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2nd Battalion War Diary, September 1916

From the Lonsdale Battalion wiki
    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 Battalion remained encamped N of the Church BUIRE.
— " —
The Battalion remained encamped N of the Church BUIRE.
— " —
The Battalion was ready formed up to entrain on lorries at 7.15pm but did not actually leave until about 3.30pm. On arrival at FRICOURT the Battalion left the lorries & made a temporary halt in a field whilst rations and bombs were issued, the latter having to be donated.
Major G.E. Beaty-Pownall[1] was left in charge of the Battalion to bring it on to MONTAUBAN where it arrived just after the 9th Devons Regt at about 2am on the 4th September. Here guides were picked up and the Battn proceeded to BERNAFAY WOOD to pick up tools. On completion of this the move was continued & in a very short time it was found that the guides has disappeared so the forward move was completed without them – The Battn catching up the 9th DEVON REGT who had also apparently lost their guides. These occurrences considerably delayed the advance. The Battn was inposition as follows:

A Company (under CAPT. P.R. DOWDING):– 2 Platoons in STOUT TRENCH, 2 Platoons in SUPPORT TRENCH N of GINCHY AVENUE.
C Company (under 2nd Lt. J.A. MALKIN):– In GINCHY AVENUE.
D Company (under LIEUT. R.K. EHRENBORG):– In a trench N of YORK ALLEY (this was believed to be LONGUEVAL AVENUE.
Battalion Headquarters:– at end of YORK ALLEY.
At 10AM on an appeal for support from OC 9th DEVON REGT A Company was ordered to support this Battn and 2 extra Platoons were moved up to STOUT TRENCH but by the time this had been done a report was received that the Devons were being forced back by shell and machine gun fire. So the company remained in position.Later owing to the Battalion being under heavy shellfire the font was extended a little way along ZZ TRENCH.
The Battn was under very heavy shell fire all day but owing to the men working hard to improve the existing trenches by deepening them the casualties were comparatively few, although very many men were buried. CAPT R.F. NEWDIGATE[2] and 2nd Lt J.A. MALKIN[3] were killed during the day and 2nd Lt S. MARTINDALE missing believed killed.[4]
Late on the evening of the 4th orders were received for 2 Companies to relieve the 12th KINGS LIVERPOOL REGT in the GUILLEMONT area. "B" Company under Lieut W.B. BUTLER and "D" Company under Lieut R.K. EHRENBORG moved to the new area at about 11pm commanded by Lieut- Colonel E.I de S. THORPE. "A" and "C" Companies under Lieut & Adjutant D. STRANGE went back to reserve in MONTAUBAN REDOUBT, where MAJOR G. E. BEATY-POWNALL took command of them.

At about 4am on the 5th the 2 Companies completed their relief of the 12th KINGS LIVERPOOL REGIMENT their positions being as follows:-

"D" Company in a trench N.W. of GUILLEMONT opposite GINCHY. "B" Company in support in rear. Half Battalion headquarters in a dugout by NEW TRENCH. On the left of the Battalion were the 2nd GORDON HIGHLANDERS & on the right the ROYAL MUNSTER FUSILIERS.

On the 6th Sept the 2nd GORDON HIGHLANDERS and 9th DEVONS REGT made two attempts to take GINCHY in front of the trenches held by the Battalion. Although they got into the village they were unable to hold it owing to hostile machine gun and shell fire & had to fall back. The Lewis Guns of the Battalion endeavoured to assist the attack by firing from advanced positions & continued to do so until put out of action by being buried one also being damaged.
On the morning of 7th Sept about 2am B and D Company were relieved by 7th ROYAL IRISH RIFLES & moved back to MONTAUBAN where relief of the Battn was reported competed at 4AM - after which the Battn reassembled in bivouac South of FRICOURT.

Casualties 3/9/16 to 7/9/16:-
    CAPT R.F. NEWDIGATE and 2nd Lt J.A. MALKIN killed 4/9/1916.
    2nd Lt S. MARTINDALE missing (believed killed) 4/9/1916.
    2nd Lt J.S. WILLOX Shell Shock 4/9/1916.
    Other ranks:- KILLED:- 10. WOUNDED:- 52. MISSING:- 3. SHELL SHOCK:- 14. TOTAL:- 79.

The Battalion marched to ALBERT starting at 7.45am and entrained at 10.30am for AIRAINES arriving at about 4pm.
The Battalion remained in rest billets, battalion training being carried out.
The Battalion marched to LONGPRE and entrained at 10.45 for BAILLEUL.
On arrival at BAILLEUL the Battalion marched to billets at NIEPPE and PONT DE NIEPPE arriving at about 12 noon.

(Reference Maps:- BELGIUM & FRANCE Sheet 28 SW 1/20,000 and FRANCE Sheet 36 NW (Edn6c) 1/20,000)

The Battalion proceeded to trenches (LE TOUQUET LEFT SUB-SECTOR) relieving 9th WELSH FUSILIERS. The Relief was competed at 12 NOON and the Battn was distributed as follows:-

FRONT LINE front (right) ESSEX CENTRAL FARM C4.a.65.00 to left U.28.a.2.7.
RIGHT:- A Company. CENTRE:- B Company. LEFT:- C Company. SUPPORT:- LANCASHIRE FARM - D Company.
The 7th KINGS OWN REGT were on the left of the Battn & 9th DEVONS on the right. There was little activity during the day. A patrol was sent out from left company during the night no movement of the enemy was heard. Enemy machine guns were active at night.
Casualties:– NIL.

The situation remained normal. Patrols were sent out from 3 frontline coy during the night. Enemy wiring parties were encountered by a patrol of Centre Coy. Enemy machine guns were very active from 7.17 to 7.45pm.

Casualties:- NIL.

There was a little enemy artillery activity & a few small trench mortars were fired on the left company during the morning. We retaliated with Stokes Mortars & rifle grenades. Patrols were sent out at night – the patrol from Centre Coy located 3 enemy working parties which were fired on later by Lewis Guns & dispersed.

Casualties:- NIL.

Our artillery shelled positions behind enemy line during the day. In the afternoon enemy fired rifle grenades at left & centre coy in retaliation for our Trench Mortar fire. Enemy Machine Guns were active at night. Patrol on left Company located enemy working party.

Casualties:– 3 wounded.

There was little activity during the day & much work in repairing trenches was done. Patrols went out but enemy were not seen or heard.

Casualties:– 1 wounded.

The enemy fired a few Trench Mortars at the Right Coy during the day. Our Stokes Battery retaliated & silenced him.

Casualties:- 1 killed.[5] 1 wounded.

Enemy snipers were active in early morning – we retaliated. The Battalion were relieved by 8th DEVONS REGT and companies after relief were located as follows:

B Company garrisoned the following Strong Post:- LYS FARM, STATION REDOUBT, SEVEN TREES.
C Company (1 platoon) garrisoned GUNNER FARM.
A and C Companies and Battalion Headquarters in billets a LE BIZET in Brigade Reserve.
The Relief was complete by 12 NOON.
Casualties:- 1 killed.[6]

The Battalion remained in billets & posts as above. Work was done repairing and strengthening strong posts and trenches.

Casualties:- 28th:- 2 wounded 29th:- 8 wounded.
Drafts as under joined the Battn during the month:-
5/9/16:- 180 Other Ranks. 30 of these men had served with the Battn previously. The remaining 150 were transferred from 2/5th Lancs Fusiliers. Place where trained:- WITLEY CAMP SURREY. State of training:- Good.
9/9/16:- 12 Other Ranks. These men had served with the Battn previously.
10/9/16:- 77 Other Ranks. Transferred from 2nd, 8th & 9th Battns KOYLI. Place where trained:- RUGELEY, STAFFS. State of training:- Fairly Good.
11/6/16:- 100 Other Ranks transferred from 2nd & 20th Battns MANCHESTER REGT. Place where trained:- ALTCAR LIVERPOOL. State of training:- Good.
16/6/16:- 9 Other Ranks. Had all served with the Battn previously.
22/6/16:- 6 Other Ranks. Had all served with the Battn previously.
25/6/16:- 10 Other Ranks. Had all served with the Battn previously.
2nd LIEUTS E.W. GREEN and W. COWPER joined the Battn on 6/9/16.
2nd LIEUT T. GRONOW joined the Battn on 8/9/26.
2nd LIEUTS J. MOORE,[7] J.G. CAMPBELL and J. HAYTON joined the Battn on 13/9/16.
25 Other Ranks were evacuated sick during the month.
Total casualties during the month:- KILLED 12, WOUNDED 67, MISSING 3, SHELL SHOCK 14.
Strength of Battalion on last day of the month:- 34 Officers, 1051 Other Ranks.

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

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. Lt-Col. George Ernest Beaty-Pownall, DSO. Died 10/10/1918. Age: 41. 2nd Border Regiment (attd. 1st Bn. King's Own Scottish Borderers) Buried at LijssenThoel Military Cemetery. Son of Lt-Col. G.A. Beaty-Pownall and Susan Beaty-Pownall. His brother Thomas also died with 2nd Border Regiment: Capt. Thomas Trelawny Beaty-Pownall. Died 24/03/1917. Age: 35. Buried at St. Leger British Cemetery.
  2. Capt. Richard Francis Newdigate. Age: 22. Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Son of the late Lt. Gen. Sir Henry Newdigate, K.C.B., Rifle Brigade, and Lady Newdigate. Proceeded to France December 1914; wounded at Neuve-Chappelle 1915; returned to the Front November 1915.
  3. CWGC has his rank as Captain: James Andrew Malkin. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
  4. 2nd Lieut. Stanley Martindale. Age: 20. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Son of Mr. and Mrs. T.A. Martindale, of 6, ShawvilleTerrace, Shildon, Co. Durham. Educated at King James' I Grammar School, Bishop Auckland, and Borough College, Isleworth. Gazetted from the London University O.T.C.
  5. J. Wernham (21034 L/Cpl.) Buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery.
  6. S. Holden (27344 Pte.) Buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery.
  7. Capt. John Moore. Died 26/10/1917. Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
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