2nd Battalion War Diary, November 1914

    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 machine Guns with Lieut W. Watson & Lieut C. Lamb[1] were entrenched on the left of the Battalion. At about 10am Lieut Lamb noticed a Battalion of enemy infantry crossing the open from wood to wood – evidently not knowing we were in our positions. He opened fire at 800 yards and did great execution – but this drew rifle and shell fire from them. By 1pm they had blown the machine gun up and killed 4 men. They then searched the wood & road with a variety of shells. The Machine Gun had to be left & the men crawled away, but at night they went back & recovered it. Casualties on the day were 6 killed[2] & 12 wounded.
Early in the morning movements of the enemy on the right front of our position were noticed and the left of D Company was brought back so as to form a continuous line and connect up with C Company. The Battalion formed the right of the 20th Brigade. At about 10am a terrific shelling commenced and was continues until about 3pm – very little damage was done. Shortly after 3pm bugles were heard to sound and the enemy charged. (It is noteworthy to records that the noise made by them charging so alarmed the reserve body of troops that they were fell in and prepared to assist us) – but the Battalion withheld its fire until the enemy were almost on top of us – then the signal was given and a terrific fire was poured in. The numbers killed is almost impossible to state – but a rough estimate; about 200 to 300 killed on our front alone. The enemy retired under cover of woods. Again the bugles sounded and again the same scene enacted – but with the difference that the troops on our right gave way. The Battalion was in danger of being surrounded and Sgt Booth noticing this left his trench and gallantly led up two sections which were in reserve, occupied the trenches which had been vacated, and so kept the line intact until reinforcements came up 3 hours later. The enemy were compelled todesist. The Battalion was relieved at night and retired to woods near YPRES road as reserve. Casualties on this day were Lieut. H.V. Gerrard[3] killed, 2 Lt. G.W.H. Hodgson severely wounded – Died of wounds 6/11/15[4], 14 killed & 35 wounded.

[In the remarks column] See congratulatory message from GOC 7th Division attached.

The Battalion remained in Reserve position. The first reinforcements Captain N.F. Jenkins and 98 Other Ranks joined the Battalion at night. Casualties - nil.
Battalion still remained in reserve. Very little shelling.
Battalion still in reserve. At 11pm orders were received and the Battalion left the trenches and marched to LOCRE. Arrived about 3am & rested in a field for the night.
The Battalion under Captain G.E. Warren marched to METEREN and billeted.
6/11/14 to 13/11/14
The Battalion remained in billets and reorganised – the men being re-equipped, clothed & c.
The Battalion proceeded by march route to BAC ST. MUIR and arrived at 3pm. (Strength 9 Offrs 434 NCOs & men) At 5pm the Battalion proceeded to trenches at "LA BOUTILLERIE" relieving the Middlesex Regiment.
14/11/14 to 17/11/14
In trenches. The Battalion was relieved on night of 17th November and proceeded to Billets at Sailly. Casualties slight.[5]
18/11/14 to 21/11/14
In billets. The Battalion proceeded to the trenches on night of 21st November. A draft of 17 NCO’s & men joined the Battalion on 19/11/14.
21/11/14 to 24/11/14
In trenches at ROUGE BANCS near LA CORDONNIERE FRM. The Battn was relieved on night of 24th November and proceeded to billets at SAILLY. Casualties – slight.[6]
In billets. 2 Lieuts H. Owen[7] & J. Horsley[8] joined the Battalion.
The Battalion and Gordon Highlander under Captain H.A. Askew[9] proceeded to the trenches.
27/11/14 and 28/11/14
In trenches. The Battn were relieved on the night of 28th November and proceeded to billets at SAILLY.
29/11/14 to 1/12/14
In billets. HM The King inspected the 7th Division on 1st December at SAILLY. Captain C. Lamb was awarded the DSO personally by the King for gallantry at KRUISEIK in October. The Battalion under Captain H.A. Askew proceeded to trenches at night.

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. Capt. Cameron Lamb, DSO. Died 29/12/1914 age 35. Buried at Wimereux Communal Cemetery. Son of the late Sir John Cameron Lamb, C.B., C.M.G. and Lady Lamb.
  2. The following were killed on the 1st December, 1914:-
    • James Hook (8156 Pte.) Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
    • Thomas Ellwood (9323 Pte.) Age: 27. Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Brother of Dorothy Ellwood of I, Windmill Brow, Queen St., Whitehaven, Cumberland.
    • James Abbott (8769 Pte.) Age: 29. Buried at Ypres Town Cemetery. Son of Samuel and Sarah Ann Abbott of Milltown, Ashover, Chesterfield.
    • John Frederick Wood (10401 Pte.) Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
    • Herbert Wright (10599 L/Cpl.) Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
    • John Neale (8917 Pte.) Age: 34. Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Son of Mrs. Elizabeth Neale.
  3. Lieut. Harry Vernon Gerrard. Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
  4. Lieut. George William Houghton Hodgson. Mentioned in Despatches. Died 06/11/1914. Age: 26. Buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery. Son of William George Courtenay Hodgson and Catharine Mary Hodgson of Ellerslea, Dalston, Cumberland. Native of Penrith, Cumberland.
  5. Casualties for this period:
    • W. Wightman (8004 Pte.) Died 15/11/1914. Buried at Lille Southern Cemetery.
    • F. Wilson (9061 Pte.) Died 16/11/1914. Buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.
    • J.E. Rushton (7754 Pte.) Died 16/11/1914. Buried at Rue-David Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix.
  6. Casualties for this period:
    • Timothy Benjamin Woodley (8576 Pte.) Died 23/11/1914. Buried at Wimereux Communal Cemetery.
    • David Simpson (6942 Pte.) Died 22/11/1914. Age: 30. Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Husband of Sarah Annie Robinson (formerly Simpson), of Troutbeck, Penrith, Cumberland.
  7. Lieut. Hugh Owen. Died 16/05/1915. Age: 24. "A" Coy. 3rd Border Regiment (attd. 2nd Border Regiment). Buried at Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy. Son of Son and Elizabeth Owen of 3, Brendon House, Great Woodstock St., London. Native of Sevastopol, Crimea.
  8. Capt. John Horsely. Died 16/05/1915. Age: 22. Buried at Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy. Son of James Henry and Margaret Horsley of "Chirton," Clifton Rd., Newcastle-on-Tyne.
  9. Capt. Henry Adam Askew, Mentioned in Despatched, died 19/12/1914 aged 33. Commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial. Son of Mrs. E. A. Askew and the late Canon Askew; husband of Winifred Askew. Served in the South African campaign.
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