - 4 OR, Died of wounds - 1 OR, wounded 4 OR, gassed 3 OR, missing 1 OR.
18-11-17. Fire at the camp, starting at H.Q. of No.4 Coy. Their hut, our armoury hut and an adjacent hut completely burnt out, 6 Officers losing all their kit & 30 servants. No casualties to Officers or men.
19-11-17. Court of enquiry on fire.
20-11-17. Relieved 17th Bn K.R.R. in POLDERHOEK left sub section front line. Bn proceeded by light railway to near ZILLEBEKE.
21-11-17. Nothing of importance beyond slight artillery & MG fire.
22-11-17. Gas was projected at 6.15pm on GHELUVELT without much retaliation. The Bn was relieved by 1st/1st Cambs Regt. and moved to TORR TOPS in Bde Reserve in the tunnels.
23-11-17. Working & carrying parties.
24-11-17. Relieved 1/1 Cambs Regt. in POLDERHOEK left sub section front line.
25-11-17. Relieved by 1st Canterbury Regt. (1st New Zealand Division) expect 3 platoons of No.4 Coy on right who were relieved by 2nd Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers, 30th Div. Entrained on light railway to CHIPPEWA CAMP. Casualties during the tour; 3 OR killed, 5 OR wounded.
26-11-17. Bn moved to EECKE area by train from OUDERDOM & GODWAERSVELDE. Bn H.Q. in EECKE & Coys in a very scattered area near EECKE.
27 to 28-11-17. Bn rested & cleaned up. 2/Lt E.O. Ridley [Ernest Oswald RIDLEY] joined the Bn on the 27th Inst.
29-11-17. Bn moved to a camp near POTIJZE to work on roads & railways, entraining at GODWAERSVELDE & detraining at YPRES.
30-11-17. Bn on working parties.
War Diary for December 1917.
1st to 5th-12-17. Bn continued fatigues at POTIJZE near YPRES.
6-12-17. Bn moved to EECKE, entraining at YPRES and detraining at GODWAERSVELDE. The following Officers joined the Bn for duty; Lieuts. C.W. Sworder [Charles Waller SWORDER], T.S.J. McCORMACK, 2nd Lieuts. J.D.E. Eve [John Douglas Tristram EVE], E. Freedman [Eleazer FREEDMAN], R.D. WALLER, H.J. Hensman [Henry John HENSMAN, MC], E.F.M. Brown [Edward Frederick Montague BROWN], (from hospital) R.F.B. BORRADAILE, & Lieut. G.B.G. Gripper [Guy Basil George GRIPPER, MC].
7-12-17. Nothing of importance.
8-12-17. Bn moved to HARLETTES, entraining at GODWAERSVELDE & detraining at NIELLES. Bn arrived in billets at 7pm.
9-12-17. Bn marched to ESCOEUILLES for training.
10 to 15-12-17. Training. Draft of 40 OR's joined the Bn on the 13th inst.
16-12-17. Sunday. No training.
17 & 18-12-17. Training.
19-12-17. Bn was inspected by Major General E. FEETHAM C.B., C.M.G. commanding 39th Division.
20 to 22-12-17. Training.
23-12-17. Sunday. Church parade was held.
24-12-17. Training. Draft of 25 OR's joined the Bn under 2/Lt. C.L. King [Charles Leonard KING].
25-12-17. Xmas Day. The men spent a very happy day as a result of the various gifts & comforts provided for them.
26 to 29-12-17. Training was continued. On the 28th the Transport less a small portion started moving forward. The balance followed on 31st.
30-12-17. Sunday. There were no parades. Short route march.
31-12-17. Moved to COALOMBY relieving 13th Bn Royal Sussex Regt. N.B. The honours conferred on the Regt. will figure next month on receipt of complete list.
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