2nd Battalion War Diary, January 1917

  2nd Border Regiment War Diary Transcriptions (1914-1918)
The National Archives WO/95/1655 & WO/95/1656   
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Place Date Hour Summary of Events
Reference:- REDAN - RENDANT COPSE - BEAUMONT HAMEL Maps 1/5000
MAILLY-
MAILLET
1/1/17 to
6/1/17
The Battalion remained in billets in Brigade Reserve practicing the Attack. Patrols went out on the nights of 1st, 4th & 5th January to reconnoitre the ground enclosed by the area Q6.d.8.3. Q12.b8.4, Q6.c.4.0 + Q6.c.5.3 with a view to an attack on LEAVE AVENUE and MUCK TRENCH. They were much hampered by the bad condition of the ground.
7/1/17
The Battalion moved from billets at MAILLY-MAILLET and occupied dugouts about Q17.a.8.9. The

move was commenced at 4pm and completed by 7pm. Battalion Headquarters were established at Q17.a.8.8.

8/1/17
The Battalion remained in its position. The day passed quietly except for the usual amount of

artillery fire on both side. Casualties: - Nil.

9/1/17
The Battalion was ordered to attack LEAVE AVENUE and MUCK TRENCH on the morning on 10th January 1917 with a view to establishing a line running through Q6.d.8.3 – Q6.d.2.4 – Q6.c.9.3 – Q6.c.5.3. On the night of 9th January "A", "B" & "C" Companies moved to shelters in STATION ROAD, the move being completed by 8pm. By 11pm on 9th January the Battalion had occupied its preliminary position & was disposed of as follows:-

"A" Company on Right in an assembly trench – objective point 24 in LEAVE AVENUE and to make a block some 50 yards E of junction of MUCK TRENCH and LEAVE AVENUE.
"C" Company in centre in BEAUCOURT TRENCH – objective point 93 in LEAVE AVENUE.
"B" Company on left in BEAUCOURT TRENCH – Objective Point 63 in LEAVE AVENUE.
Supporting troops of each company in HARDWICK TRENCH. D Company was in Reserve. Each companyhad to form a Strong Point at objectives and to find its own supporting troops.

10/1/17
Zero hour was 2am. At Zero Hour on 10th January 1917 our field guns placed a barrage on NO MANS LAND. The attacking troops had by this time formed up and commenced to move. At 2.30am the attacking troops occupied enemy positions capturing 2 machine guns 1 Automatic Rifle, and 3 Officers and 142 other Ranks prisoners. The captured positions were consolidated immediately. The going in NO MANS LAND was very bad and numbers of men were stuck in the mud and had to be dug out. Telephone lines were run out to the Strong Posts immediately objectives were taken. Our casualties were slight and occurred chiefly owing to the fact that our troops followed up the barrage so closely suffering casualties from our own guns, but preventing the enemy getting out of the dugouts in time with his machine guns. At 6am a few of the enemy attempted to approach Point 63 but were driven back by our bombers.

Method of attack
Each Company to go straight for its objective in as close a formation as possible:-
      Bombers (1st line)
      "Mopping Up" party (1st line)
      Riflemen (1st line)
      Rifle Grenadiers (1st line)
      Bomb Carriers (2nd line)
      S.A.A. Carriers (2nd line)
      Wire Carriers (2nd line)

There were no extended lines.
The Battalion remained in the captured positions which were heavily shelled by the enemy throughout the day. The Battalion was relieved by 1st Battn Royal Welsh Fusiliers at night and proceeded to billets at MAILLY-MAILLET.

Total casualties for 10/1/17 were:-
OFFICERS:- Killed - Captain S.F. JOHNSON, Wounded - Lieut. R.K. EHRENBORG, 2nd Lieut C.F.E. INGLEDOW.
Other Ranks:- Killed 6, wounded 44, Missing 2.

The following Officers, Warrant Officers, NCOs and men were awarded decorations for gallantry displayed in the action:-
MILITARY CROSS:- 2nd Lieut J. HAYTON, 2nd Lieut. H.D. LEES, 2nd Lieut. J. LOCKYER, No.7890 Coy Sgt. Major J. STREETER.
DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL:- No.21053 Lance Corporal F. COX.
MILITARY MEDAL:- 23371 Sgt A. TURNER, 21487 Pte. F. GRIMSHAW, 22073 Cpl. F. THOMAS, 9802 Sergt. G. HEPPEL.

MAILLY-
MAILLET
11/1/17 to
14/1/17
The Battalion remained in billets.
15/1/17
The Battalion moved into Brigade Support relieving 1st Battn Royal Welch Fusiliers. The relief was completed by 5pm and the Battalion was disposed as follows:-

Battalion Headquarters and "A" and "C" Companies in the dugouts at Q17a.8.8. "B" and "D" Companies in BURN WORK in BEAUMONT HAMEL.

16/1/17
The Battalion remained in position in Brigade Support.
17/1/17
Enemy artillery was active against BEAUMONT HAMEL and surrounding areas. Casualties: NIL.
18/1/7
The Battalion relieved the 9th Bn Devons Regiment in the front line. The relief was commenced at 4.30 pm and by 7pm the Battalion was in position as follows:-

Front line: - RIGHT "D" Company. LEFT "C" Company.
Support: - "B" Company & Battalion Headquarters at WALKER QUARRY.
Reserve: - "A" Company in dug outs in WAGON ROAD.

Enemy artillery was active during the early part of the night. Patrols from the 9th Devons Regiment who had been left behind for this purpose went out during the night. The enemy were reported to be holding FRANKFORT, SALFORD, and DOUBLE TRENCHES. The 2nd Gordon Highlanders were on the Right of the Battalion and the 1st Battalion Royal Scots on the left. Touch was kept with these Battalions day & night.
Casualties: - 2 Other Ranks wounded.

19/1/17
Enemy artillery was active during the morning against WAGON ROAD and surrounding area. Our heavy

artillery retaliated. Enemy infantry were very quiet during the day and no movement or new works were observed. Patrols went out from each fire company at night. The patrol from the Right Fire Company under the command of 2nd Lieut. T. GRONOW discovered that FRANKFORT TRENCH (reported as occupied by the enemy) was not occupied. The night passed quietly.

Casualties:- 2nd Lieut. D.A. GILLESPIE wounded.

20/1/17
Enemy artillery was active during the early morning against BEAUMONT HAMEL. A skilful reconnaissance was carried out in broad daylight by 2nd Lieut T. GRONOW and No 9565 Sergt C. GARWOOD. This Officer and NCO went out and examined FRANKFORT TRENCH and found it to be unoccupied.

After examining the dugouts they went still further and located the German line. They were heavily shelled returning to our line.

No. 6183 Pte. J. Thompson went out in broad daylight and examined WAGON ROAD. He located the German positions and brought back most useful information. No. 12347 Private W. ROONEY went out in board daylight and examined SALFORD TRENCH which he found was unoccupied by the enemy. He went some 50 yards further forward when shrapnel fire was opened on him and he returned to point 56. The Battalion was relieved at night by 2nd Battn KOYLI. The relief was completed by 10.30pm. The Battalion proceeded to billets near MAILLY-MAILLET.

Casualties:- 1 wounded.

21/1/17
The Battalion marched to billets at BERTRANCOURT arriving about 12 noon.
22/1/17
The Battalion remained in billets at BERTRANCOURT.
23/1/17
The Battalion marched to billets at BEAUVAL starting at 6.10am & arriving about 1pm.
BEAUVAL
24/1/17
The Battalion remained in billets. Refitting and reclothing was carried out.
25/1/17
The reorganisation of Companies into Bombing, Rifle Grenade and Lewis Gun Sections was

effected during the day & Companies were allotted training areas near billets.

26/1/17
The Battalion commenced its training. During the morning Company Drill, platoon & section

training and instruction in Bombing, Rifle Grenade, Lewis Gun, Musketry, Bayonet Fighting were carried out.
The afternoon was devoted to sport.

27/1/17
The Battalion continued its training.
28/1/17
The Battalion continued its training.
29/1/17
The Corps Commander visited Companies at training during the morning.
30/1/17
The Army Commander visited Companies at training during the afternoon.
31/1/17
The Battalion marched to billets at PERNOIS starting at 9AM and arriving about 2pm. Notification was received that the Corps Commander awards the Military Medal to 18347 Private W.J. ROONEY and No. 6183 Private J.THOMPSON for gallantry in the field on 20/1/17.

2nd Lieut. H.D. LEES was wounded on 31/1/17 whilst carrying out a reconnaissance of the trenches. Drafts as under joined the Battalion during the month:-
1/1/17:- 10 Other Ranks
10/1/17:- 65 Other Ranks
21/1/17:- 99 Other Ranks
23/1/17:-18 Other Ranks
24/1/17:- 20 Other Ranks
28/1/17:- 10 Other Ranks The following officers joined the Battalion during the month:-
1/1/17 Captain C.E. GRAHAM
2/1/17 Capt S.F. JOHNSON
3/1/17 2nd Lieut F.W. KEENAN
5/1/17 2nd Lieut J.J. DEDMAN
13/1/17 Major S.H. WORRALL & 2nd Lieut K. ABRAM
409 Other Ranks were evacuated sick during the month. The strength of the Battalion on the last day of the month was 26 Officers 884 Other Ranks.

[signed] G.E. Beaty-Pownall, Major[1]
Commanding 2nd Battn. The Border Regt.

References / notes[edit]

  • 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. George Ernest Beaty-Pownall, DSO (Lt-Col.) Died 10/10/1918 Age: 41. 2nd Border Regiment (attd. 1st Bn. King's Own Scottish Borderers). Buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. His brother Thomas also died with 2nd Border Regiment.