2nd Battalion War Diary, October 1916

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    2nd Border Regiment War Diary Transcriptions (1915-1918)
The National Archives WO/95/1655 & WO/95/1656    
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Place Date Hour Summary of Events
LE BIZET
Reference TRENCH MAPS:- FRANCE Sheet 36.N.W. 1/20,000 BELGIUM & FRANCE Sheet 28.S.W. 1/20,000
1/10/16
The Battalion proceeded to trenches LE TOUQUET Left Sub Sector. Relieving 8th Bn Devons Regt. On arrival the Battalion was distributed as follows:-

Firing Line: U28.a.2.7 (left) to C4a.65.00 (Right).
RIGHT:- D Company. CENTRE:- A Company. LEFT:- B Company.
LANCASHIRE SUPPORT FARM:- C Company.
DESPIERRE FARM:- Battalion Headquarters.
The 20th Bn Manchester Regt were on the left of the Battalion and 9th Devons on the right. There was little activity on either side during the day.

2/10/16
During the morning a few trench mortars were fired at the flank fire companies. Our Trench Mortars retaliated. A sniper was accounted for by the centre fire company during the afternoon. Machine Gun and sniping fire was normal during the night. Much work was done in repairing the trenches. Casualties:- 1 killed,[1] 1 wounded.
3/10/16
Enemy Trench Mortars were active between 6 and 7am our parapet being slightly damaged - otherwise the enemy were very quiet. Our Trench Mortar battery retaliated in the morning the shots being seen to fall into the front line doing considerable damage. Our Lewis Guns were very active during the night about 1800 rounds being fired.
4/10/16
Two enemy working parties were observed between 1am and 2am opposite each of the flank Fire Companies. They were dispersed by Lewis Gun fire. Our heavy artillery was active between 10am and 11am and our Trench Mortars between 3.30 and 4.30pm in retaliation for enemy Trench Mortar fire. A party of Germans were observed at 3.30pm working on their second line. Our snipers fired on them at a range of 900 yards one man being seen to fall. Listening patrols went out at intervals from the three Fire Companies during the night. An enemy wiring party was located and dispersed by Lewis Guns. Work in repairing and draining the trenches was carried on during the night but was hindered by rain. The enemy fired a few shrapnel shells in the vicinity of LANCASHIRE SUPPORT FARM and RESERVE TRENCH wounding 3 men. Enemy Trench Mortars were active at intervals. An enemy working party was located at about 6pm and was dispersed by Lewis Guns causing three casualties. Indirect fire was kept up by our Lewis Guns during the night – The Lewis Guns of Right Fire Company effectively silenced enemy machine gun at point approximately U.4.a.55. Casualties:- 4 wounded.
5/10/16
Enemy Trench Mortars were less active than usual during the day. A patrol went out from the Centre Fire Company during the night to reconnoitre the TRIANGLE. They reached a disused trench believed to be N side of the TRIANGLE. They were fired on but returned safely to our lines at 3am on the 6th.
6/10/16
There was little enemy activity throughout the day. Our Machine & Lewis Guns were active at intervals during the night. Patrols went out from each of the flank Fire Coys at night. No enemy was seen or heard. Casualties:- 1 killed,[2] 1 wounded.
7/10/16
The Battalion was relieved by 8th Devons Regt and proceeded to billets at PONT DE NIEPPE.
PONT DE NIEPPE
8/10/16
to
12/10/16
The Battalion remained in billets in Brigade Reserve. In accordance with instructions from Headquarters, 20th Infantry Brigade, arrangements had been made for a raid on the enemy trenches to be carried out by the battalion. The raiding party had been selected & the ground continually patrolled at night. The arrangements were completed and the assault fixed to take place at 7.30 pm 12/10/1916. At 6.58pm the raiding party consisting of 2nd Lieut S.B. BENDLE (OC        ) 2nd Lt R.B. WOOD (OC Assault) Lt R.G.HENNESSY (OC Enterprise) & 35 Other Ranks was assembled at their rendezvous. When the barrage commenced 2nd Lieut R.B. WOOD led the way to the triangular trench in front of the point of attack. Unfortunately No.1 and 2 parties following in rear of him came under heavy machine gun fire from the right & losing both leaders (save for a few isolated cases) took no further part in the raid. 2nd Lieut R.B. WOOD’s party pushed on & finding the wire cut satisfactorily entered the German trench at the point of attack. 2nd Lieut WOOD assumed command of the Right party & himself bombed down the German trench accounting for two Germans who were seen to fall. This officer went back to find the remainder of the raiders & during the journey was wounded, dying shortly afterwards.[3] The 10 minutes allotted having elapsed his party retired. Of the left party 3 men entered the German trench. A German who was making his way towards what appeared to be a fixed rifle was bombed. This party also retired bringing in some wounded. The fact that not more than 8 or 9 men entered the German trench was most probably due to both leaders being wounded by Machine Gun Fire early in the venture.

Our casualties were Officer:-
        Officers: Killed 1 (2nd Lieut R.B.WOOD) wounded 1 (2 Lieut S.B. BENDLE). Other Ranks: Killed 1, Wounded 8. Missing believed killed 2.[4]

PONT DE NIEPPE
13/10/16
The Battalion proceeded to trenches LE TOUQUET Left Sub-Sector relieving 8th Bn Devons Regiment. The Battalion was distributed as follows:-

Firing Line:- Right: B Company, Centre: C Company, Left: D Company.
LANCASHIRE SUPPORT FARM:- A Company.
DESPIERRE FARM:- Battalion Headquarters.
The 20th Battalion Manchester Regiment were on left of the Battalion and 9th Bn Devons on the right. Patrol from Centre Coy located enemy wiring party which was dispersed by Lewis Gun Fire. The 2 bodies of the men missing in the raid were removed by the enemy at night.

14/10/16
An enemy working party was located at CH.b.46. at about 12 noon & was dispersed by Lewis Gun Fire. There was the usual indirect Machine & Lewis Gun fire during the night.
15/10/16
There was little activity on either side during the day. Patrols were sent out from all 3 Companies. No enemy were seen or heard. An enemy working party was located working on his wire and was fired on by Lewis Guns. Casualties: - 1 wounded.
16/10/16
Our trench mortars fired about 40 rounds between 2 and 3pm doing considerable damage to the enemy trench & destroyed suspected machine gun emplacement. Enemy Trench Mortars were very active on the front of Let Fire Company. Our trench was damaged & there were several casualties. Our artillery retaliated. Casualties:- 2 killed, 8 wounded.
17/10/16
There was a little enemy trench mortar fire during the morning. A patrol from the Centre Fire Company located a small party of the enemy who were fired on.
18/10/16
At about 8.30am an enemy working party were observed repairing a gap in his parapet. It was dispersed by Lewis Gun fire. The enemy snipers were active during the morning. At 4pm out STOKES mortar battery carried out a short bombardment of the enemy trenches opposite BURNT OUT FARM. Considerable damage was done. The enemy made a feeble reply. Patrols went out but no enemy were seen or heard. Casualties:- 2 wounded.
19/10/16
The Battalion was relieved in the trenches by the 8th Bn Devons Regiment. On relief the Battalion was distributed as follows:-

C Company garrisoned the following Strong Posts & c:– PATERNOSTER ROW - RESERVE FARM - FORT PAUL - LANCASHIRE SUPPORT.
A Company garrisoned the following Strong Posts & c:– STATION REDOUBT - SEVEN TREES REDOUBT - LYS FARM.
B & D Companies & Battalion Headquarters to billets at LE BIZET.

LE BIZET
20/10/16
to
23/10/16
24/10/16
The Battalion remained in billets & Strong Posts in Brigade Support.
25/10/16
The Battalion proceeded to trenches LE TOUQUET Left Sub-Sector relieving 8th Bn Devons Reg. The Battalion were distributed as follows:-

Firing line:– Right: C Company, Centre: D Company, Left: A Company.
LANCASHIRE SUPPORT FARM:- B Company.
DESPIERRE FARM:- Battalion Headquarters.
There was little activity throughout the day.

26/10/16
Enemy trench mortars were very active between 11am & 12 noon but little damage was done. Our Artillery & Trench Mortars executed a bombardment of enemy front line from 3.45 to 4.30pm. A patrol from the Centre Fire Company located several enemy sentries between the parapet & the wire. The ground was subsequently swept by Lewis Guns. Casualties:- 2 killed,[5] 11 wounded – by enemy sling bombs & rifle grenades in the afternoon.
27/10/16
During the morning the enemy sent over a few small shells near RESERVE FARM. Our artillery silenced large enemy trench mortars which opened fire on Right Fire Coy at about 5.30pm. Patrols were sent out but no enemy were seen or heard.
28/10/16
Enemy trench mortars were active between 10.30 and 11am and 3.30 to 4pm. At 2.45pm our Artillery bombarded enemy's front line with good effect. Parties from left and centre companies encountered enemy working parties which were dispersed by Lewis Guns one of the enemy was captured during the night. Casualties:- 3 killed, [6] 4 wounded.
29/10/16
Enemy artillery was rather active during the morning. Between 3 & 4pm enemy trench mortars opened fire on Centre Fire Company doing considerable damage to our front line. Our Artillery & heavy trench mortars retaliated & effectively silenced them. Patrols went out from all companies and reported all quiet at night. Casualties:- 3 killed,[7] 4 wounded.
30/10/16
There was little activity during the day. Patrols went out at night & located two enemy fire parties which were fired on. Our Trench Mortars were very active from 9.25 to 9.30pm on the front of the Right Fire Coy.
31/10/16
There was little activity on either side during the day. The usual parties went out at night. Nothing unusual was reported.


No drafts joined the Battalion during the month.
No officers joined the Battalion during the month.
17 Other Ranks were evacuated sick during the month.
The strength of the Battalion on the last day of the month was:- 30 Officers, 942 O Ranks.

[signed] G.E. Beaty-Pownall, Major[8]
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. CWGC records two men killed:
    • Arthur Acton (27099 Pte.) Age: 18. Buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery. Son of Mrs. Emma Acton, of 28, Anderson St., Oldfield Rd., Salford, Manchester.
    • R. J. Gill (21479 Pte.) Age: 21. Buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord. Son of Richard James and Margaret Gill, of Cowan Bridge, Carnforth. Lancashire.
  2. James Dewhurst (20457 Pte.) Age: 21. Buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery. Son of Robert and Jane Dewhurst of 5, St. Walburge St., Preston, Lancashire.
  3. 2nd Lieut. Robert Basil Wood. 6th Border Regiment (attd. 2nd Border Regiment). Buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery. Son of Ernest Richard and Katherine Grace Wood, of Melton Cottage, East Bergholt, Suffolk. His brothers Richard Poingdestre Wood and Geoffrey Dayrell Wood also fell.
  4. The following three men were killed:
    • Walter Thomas Coward (11575 Pte.) Age: 24. Commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial. Son of the late Edward and Eleanor Coward, of Mountain View, Levens, Milnthorpe.
    • T. Brownson (18946 L/Cpl.) Buried at Pont-du-Hemmilitary Cemetery, La Gorgue.
    • Alfred Archer (10622 Pte.) Commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.
  5. CWGC records three men killed, all buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery: J. Flintoft (27155 Pte.), D. Wilson (23312 L/Cpl.) and R. Courtes (27273 Pte.).
  6. CWGC records four men killed:
    • Joseph Thompson (27296 Pte.) Age: 31. Buried Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord. Son of William and Harriet Thompson.
    • C. Umbers (27284 Pte.) Buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery.
    • H. Reeves (27211 Pte.) Buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery.
    • I. Butler (27123 Pte.) Buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery. Son of Thomas and Alice Butler, of Salford, Manchester, Lancashire.
  7. The following three men were killed, all buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery: J.F. O'Neill (27320 Pte.), J. Laing (27202 Pte.) and T.H. Chadwick (27156 Pte.).
  8. 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.