1917 1st January. Prisoner walked over to trenches; Bn relieved by 8th KORL, marched to billets Courcelles. Courcelles 2nd Resting 3rd Trenches relieved 8th KORL. 4th 'D' company stood down 5.30 pm; heavy shelling Fort Briggs, direct hit, 4 killed 2 wounded. 5th Heavy shelling Fort Briggs; 16 men buried, dug out by KORL, 2 wounded; 10 pm relieved by 8th KORL. 6th Bn marched to Berrancourt, played through village by 2nd Bn; bus to Rubempre, arrived 6 pm. 7th Bn rested at Rubempre; 24 from 3rd Bn. 8th Marched to Pernois, 12 miles, bad billets. Pernois 9th Rested. 10th Rested. Organised companies each platoon. 11th Rested. 1 bombing section; 2 rifle sections; 1 reserve Lewis gun section. 12th Bn Training. 13th Bn Training. 14th 3rd Bn draft arrived; 4 officers. 15th Bn march past. 16th-26th Bn Training and Football. 27th Prepared to move. 28th Bn marched to Amplier 29th Bn marched to Neuviellette. 30th Bn marched to Flers. 31st Bn marched to Penin. 3rd Div transferred to XVII corps.
February Penin 1st Rested, new helmet drill with new respirators. 2nd Training continued. 3rd Practised new attack formation,. 4th Voluntary church parade; Div band present. 5th Training. 6th Practise attacks. 7th Training. 8th Bn marched to Wanquentin via Aresnes le Cormte. Hauteville, billets. CO and 2I/C. Gas lectures. Wanquentin 9th Bn rested; officers visited trenches in front of Arras. 10th Bn prepared for trenches. 11th Bn church parade; prepared to march for trenches via Warlus and Dainville. Relieved 11th Middlesex. Quiet and trenches in very good condition. In the line 12th 2 casualties from trench mortar 'A' company. 13th Quiet; work done on reserve line. GOC visited. 14th Quiet. 15th Relieved by 10th R Welsh Fusiliers reserve billets at Arras. Arras 16th-17th Rested, supplied work parties. 18th Voluntary church parade 6 pm 19th Tested new box respirators. Relieved 15th Royal Welsh Fusiliers in afternoon. In the line 20th Bn suffered from trench mortar activity 'A' Coy. 2 killed, 2 wounded. 21st Quiet; Trenches falling in owing to thaw. 22nd Quiet, work support lines. 23rd Quiet, Bn relieved by 10th Royal Welsh Fusiliers: billets at Arras. Arras 24th Bn Supplied working parties. 25th Church service; 'C' Coy practised "Raid". 26th Bn supplied working parties and carrying parties. 27th Bn relieved by 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers. Marched to Wanquentin. Wanquentin 28th Bn marched Houvin-Houvigneul via Hanteville-Asesus le Compe. Good billets. 'A' Coy worked in wood-cutting. 'C' Coy at Liencourt practised 'Raid'. Bn rested.
March Houvin 1st 'B' and 'A' Coys on training. 2nd-3rd Training continued. 4th Church service: 'C' Coy left Liencourt for Arras to carry out raid. 5th Successful raid; 21 prisoners taken; 11 killed. 6th 'C' Coy rejoined Bn. 7th Bn training; 26 ORs joined. 8th Snow. Magnicourt 9th March to Magnicourt, poor billets. 10th Bn marched for 12 miles on route march. 23 ORs joined. 11th Rain; voluntary church service. 12th-13th Bn Training. 14th Lt Gen Haldane CO 6th Corps inspected Bn presented MMs to L/Cpl Christie, Ptes Black, Lambie and Garside for gallantry on recent raid. 15th-17th Bn training. Officers observed 9th Brigade attack over practice trenches. Liencourt 18th Bn billets at Liencourt; draft 51 ORs arrived. 19th-20th Bn Training. 21st-31st Attack practice; baths at Berlencourt, football, training in attack with grenades.
1st-8th Diary page missing! OO's record arrival in Arras occupied caves on 6th, assembled on 8th. 9th-11th Bn attacked at 5.30 am (Arras trenches) ordered to take part in assault on the first four German lines of trenches. Bombardment began, Bn advanced in two waves of two companies. German line extended over 420 yards frontage and with little opposition the objectives were taken by 5.50 am; casualties 60. For further details, (see photocopies attached). Arras 12th Bn in tunnel at 8 am. 13th Bn left tunnel for billets at Arras. 14th-16th Bn rested, cleaned up. 17th Bn on parade, cards for recognition presented by GOC. 18th Bn in billets. 19th Bn practised wiring. Armourer Sgt inspected rifles. 20th Bn prepared to move to join 6th Corps. 21st Bn training practised attack. Massed bands played (1st,6th,8/10th, and 9th) in barbed wire square. 22nd Bn church service at Salle des Concerts. 23rd Bn trenches west of Bois de Boeuf 6 pm. Div in reserve. Monchy le Preux 24th Bn took over line W of Monchy le Preux. During relief hostile artillery opened fire; 38 casualties. 25th Bn suffered heavy shelling, no casualties. Bn HQ blown in! 26th HQ moved to dugout of HQ RWF, KORL and KSLI: Heavy shelling, much sniping by night. 27th Further heavy shelling; hostile aeroplane brought down. Enemy attacked KORL and 'B' Coy, repulsed, 4 prisoners. 28th Front support lines shelled; Captain Bothwell and 2/Lt Huntly killed. Sniping worse! 29th-30th Intermittent shelling; snipers killed 5 men. Platoons ordered to fire at ground level and reduced sniping.
1st Bn relieved by 1st RSF moved into Div reserve trenches. 2nd Rested. 3rd Bn moved to Brown line to relieve 7th KSLI. 4th-6th Bn rested. Working parties of 300 on Communication trench south of Monchy. 7th Brown line; 1420 yards of CT completed. 8th-9th Bn relief of 9th Brigade put off. Monchy Le Prieux 10th Bn relieved 9th Brigade. 11th Quiet. 12th Quiet: London Scottish attacked and captured Tool trench; enemy shelling; front line shelled by own artillery; 1 officer killed 6 ORs wounded. 13th Bn suffered 8 casualties from enemy shelling. 14th Bn relieved by Inniskillings; 6 Ors Duisans 15th Bn took tea at Tilloy; embussed for Duisans and slept for rest of day. Completed 23 days in trenches, longest spell since 1915. Total casualties 3 officers killed, 89 ORs. 16th Bn cleaned up and rested. Noyellette 17th Bn moved to Noyellette. Men and officers to Nissen huts - comfortable billets. Ambrines 18th Bn moved to Ambrines. Coys at disposal. Billets fair but cramped. 19th-31st Bn at Ambrines; training; football; medal parade; drafts arrived; inoculations; lectures; ranges and field firing.
June Arras 1st Bn preparing for move to Arras. 2nd Bn paraded at 6.55 am, buses to Arras, good billets. 3rd Bn church parade. 4th Bn training for coming operations, moved billets owing to shelling. 5th-11th Bn training and assault practice with the suffolks. 12th GOC 3rd Div visited. Assault practice. In the line 13th Bn relieved 1st RSF in Hill trench East of Monchy. 14th-19th Bn attacked at 7.20 am took trench and established posts on the mound and high ground. Very heavy fighting from counter attacks. Successful operation; but heavy losses. 70 killed, 160 wounded, 27 missing. 20th Bn relieved and embussed for Grenas, good billets. Grenas 21st-23rd Bn resting and clearing up. 24th-30th Church parade; training; drafts arrived officers and 330 ORs: cricket; medals parade; Corps Commander congratulations at recent success against Infantry Hill. Prepared to move to Bihvcourt area.
1st Bn paraded at 10 am, marched to Doullens arrived by train at Achiet le Grand at 4.15 pm. 2nd Bn billeted at Morny, pipes and drums played us in. Bihvcourt 2nd Bn specialist training in morning; football, lost to 2nd Gordons 3-0; massed bands played. 3rd Bn paraded at 4 pm, marched to Beugny bivouacs and tents. 4th Bn training: 2nd Gordons football team again played and won 3-1. 5th Bn training: Relay race, tug-o-war with 2nd Bn lost again. 6th Bn training continued. Rugby match and Australian gunners (lost) 7th-9th Bn inspected by GOC IV Corps; training and draft of 19 pipers and drummers from 3rd Bn. In the line 10th Bn relieved 1st RSF. 11th Bn sent out patrols; night patrol encountered enemy strong post not known previously, some casualties. 12th Bn quiet day, working on widening up front line posts; 4 ORs casualties. 13th-18th Bn generally quiet period but casualties from enemy firing on working parties, some shelling. 19th Bn relieved by 2nd Suffolks. Beugny 20th-24th Bn rested, cleaning up after baths; church parade, march past, competitions. 25th Bn relieved 2nd Suffolks. In the line 26th-31st Bn engaged in wiring work, some casualties from trench mortars; enemy raid on 'C' Coy driven off. Further wiring carried out. Draft of 6 officers arrived.
August In the line 1st Bn engaged in improving posts. Quiet. 2nd Bn relieved by 2nd Suffolks, marched to Beugny. Beugny 3rd-11th Bn training, church parade; Div band concert. Drafts of officers arrived, relief prepared. In the line 12th-17th Bn took over from 2nd Suffolks, worked on joining up posts, 3 casualties, shelling. Bn in quiet period in front line; Brigade fired gas shells, some casualties from retaliation. 18th Bn relieved by 2nd Suffolks. Beugny 19th-25th Bn rested and baths; parades, training, erection of huts; drill demonstration etc. 26th Bn relieved 2nd Suffolks. 27th-31st Bn worked between posts; some shelling with a few casualties. Total strength 36 officers 991 ORs.
September In the line 1st-2nd Very quiet. 3rd Bn relieved by 2nd Suffolks. This finished the town in this sector. Work had improved trench communications and outposts. Fresh wiring completed, duck boards laid. Beugny 4th Bn rested, Baths! 5th Bn on gas chamber training at Fremincourt. Moved to Barastre area. Barastre 6th-13th Bn training with 8th KORL and practice attacks with 8th KORL for coming operations. Brigade attack witnessed by Army Commander Gen Gough. 14th Bn training; boxing competition. 15th Bn on long range at Le Transloy. 16th Bn church parade GOCs' Corps, Div and Brigade. 17th Bn prepared for move. 18th Bn marched to Bapaume, train for Goodersuelte billets near Watou. Watou 19th-20th Bn rested, in reserve 1 hours notice. 21st Bn training; CO and officers visited Corps HQ, to see model of operations area. 22nd Bn moved at 3.15 pm marched to Brandhoek, OC Coys went up to line. 23rd Bn rested, detachments to line. 24th Bn paraded at 5.30 pm, train for Ypres, marched to area next to Ypres, bivouacked for night. 25th Bn bivouac in open, prepared to move assembly positions. 26th-28th Zero Hour; 5.50 am Bn attacked, then relieved on 29th/30th, out of action. Veaamertinghe 29th Camped near Veaamertinghe. 30th Moved to Winnezeele to rest and recoup.
1st Bn rested and cleaned up. 2nd Bn present for speech by GOC 76th Brigade. Bn was paid. 3rd Bn parade for march past at 11 am. Draft of 265 ORs arrived. 4th Bn marched to Campagne, 14 miles in rain. Good billets. Campagne 5th Bn rested, marched to Wizerne, train for Bapaume at 9.30 pm. Bapaume 6th Bn arrived 8 am, marched to Barastre. Barastre 7th Bn paraded for recommendation cards. Church parade in local cinema. 8th Bn training; range in afternoon. 9th Bn training; 140 ORs joined. 46 from the Cameron Hldrs; 94 from 9th Gordons. 10th Bn prepared to move to trenches. 11th Bn embussed (less two last drafts) for Mory, marched to Ecoust - St Mein, relieved 2/5th West Yorks in Bullecourt sector; very quiet. Bullecourt 12th Quiet day, Bn worked on trenches wiring commenced. 13th-17th Quiet day, Trench repairs, usual work no casualties. Mory 18th Bn relieved by 2nd Suffolks. 19th-24th Bn rested and cleaned up. Bn training; church parade; specialist training. 25th Bn training; 50 ORs on working parties for work on Abboye! 26th Bn relieved 2nd Suffolks; Bullecourt sector. Bullecourt 27th Bn in the line, 3 am gas projectiles fired by Bn on left at 10 pm, some casualties from MG activity. 28th-29th Bn had quiet day; TM and 59 activity but no casualties. 30th-31st Bn work as before. Quiet.
November Bullecourt Sector 1st-2nd Quiet day, work continued on trenches. 3rd Bn relieved by 2nd Suffolks; slight shelling in morning; no casualties. Mory 4th Bn rested, baths, church parade, football. 5th Bn training. 6th Bad weather; rested. 7th A and B companies moved into Abbay Mory also HQ Coy. Poor conditions. 8th Bn. Heavy rain, football beat KORL 2-1 and RWF 8-0. 9th-10th Rain, no training. Bullecourt 11th Bn relieved the 2nd Suffolks. No casualties. 12th Gas projectiles fired from our lines on left; no retaliation, quiet, no casualties. 13th Quiet day, very misty, used TMs on enemy, no casualties. 14th Enemy shelled Tower Support, some casualties. Support coys; ammunition supply carried up. 15th Quiet day; evening relieved by 2nd Suffolks rest billets at Abbay Mory. Mory 16th Bn rested and cleaned up. 17th Bn medically inspected, baths at Mory. 18th Bn church parade. 19th Bn practised 'advanced guard' scheme between mory and Behagnes. 20th Brigade (9th) attacked German front line near Bullecourt. Bn under orders to move at 1½ hours notice. (officers at conference) 21st Quiet day, brigade boxing contest at Abbaye in afternoon. 22nd Bn. Quiet day. 23rd Bn paraded 10.30 am. 24th Bn practised scheme for following up enemy in case of retreat. 25th Bn voluntary church parade. Bullecourt 26th Bn relieved 1st Northumberland Fusiliers; 2 Coys 4th Royal Fusiliers in newly captured trenches. Tiger Trench and Tower Support, no casualties. 27th Quiet day; some TM activity; Cleaned up. 28th Quiet day; work on trenches. 29th Heavy enemy barrage; some casualties 2 platoons 'C' coy relieved by 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers. 30th Bn relieved by 2nd Suffolks, two casualties went to billets at Abbaye Mory.
December Abbaye Mory 1st Bn rested and cleaned up. 2nd-3rd Quiet day Col Burnett left to command Brigade. Bullecourt Sector 4th Bn relieved 2nd Suffolks. Tower Support and Tiger Trench no casualties. 5th Bn working parties on wire in Front. 3 am report to expect attack. Nothing 6th Bn warned of impending attack. Nothing. 7th Bn had quiet day, some slight shelling. 8th Bn problems with thaw, trenches caving in. 9th Bn repairing and strengthening wire, attack still expected. 10th Bn HQ shelled in Railway Reserve, quiet otherwise. 2nd Suffolks relieved Bn by 9.30 pm. Bn went into close support at Ecoust and Railway embankment, Tiger Trench. Railway Embank Ecoust 11th Bn 'stood too' at 6.30 am - 8 am warning of attack, nothing; worked on improving shelters and ammunition. Ration carrying and work continued. 12th Bn warned by Brigade of impending attack. Heavy enemy barrage on 9th Brigade front. Attack developed on their front to our left. Very little activity; some casualties. 13th Bn 'stood down', rest for the day, working parties at night. Ration carrying etc. 14th Bn. Quiet day; improved positions on Embankment and Ecoust Noveuil Road; Pipe Sergeant Henderson killed. 15th Bn quiet day; some raiding parties out. Quiet day continued. 16th Bn worked on shelters by day. 17th Relieved 2nd Suffolks, no casualties. Bullecourt 18th Some shelling on Railway Reserve, otherwise quiet. Some casualties from own artillery firing shot. 19th Quiet day, work as usual, no casualties. 20th Bn rested owing to heavy frost, some wiring carried out. 21st Bn. Frost still holding, wiring in afternoon, curtailed owing to MG firing. 22nd Quiet day; relieved in the line by 2nd Suffolks, no casualties. Abbaye Mory 23rd Bn rested and cleaned up, baths. Still frosty. 24th Bn companies arrangements, armourer sergeant inspection rifles. 25th Bn inspected in the morning by CO. Free issue of beer, plum puddings, concert in theatre at Mory. 26th Quiet day; CO inspected 'D' Coy. Court martial held. General Campbell GOC 119th Brigade visited. 27th Bn paraded coy arrangements. Intensely cold, rapid marching and running. 28th Quiet day; Bn visited by CO 19th Middlesex Regt, who relieved us in Brigade Reserve. Bn prepared to move on 29th. Abbaye Mory 29th Bn reveille at 7 am; paraded at 9.40 am to move off to new area, arrived at 2.30 pm. Nissen No 5 camp pm huts at camp, bad condition. Hendecourt 30th Bn employed in cleaning up and improving the camp generally. Coys commanders' conference in evening. 31st Bn paraded by companies at 9.30 am for rapid running and marching. RSM parade at 12 noon. Hogmanay celebrated by dinner, GOC present. Sergeants' mess smoking concert and GOC attended with all officers.
Return to Diary