HERTS AT WAR

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War Diary for 1918

The following were mentioned in despatches of the Commander in Chief dated 7th Nov. 1917: 2/Lieut. Drury F.M. [Follett McNeill DRURY], 2/Lieut. Ritchie K.J. [Kenneth James RITCHIE], Lieut. Gudgeon G.F.C. [George Finlay Charles GUDGEON], 266236 Pte DAY S.G. [Stanley George DAY], 265001 RQMS COCKS J.F. [John Frederick COCKS], 265011 O.R. Sgt HALL E.A. [Ernest Alfred HALL], 265063 CSM NORTHROPE G. [George W. NORTHROPE], 266539 L/Cpl RANDALL A.H. [Alfred Herbert RANDALL] att. 118 Inf Bde., 265821 QMS Smithson M.J. [Matthew Joseph SMITHSON] att. 170 Inf. Bde., 266296 L/Cpl Whitley C. [formerly 4351 Charles WHITLEY] (now Lab. Corps), Captain L.G. Gold [Leslie G. GOLD, MC & Bar] awarded the MILITARY CROSS

1-1-18. Bn marched at 5.30AM to WIZERNES and entrained for Bde in support area. ½ Bn & HQ at HILL TOP FARM in huts, Nos 1&2 Coys at IRISH FARM in tents near St. JEAN

2-1-18. Working parties.

3-1-18. Working parties.

4-1-18. Working parties.

5-1-18. Working parties.

6-1-18. Working parties. 2/Lieut. K.A. SMITH wounded

7-1-18. Relieved 17th Sherwood Foresters, No.3 Co. & HQ on STEENBEEK, 3 Coys in Corps line. Lieut. F.M. Drury [Follett McNeill DRURY] killed at about 11pm by a shell on Coy H.Q. Wounded 2/Lieut. E.F.M. Brown [Edward Frederick Montague BROWN] & H.M. SMITH, 2/4th Royal Sussex Regt, att. 1st Herts.

8-1-18. Working parties.

9-1-18. Lieut. F.M. Drury [Follett McNeill DRURY] & E.F.M. Brown [Edward Frederick Montague BROWN] buried at DUHALLOW Cemetery at 12 noon.

10-1-18. Working parties.

11-1-18. Relieved 1/1 Cambs. Regt in left sub sector front line. Shelling of Corps line. CO slightly wounded.

15-1-18. Relieved by 11th Royal Sussex Regt. Relief complete 7.30Am on 16th. Marched and trained to SEIGE CAMP No.4.

16-1-18. Lt Col E.C.M. Phillips [Eric Charles Malcolm PHILLIPS, CB, DSO, TD, DL, JP] proceeded on Paris leave.

17-1-18. Working parties in the line.

18-1-18. Ditto.

19-1-18. Ditto.

20-1-18. Ditto. Capt. E.H.H. Carlile [Edward Hildred Hanbury CARLILE] 1/1 Herts Yeomanry joined Bn.

21-1-18. Bn moved to HERZEELE area by march route.

22-1-18. Cleaning up.

23-1-18. Cleaning up. Lt Col E.C.M. Phillips [Eric Charles Malcolm PHILLIPS, CB, DSO, TD, DL, JP] returned. Major A.G. Clarke D.S.O., M.C. [Aylmer G. CLARK, DSO, MC] proceeded on leave to England.

24-1-18. Short parade.

26-1-18. Left area at 2.30AM, entrained at PROVEN at 7AM and proceeded to 5th Army area. Detrained at MERICOURT L'ABBE at 6PM and marched to billets at BRAY-SUR-SOMME.

28-1-18. 75 O.R.'s joined the Bn from England.

29-1-18. Left BRAY at 11.45Am & entrained at PLATEAU station near CARNOY and detrained at PERONNE and marched to HAUT ALLAINES to camp (tents).

30-1-18. Moved to SOREL-LE-GRAND - a few bombs dropped during the night but the Bn suffered no casualties.

31-1-18. Moved into reserve at Camp S.E. of DESSANT WOOD near FIMS. 50 OR's under 1 Officer proceeded to be attached to 178 Tunnelling Coy, RE.


War Diary for February 1918

1-2-18. Bn resting in L.I. Camp DESSART WOOD near FIMS.

4-2-18. A draft of 21 OR's joined the Bn.

6-2-18. Bn relieved 1/1 Cambs Regt in left sub sector of the GOUZEAUCOURT LEFT SECTOR.

7-2-18. Bn was relieved by 1/6 Cheshire Regt and 4/5 Black Watch and, with the exception of No.3 Coy, marched to hits in SOREL.No.3 Coy in huts at L.I. Camb. Div. routine orders dated Feb 6th announced that the following had been awarded: The Belgian Croix de Guerre; No. 265055 Sgt Couldrey G. [George COULDREY] and No. 265792 Pte Stratford A.P. [Alfred Percival STRATFORD]

8-2-18. Bn was transferred from 118 to 116 Bde. Bn moved to CHURCH CAMP, HEUDICOURT.

9-2-18. Bn relieved 11th and 13th Bns Royal Sussex Regt in the GOUZEAUCOURT centre sector. All 4 companies in the front line in the order from right to left - No. 1,3,2,4.

11-2-18. Lieut. E.A. Taylor [Edward Algernon TAYLOR] and No. 266242 L/Cpl Overton W.G. [William George OVERTON] No.3 Coy killed in afternoon by an enemy sniper whilst out on patrol.

13-2-18. Nos 1&3 Coys were relieved by 2 Coys of the 13th Bn Royal Sussex Regt and moved to the main line of resistance.

14-2-18. Bn relieved by the 11th Bn Royal Sussex Regt. Nos 3&4 Coys, half of No.1 Coy and HQ accommodated at REVELON FARM. Half of No.1 Coy in dugouts near REVELON FARM. No.2 Coy at HEUDICOURT.

14/18-2-18. Employed on sundry working parties.

18-2-18. Lieut. Col. E.C.M. Phillips [Eric Charles Malcolm PHILLIPS, CB, DSO, TD, DL, JP] proceeded on leave. Bn relieved 13th Bn Royal Sussex Regt. in right sub sector of GOUZEAUCOURT centre sector. Nos 1&3 Coys in front line with Nos 2&4 in support.

22-2-18. Bn relieved by 13th Bn Royal Sussex Regt & took over the left sub sector from the 11th Bn Royal Sussex Regt. Nos 2&4 Coys in front line, Nos 1&3 in support.

26-2-18. Bn relieved by 11th Bn Royal Sussex Regt. Nos 3&4 Coys, half of No1 Coy & HQ at REVELON FARM. Half of No1 Coy in dugouts near REVELON FARM. No. 2 Coy at HEUDICOURT.

27/28-12-18. Employed in working parties.

28-2-18. No. 2 Coy moved up from HEUDICOURT to REVELON FARM.

1/28-2-18 Casualties; Killed 1 Officer, 3 OR. Wounded 6 OR. Wounded (Gas Shell) 1 OR.


War Diary for March 1918

2-3-18. Bn relieved 13th Bn Royal Sussex Regt in the right GOUZEAUCOURT sub sector, Nos 1&3 Coys in front line with Nos 2&4 Coys in support.

6-2-18. Bn relieved by 13th Bn Royal Sussex Regt & took over the left sub sector of the GOUZEAUCOURT right sub sector. Nos 2&4 Coys in the front line, Nos 1&3 in support.

10-3-18. Bn relieved by the 11th Bn Royal Sussex Regt and took over billets at REVELON FARM.

13-2-18. Bn relieved by the 1st South African Infantry and marched to HEUDICOURT. Bn entrained on light railway to GURLU WOOD area. Bn billeted in a camp at TEMPLE LA FOSSE.

14/20-2-18. Bn in fatigues at aerodrome near MOSLAINE.

21-3-18 [The First Battles of the Somme 1918 - the Battle of St Quentin] . Violent enemy bombardment on the whole of our Corps front. Bn stood to at 6.30AM but did not move off until 4PM when it took up dispositions in the BROWN LINE at St. EMILIE.

22-3-18. Enemy violently bombarded and assaulted our positions forcing our Bn to retire to the GREEN LINE. Bn spent the night at HAMEL.

23-3-18. Before dawn the Bn marched to BUSSU & dug in hastily on the east side of the village. When both flanks became exposed the Bn retired to a line of trenches covering the PERONNE-NURLU road. After covering the 4/5th Black Watch Regt on the left the Bn withdrew to the ST. DENNIS line which was very stubbornly defended. The Bn then retired with difficulty to the line protecting the PERONNE-CLERY road with the remainder of the 116th Inf. Bde. to cover the retreat of the 117th and 118th Inf. Bdes. When this had been successfully accomplished under very harassing machine gun fire from the enemy, the Bn conformed to the general retirement on CLERY village where it concentrated. The remnants of the Bn then defended a line of trenches between the village and running down to the River SOMME.

24-3-18 [The First Battles of the Somme 1918 -the actions on the Somme crossings]. After an intense bombardment of our trenches the enemy attacked with large numbers. The Bn, after heavy fighting, retired to a crest in front of the FEVILLERS-HEM WOOD ROAD. Here the Bn lost its Commanding Officer, Lieut. Colonel E.C.M. Phillips [Eric Charles Malcolm PHILLIPS, CB, DSO, TD, DL, JP], about whom, up to the time of writing, nothing is known. In the evening the Bn got orders to withdraw through the 35th Division to MARICOURT where the Bn spent the night. [Comment; Lt.Col. PHILLIPS was taken prisoner and survived the war]

25-3-18. Bn marched from MARICOURT to INSAUNE. The march was continued after breakfast across the River SOMME at CAPPY to CHUIGNOLLES, where the Bn reorganised and spent the night.

26-3-18 [The First Battles of the Somme 1918 -The Battle of Rosieres]. Bn moved forward through CHUIGNES to a line in front of the CHUIGNES-FOUCACOURT road I support to the 117th and 118th Bdes. After covering their retirement the Bn fought a series of rearguard actions on the many ridges in front of the village of CHUIGNOLLES. In the afternoon the Bn occupied the PROYART-FROISSY road. Orders were given for the Bn to withdraw behind PROYART, astride the FOUCACOURT-MANOTTE road.

27-3-18. The Bn who were in trenches on both sides of the road were ordered to move forward in support of the 118th Bde, being temporarily attached to the 4/5th Black Watch Regt. Soon after moving forward British troops were seen retiring to the left in large numbers. Consequently the Bn was ordered to move forward to the left and cover their withdrawal. After having skilfully carried this out the Bn conformed to the general withdrawal to a line between MORCOURT and the FOUCACOURT-LAMOTTE road. The Bn collected and assembled, then counter attacked the enemy, driving him back to within a few hundred yards of the village of MORCOURT.

28-3-18. The position gained was held stubbornly against all enemy attempts to retake it. On the morning of the 28th orders were received for a speedy evacuation of this line. The enemy at this point was well in our rear in possession of LAMOTTE so that the withdrawal had to be done quickly. The Bn showed the utmost resource during this dangerous manoeuvre, loosing (sic) very few men. The retirement took place in daylight through HARBONNIERS & CAIX. At the latter place the Bn attacked the enemy successfully but thereafter had orders to retire on COYEUX where it again assembled in a counter attack in which the acting Commanding Officer was wounded. During the day rearguard actions took place along the river bed to IGNAUCOURT. In the evening the Bn went into trenches in front of AUBERCOURT.

29-3-18. The enemy remained fairly quiet expect for machine gun fire.

30-3-18. Today (March 30th) saw the enemy advancing on the right flank on the other side of the river de LUCE. He very soon enfiladed our positions both with artillery and machine guns. This was followed by a strong enemy bombardment and attack on our front. After a stubborn resistance the Bn fell back to the BOIS DE HANGARD, making two counter attacks en route.

31-3-18. The remnants of the Bn was relieved and marched to billets at LONGEVEUX, a village on the outskirts of AMIENS, the remnants of the Bn being commanded by a 2/Lt, the only surviving Officer. Captain A.G. Grinling [Anthony G. GRINLING, MC] assumed temporary command of the Bn, which at midnight embussed at LONGEVEUX for GUIGEMICOURT. During the 10 days fighting the losses of the Bn were approx as follows: Killed - Officers 4, O. Ranks 25 Wnd & Missing - Officers 2, O. Ranks 10.

[Comment; no other casualties are recorded on the diary. but the following Officers were killed in March: Major John Bolle Tyndale GOUGH, Major Edward Hildred Hanbury CARLILE, Captain Thomas Pilling GIBBONS MC, Lt Donovan PERRY and Lt Charles Leonard KING all killed in action 22-3-18. Lt John Eric BROAD killed on 23-3-18. Lt Richard Trollope North HICKLEY and 2/Lt Frank Roland STONNILL both killed 24-3-18. Lt John William CHURCH died from his wounds and Lt Angier Percy HURD was killed on 30-3-18.]


War Diary for April 1918

[Comment; two separate War diaries exist from 10-4-18 to the end of April. They have been condensed into one here for ease]

1-4-18. Bn in billets at GUIGNEMICOURT. All coys in one farm. Day spent cleaning up and gaining information respecting casualties. Captain A.G. Grinling [Anthony G. GRINLING, MC] assumed command of the Bn.

2-4-18. The Bn marched to CAMPS EN AMIENOIS

3-4-18. the Bn marched to FRETTECUISSE. Nos 1&2 Coys & HQ billeted in the village. Nos 3&4 billeted in the adjoining village - LE FAY.

4-4-18. Re-equipping and cleaning up. Reorganising of Coys carried on as far as possible.

5-4-18. Bn paraded with remainder of Bns in Bde and was inspected by the GOC 116th Inf. Bde.

7-4-18. Bn marched to BEAUCHAMPS. Billeted there. Good accommodation.

9-4-18. Bn marched to EU & entrained at EU station at 7am detraining at ARQUES at about 4pm. Bn marched to billets at ST. MARTIN AU LAERT (Nr ST.OMER). Lieut. C.S. Cautherley [Charles Stewart CAUTHERLEY] rejoined Bn from Provost, 1st Army.

10-4-18. St. MARTIN AU LAERT. Drafts making total of 60 OR joined the Bn. Bn occupied in reorganising and re-equipping. Organised so that the Bn would form half a composite Bn, the other half composed the 11th R. Sussex. Comp. Bn would be known as No.1 Bn & would entrain at ST.OMER during the night 10th/11th April.

11-4-18. Bn marched to ST.OMER station and entrained at 5am, detraining at VLAMERTINGHE. No.1 Bn marched to TORONTO CAMP near RENINGHELST. Only fighting portion of Bn detrained, the remainder staying at ST.MARTIN AU LAERT. On arrival at TORONTO CAMP Bn came under orders of 118th Bde who had entrained similarly. Bn commanded by Captain G.E. Whitfield M.C. [Geoffrey Ernest WHITFIELD] 1st Herts Regt. with Captain P.F. DREW M.C. 11th R.Sussex 2nd in command. A&B Coys were formed from 11th R.Sussex & C&D Coys from 1st Herts Regt. C Coy consisted of original Nos 1&2 Coys under 2/Lt Blanchflower [Horace William BLANCHFLOWER] & D Coy of original Nos 3&4 Coys under Captain A.G. Grinling [Anthony G. GRINLING, MC].

12-4-18. Comp Bn entrained at RENINGHELST at 3am on 12th on light railway & detrained just W of ZILLEBEKKE LAKE, marching from there to OTAGO CAMP. Officers reconnoitred Corps 2nd line of posts from HILL 60 to HOOGE with a view to knowing the area in the event of being ordered to occupy the posts. Enemy artillery active on roads but no shells fell near the camp.

13-4-18. Lieut. Col. R. WILKINSON DSO, Gloster (sic) Regt. joined the Bn for duty. The Composite Bn stood by at ½ hours notice to move. Day uneventful.

14-4-18. Bn still at ½ hour notice. Officers reconnoitred GHQ line from ELZENWALLE in H.36 to LILLEGATE in I.14.

15-4-18. VOORMEZELE. Bn moved at 10am to a position of concentration in I.26.c. where dinners were served. After dinners the Bn was distributed over the line from SNIPERS BARN in O.1.c. to LOCK 8 in I.32.a. & worked on repair of the line until 6pm. Bn then took up a fighting position as follows - Right front Coy D Coy with 2 platoons in the line & 2 in support at about O.1.a.1.1. Left Front Coy B Coy with 2 platoons in the line, a platoon at DEAD DOG FARM and a platoon at MIDDLESEX LANE about O.1.a.2.8. Right support Coy C Coy in huts about H.36.d.4.4. Left support Coy in huts about H.36.b.9.2. Bn HQ VOORMEZELE. This position was one of readiness in the event of the front line at WYSCHAETE being forced back and also occupied so that the full amount of work could be carried out on it.

16-4-18. Bn employed in working on the defences. Right support Coy working on our line of four supporting points about N.6.c.7.9., N.6.a.9.4., N.6.b.2.9., O.1.a.2.8. Left support Coy moved to GHQ line with three platoons in the line from N.5.d.5.8. to H.36.d.4.2. and one platoon in the BRASSERIE. Strong point N.6.a.3.1.

17-4-18 [The Battle of the Lys - the First Battle of Kemmel]. Work carried out on all defences. Slight shelling by enemy of rear area.

18-4-18. Two platoons of right support coy were moved to GHQ line from H.36.c.4.2. to ELZENWALLE-VOORMEZEELE (sic) road. Work continued on defences.

19-4-18. Work continued.

20-4-18. Work continued but hampered by lack of material, especially of barbed wire and pickets. Coy relief carried out after dusk. C Coy relieved D Coy in right front and A Coy relieved B Coy on left front.

21-4-18. Bn HQ moved to ELZENWALLE CHATEAU. Coys continued work on defences. Lieut. A.W. Baker [Aubrey William BAKER], 2/Lt H.J. Knee [Harold J. KNEE] & 2/Lt E.M. Paul [Eric Macleane PAUL] joined the Bn for duty.

22-4-18. Work continued. Enemy shelling heavier & aircraft [unreadable] action. Bn HQ shelled but no casualties caused.

23-4-18. Work continued.

24-4-18. Work continued. Enemy attacked WYSCHAETE RIDGE in morning and gained ground. Reports as to situation in front of Bn very difficult to get. About 930pm enemy penetrated Bn line between the two front line Coys. A bombing attack was organised but was unsuccessful owing to enemy's strength and our shortage of bombs. A platoon therefore dug in in rear of enemy, joining up the two Coys.

25-4-18 [The Battle of the Lys - the Second Battle of Kemmel]. At 2.30am enemy opened up very heavy bombardment with H.E. & Gas shells on battalion front & heavily attacked our line about 6.0am. Our line was driven in and forced back on to the GHQ line, the enemy coming in very large numbers. One platoon of the left front Coy got back to the GHQ line but the other three platoons were forced back onto the Bn on our left holding the VOORMEZEELE (sic) defences and were therefore lost to the Bn. The right Coy extricated themselves after being nearly surrounded & withdrew fighting to the GHQ line. The enemy quickly came onto the GHQ line but were well held there & after suffering many casualties withdrew to cover some 500 yards away. The platoon in the BRASSERIE post was closely pressed by the enemy & withdrew to the GHQ line but an immediate counter attack was launched by B Coy & the post was successfully recaptured together with two prisoners & a machine gun. Several enemy were killed in the post & our casualties were very slight. The latter part of the day passed quietly except for successful sniping of the enemy & the Coys were able to be reorganised in the GHQ line. Major M. CLAYTON, D.S.O., 1st Cambs Regt, assumed command of the Bn at 10.0am.

26-4-18. Enemy made no further attacks but the GHQ line was very heavily shelled from time to time but very few casualties were caused. More casualties inflicted in the enemy by sniping. [Comment; Lieut. Charles Stewart CAUTHERLEY killed in action today]

27-4-18. GHQ line again very heavily shelled. Bn relieved at night by 18th Bn King's Liverpool Regt & on relief relieved 2nd Bn Lincoln Regt in GHQ second line running from N.5.c.8.8. to H.36.c.4.7. Bn HQ moved to NE corner of DICKEBUSCH LAKE at H.35.a.3.8.

28-4-18 [The Battle of the Lys - the Battle of Scherpenberg]. GHQ 2 line very heavily shelled nearly all day & many casualties caused. Enemy attacked VOORMEZEELE (sic) and captured it but his attacks against GHQ line were completely repulsed with heavy loss. Bn relieved by 1st Lincoln Regt during night & on relief marched to DEVONSHIRE CAMP G.22.b.6.4. Lieut. Col. R. Wilkinson DSO [Roger WILKINSON DSO] joined a composite Bn in the line (temporarily). Lieut. J.H. Boggon [John Hickey BOGGON] & 2/Lieuts R.Shirtcliffe [Reginald SHIRTCLIFFE], P.B.WALLER, T.P.Leese [Theodore Percival LEESE], W.Dove [W.W. DOVE], G.Baker [George BAKER], L.DAY & L. Reeves [Laurence REEVES] joined the Bn for duty.

29-4-18. Bn rested, the troops being in a very exhausted condition after being 14 days in the trenches & being constantly subjected to very intense shell fire.

30-4-18. Bn rested during the day & during afternoon the two HERTS Coys moved up to position of readiness near DICKEBUSCH LAKE where they were reorganised into another Composite Bn with the 1/6 Cheshires, 4/5 Black Watch & 1/1st Cambs. The two 11th R. Sussex Coys were reorganised into another Comp. Bn consisting of the units of 117th Inf. Bde.


War Diary for May 1918

May 1st . The Bn moved into reserve at Café Belge

May 2nd. The Bn moved back to a camp at BRANDHOEK

May 3rd. The Bn moved to TUNNELING CAMP - situated on the POPERINGHE - WATOU road

May 4th. The Bn marched to CROMBEEKE and entrained to AUDRICQ arriving at AUDRICQ at about 3am on May 5th.

May 5th. The Bn arrived in billets at NIELLES LES ARDES about 7am

May 6th to 9th. General re-organising & re-equipping of Bn.

May 9th. Bn marched to AUDRICQ station and entrained for CANDAS at 9am for transfer to the 37th Division. Bn arrived at CANDAS during the afternoon and was conveyed by lorries to ORVILLE where the Bn spent two nights in the open.

May 11th. The Bn embossed at ORVILLE at 5pm and on debussing at SOUASTRE marched to some old British trenches East of FONQUEVILLERS. The Bn as it moved through the village of FONQUEVILLERS and into the old line east of the trenches East of the village was subjected to a very heavy Gas Shell bombardment. The Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel R. Wilkinson D.S.O. [Roger WILKINSON DSO] and the remainder of the Officers with the exception of Captain N.P. Gold [Norman P. GOLD, MC] were evacuated to hospital during the night. All the N.C.O.'s and men with the exception of 7 were evacuated to hospital. Captain N.P. Gold [Norman P. GOLD, MC] and the remaining 7 O.R.'s returned to the transport the following morning (May 12th) and late in the day this Officer and 5 of the men who returned were evacuated to C.C.S.

May 15th. The Bn i.e. Transport, Q.M. Stores and details moved to billets at LOUVENCOURT. A draft of 1 Officer (Captain S.W. Moore [Saxon Weston MOORE]) and 81 O.R.'s joined the Bn.

May 22nd. The Bn absorbed the 6th (S) Bn, Bedfordshire Regt. (less Transport and training staff). Numbers absorbed - Officers 30. O.Ranks 650. Major R.C. Carthew M.C. [Reginald Cawther CARTHEW, MC] 1st Essex assumes command of the Bn.

May 23rd. The Bn marched to a camp on the outskirts of the village of VAUCHELLES.

May 26th to 30th. Bn in strict training.

May 31st. Bn inspected by Brigadier General A.E. IRVINE D.S.O. Commanding 112th Infantry Brigade.

The following message was received from H.Q. 112 Inf. Bde. "The Brigade Commander wishes to place on record his appreciation of the way in which your battalion turned out for inspection today. In spite of the fact that 1/1st HERTS Regt. has only quite recently been formed out of the remnants of 2 battalions, the kits of all ranks were excellent and did credit to the work done by all Officers and N.C.O.'s during the last few weeks. It was a pleasure to the Brigade Commander to see the men's steadiness on parade".

During the month the following have been awarded decorations:

The Military Cross Lieut. G.B.G. Gripper [Guy Basil George GRIPPER, MC], 2/Lieut. J.C. Rogers [John Chrissy ROGERS, MC] (late Beds Regt.)

The Distinguished Conduct Medal No. 265089 Sgt. H. Randall [Harry RANDALL, DCM].

Bar to Military Medal No. 266265 Sgt Clements G. [George CLEMENTS, MM & Bar].

The Military Medal No. 265931 Sgt G. Adams [George ADAMS, MM], No. 265474 Cpl F. Ramsden [sic Frank RAINSDON, MM], No. 266671 L/Cpl J. Butterfield [James BUTTERFIELD, MM], No. 265908 L/Cpl B. Kent [Bernard Edward KENT, MM], No. 271492 Pte C Abrahams [Charles William ABRAHAMS, MM].


War Diary for June 1918

June 5/6th. Bn moved by bus and march route to billets at PISSY arriving in billets at about 4am on the 6th.

June 6th to 10th. Bn training at PISSY

June 10th. Bn proceeded by bus and march route to LAWARDE MAUGER arriving in billet about 11pm

June 13th. Bn marched to billets in SAINS-EN-AMIEONS arriving in billets at 3am on the 14th.

June 15th. Bn marched Bn marched to billets at ST.FUSCIEN

June 20th. Bn marched to billets at TAIGNIL

June 21st. Bn marched to LOUELILLY and entrained at 1am in AUTHIELE. The Bn detrained at 3pm and marched to billets at TERS[?]

June 25th. Bn moved by bus to SOUASTRE and on debussing marched to reserve trenches East of FONQUEVILLERS.

During the month the following awards have been announced:

The Military Cross Captain A.G. Grinling [Anthony G. GRINLING, MC], Captain J.F. Christie [John Fairfax CHRISTIE, MC], Lieut. H.J. Hensman [Henry John HENSMAN, MC].

The Distinguished Conduct Medal No. 265216 Sgt A.W. Allen [Albert ALLEN, DCM].

Bar to Military Medal No. 266265 Sgt G. Clements MM [George CLEMENTS, MM & Bar].

The Military Medal No. 265931 Sgt G. Adams [George ADAMS, MM], No. 265908 L/Cpl B. Kent [Bernard Edward KENT, MM], No. 265474 Cpl F. Ramsden [sic Frank RAINSDON, MM].


War Diary for July 1918

3-7-18. The battalion moved from "Z" to support at PIGEON WOOD

6-7-18. The battalion took over front line in the right sub sector.

12-7-18. The battalion was raided by small party of the enemy, one German remaining in our hands. Our casualties slight

13-7-18. The battalion was relieved and moved back to support at the "Z".

16-7-18. The Bn was relieved by the 1st Bn Essex Rgt and moved to a camp at SOUASTRE.

20-7-18. The battalion relieved the 10th Bn Royal Fusiliers in the right sub sector.

28-7-18. The battalion was relieved and moved to support in the vicinity of ESSARTS.

During the month the undermentioned were awarded the Military Medal: 17263 Sgt Currie J. [sic 17630 John CURRIE, MM], 40481 Pte MIDDLETON A. [?].


War Diary for August 1918

1/8/18 Trenches. Battn. in right sub sector - left section of Division at front (BUCQOUY). Relieved night 1/2nd Aug & moved back to Divisional Reserve. 2 Coys in CHATEAU-de-la-HAIE switch & two Coys & Bn Q at SOUASTRE.

2/8/18 to 9/8/18 SOUASTRE. Bn in billets at SOUASTRE. Working parties found daily.

9/8/18 Trenches. Battn moved to line right sub sector, right section (BUCQOUY)

10/8/18 to 15/8/18 Trenches. Battn in line - the enemy started a retirement on the right on the evening of 13th Aug. Line was slightly pushed forward on night 14th/15th. Four prisoners captured.

15/8/18 Trenches. Battn relieved by 13th Bn R. Fusiliers & moved into support at PIGEON WOOD.

16/8/18 to 18/8/18. Battn in support. Working parties found daily.

18/8/18. Battn took over from 111th Bgde on front line in ABLAINZVELLE-BUCQOUY SECTOR.

20/8/18. Relieved in front line by 111th Bde & moved back to position of readiness in MISTY TRENCH.

21-8-18 [The Second Battles of the Somme 1918 - the Battle of Albert]. 111th Inf Bde attacked at 4.55am The Battn found carrying parties & working parties for the strong points. Battn moved back to trenches in support at 430pm.

22-8-18. Battn resting in BRADFORD-LEEDS-HALIFAX trenches. Moved up to assembly positions S. of LOGEAST WOOD at 11pm.

23-8-18. Battn attacked at 11am. Attack successful. Railway cutting in front of ACHIET-LE-GRAND taken. Casualties - Captain S.W. Moore [Saxon Weston MOORE] & 2/Lt F. Smith [Frederick John SMITH] killed 7 Officers wounded. O. Ranks 26 killed 140 wounded.

24-8-18. Battn moved to position SE of BIHUCOURT.

25-8-18 to 31-8-18. Battn in Divisional Reserve in shelters SE of BIHUCOURT.

[Comment; Officers also killed - Lt George ABBOTT and Ronald Henry Pruess ARNHOLTZ on the 23rd August and 2/Lt Laurence REEVES died from his wounds on the 25th].


War Diary for September 1918

1-9-18. Coys continued training at ACHIET LE GRAND.

3-9-18. Bn moved in morning to edge of FAVREUIL & at 630pm set out to relieve 1st Beds Rgt. Relief complete 130am.

4-9-18 [The Second Battles of the Somme 1918 -the Second Battle of Bapaume]. Coys moved forward to attack at 7am. The New Zealand Division who were advancing on our right did not assemble so far east as we did, consequently we were not in touch with them when the battalion advanced at 730am. A report was received that the battalion was held up by machine gun fire. Shortly after this No.3 Coy reported that their patrols had reached the wood in K.31.c and that the Coy was advancing behind its patrols. No.3 Coy reported enemy debussing in HAVRINCOURT and many of them seen working inwards towards wood in Q.2.c. The artillery was turned on to enemy debussing point with unknown results. At 1pm a runner from No.2 Coy who had been lost for a considerable time arrived and went back to the Coy and bought them back to Battn H.Q. They had got mixed up in the New Zealand Brigade and were unable to move until darkness fell. No change secured during the night which passed quietly in the forward area but there was a fair amount of shelling round battalion headquarters and behind. Enemy using much gas. Casualties to Battn. were 112 of which 8 were killed, 73 wounded, 1 wounded and missing, 20 missing and 10 sick. Captain A. Foll [Arthur FOLL] Comdg. No.3 Coy was wounded in the back about 7pm and had to be evacuated after done having some excellent work with his Company. The enemy though not in great strength fought stubbornly and proved very difficult to drive off as there was no artillery support of any sort during the attack. [Comment: also wounded was 2/Lt Percy James HOLT, who died two days later].

5-9-18. The policy for today was to reorganize in depth, harass the enemy as much as possible and to push forward patrols. This was done and the day passed without incident except that touch was gained with the New Zealand Brigade for the first time for 24 hours. At night the battalion was relieved to 8th Lincoln Regt., 63rd Inf. Bgde. and proceeded to position of readiness in J.26.G, move being complete about 5am on the 6th Lieut. Col. J.L. Heselton D.S.O., M.C. [John Lister HESELTON, DSO, MC], Worcester Regt. assumed command of Battn.

6-9-18. Battn rested, reorganized platoons & sections & reconnoitred defences which the Battn had to man in the event of the front line being driven in.

7-9-18. The Bn was attached to the 63rd Inf. Bgde. for tactical purposes and at 5.30pm moved to position in Sunken Road in P.3.a.

8-9-18. No change in location.

9-9-18. Battalion moved to Sunken Road J.36.c. in close support to 63rd Infantry Brigade.

11-9-18. Bn came under orders of 112th Inf. Bgde. again at 10pm.

12-9-18 [The Battles of the Hindenburg Line - the Battle of Havrincourt]. Bn was placed at disposal of 111th Inf. Bgde. New Zealand Division, 111th Inf. Brigade and 62nd Division attacked at 5.25am. Weather wet, especially in morning. [Comment: Second Lieutenant Frank YOUNG VC joined].

15-9-18. At 5am Bn was called on by G.O.C. 63rd Inf. Bgde. to send up 2 Coys as it was expected that the enemy would attack at 6am. Nos 1 & 2 Coys moved up. During night 15th/16th Bn relieved 5th Duke of Wellington's Regt. in left sub sector of 112th Bgde front. Relief complete 1.5am.

18-9-18. At 5.15pm after an intense barrage the enemy attacked our positions and after hard fighting gained a footing in our advanced posts. The enemy was later successfully driven back to his own lines leaving 26 unwounded prisoners in our hands. [Comment; 2/Lt Henry John HENSMAN M.C. Killed in action. Also killed today was 2/Lt Frank Edward YOUNG who would posthumously be awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery today]

19-9-18. Bn relieved by 4th Middlesex Regt. at 9.30pm and on relief moved to positions on main line of resistance.

21-9-18. Bn relieved by 1/5th Manchester Regt. and marched to billets and hutments at BEUGNY.

22-9-18. Bn marched back to a camp situated on the outskirts of WARLINCOURT.

23 to 29-9-18. Time spent in reorganising and re-equipping the battalion.

29-9-18. At 8am the Bn moved to a camp situated on the FREMICOURT-LEBEUQUIRE road - accommodation poor.

30-9-18. Bn moved to trenches near GOUZEACOURT in Divisional Reserve. During the month the following decorations were awarded to the undermentioned Officers, N.C.O.'s and men:

The Military Cross 2/Lieut. F.W. Crake [Francis William CRAKE, MC], 2/Lieut, R.G. Morrison [probably George Roy Nevil MORRISON, MC], 2/Lieut. D. Kew, D.C.M., M.M. [Daniel KEW, MC, DCM, MM], Captain P.W. MacLAGAN R.A.M.C. attached.

The Distinguished Conduct Medal 43127 Sergt. King T.H. [Thomas Henry KING, DCM].

The Military Medal No. 18826 Pte E. Belsham [Ernest BELSHAM, MM], No 10646 Pte W.G. Barton [William Charles BARTON, MM & Bar], No. 266492 Pte W. Todd [William TODD, MM], No. 270553 F.J. Sanderson [Frederick John SANDERSON, MM], No. 285063 Pte T.A. Baliff D.C.M. [sic Thomas Alexander BAILIFF, DCM, MM], No. 42277 Pte A.E. Warne [Albert Edward WARNE, MM], No. 40618 Pte H. Clarke [Harold CLARKE, MM], No. 12349 Cpl. A.A. Wright [Arthur Albert WRIGHT, MM], No. 12047 Pte. H.H. Allen [Henry John ALLEN, MM], No. 285016 Cpl T.A. Smith [Thomas Alfred SMITH, MM], No. 285059 Pte (A/C.Q.M.S.) F.T Ruddock [Frank Thomas RUDDOCK, MM].


War Diary for October 1918

1-10-18. The Bn moved to trenches at DEAD MANS CORNER.

2-10-18. Bn moved into trenches at Q.29.a.b. (Sheet 57c)

8-10-18 [The Battles of the Hindenburg Line -The Battle of Cambrai]. Bn assembled at 0400 hours. No.2 Company of left, No.1 Coy on right with Nos 3&4 Coys in support. The Bn moved forward at Zero hour plus 68. Nos 1&2 Coys crossed the Green Line under our barrage. No.1 Coy encountered opposition from Machine Guns on the right flank but a section of trench mortars silenced them after firing a few rounds. The Company then continued the advance and then occupied the dotted green line along the south side of BRISEUX WOOD at 0740 hours. No.2 Company on the left were held up by machine gun fire from the Chateau and sustained severe casualties. No.3 Company was pushed forward to assist No.2 and together they cleared the wood. Touch could not be gained with units on the left so patrols were sent out and it was found that the right flank of the Middlesex Regt. was resting on the Chateau in N.10.c. - a platoon from No.3 Company was sent up to gain touch and joined up the line from the N.E. corner of BRISEUX WOOD to the right of the 4th Middlesex Regt. Coys dug in on this line and at 1300 hours handed over the green dotted line to the 4th Bn Middlesex Regt. and was withdrawn to the Green Line.

9-10-18 [The Battles of the Hindenburg Line -The pursuit to the Selle]. The advance was resumed at 5.20 hours. The Bn was on the right with the 1st Essex on the left. No.4 Coy right front, No.3 Coy left front. Nos 1&2 right and left Support Coys respectively. No opposition was encountered and the Bn pushed forward and occupied the objective with practically no casualties. The Bn then reformed W of LIGNY and pushed forward towards CAUDRY. It was found however that the enemy were holding the western side of the village and the Bn came under heavy machine gun fire and 77mm fire from the railway. Several attempts were made to push forward but all attempts to dislodge the enemy failed. Orders were then received from 112th Inf. Bgde to dig in on a line running through I.20.c & I.35.a and remain there for the night.

10-10-18. At dawn patrols were pushed forward and occupied the town of CAUDRY. The Bn then pushed forward and occupied a line J.15.c.4.7.to J.21.b.5.5. Companies dug in in this position and remained there during the day.

12-10-18. The Bn was attached to 63rd Brigade. During the morning two companies were attached to the 8th Somerset L.I. and went forward to mop up the railway and to form a defensive flank.

13-10-18. The Bn were withdrawn and on relief marched to billets in the town of CAUDRY - good billets for all.

15-10-18. The G.O.C. 112th Brigade addressed the Bn during the morning.

17-10-18. The G.O.C. 37th Division inspected the Bn during the morning.

23-10-18 [The Final Advance in Picardy - the Battle of the Selle]. The Bn left CAUDRY and marched to a Sunken Road near BEAURAIN. Shortly after arrival the Bn received orders to move up to assembly positions, arriving there at 3.45 hours on Oct. 24th.

24-10-18. The attack commenced at 0400 hours. The barrage was good. The left Company met very little opposition and gained the village of GAISSIGNIES at 11.00 hours. The right Company were held up at first by enemy machine guns but these were mopped up by the right support Coy. The leading Coy then advanced along the railway, captured SALESCHES station, about 50 Germans 1 8in Howitzer and several machine guns. Heavy fighting took place all along the railway. The support Coy formed a defensive flank facing S.E. as the Division on our right were held up several thousand yards in rear of our right flank. The leading Coy then pushed forward again to the line of road running through X.11.a. At this point heavy machine gun fire was encountered from X.5.c.9.5. and from orchards in X.11.d. The left Coy were held up by M.G.'s from X.5.a.5.4. and copse in X.4.b. and X.5.a. Several attempts were made to gain the line of the railway but the M.G. fire was too heavy and a line of the road through X.4.d. - X.5.c. - X.11.d. was established with posts in orchards 100 yards in front. AT 1700 hours the Division on our right went forward and took the road running S.E. through X.11.a & c & X.17b. and gained touch with our right Coy at the halt X.11.a.6.6. After a 1 minute barrage another attempt was made to gain the line of the railway at 2100 hours. The two leading Companies crept forward before the barrage opened and at Zero plus 1 rushed the railway. The enemy however, who were holding the line strongly, opened heavy machine gun fire and inflicted many casualties. The two leading Companies were forced to withdraw again to the line of the road.

25-10-18. At 10.00 hours after a bombardment by 6in Newtons another attempt was made to take the railway. The Right Coy took M.G. post and 1 prisoner but were forced to retire owing to heavy enfilading machine gun fire from both right and left flanks and heavy fire from trench mortars.

26-10-18. Bn heavily shelled with Gas Shells - very uncomfortable.

27-10-18. Bn relieved by 8th Lincolns and moved to sunken road near SALESCHES.

28-10-18. Bn relieved by 13th KRRC and moved to billets in BEAURAIN - the whole Bn billeted in one large farm.

31-10-18. Still at BEAURAIN.

Honours and Awards. During the month the following awards were announced:

The Military Cross. Capt. P.W. MacLAGAN, R.A.M.C. attached 2/Lieut. D. Kew, D.C.M., M.M. [Daniel KEW, MC & Bar, DCM, MM], Lieut. M.de B. Owen [Malcolm De Brissac OWEN, MC]. 2/Lieut. A.L. ALLEN.

Bar to the Military Cross 2/Lieut. D. Kew, D.C.M., M.M. [Daniel KEW, MC & Bar, DCM, MM].

The Distinguished Conduct medal 43127 Sgt. T.H. King [Thomas Henry KING, DCM], 285016 Cpl. T.A. Smith [Thomas Alfred SMITH, DCM, MM].

The Military Medal 20748 Pte W. Bygrave [William BYGRAVE, MM], 35896 Pte. F. Arnold [Frank ARNOLD, MM], 203549 Pte. A.J. Turvey [Alfred Joseph TURVEY, MM], 291544 L/Cpl. F.T. Goff [Frederick Thomas GOFF, MM], 266566 Pte. F.R. Gough [Frank Reginald GOUGH, MM], 269772 Cpl. R.E. Weaver [Robert Edgar WEAVER, MM], 43164 L/Cpl. A.H. Long [Albert Harold LONG, MM], 265845 Pte. H.G. Winter [Harry WINTER, MM], 42023 Pte. B. Everard [Bert EVERARD, MM], 41015 Pte. W. Pinfold [Wilfred PINFOLD, MM], 17502 Sig. J.R. Logan [John Robert LOGAN, MM], 40686 Pte. J.A. Hargreaves [John A. HARGREAVES, MM], 41444 Pte. H. Tooke [Harry TOOKE, MM], 16103 Pte. H. Bowles [Herbert BOWLES, MM], 266106 L/Cpl. W. Charville [William James CHARVILLE, MM], 13292 Cpl. T Garment [Thomas GARMENT, MM], 12653 Pte. C. Hebden [Charles HEBDEN, MM], 204241 Sgt. C.W. Taylor [Charles William TAYLOR, MM], 19896 Cpl. C.A. Hart [Charles Arthur HART, MM].

Bar to Military Medal No. 10646 Pte. W.C. Barton, M.M. [William Charles BARTON, MM & Bar], No. 12349 Sig. J.J.W. Stanley, M.M. [James Jonathon Walter STANLEY, MM & Bar], No. 265272 Sgt. R.L. Chalkley, M.M. [sic Leonard Reginald CHALKLEY, MM & Bar].


War Diary for November 1918

1-11-18. Battalion resting at BEAURAIN.

3-11-18. At 1730 hours the battalion moved from billets in BEAURAIN to a position in readiness at BERNIER FARM. Accommodation was not goof but luckily it was possible to get most of the men under cover until 0400 hours on Nov 4th.

4-11-18 [The Final Advance in Picardy -The Battle of the Sambre]. At 0600 hours the 111th Brigade attacked the enemy's positions between the villages of GHISSIGNIES and LOUVIGNIES after a short but violent artillery preparation. Strong opposition was encountered on the railway embankment in X.5.a&c but this was overcome. Pushing on, the 111th Brigade captured LOUVIGNIES and reached its final objective about 300 yards East of the PONT A VACHE, from which line the 112th Brigade were to resume the attack. At 015 hours the battalion moved forward reaching the villages of LOUVIGNIES at 0800 hours and passed through the 111th Brigade at 0917 hours resuming the attack under an artillery barrage with the 1st Essex on the left. No.4 Company was in reserve. The attack progressed favourably until the stream and orchard in S.9.b. and S.10.c. were reached. At this juncture, the left battalion and Nos 2&3 Companies were held up by heavy MG fire. The nature of the country greatly favoured the defence, being very close and therefore it was difficult to locate the enemy. No.1 Company on the right however continued to advance, keeping n touch with the 17th Division. At about 12 hours the left battalion cleared the enemy machine guns and pushed forward thus enabling our left companies to resume the advance. At this point we captured 40 prisoners and several machine guns. The leading companies passed through the villages of JOLIMETZ and no opposition was encountered until LAIECOULON was reached, although an extremely thin enemy barrage was put down in S.11.b&d. At this point strong enemy machine gun fire was opened out. This however lasted for only twenty minutes at the end of which period the enemy retired. The Bn reached its final objective at 1500 hours. Later in the afternoon the 8th Somersets went through and advanced a considerable distance into the FORET DE MORMAL. About 100 prisoners were captured in JOLIMETZ and 5 .77mm Field Guns in S.11b & S.12.a [Comment - Acting Captain Malcolm De Brissac OWEN, M.C. and Lt Christopher John Gwynne FRYER, M.C. and Bar both killed in action today]

5-11-18. The Bn was withdrawn to GHISSIGNIES at 1000 hours. During this period the bodies of the men of this Bn who were killed in action in the attack of the 4th inst. were recovered and buried at GHISSIGNIES

11-11-18. The Bn marched back to BETHENCOURT and remained there in training until Dec 1st '18. During this period Brigade sports were held, this Bn being well represented. In the Divisional football league the Bn won its first two matches, beating the 13th RB's by 2 goals to 1 and Divisional HQ by 7 to respectively. [Comment - Captain Guy DODGSON died from his wounds today - the last Officer death in France]

21-11-18. The 112th Inf. Bde. was inspected by Major Gen. H.B. WILLIAMS C.B., D.S.O. commanding 37th Division.

22-11-18. The Bn marched to CAUDRY for Divisional inspection by the Divisional Commander.

During the month the following decorations were announced:

The Military Medal - 12471 Cpl. R Chambers [Robert CHAMBERS, MM], 269205 Sgt. J. Hickson [&l


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