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11th Battalion War Diary, November 1916

    11th Border Regiment War Diary Transcriptions (1915-1918)
The National Archives WO/95/2403    
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Date Hour Summary of Events
General parades of instruction for the Battn under C.O.
Battn took part in Brigade Field Day. At 2.225pm Battn took up a position in artillery formation beyond a wood 2000 yds WEST of HERISSAT near TALMAS and HERISSAT road. Battn at 2.30pm advanced westerly direction on bearing approx: 3000 M. Leading Coy A passed through VAL DE MAISON at 3.23pm followed by B, C & D Coys.

Rear of Battn passed at 3.35pm. No opposition.
At 3.45pm Battn broke into extended order (A Coy at 3.45, B Coy at 3.50pm, C & D Coys at 3.52pm) making an advance of four waves at 100 yds interval on LA VICOGNE.
Rear of Battn experienced difficulties at 4.10pm, the two rear Coys becoming mixed. Country rough & wire fenced with deep gullie about 2100yds WEST of VAL DE MAISON 3000 M bearing. 4.12pm Battn again held up. Coys mixed & slightly disorganised. Battn again advanced. At 4.30pm well over rough ground and attached LA VICOGNE. Rear of Battn was through 4.40pm. Position of consolidation occupied on western side LA VICOGNE at 4.43pm & patrols pushed forward.

General parades of instruction under C.O.
General parades of instruction under C.O.
General parades of instruction under C.O., extended order drill etc.
Battn took part in Brigade Field Day. Advanced from a position South VAL DE MAISON and marched towards Beauval breaking into artillery formation on the way & finally assaulted a position south of Beauval having broken into extended order at Ferme du ROSEL.
General parades of instruction.
General parades of instruction.
Battn went for route march under C.O.
General parades.
General parades. Visit of Brig. Gen. (Jardine) to meet all officers of 97th Brigade. Border officers under C.O. for tactical scheme.
Church parade.
Orders received to march. Battn left LA VICOGNE at 10am and arrived CONTAY 3pm.
Battn left CONTAY full marching at 1pm and arrived BLACK HORSE BRIDGE 7pm. Tiring march for Battn & little accommodation for them.
Orders received to dump packs etc. Men paraded in Battle order and at 2pm marched for ENGLEBELMER arriving 5pm.
Battn remained in ENGLEBELMER fitting out with bombs etc. for action.
Battn left ENGLEBELMER at 11pm full fighting order for trenches. Marched through MAILLY MAILLET and passed through “White City” having formed into single file sometime before. From this point the Battn went across the open headed by the C.O. towards trenches opposite Wagon road roughly running from K 35 c 54 to Q 5 a 58 occupying any trench back & front where we relieved the East Lancs & the North Lancs. The Battn on the way to these trenches passed under shell fire & casualties were caused. The behaviour of the men was good & after some difficulty the relief which was commenced at 1am was completed at 6am. The C.O. having got all Companies into trenches. The ground was very bad with wire & much cut about by shell fire.

Hostile shelling continued throughout and while in trenches the Battn suffered a few casualties. At 11am the C.O. went to Brigade Head Q for a conference. The Battn was in a position which was more or less reserve to the K.O.Y.L.I. with exception of one Company which occupied a portion of front line. The ground from Battn HQ K 35 c 6.0 towards WAGON ROAD was gone over by C.O. & the positions for the Coys to take up on the tape beyond was also gone over by him. The tape on which the Battn was to form for the attack ran roughly from K 35 d 52 to Q 5 b 8 4.
At about 12 noon a heavy barrage from our artillery was opened onto enemy lines opposite us which lasted ¼ of an hour. Half an hour afterwards enemy artillery replied over ground held by us with heavy fire. This fire continued well on after dark. The C.O. interviewed C.O. Companies & explained orders & positions to them. The point for companies to move into position on the tape was given them.
Enemy artillery bombardment still continued to play onto our line running roughly K 35 d 1 7 to 5.6 to 8.0 to Q 5 b and on the area back towards WHITE CITY. Men of various Companies who had got separated in the relief & lost in the dark were collected together & everything got in readiness in Battn to take up position for attack.

At midnight the C.O. with Adj[1] left Battn headquarters & layed a tape as they went in direction of Wagon Road. Coys followed & were marched into position along Wagon Road. By 4am all were in readiness. The C.O. had a last interview with C.O. Coys and at 4.30am, Coys moved onto the tape being in position by 5am. At zero time 6.10am the artillery barrage opened & the Regiment advanced in perfect order to attack. The spirit of the men being a fine sight to see in spite of the intense cold in which they had to lie & wait.

The Coys got well away & it is certain that the leading platoons & several others got well over Munick[2] Trench. From this time it was difficult to ascertain the next position of every coy.
The Germans put over a heavy bombardment. He sent up several rockets which burst into 4 red stars. There was considerable hostile machine gun fire some which seemed to come from a gun well in rear in FRANKFORT TRENCH doing indirect fire onto the ground over which the attack was delivered.
Soon after daylight Capt Ross & 2Lt Greenhill were found with some Border men & K.O.Y.L.I. near communication trench running from Wagon Road at Q.5.b.5.7 to MUNICK trench at Q.6.a.3.9 being held up by a strong point at Q.6.a.3.9. Here sharp fighting occurred & bombing attacks were delivered.

In the trench at approx Q.6 a 15.15 a bombing post was established & a little behind two Lewis guns were placed in position commanding both flanks. After dark several men, this is all who were left on the WAGON ROAD side of Munick Trench, returned after having held shell holes opposite the German line & in his wire to a position along WAGON ROAD. During the day & up till 10pm stretcher bearers were continuously over the top & about attending & bringing in wounded men.

These that were left of the Battn were re-organised & WAGON ROAD placed in a state of defence by them. From accounts it is believed that several men got right through MUNICK Trench. Wounded men crawling back were continually sniped by enemy.

Battn in same position. No action taken by enemies except for heavy shrapnel & H.E. barrage causing several casualties. During attack and after when men were holding onto ground taken, enemy adapted several cowardly devices such as some coming out unarmed with their hands up & when our men showed themselves to get enemy as prisoners, they (the enemy with hands up) would suddenly drop & our men were shot by consealed Germans further on.

A little after noon the Battn was relieved by the 2/Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Battn remained in billets at MAILLY MAILLET.
Battn in billets. Sergt Major Johnstone & Pte Dixon reported to Battn having broken through German line at MUNICK trench from FRANKFORT trench said that some of the Border & H.L.I. officers & men were still holding a portion of FRANKFORT trench.

Under Brigade orders a [?-rescue] on Raiding party was formed from the Border & 16th H.L.I. to assist Capt Welch & his cut off party in returning.
Party went up after dark under Capt Hunter but were unable to do anything conditions being against them.

Party under Capt Hunter returned at 4.30am. Two other men from cut off party managed to get through & reported that Capt Welch & party were still holding out. Another rescue party was formed composed of Border & H.L.I. This went to trenches near WAGON ROAD to hold itself in readiness before assistance in case Capt Welch with his men tried to break through.
Rescue party had remained in trenches but no result. Battn received orders to march. At 1.25pm Battn paraded & marched for ARQUEVES arriving there at 4.30pm. Draft of 12 men reported.
Battn remained in billets in ARQUEVES.
Battn paraded & left ARQUEVES at 9.25am arriving GEZAINCOURT 12 noon. Draft 40 men reported as re-inforcements.
Battn paraded & left GEZAINCOURT at 8.15 arriving BERTEAUCOURT 1pm. Gen BARNS saw Battn march past him en route.
Company parades for inspections.
Company parades for instruction.
General parades of instruction & training.
General parades of instruction & training.
[signed] Stuart D. Webb, 2/Lt.
[signed] A. C. Girdwood, Lt. Col.

References / notes

  • National Archives Catalogue Reference: WO/95/2403
  • The transcription above is available under the National Archives Open Government Licence for public sector information.
  1. Adjutant.
  2. Spelt ending with a ‘k’ in ALL instances for this month in the diary.
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