1st Battalion War Diary, June 1915

    1st Border Regiment War Diary Transcriptions (1915-1918)
The National Archives WO/95/4311 & WO/95/2305    
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

This month’s diary came in four different parts, these being:

  1. Part One (1 — 19 June 1915);
  2. Part Two (19 — 29 June 1915, with an additional section of 1 — 4 June);
  3. Part Three (4 — 10 June 1915);
  4. Part Four (10 June 1915).

It is clear that they do not follow on in a standard linear pattern. Also, parts 3 and 4 have been written in a different hand to the previous parts. Rather than combine the parts to form one linear month, which might not always follow exactly or make much sense, the four parts have been transcribed in the same way it was initially filed to maintain its originality. These can be seen exactly (as listed above) in the following sections below.

Part One (1 — 19 June 1915)

Place Date Hour Summary of Events
June 1st
Usual fatigues. Capt. MILLARD Northamptonshire Regt arrived, attached for duty & posted to D Coy. Information received from Brigade that an attack might be expected but the enemy remained quiescent.
Usual fatigues.
Usual fatigues. The Division made an attack but the Regt. remained in reserve & was not called.
Moved from Divisional reserve trenches near SNIPERS HUT to trenches near WHITE HOUSE.
Received orders to return to reserve trenches but these were counter-ordered & about 10pm we relieved the R. DUBLIN FUS. in fire trenches on the S.E. side of gully. One coy R.D.F. remained in support till the following morning. Northing occurred during the night.
O.C. ROYAL SCOTS asked for reinforcements of 1½ Coys, no reason being given. ½ Coy was sent under Lt. CASTLE & O.C. ROYAL SCOTS sent him on to reinforce K.O.S.B.
C Coy under Lt. KENNEDY went to reinforce HAMPSHIRE REGT & were not sent back until 11.15pm. This coy lost its way back & did not rejoin the Bttn till 3am on the 7th [illegible].
ROYAL SCOTS & BORDERS moved about 100x to the right & one coy S.W.B. came in on the left. Lt. WILSON was wounded whilst in the trenches.
June 7th
The Regt. moved further to the right & took over fire trenches from the WORCESTERS including one known as H11 least of which was still occupied by the enemy.

Information received from the Divn. that an attack might be expected during the night, mounted troops & vehicles, probably guns, having been seen moving N.W. on Achi Baba.
Lt. A. WRIGHT was wounded in the head whilst in the trenches.

150 men B & D Coys sent back to support trenches. Fire trenches were too crowded. Lt. W. de ROBINSON was wounded in the arm whilst in the trenches.
Enemy began to show activity in the sap from the communication trench leading in to the centre of the trench held by the Regt.

Lt. J.L.E.R. LAKE wounded by shrapnel in the hand.
During the night the enemy threw a few bombs from their sap & C Coy replied with about the same number. They also showed some activity at the end of D Coy trench & a new advance was commenced by D Coy.

Orders were received that the Regt. was to capture the enemy's sap & communication trench up to the ravine, the S.W.Bs. to attack a small trench near the communication trench simultaneously. 30 volunteers were obtained including bomb throwers & D Coy under CAPT. LE MESURIER was detailed to occupy the trench after the assaulting party had captured it.

The party under 2nd Lt. WALLACE crawled out under the parapet by two saps & rushed the enemy sap in spite of heavy fire, bayoneting or bombing all the enemy in the sap. They also captured about 200 yards of their communication trench in a very short time. D Coy occupied the trench and held it all night aided by a large supply of bombs. 2nd Lt. WALLACE carried out the attack with great coolness & courage & CAPT. LE MESURIER skillfully held the trench. CAPT. HARRISON was sent down to verify the clearing of the sap & was slightly wounded in the chest whilst doing so.
No. 10180 Lance Sergeant FRIEND, No. 9085 Sergt. A. ELWIN, No. 8157 DR. D. CRONE & No. 10463 Pte A. MANSELL all showed great gallantry in the attack.
A draft of four officers, CAPT. J.C. HODGSON, LT. E.C. LESTER, LT. F.A. RUPP & LT. J.H.[or I.H.] HODGSON & 228 other ranks joined from ENGLAND.

[this can be continued here in Part Four, an additional section for the 10th June 1915, which is a further detailed account of the attack made on this day]
The following message was received from G.O.C. - “G.O.C. Divn congratulates all ranks in the excellent work performed by them last night & feels confident that they will hold the ground gained at all costs” At 1am & again at 3.30am the enemy bombed the end of the communication trench. At 4.15am they retired. Our casualties were slight.

About 4.30am the Turks made a counter-attack on the communication trench & CAPT. LE MESURIER was hit by a bomb. The men became a trifle demoralized & retreated about half way down the trench, the Turks occupying the portion vacated. CAPT. R.H.H. MOORE happened to be in the trench at the time & rushing forward called on the men & successfully recaptured the lost part of the trench. He was killed by a shot in the head in doing so. His immediate & gallant action undoubtedly saved an awkward situation.
Lt. BRADSHAW was wounded in the counter attack & died later. LT. DE SOISSONS was also wounded.
Total casualties, 2 officers killed & 3 wounded, 12 other ranks killed & 33 wounded.
The enemy fired about 12 heavy shells at the trenches during the day. A Coy under CAPT. MOSTYN relieved D Coy in the captured trench & the barraicade at the end was strengthened. Snipers successfully drove back bomb throwers who tried to come up & bomb the end of the trench.

The Regt. was relieved by R. DUBLIN & LANCS FUS. & reached GULLY BEACH about 12 noon & bivouacked. Casualties during the week, 2 officers killed & 7 wounded. 21 other ranks killed, 64 wounded, missing 7, missing believed killed 2.
Cleaning up generally & interior economy. Bivouac which is situated on the edge of the cliff required improving & this work was performed during the day.
Fatigues. CAPT. MOSTYN proceeded on 3 days leave to LEMNOS & Lt. KENNEDY on 7 days leave to IMBROS.

A guard of one officer and 100 men for W Beach was supplied.

Order received to go into the support trenches tomorrow morning at 5am.

CAPT. & ADJT A.J. ELLIS & CAPT. J. FORBES ROBERTSON rejoined from EGYPT, convalescent from wounds.

Moved into empty support trenches between WHITE HOUSE line & fire trenches. A & B Coys in front trench, C & D in 2nd trench & Hqrs & MG in SW trench. Day was spent in deepening, improving & cleaning trenches.
June 18th
Work on improving fire trenches continued & widening & deepening of communication trenches continued. LT. GOODALL wounded in the arm & two men killed & two wounded by shrapnel whilst working in the trenches.
Heavy shelling commenced, a lot of high explosive shells being used.
Regt. headquarters blown up by HE shell which killed one sergt. & 3 men & wounded 4 others including S.M. DENEREAZ. The C.O. & Adjt were out inspecting trenches at the time otherwise they would have been blown to pieces.
Hqs moved further from the top of the gully to the communication trench.
A Coy ordered to reinforce R.I.F. as a Turkish attack on H11 had commenced.
C Coy went forward to replace A Coy in front trench & sent two platoons to reinforce A Coy.
Two platoons B Coy sent to reinforce R.I.F.
Turks recommenced shelling but did not keep it up for long.
[This is the end of Part One]

Part Two (19 — 29 June 1915)

Place Date Hour Summary of Events
Heavy rifle fire went on through the greater portion of the night, the enemy making determined attempts to recapture one portion of TURKEY TRENCH & H11. The attack was repulsed by the R. Innis. Fus, over 300 Turks being accounted for.
Enemy again opened heavy shell fire with high explosive & shrapnel & kept it up till about 3.30pm. During the bombardment LT. CASTLE was seriously wounded. Nothing occurred during the night.
Relieved R.I.F. in firing line trenches, D & B Coys in firing line, A & C in support. Work was at once commenced improving parapets etc the latter having been rather badly damaged in places by previous bombardments.

The finished line held by the Battn forms a salient running NE towards KRITHIA village. An important sap is in course of construction from N face towards TURKEY trench. This sap as it is constructed is being turned into a fire trench so as to flatten out the salient.
Work on this sap goes on night & day without cessation. Beyond the usual sniping nothing occurred on our section during the day or night.

The French started a heavy bombardment of the enemy's line & then infantry advanced at 8am apparently capturing two trenches & a redoubt on the left of their line. During the French advance the enemy shelled our trenches for about an hour without any effect. On our front except for the usual sniping things remained quiet.
Work on sap & improvement of trenches continued. No activity on the part if the enemy was noticed in our front either by day or night & our snipers held the upper hand so that work could in the trenches was able to make good progress. LT HODGSON was slightly wounded during the evening by a stray bullet from the French trenches.
23rd to 26th
Relieved by R. MUNSTER FUS & returned to GULLY BEACH. During this period no item of [unsure of words] occurred.

A draft in charge of CAPT TENNANT & LT ADAIR (BEDFORD REGT) attd 1/BORDER REGT. of 80 rank & file joined the Battn from England on the 25th.
Information received that LT WALLACE had been awarded the Military Cross for his fine work on the course of the 10th. Captain G.H. HARRISON rejoined convalescent from wounded on 26th.

Orders received to take over firing line trenches from junction of TURKEY TRENCH & firing line up to & including barricade across GULLY.
Relief completed A & B Coys in firing line C & D in support. Brigade orders for the operations for the following day were received during the afternoon & final arrangements made with Coy commanders for carrying them out. The task allotted the Regt was the assault & capture of the BOOMERANG & the Turkish portion of TURKEY TRENCH, the former being allotted to B Coy under CAPT J. FORBES ROBERTSON & the latter to A Coy under CAPT MOSTYN (Norfolk Regt) attd 1/BORDER REGT.
At this hour the bombardment of the enemy trenches began & continued with great accuracy & vigour till 11am. A French trench mortar which had been told off to deal with the BOOMERANG did especially good wook.
The bombardment of the BOOMERANG & TURKEY trench stopped & the assaulting parties of A & B Companies dashed forward simultaneously. The first party reached the BOOMERANG with practically no loss, advancing [illegible] through the dust raised by the bombardment & set to work at once to clear out the enemy with bayonet & bombs.
The supports coming in later did not escape casualties, LT DYER & several men being killed & others wounded. There was no [? - checking] however & both assaulting party & support were soon busy with bayonet inside the work. Meanwhile A Coy were experiencing considerable difficulty with TURKEY TRENCH. It was found that about 40 yards of the trench rear of the enemy's barricade had been filled in & this left the assaulting party exposed to murderous fire from a previously unlocated trench running from TURKEY TRENCH to H12. All the assualting party were either killed or wounded in crossing the filled in portion & CAPT HODGSON who was leading the assault was bayonetted.

The support following close in rear fared little better suffering heavy from both rifle fire and shrapnel. A few however managed to get across & lined the parapet of the enemy's end of TURKEY trench & opened fire on the enemy's trench from which the losses were being inflicted.
During this time another party had been at work tearing down our own barricade, a difficult & dangerous task under heavy fire to which they were being subjected. Good progress was made however & reinforcements under Sergt WOOD were shortly able to push through.
This party quietly formed up in the BOOMERANG with B Coy, the remaining garrison thereupon surrendered, 64 Turks being taken prisoner. The whole operation was extremely well organized by the Company Commanders concerned & carried out with the greatest boldness & dash by their subordinates. The men went forward without the slightest sign of hestitation or wavering & no amount of casualties prevented the survivors from going forward or reinforcements taking their place.

Remainder of 87th Bde advanced & J9 10 & 11 fell in succession without much difficulty. At the same time the 156th Bde attacked H12 & captured it with the exception of a redoubt in the centre.
The 86th Bde advanced & passing through the 87th attacked & captured J12 & J13 with the excpetion of their exits to the gully where the enemy still managed to hold on.
The Battn was ordered up the ravine to take over from the end of H12 across the gully & join up with the 86th Brigade on the left.

A party of LANCS FUS were formed in the gully entrenching a ridge connecting the E side of the gully with H12. As they were entirely separated from their unit the Battn took over from them & proceeded to dig in in the reverse slope of the ridge under a very hot fire. During the process of digging in CAPT HARRISON & LT RUPP were wounded & several other ranks killed & wounded.
A barricade was built across the ravine & a barbed wire entanglement erected some 30 yards the enemy's side of it with the help of a party of R.E. This had hardly been constructed when a large body of of the enemy rushed down the ravine shouting “LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS” & waving a white flag. A M.G. had been placed is position at the barricade & with this, rifle fire & bombs the rush was stopped with very heavy loss to the enemy, over forty corpses being counted in the morning. The situation on the flanks was by no means satisfactory. On the left heavy fire could be heard but we were not actually in touch with any formed unit of our own troops though a small party of ROYAL FUSILIERS under C.S.M. GILBERT who had become detached from their unit had been sent to prolong our left on the W side of the ravine. C.S.M. GILBERT reported a gap on some 300 yards between the left of his party & the next body of our own troops.

The ROYAL DUBLIN FUSILIERS arrived & proceeded to further prolong our left but as it was nearly dark before they got out to the position they intended to entrench & they were subjected to a very heavy attack, their losses were considerable & they were forced back towards J11a.

The enemy subjected us to a heavy hot fire up till dark & soon after dark commenced a series of attacks which lasted till dawn.
On the right flank there was cause for anxiety too, as H12 was only very lightly held by the remnants of the 4th ROYAL SCOTS & they only had one officer left. Accordingly CAPT TENNANT was sent to assist them unitl the arrival of the HAMPSHIRE REGT which relieved them about 11pm, thus rendering our right flank secure.

All attacks were successfully resisted & heavy losses inflicted on the enemy each time they tried to advance & daylight revealed some 100 corpses close up to the short bit of line held by the Battn on the E side of the ravine. Just before dawn an especially heavy attack was made & we were able to inflict very heavy losses on the survivors from this attack as they attempted to withdraw from the force close up in front of our trenches in full daylight. Very few indeed of the enemy managed to get away & their losses must have been very considerable. Our casualties during these operations were:-

Two officers killed: CAPT HODGSON & LT DYER
153 other ranks, killed wounded & missing.
The operations as far as the 29th Division was concerned were entirley successful & a Special Force Order was published by the C in C M.E.F. congratualting all ranks of the Division on the work performed.

12 noon
The Battalion went into support being relieved by the SWB & occupied trenches J10 & J11. D Coy was called out in the evening to reinforce the R.I.F. in the firing line but were not actually required.
Remained in occupation of J11 & J10. Work of converting J11 into a fire trench & J10 into a communication trench & improvemnt of communications generally were continued during the day. C Coy was called out during the evening to take over a portion of the firing line from left of gully to the right of the RIF & D Coy was again called out in support of the R.I.F. Further coys were actually engaged during the night.
[The following addition to this part includes information for the 1st to the 4th June. The year listed is 1914, obviously a mistake, and the person writing this (as it is different to the other handwriting) has forgotten which year they are in at the time. This has been changed to 1915.]
The Battn remains in Divisional reserve 300x East of SNIPERS HUT. Usual fatigue parties. Capt H. Millard 8th Northamptonshire Regt. joined & attached to battalion. Also Lt. Dyer 9th Battn Kings Shropshire Light Infantry.
Usual fatigue parties.
Usual fatigue parties.
An advance ordered along the whole line. The battalion formed part of the Corps Reserve, following Dublin Fusiliers as the right rear regiment of the reserve. Our advance was originally directed with the right of the battalion moving on the left of KRITHIA village.

Scheme bomabarded 11.15
False attack 11.30
Heavy bombardment 11.45
1st Advance 12-
2nd Advance
The scheme was first line was to rush first main line of the Turkish trenches & make them good. 2nd line to make good, 2nd main line & so on. The Battn moved about 2.30pm & moved to White House in the gully. The advance on the left of the line of the army against trench marked J.10 on attached sketch was not successful. The advance against trenches at H.11, H.12, H.14 in succession successful, the trenches being quikcly rushed. The centre also advanced very….

[There is no more information in this part.]

Part Three (4 — 10 June 1915)

Place Date Hour Summary of Events
[The following is a more detailed account of what took place on the same days noted in Part One. There are quite a few words missing [?] or unrecognised in this part.]

The Battn was not called into the fighting line but remained in reserve. A & C Coys in the Gully, B & D coys & the machine guns under Lieut Cay with Headquarters on the south side in the old Inniskilling Fusiliers trenches. 2Lieut Wight was wounded by a stray bullet. The Battn remained in this position during the night.

The Battn remained in this position but at about 3pm orders came for them to to return to their old bivouack near Pink House. These orders were almost immediately cancelled and fresh ones received for the Battn to move & occupy the fire trenches occupied by the 1st R. Dublin Fusiliers. The relief did not commence before dusk and was carried out under great difficulties in the darkness. The traffic and congestion in the trenches made movement almost impossible and it was not till dawn that the relief was effected. 1 Company of the Dublin Fusiliers remained as a support till 10am.
In this new position the S.W.B. were on the left of the Battn and the 4/Worcesters and Royal Scots Territorials on the right. D & B Coys occupied the firing line with C & A Coys in support. Battn Headquarters were situated in the Gully below the fire trenches & were in telephone Cms[1] with all companies. The front line companies were employed in improving defenses Sapping and making a new communication trench between the Battn right and the Worcesters. A small section of trench was in error at this time occupied by the Royal Scots, this trench connected the right of the Battn with the left of the 4/Worcesters. As far as the Battn was concerned nothing of movement occurred in the immediate front during the day.
Heavy firing on the right apparently in front of the Royal Scots and the KOSBs caused an appeal for reinforcement from the O.C. Royal Scots. Captain Mostyn received and urgent message upon which he acted and he sent 2 platoons of A Company to reinforce the Royal Scots. It appears that the reinforcement was required by the KOSBs who had been attacked in trench marked H.12 on sketch map. These 2 platoons under 2/Lieut Castle were sent to join the 1/K.O.S.Bs. Little can be ascertained of their movements as they became scattered. Lieut Castle returned about 11am bringing most of his men with him, other rejoined during the day.
12 noon
About 12 noon an urgent appeal for reinforcements was made by the Staff Capt. of the 88th Brigade. This officer was acting under orders of the 29th Divn and had been instructed to take a reinforcement from any point of the line from which they could be spared. He applied for a company from the Battn and upon his written orders “C” Company under Lieut. J.S. Kennedy was despatched under his guidance. A report that this company had been taken away was reported to [?] Brigadier-(Genl Marshall). C Company guided by the Staff Captain through the communication trenches was moved to the extreme right of the 88th Brigade which rested near the main Krithia gully at which point there was a danger of the right being turned by the enemy. The Coy reoccupied a trench together with a portion of the 6/Manchester Territorials and although not actually attacked, suffered several casualties. No communication was maintained with the company as no one knew where they had gone to.
But about 6pm Pte Stainton came back and [?] to C Coy their [? - rations]. At 12 midnight Lieut Kennedy was ordered to rejoin the Battn but the coy got lost in the dark and did not finally rejoin till next morning about 5am.
The Battn combined the work of the previous day but at dusk B Company was ordered to extend more to the right and to occupy the small portion of trench between us and the Worcesters already referred to as being held by the 4 Royal Scots. No provision had been made to turn this trench into a fire trench which it undoubtedly was. The parapet was too thin to be bullet proof and the trench too narrow. Lieut Wright therefore moved a portion of his men into this trench and at once began improvements. But while engaged in this work was himself hit in the head about 11pm by a bullet that came through the parapet and the command devolved upon Lieut Dyer. No other incident of any movement occurred. Lieut Robinson was wounded sometime during the day.
This day owing to a desire to reconstruct the Brigades of the 29th Divn, the Battn was again ordered to move to its right and to take over the line of trenches occupied by the 4/Worcesters. Capt. Nelson proceeded to confer with Col. Caley Cmdg[2] 4/Worcesters about 1pm and the actual move took place at 5pm. It was found that 2 Coys B & D were sufficient to hold the trenches so C & A were still kept in the original support trenches of the previous night. [several words illegible] formed for them. Work on these new trenches was impossible owing to the constant traffic of all sorts of people backwards and forwards. These trenches being used as a communication way for 2 Brigades to the gully. The S.W.Bs. had now moved up from the gully & took over the trenches held by the Battn. The K.O.S.Bs. moved on the right of the Battn thus the line held by the 87th Bde was now on the left. S.W.Bs. then Border Regt then the K.O.S.Bs., the Inniskilling Fusiliers in reserve at White House in the gully. This new line of trenches held by the Battn was somewhat confused and in places it was impossible to fire without firing into those held by the S.W.Bs. The main trench H.11 an old Turkish trench was partially held by us and partially held by the Turks and a sandbag loopholed trench only separating the combatants. A trench mortar was handed over to the Battn for use at this point. The trenches were in a dirty condition and communication trenches were full of dead Turks only partially buried. The [?] believes the trenches was littered with dead and the stench was appalling. The Battn HeadQs were in a trench with the HQ K.O.S.Bs.
C & A Companies relieved B & D in the firing line. Men at work improving defences and the supporting Coys making communication trenches and burying Turkish dead. 2Lieut Lake was wounded in the firing line. Gen De Lisle visited the firing line. The Turks meanwhile had been sapping up from the gully towards the corner between our trenches and the S.W.B and from the trenches constant activity was evident. At nightfall from their sap heads the enemy threw bomb into our trench but in most cases the bombs fell beyond the trench and did no damage. Capt May had now rejoined and commanded “C” Comapany. This Coy was constantly working at saps under our trench to counteract the Turkish sap. Otherwise the night passed without episode.
Work continued as usual. Quantities of equipment, ammunition etc being [?] from the old Turkish trenches en [? - way] of the firing line.
Renewed Turkish activity acquired our line an effort being made to clear away the sandbag traverse in trench H.11 which for a time was rather critical. Lieut Wallace & Capt Mostyn re-established the position in this quarter and a fresh traverse was constructed in case of need, the old one being mined ready for demolition if necessary. A night attack to the Turkish…

[This continues in the next part]

Part Four (10 June 1915)

Place Date Hour Summary of Events
[This is a direct continuation from the last section of Part Three and a further detailed account of the attack made on this day, seen in Part One.]

...trenches & saps in front of C Coy was decided upon. And the general plan was issued about 5pm. During the morning a draft of 229 officers and men from the 3rd Battn arrived & the following officers were posted to the Battn. Cpt John Charles HODGSON, LT. Isaac Harvey HODGSON ( brothers ), LT. E.C. LESTER, LT. F.A. RUPP. This draft was moved up at 7pm into the support trenches.
Plan for night attack. The Turkish sap had approached to within 30 yards of C Coy's trenches and the enemy had sand bagged a small redoubt from which to throw bombs into our trenches. A line of old trench ran from this point right into C Coys parapet, very similar to the situation at H11. The plan was for a storming party of 30 men ([?] 25 from C + 5 from A) under Lieut Wallace to crawl out of the saps already made by C Company preceded by bomb throwers and dash the Turkish sap ahead. And then to move on down the Turkish trench towards the gully. As soon as the storming party had successfully stormed the sap head D Company under Captain Le Mesurier was to move on in support and reoccupy the trench. This company was to debouch through cutting made in the parapet.
The attack was timed to commence at 10pm. The SWB were to cooperate by rushing a small Turkish redoubt in their front. At 10pm precisely the storming party under Lieut Wallace crawled under the parapet and made for the Turkish sap & a hand to hand fight with bayonets and bombs proceeded but the Turks gave way & retreated down the trench to lines by the storming party, the opposition being slight. D Coy now pushed on behind the storming party and the whole moved down the trench together. The men carrying sandbags and fork for improving the trench. Le Mesurier pushed on ahead and [illegible] with Wallace and together with the bomb throwers gradually pushed the Turks back. Capt. Ward of C Coy was killed by a bomb about 12 midnight but the attack was proceeding satisfactorily. Capt. Harrison was slightly wounded about 12 midnight.

See also

References / notes

  • National Archives Catalogue Reference: WO/95/4311
  • The transcription above is available under the National Archives Open Government Licence for public sector information.
  1. Believe this abbreviated word to mean 'Communications'.
  2. Or Cmdr, Commanding or Commander.
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