1916 January.The early months of 1916 were relatively quiet, January was a repeat of billets and trenches, Reninghelst rest area not particularly comfortable. Route marches, training, Reninghelst fatigues, cable laying, map reading etc. Concerts in the evening! Back in trenches with enemy firing, trench mortars and HE, some casualties. Aerial activity considerable. Further relief by 8th KOLR of specialists and Bn. Return to Reninghelst for kit inspections, baths, training lectures. Fatigue parties laying cable. Last days of January return to trenches, relatively quiet.
Reninghelst February. First couple of days quiet; back to Reninghelst for kit inspection, Serques paying out; followed by move to St Omer/Serques for rest. Training quite intensive, Trenches visits by C in C Sir Douglas Haig; CO returned to Bn 15th February left by train for Poperinghe, marched to Oudendon for trenches, relieved 7th Border Regt. Some serious problems from snipers. Heavy shelling of positions by enemy, retaliation by our artillery brought intense barrage on wood behind our lines. Some casualties. Further aerial activity and aerial torpedoes fired by enemy, Poperinghe several Zeppelins seen. Further casualties from shelling. Bn relieved by 12th Reninghelst Manchester Regt 22nd February and marched to Reninghelst. Frost and snow on ground; baths. Further training and practised attacks with 8th KORL Regt, continued for last days of month.
March. Opened with final preparations for attack. Reached assembly points; 9th Northumberland Fusiliers relieved by Bn. Assault began at 4.30 am on 2nd March Reninghelst with some initial success on the night, left section failed, 3 platoon practically annihilated ('A' Company). Very heavy casualties suffered, totalling 245 killed and wounded. All counter attacks repulsed, heavy shelling our lines, and reserve and support lines!
Scottish Lines Bn relieved by east Yorks on 4th March at 3.30 am, conveyed by buses to Scottish Lines, reached at 8 am. Men continued to struggle in throughout the day. More shelling,few casualties. Heavy snow falls in following days. Visits from Army Commander, expressed thanks for good work: Some reinforcements arrive on 6th. Refitting, kit inspections; deficiencies and reorganisation continued. GOC visited.
Trenches In reserve at Gordon Terrace 11th and 12th, working parties. Relieved 8th KORL in trenches, clearing up work, training, burying dead. Work practically all done at night. Sniping very active. Some casualties. Specialists relieved by 8th KORL, Bn later in evening marched to B camp, Reninghelst. During this recent spell in trenches, repaired and rebuilt 850 yards of parapet - 20,500 sandbags filled and used. Dugouts were built, also general repair and drainage work. Reninghelst Notice of gallantry awards DSO MC DCM. Further time at Reninghelst, training, working parties filled sandbags for St Eloi sector. Visit from C in C. Some casualties from gassing. Bn left for reserve at Voormezecle and Scottish Wood employed on fatigue parties all night of 25th. Heavy shelling at Voormezecle, few casualties. Back to J camp Reninghelst. Div Commander Scottish Wood awarded ribbons to officers and men granted in recent operations early March. Last days of Dickelbusch month at Dickelbusch with 10th Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Stormy weather serious difficulties with flooded trenches.
St Eloi April. Early days at St Eloi craters the Bn was not directly involved in fighting by were Craters but were heavily bombarded before being relieved and returned to Reninghelst by bus on the Reninghelst 4th. Heavy casualties in B company. Visit from 27th Canadian Regt officers. Bn moved to Thieushoer Thieushoer into rest billets, good farms and barns. Following days spent in refitting, kit inspections, baths. Reinforcements arrived, church parade, paying out. Some further parades; lectures on discipline. Football matches between companies. Training La Clytte continued for remainder of time at Thieushoer, moved to La Clytte on 20th April, working on pioneer duties, strong points around Vierstraat. Returned to Thieushoer on 22nd, church parade; boxing matches arranged, bayonet fighting, further talks on discipline. Cross country running, football matches. Locre Reached Locre on 27th April; specialists left for trenches at 1.30 am, BN later in evening relieving 5th Durham LI. Prisoners gave warning of gas attack pending, but did not reach our lines, bombardment casualties 35 killed and wounded. Quiet end to month.
Kemmel May. Trenches at Kemmel first week of month. Some trench mortars fired by enemy, gas alarms sounded, fishtail bombs in left company sector. 5 casualties. Sniping increased at night. Bn HQ received about a dozen shells. 6th May Specialists relieved at 1.30 am by 8th KORL and Locre Bn relief completed at 11 pm. Returned to billets at Locre. Training and football, working party of 150 supplied at night. Baths, gas demonstration, further 150 for working party. Route march on 10th. Patrol competition with selected from each platoon. Prizes of matchboxes with embossed Regt Crest. Kemmel Relieved 8th KORL on 13th; at Kemmel for further week. Some shelling with trench mortars with casualties. 20th May relieved by 8th KORL marched to Kemmel shelters. Training and lectures, football RWF. Concerts in evenings; Bn relieved by 4th Yorks marched to Wivsmond Rest Area Fletre near Fletre via Baillenil and Meteren. Kit inspections drills and lectures. Some drafts arrived. Month ended quietly.
June. Practice drills and march pasts first days, celebrate King's Birthday. Some free time. Thienshoek Standing by ready to move on 4 hours notice from Thienshoek and on the 5th Bn marched to billets near Bailleuil, took over from 12th West Yorks. Paying out in afternoon. Following days, working parties, bayonet fighting, baths, training in extended order. Bn sports day in afternoons 9th and 10th.
Zermezeere 11th June Bn marched to training area via Meteren, Caestre, Cassel, to billets at Zermzere. On 12th at Wulverdinghe then to Houlle. Training for attack formations on following days, firing ranges. Houlle 18th some officers and men proceed for day at Calais. Remainder of the month on training for attack, firing ranges, musketry.
SOMME July. 1st Bn not involved in first attack on 1st July. Days at Houlle, Gezaincourt, Naours, Franvillers, Bois Les Celestin by 7th/8th. Bronfay farm for seven days, practising assaults night and day. Some shelling and few casualties. Attack on 14th German 2nd line positions Trenches at 3.45 am, line captured. Bn moved to Caterpillar Valley and position men High Wood/Longueeral. Some casualties from heavy shelling. 18th Patrols sent out at 2 am, orders to attack Longueeral village next morning. Assembly at 2 am, assault at 3.45 am, successful, but strong points North of Derville Wood remained in enemies Derville Wood hands. Counter attacks, intensive shelling for 7 hours, very heavy losses, 4 officers killed, Caterpillar) 7 wounded, 321 ORs killed wounded or missing. Evacuated village. 7th Division, 3rd Division Valley) involved with 2nd Bn and 1st Bn respectively.
19th Bn relieved on 19th by DCLI marched to Carnoy. Retrospective view on events (regimental Carnoy history see pages 88/89.) 20th Reorganised, reserved officers joined. 21st Moved into trenches Lonueral/Derville Wood relief of 8th Norfolks and Essex Regt. Derville Wood 22nd Trenches in poor state, reorganising defence, draft of 240 at Happy Valley. Corporal Mearns on patrol killed 6 Germans, wounded 3. 23rd Heavy shelling on village and BHQ, 6 casualties 24th Heavy shelling 20 wounded at BN HQ (orderlies and servants.) 25th Relieved by 1st KRR. 26th Bn Marched to Bois des Tailles Bois des Tailles 27th At Bois Tailles, reorganising; draft inspected by CO. Bn bathed is Somme River. 28th Very hot; marched to Meriecourt l'Abbé for rest period, fairly comfortable billets. Meriecourt l'Abbé 29th Very hot; reorganising, bathed in river Ancre, Brigade concert in evening. 30th Church Parade. 31st Rifle inspection, squads and arms drill for remainder.
Meriecourt August. First days at Mericourt l'Abbé in training, route march, inspection of draft by GOC l'AbbéBrigade. 5th Cards for gallant conduct 18th-25th July given out. 5 pm working party 5 officers and 221 NCOs and men proceed to Citadel for trench work S and E of Troves Wood. 6th Church Parade, lecture by CO on recent events. 7th-9th Bn training and route march via camps of 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Bns of Regt. 10th Work on range butts Marrett Wood. 11th Sandpits Marched to Cironces at Sandpits, joined by Citadel party. 12th Practised assaults over flagged course at 4 pm. Citadel party baths at Ville am Aube, 13th-14th Assault practise; moved to bivouacs at Great Bear. Carrying party of 80 ammunition for MGC Great Bear in evening. 15th Bn at rest; officers visited Maltz Horn branch system, heavily shelled on return journey. 16th Talus Bois Bn moved to Talus Bois 2 pm and forward to Dublin trenches. 17th Carrying party of 44 to Stanley Dump 6 am. 3 companies moved to Chimpanzee Trench; heavy Chimpanzee shelling, lost 6 killed, 3 severely wounded. 18th Maltz Horn Bn moved to trenches in front of Maltz Horn farm for assault at 2.45 pm. 1st objective gained but attack failed with heavy losses: 260 Casualties. 19th New line taken over by Royal Scots Fusiliers. Evacuation of wounded proceeded. B, C, D companies returned to Dublin Trench at noon. A Company remained to bury dead, later relieved Happy Valley by 12th Manchester Regt (The Bantams) Bn proceeded back to Happy Valley. 20th Voluntary service in evening. 21st Bn marched to Morlancourt; draft of 220 ORs arrived at 4 pm; chiefly men from 2/4, 2/5, 2/7 Morlancourt Bns. 22nd Transport left for new area at 10.45 am. Further draft of 125 ORs from 2/5, 2/7, Bns. 23rd Bn train to Candas from Mericourt Station, 2 pm arrival, marched to Maillard. 7 miles. Maillard 24th Draft inspected by CO. Rev W H Leathem arrived. 25th 9 am marched to Boubers 8 miles. Several 2/Lts arrived viz Lyle, Berry Davidson, Russell, Thorburn, Simmill, Cook, Forbes, Merrilees. 26th 8.50 am marched to Oeuf, 8 miles. Good billets 27th 7.50 am marched to Heuchin, 11 miles. 28th 10.30 am marched to Bours, 9 miles. 29th 11.30 am marched to Bruay, 8 miles billets in mining village. 30th Bruay Baths for whole Bn in mine bath houses mine No 3. Very good! 31st 2.15 pm Bn marched to Noeux les Mines, 7˝ miles.
Noex les Mines September. Bn at Noex les Mines for first week of month; in Brigade Reserve area much engaged in training, drill, bayonet fighting, PT. Carrying parties employed and paraded at 6.30 pm. Further Bn training. 8th Bn took over trenches at Bis 14 sector from 8th Kings Own. 3 companies occupied front line, great deal of work required, little or no wire existed - enemy front heavily wired. 9th-15th Trench mortars fired on enemy wire. Nests dug for gas cylinders. Quiet days. 16th Bn relieved by 8th Kings Own; in support for B Coy in Gun Trench, A Coy village line, remainder Bn HQ in 10th Avenue. 17th Bn finished working and carrying parties chiefly trench mortar ammunition. 18th C Coy left for baths at Mazingarbe. 19th Similar working parties as 17th, A Coy at Baths. 20th Similar working parties as 17th, B Coy at Baths. 21st Bn repaired support trench and wiring support line. 22nd Bn Cleaning and tidying trenches. 23rd Bn relieved by 10th East Surreys, billets in Mazingarbe. 24th Bn 9.30 am for Lozinghem, 12 miles joined brigade west of Noex les Mines, reached Lozinghem billets for night. Estree Blache 25th Bn 9.00 am for Estree Blanche, 12 miles. 26th/27th Kit inspections, artillery formations, a march past, musketry practice in afternoon. 28th Bn marched to training area, carried out 1st phases of attack, musketry practice. 29th Bn at training area, practising attack as normal and ceremonial. 20th Bn at training area; carried out "attack". Brigade march past Brigadier General R Kentish DSO, who later presented ribbons including 2 VCs to the 10th Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Made farewell speech.
October Estree Blanche; Training area, trench practise grounds for first few days. Funeral of Private Temple accidentally killed by train. Regimental mascot fox terrier 'Pyper' died. Big fire in village, Bn worked to salvage all night. Thanks from Brigadier for efforts. Heuchnin 5th Bn marched to Heuchnin at 2 pm welcomed by local inhabitants cordially. 6th Bn rested. 7th Bn marched to St Pol at 8.40 am. Train to Raincheral arrived Belle Ezlise at midnight. 8th Marched to Acheux, billets in huts at Acheux Wood. Acheux 9th Bn resting. 10th-16th Bn practised assault of trenches over flagged courses with KORL. Combined sports day. 17th Bn marched to Vauchelles. Vauchellesi 18th Bn 6.30 am parade, practised assault over flagged courses Courcelles 19th Bn marched to Courcelles. Fatigue party of 300 men to trenches at 9 pm. 20th Digging party to trenches at 6 am (200 men). 21st-25th Kit inspections, Divisional practice of trenches to be captured over flagged courses. 200 fatigue party. Carrying trench mortar ammunition to front. Bn resting for day. 26th Raiding party tried to enter enemy trenches failed owing to barrage opening 1/4 hour too soon! 27th Trenches at Serre sector taken over from 8th KORL. Very muddy conditions, quiet later. Trenches 28th Enemy shelled Observation Wood and support trenches during day. Very severe on Bn HQ, Railway Ave, and Brigade advance HQ, several shells struck. One casualty. Gas attack from our 2nd Division drifted over our front line. Helmets had to be put on. 29th Considerable counter artillery at 6 am. Bn relieved during morning by 7th KSLI, marched to Bus Bus, billeted in wood. 30th Bombing practice in morning, heavy rain pm. 31st Bn in bombing practice, drill for whole Bn.
Bus Bn at Bus for first 12 days of month. Practice musketry at ranges, concerts, football, cinematograph shows at YMCA! Lectures on history of the Regt. Combined sports with 2nd Suffolks. Church parade. Preparations for attack; 'it' were going ahead. 300 men on road works! night patrolling practice. Football match with Balloon Sect RFC, Bn won 3-0. 12th-13th Bn moved to assembly trenches and attacked enemy lines at Serre. Unsuccessful outcome owing Serre to mist and muddy conditions, heavy machine gunfire from enemy. Failure left us with 141 casualties. 14th Bn relieved the 10th RWF in evening, after quiet day. In front line Rob Roy at night. Bn HQ Trenches moved into advanced Brigade HQ. CO took over command left sub sector. 6 casualties. 15th Quiet. Improving positions. Wiring of posts in front line at night. Divisional General visited 5 wounded. 16th Quiet. Reconstruction of our line proceeding 4 casualties. 17th Bn relieved at night by 10th RWF marched to Courcelles, reached by 11 pm. Courcelles 18th Bn at baths. 19th Bn moved to Vauchelles, billets Vauchelles 20th Bn kit inspections by companies, 247 ORs joined. 21st Bn training musketry. 22nd Companies arrangements. 2nd Bn marched through village; passes issued for visit to 2nd Bn. Col Crawford commands 3rd Brigade. 23rd Musketry training. Draft from base 19 ORs. 24th Bn received orders to move to Lourencourt, but later cancelled. 25th Fatigue party 150 men at 6.30 am. Lectures in pm. 26th CO and OC coys visited trenches at Serre. TrenchesSerre 27th Bn relieved 13th Kings Liverpool. Trenches wet and muddy. 28th Bn working constantly improving sector as defensive position. 29th Wiring continued as mist permitted. 30th Continued wiring due to misty conditions.
Trenches 1st day of month, Bn relieved by 8th Kings Own marched back to huts at Courcelles. Courcelles 2nd-5th Bn kit inspections, working and fatigue parties. Party at front line wiring opposite Luke copse later on 5th left for Louvencourt. 6th Bn had 300 men on various working parties. Specialists training undertaken. Louvencourt 7th 250 men on fatigue. Specialists continued training. 8th 130 men on working parties. Baths for rest. 9th 250 men on working parties, fatigues. Specialists on training. 10th-13th At Louvencourt, working parties, tea at Courcelles. Relief completed at midnight with 13th Kings Liverpool 14th-16th In trenches, very quiet. 17th Bn relieved by 8th KORL, and moved to billets at Courcelles. 18th Bn inspected by Brigade CO. 19th Bn and 2 companies moved to Couin. 20th-28th At Couin, Beausort, Bus, through till relief of 13th Kings Liverpool on 29th. 29th Trenches, some shelling, few casualties and little activity in last days of year. Trenches 30th-31st Our guns opened fire at 11 pm. Very quiet.
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