6th Battalion War Diary, September 1916/Annex J
Transcription of the report rendered to 33rd Infantry Brigade regarding the operations from 25–30 September, 1916 (labelled in the war diary as J). This undated and unsigned document was hand written on lined notepaper.
6th Border Regiment
Moved from MAILLY MALLET at 4 PM Marched to MARTINSART and arrived OVILLERS 1030 PM where the men completed to what they would carry on the man in the attack.
Relieved 6th Duke of Wellingtons 2 AM in DANUBE trench (2 Coys) STAFFORD ST (1/2 Coy) Border St (1/2 Coy) THIRD ST (1 Coy). Carrying parties completed at BN dumps. On the 25th the Signalling Officer (Lt Hood) had laid three separate lines from BHQ to DANUBE. The men were situated in the trenches in the order detailed for the advance. Our objective comprised two trenches ie JOSEPH and SCHWABEN.
"B" Coy under Capt RN Carr to lead in two waves, pass over JOSEPH trench and secure SCHWABEN. The clearing party & caretakers for JOSPEH trench went forward with the second wave. This ensured that all men of leading two waves went ahead.
"A" Coy under Capt CB May followed "B" Coy to occupy and consolidate JOSPEH trench also in two waves.
½ "D" Coy from STAFFORD trench to follow immediately and consolidate communication trench R32a77 to 26c77 – this company moved from their position at zero and arrived just on time at their objective.
The attack was carried out in a very gallant manner – the men were very confident. The artillery preparation and timing were all that could be desired and there was not a single hitch in the proceedings. Capt RN Carr and 2/Lt A Fulton led most gallantly and were a very fine example to their men. Both of these officers were wounded before or at JOSEPH trench but continued in the attack and saw their men settle down to work in SCHWABEN before thinking of themselves.
In the second trench Capt Carr tackled 3 of the enemy single handed and accounted for two of them before he was knocked out by a second wound. The Sherwood Foresters carried on to their second objective across our front and all companies got busy at work. 191 wounded and unwounded prisoners taken over 90 enemy dead and 5 machine guns captured.
6am one company moved forward to reinforce Sherwood Foresters in ZOLLERN ("C" Coy). "A" Coy and Bn HQ moved to the same trench at about 1 PM. At 2.25 PM orders were received to assault HESSIAN. ZERO 3 PM. "C" Coy under Capt KA Morris were give this task. The men were quickly detailed for the various duties and got into position.
There was little artillery preparation but this did not deter the men. "C" Coy went forward in fine style and in spite of serious opposition especially from STUFF redoubt direction carried the position and accounted for all the garrison. 64 prisoners and 2 M.Guns were captured. Capt KA Morris and 2/Lt Barry were wounded in this attack. At 6 PM "A" Coy moved up to HESSIAN in support of "C" Coy and work on consolidation was carried on all night under very heavy shell fire and a counter attack which was driven off by rifle fire.
All the officers, except two, in HESSIAN were knocked out and Major KM Chance was sent forward to take command of the ½ Battalion. Except between the hours of 6 & 9 in the morning HESSIAN and ZOLLERN were subjected to an incessant bombardment. The former is a good trench and the latter poor so was held lightly and casualties were not too great under the circumstances.
We extended our right in HESSIAN for about 200 yds so as to keep touch with 32nd Bde at 3PM and were relieved by the 6th Lincolnshires at 4.30 PM.
The arrangements for clearing the battlefield on the 25th were not good. The regimental bearers cannot be expected in the present type of war to be able to deal with all casualties ahead of the Regt Aid Post. The deficiency of stretchers was very keenly felt.
After we had settled down to work in the captured trenches, parties were detached to bring back wounded and these men invariably came back without a stretcher. It is considered that some one should have been detailed to insist on them taking one. The distance the wounded had to be carried was also very great. Even up to the time of our relief men were being carried past P8 X2a22 a distance of about a mile from the front.
More wheeled stretchers would have been a help. With great difficulty and a considerable assistance from officers and bearers of the 34th Fd Amb. I was able to get all my wounded back, but unfortunately could not spare men to take the dead. 30 of whom were left behind. This I regret very much indeed.
The following RAMC officers were invaluable and worked incessantly from the 25th to 27th
- Capt AJ McCreadie
- Capt Smelling
- Capt Hodges
- Capt Stockdale
I would specially bring these officers to notice.
I consider that the number of Lewis Gun Magazines carried is too great and leads to loss. My total magazines coming out of action was roughly 200 (29th) on the morning of the 30th I was able to make good without any difficulty from perfectly good magazines laying about.
I found the Lewis guns to be a very useful and handy weapon especially when combined with a bombing attack. The rough and tumble in & outs of wet trenches did not seem to affect these & I had only one ever out of action, this one was completely destroyed by a direct hit.
Prisoners could be used for evacuating wounded. Especially their own, if a forward dump of stretchers was available.