2nd Battalion War Diary, February 1916

    2nd Border Regiment War Diary Transcriptions (1915-1918)
The National Archives WO/95/1655 & WO/95/1656    
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Date Hour Summary of Events
The Battalion proceeded to POULAINVILLE at 9.30AM; arrived at 2pm and billeted.
The Battalion proceeded to LA HOUSSOYE at 9.30AM; arrived at 1pm and billeted.
The Battalion proceeded to BUIRE sur L’ANCRE; arrived 1pm and billeted.
The Battalion proceeded to trenches North of FRICOURT square F3a [Note in remarks column: Map ALBERT 62D NE 1/4000] by platoon, at intervals, commencing at 10AM relieving 7th Bn Queens Regt.

7th Bn Queens Regt were on left side of the Battn and 8th Devons on the right.
Casualties 4/2/16 to 10/2/16 – 2 killed,[1] 7 wounded, 3 missing.

The Battalion was relieved in trenches by 2nd Bn Gordon Highlanders & proceeded to billets at MEAULTE.
A draft of 22 Other Ranks joined the Battalion.
Lieut I.H. Hodgson and 2 Lieuts F.R.L. Bell and M.S. Lowson joined the Batalion.
The Battalion proceeded to trenches North of FRICOURT square F3a [Note in remarks column: Map ALBERT 62D NE 1/4000] by platoon at intervals, commencing at 8.45am relieving 2nd Gordon Highlanders.

7th Buffs Regt were on the left of the Battalion and 8th Devon Regt on the right.

Between 5 and 5.15pm at night the enemy opened a heavy fire with every description of artillery and trench mortar on D3 sector which was held by the Battalion. The heaviest projectiles came from N.N.E. and were mainly directed at the TAMBOUR, a salient on the right of the front line. A frontal fire was directed all along the whole of the front line trench.

The two Companies in the front line were "A" Company (left) and "C" Company (right). By 5.30pm the bombardment was very intense and it was felt certain the enemy meant to attack. At 5.40pm it was found that communication between the forward right company (C Company) and Battn Head Quarters by telephone had been cut. The bombardment continued on the trenches further back. At 7.25pm a report was received that the enemy had attacked the TAMBOUR. Two enemy parties succeeded in getting into the front line in two places but were driven out.

At about 8.40pm the hostile artillery fire slackened and by 9pm had almost quietened down. The estimated number of Germans who attacked were some 80 all ranks of whom 20 dead were counted from our fire trench the next day. The enemy succeeded in throwing a bomb down one of our disused mine shafts before they were turned out and in their flight they left behind a lot of bombs and 3 pairs of wire cutters.

A German Corporal was taken prisoner and on being questioned he stated that they had moved forward in three parties of about 28 Other Ranks each. One between the two Southern craters and two round the North of them. The flank parties had orders to take prisoners, the inner one to destroy mine heads by blowing them with special large bombs. The prisoner belonged to the 99th Reserve Regiment.

Our Artillery retaliation seemed splendid and was most effective. The Casualties sustained by the Battalion were:-
    KILLED:- 2nd Lieut F.R. Bell and 11 Other Ranks.
    WOUNDED:– 26 Other Ranks.
    MISSING:– 9 Other Ranks.

Other casualties from 19/2/16 to 26/2/16:- 4 killed, 11 wounded.
Captain L.A. NEWTON joined the Battalion on 24/2/16. A draft of 20 Other Ranks joined 26/2/16.

The Battalion was relieved in the trenches by 2nd Bn Gordon Highlanders. A & C Coys proceeded to billets at BECORDEL. B & D Coys to billets at MEAULTE.
28/2/16 &
In billets.
E . Thorpe Lieut-Colonel
Commanding 2nd Bn The Border Regt.

References / notes

  • National Archives Catalogue Reference: WO/95/1655
  • The transcription above is available under the National Archives Open Government Licence for public sector information.
  • War diary transcribed by P. Bramham.
  1. The following men were killed or died of wounds:
    • John James Foster (22051 Pte.) Died 08/02/1916. Age: 19. Buried at Norfolk Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt. Son of James and Jane Foster, of 41 Albert St., Longtown, Cumberland.
    • Charles Johnson (18906 L/Cpl.) Died 08/02/1916. Age: 25. "C" Coy. 2nd Bn. Buried at Norfolk Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt. Husband of Mary Ann Johnson, of 52 Sudell St., Rochdale Rd., Manchester.
    • Norris Burley (4801 Pte.) Died 06/02/1916. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
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