2nd Battalion War Diary, May 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 Maps: FRANCE 51B SW, FRANCE 57C NW, and ECOUST ST-MEIN
ABLAINZEVILLE
1/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
2/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
3/5/17
The Battalion moved to the vicinity of ERVILLERS at 9am in a position of readiness in support to 62 Division in attack on BULLECOURT. The Battn. moved at 5pm to [GOMIECOURT] camp at A.30.d. where it remained for the night.
MORY
4/5/17
At 4am the Battalion moved to tent shelters just South of MORY at about B.28.a.5.7. where it remained for the night.
5/5/17
At about 4.0pm the Battalion left the camp at B.28.a.5.7. & took over the Support Line. Distribution as follows:-

"A" & "B" Coys in dugouts and cellars in ECOUST ST MEIN.
"C" & "D" Coys & Battn Headqrs in shelters on SUNKEN ROAD B.24.b.8.9.

6/5/17
The Battalion remained in support and the day passed quietly.
7/5/17
The Battalion relived the 2nd Gordon Highlanders in the front line commencing about midnight 7th-8th May and was distributed as follows:-

All Companies in the front line. "A" Company was on the right. "D" Company right centre. "C" Company left centre. "B" Company on the left.
The line held ran U.28.a.99. - U28a.35.55 - U.28.a.30.35. - U.28.a.25.35. - U.28.a.22.
Battalion Headquarters were in a culvert in the Railway Embankment at U.28.c.85.20. The night of 7th-8th May was spent in digging a trench and consolidation. The enemy kept up continuous shelling throughout the night.

8/5/17
Enemy shelling was continuous and was especially vigorous from 9pm to 10pm.

Casualties 6 OR killed, 25 OR wounded.
During the night 8th/9th a post was established at U.27.a.85.35 by 1 platoon of "B" Company under Lieut. G. NEIL. Rations were brought up on pack horses as far as Battn headquarters.

9/5/17
Heavy shelling all day again especially vigorous in the evening from about 7pm onwards. During this bombardment a shell landed on Battn Headquarters wounding Major G.E.BEATY-POWNALL and killing 3 others. 2nd Lieut. B.L. CUMPSTON was also mortally wounded by this shell.

Casualties for Day:-
Officers:- 1 killed, 4 wounded.
OR:- 8 killed, 35 wounded. 2 shell shock.
The post at U.27.a.85.35 was very heavily shelled during the day. Two Lewis Guns one Maxim gun and the majority of the garrison of the post were knocked out. During the night of 9th/10th May this post was relieved by a platoon of "C" Company. Rations were again brought up to Battn Headquarters on pack horse. The ration party came under heavy shell fire and several horses were lost.

10/5/17
Enemy shelled our front line intermittently although not so heavy as the two preceding days.

Casualties were 5 OR killed, 18 OR wounded. 1 officer & 6 OR shellshock.
On the night of 10/11th May the Battalion was relieved by 1st South Staffordshire Regt. and 2nd Queens Regt. and proceeded to camp at A.30.d.

11/5/17
The Battalion remained in camp at A.30.a. The time was spent in generally cleaning up & re-organising.
12/5/17
The Battalion remained in camp at A.30.a. The time was spent in generally cleaning up & re-organising.
13/5/17
The Battalion remained in camp at A.30.a. The time was spent in generally cleaning up & re-organising.
14/5/17
The Battalion proceeded to its old camp at ABLAINZEVELLE [note: from this point onwards the writer changes spelling from "VILLE" to "VELLE"] arriving at 11.0am.
15/5/17
At 8am a "special" company comprised of 3 officers and 100 OR (Capt. J. MOORE in command) left the camp to proceed to BULLECOURT to assist the 22nd Infantry Brigade in the capture of a strong point in that village known as "The Red Patch". This party was used for carrying water etc for the 58th Division.

Meanwhile, word having ben received that the enemy was heavily counterattacking in the proximity of BULLECOURT, the remainder of the Battalion formed into 2 companies (Nos 1 and 2). Left camp at 11am and took up a position in the Defence line near the Sunken Road at B.24.b.8.9. Here they spent the night.

16/5/17
Nos 1 and 2 Coys left the sunken road at 5.30am arriving in camp at ABLAINZEVELLE at 8.0am. The Special Company not being required for action arrived at 8.15am.
ABLAINZEVELLE
17/5/17
The Battalion commenced its training.
18/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
19/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
20/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
21/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
22/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
23/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
24/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
25/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
26/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
27/5/17
The Battalion continued its training. The Army Commander attended Church Parade at 11.0am.
28/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
29/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.
30/5/17
The Battalion continued its training and at 5.30 pm attended Gas & Smoke Demonstration held at F.26.c.0.8. on the BUCQUOY-ESSARTS Road.
31/5/17
The Battalion continued its training.

Major G.E. BEATY-POWNALL rejoined the Battalion on 19.5.1917.
2nd Lieut. E. HALLAM joined the Battalion on 20.5.1917

The following drafts joined the Battalion during the month:-
18 OR 6.5.17      6 OR 7.5.17      10 OR 17.5.17      7 OR 20.5.17
5 OR 23.5.17      42 OR 26.5.17      8 OR 28.5.17.

36 other ranks were evacuated sick during the month.

The total strength of the Battalion on the last day of the month was 30 Officers 693 other ranks.

[signed] M. Chetham-Strode, Capt.
for Major
Commanding 2nd Bn 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.