2nd Battalion War Diary, November 1917

    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
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
Place Date Hour Summary of Events
Ref. Maps: Belgium and France Sheet 27 and 27A SE.       HAZEBROUCK LENS II
1/11/17
The Battalion continued training in the BLARINGHEM Area. No.33088 Pte. HULBERT and No.10154 Pte. PEACOCK returned to the Battn having been found by a patrol of the 1st R.W. Fusrs inside the German lines on the MENIN ROAD. They only asked the patrol when they were to be relieved having been there five nights. Their continuing at their post was appreciated by the GOC 7th Div.
2/11/17 to
5/11/17
2nd Lieuts. J. RENDELL and E.H. JOHNSON joined the Battn on 3.11.17.
6/11/17
The Brigadier inspected the 150 draft at 10.30am. 10 OR joined Battn.
7/11/17
The Battalion continued training. A/Major W. KERR, DSO, MC, rejoined.
8/11/17
A/Major W. KERR, DSO, MC, took command of the Battn. The Battalion took part in an inspection of the 7th Division by ALBERT King of the Belgians at EBBLINGHEM at 11.30am followed by a march past in close columns of platoons.

A/Lt. Col W. KERR, DSO, MC, Capt. & QM F.W. MITCHELL and 76 other ranks of the original 7th Division that landed in BELGIUM in October 1914 were present at the Inspection. The Divisional General sent congratulations to the Regiment on its smart appearance.

9/11/17
The Battalion continued training.
10/11/17
The Battalion continued training.
11/11/17
The Battalion continued training.
12/11/17
The Battalion marched from BLARINGHEM to billets at WAVRANS S of LUMBRES arriving at 3.15pm. No.4406 Pte. T. MASON was awarded Military Medal for Gallantry on Oct 24th-26th 1917. Lieut. G.M.F. PRYNNE rejoined the Battn from the RFC and 2 Lieut A. ELMSLIE joined from England.
13/11/17
The Battn marched from WAVRANS to AVROULT arriving at 12.30pm.
14/11/17
The Battn marched from AVROULT to COUPELLE-VIELLE near FRUGES arriving there at 1.15pm.
15/11/17
The Battn marched from COUPELLE-VIELLE to HUNIERES near ST POL in the TANKS area. In the 4 days march only 2 men fell out. A Draft of 208 OR under A/Captain C.A. HILL joined the Battn.
16/11/17
The Battalion remained at HUMIERES with the exception of "C" Coy who moved to HUMEROEUILLE. The following were awarded The Military Medal for Gallantry on Oct 24th to 26th:

15242 Sergt. H. WOODBURNE.
16860 Pte. F. FARRINGTON.
4466 Pte. W. BUCKLEY.
26??3 Pte. F. GREENWOOD.
14784 Pte. S. HARRISON.
203019 Pte. R. McELROY.
33089 Pte. F. HULBERT.
10154 Pte. J.PEACOCK.

17/11/17
The Battalion refitted preparatory to a move to ITALY.
18/11/17
The Battalion marched to huts at MONCHY CAYEUX arriving there at 3.0pm. The following message was received from Lieut-Gen. MORLAND Commanding Xth Corps – "On your departure from the Xth Corps I wish to thank you all for your good and gallant work whilst under my command. In bidding you goodbye, which I do with regret, I wish you all success and good fortune wherever you may find yourselves in the future."
19/11/17
The Battalion marched to WAVRENS station to entrain for ITALY. The first train starting at 9.12am contained Lieut-Col. W. KERR, DSO, MC, 15 other officers and 408 other ranks of "C" and "D" Coys.

The 2nd train starting at 1.12pm contained Major G.O. RAMSBOTTOM, DSO, 14 other officers and 359 other ranks of "A" and "B" Coys.
Both trains followed the same route. Halting places for meals and exercises were arranged but as the trains arrived late the duration of the halts was shortened. As a rule the men easily got hot water for making tea as well as water for washing until the train left FRANCE the hot water being taken from the engine.
The route was as follows:-
WAVRANS. ST POL. COURCELLE. ALBERT. LONGUEMEAU near AMIENS. BOVES. CREPY. CHATEAU THIERRY. EPERNAY. CHALONS-SUR-MARNE.

20/11/17
The trains went through the UPPER MARNE and SHONE valleys past LANGRES, GRAY. LOUHANS.
21/11/17
In the early morning the train halted at CULOZ among the Alps of SAVOIE. Thence along the edge of LAC BOURGET to AIX LE BAINS. Rain fell and spoilt the view of the mountains. There was a sort halt at ST PIERRE D’ALBIGNY and a long one at MODANE when the 2nd train caught up to the 1st one. The Battalion reached ITALY via the MONT CENIS tunnel between 9pm and 1am. The following Officers WO’s and Staff Sgts of the Battn entered ITALY:

Lt-Col. W. KERR, DSO, MC. Major G.O. RAMSBOTTOM, DSO. Capt. S.J.C. RUSSELL, MC. No.9479 RSM R.L. BOOTH and No.7884 A/QMS G.W. CLULEY.

A Coy:- Capt. C. DAND, Lieut. G.M.F. PRYNNE, 2nd Lieuts. J.H. GRAHAM, E.H. JOHNSON, J. RENDELL, R.K. LONGMIRE, W.I. ATKINSON,
No.7890 CSM J. STREETER, MC, No.6607 CQMS W. LEE.

B Coy:- Capt. J.W. LITTLE, MC, 2 Lieuts. H.T. HAYNES, M. TOMLINSON, T. BALD, A. ELMSLIE, H. DAVIDSON,
No.6403 CSM T. FLETCHER, No.7102 A/CQMS J. SALES.

C Coy:- Capt. F. ARGLES, Lieut. C.A. HILL, 2nd Lieut. S.F. HAWKINS, A.E. WILSON, S. FORBES-ROBERTSON,
No.20961 A/CSM F. LARKIN, No.6445 Sgt. H. LOUGHMAN.

D Coy:- Capt. J.G. CAMPBELL, 2nd Lieut. M.J. MELVILLE, R. KIRK, F.S. SAMUT, R. ADEY,
No.7882 A/CSMW. MILLARD, No.7744 CQMS W.FRASER.

Capt. R.M. BURMANN (A/Bde Major) and Lieut. W.E.KELLY came with Brigade Headquarters.

Ref. Maps. VERONA PADOVA 1/10,000
22/11/17
ITALY. TURIN was passed in the very early morning. Halts were irregular and no one knew how long the halts would be as they were due only to the line being blocked. No hot water was provided and it was very difficult to detrain. The weather was sunny and the men were cheery. A fine view was obtained of the early sun on the snow of the Alps.

The men singing and laughing on the trucks as the train passed long created much amazement and a fine impression among the Italians who gave them a friendly reception.

The train went across the plains of LOMBARDY passing through PAVIA CODOGNO CREMONA and MANTOVA.

23/11/17
The 1st train reached LEGNAGO about 9.15am. The half Battalion with transport had detrained by 10.30am and after breakfasting near the station marched across the river ADIGE to MINERBE arriving at 3.0pm. The 2nd

train reached CEREA about 8.45am. This half Battn after detraining and breakfasting marched via LEGNAGO to MINERBE arriving at 4.45pm.

24/11/17
The Battalion remained at MINERBE, cleaning up before recommencing the march forward. The Guard mounting ceremony on the Piazza at 4pm caused much interest among the inhabitants.
25/11/17
The Battalion marched from MINERBE via MONTAGNANA and NOVANTA to billets in and beyond ALBETTONE. Though the march was from 22 to 24 miles no men failed to arrive with the Battalion. Flowers were showered on the men as they passed.
26/11/17
The Battn marched from ALBERTTONE to billets at BARBARANO at the foot of the BERICI mountains arriving at 1.45pm. The Drums playing retreat on the Piazza were enthusiastically applauded by the towns folk who crowded round shouting cries of welcome and throwing their hats in the air. The country wine was found to be more potent than the thin French beer or light wines.
27/11/17
The Battn was engaged in Inspections and Lew Gun practice. The noise of guns was heard for thefirst time in ITALY. A draft of 12 OR joined.
28/11/17
The Battn marched to billets N. of MONTEGALDA crossing the rivers BACCHIGLIONE and arriving about 4pm. Local Italian transport 3 small horse wagons was used for the first time for blankets etc. Other units used bullock wagons.
29/11/17
The Battn remained in billets. The weather continued sunny by day and frosty by night. The farm folk in whom the Battn was mostly billeted were very friendly.
30/11/17
The Battn marched to billets in S GIORGIO IN BOSCO. 4 miles S of CITTADELLA a distance of 26 kilometres arriving at 5.15pm. The river BRENTA was crossed by a pontoon bridge the other bridge having been blown up for fear of the German at CAMPO S.MARTINO. A German aeroplane was seen about midday.

61 other ranks were evacuated sick during the month.

[signed] W. Kerr,[1] Lieut-Colonel
Commdg 2nd Bn The Border Regt.

References / notes

  • Here ends the transcription of the 2nd Border Regiment war diary up to the "Italy Months" following November 1917. The 2nd Bn remained in Italy for the rest of the war and following the Armistice were based around Lonigo until the end of February, 1919. On 17 March, they entrained at Tavernelle for Havre en route to England, arriving at Carlisle on 24 March. In July 1919 the Battalion moved to Ireland at Claremorris, County Mayo.
  • 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. William Walton Kerr, DSO, MC, (Lieut-Colonel) Died 03/05/1918 Age: 41. Buried at Boscon British Cemetery.
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