8th Battalion War Diary, April 1918

  8th Border Regiment War Diary Transcriptions (1915-1918)
The National Archives WO/95/2251   
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Place Date Hour Summary of Events
[?WAERSVELOE] KORTEPYP CAMP 1st Advance Coy D coy arrived 1.30am & remainder of Bn 5am & embussed for KORTEPYP CAMP - New draft of 170 19 year old boys. Excellent appearance & smart of parade. CAPT J.DAWSON rejoined.
ROMARIN CAMP 2nd Move to ROMARIN CAMP - 2nd S. Lancs in line - 8 Border support, 11 Cheshire reserves. D coy under Capt DAWSON (Lancashire Support Farm) [co????e – communique?] attaching coy under tactical orders of 2/S Lancs – C coy CAPT BENTLEY A & B coys. ROMARINCAMP with Bn HQrs – Excellent weather.
3rd Cleaning up & baths – unsettled.
4th Unsettled - cleaning up & inspections – C & D coys withdrawn from support line – preparatory to moving up next day. OC Coys reconnoitred front line. The Bn relieved 3rd Worcestors & 11th Lanc Fusiliers – Bn sector Lys River on right to C4b7.8 on left –C Coy (Capt Bentley) left subsector D coy (Capt Dawson) right subsector.
[T?OUQUET] SECTOR 5th B coy- support - Grande Rabeque - A coy - Reserve - Le Bizet - Bn HQrs - [Desquieres?] Farm - Relief began 7.30pm & finished 10pm except 3 posts D coy 3am - night wet.
6th Fine. Co visited OC’s front line coys C & D – Day quiet. Patrols out at night.
7th Battn in the line. A little TM activity. Persistent fire by enemy MG all night from FRELINGHEIN.
8th              do.             MG fired from FRELINGHEIN all night. Patrol located strong enemy working party at West end of FRELINGHEIN BRIDGE, they were wiring the Bridge Head. 2nd Sth Lancs on our left relieved by XI Cheshire. A Coy (2nd Lt Allan) moved up from LE BIZET to FRANDE RABEQUE – B Coy side slipping to the right in the RESERVE LINE. Enemy TMs in WARNETON sector heavily bombarded during the afternoon.
9th Dull & cloudy. Heavy bombardment on our right - several miles away. Reported GERMAN attack from ARMENTIERES to LA BASSEE. Our sector heavily shelled in afternoon - with Gas, HE & shrapnel. A coy (Lt Allan) relieved C coy (Capt Bentley) in left front. B coy (Capt COXON) relieved D Coy (Capt Dawson) in right front.
10th Dull - slight mist - Enemy attacked about 5.30am after heavy bombardment. A Coy practically cut off. B, C & D Coys returned to Reserve line which was soon enveloped & about midday Battalion withdrew with other troops to a NORTH and South line West of LE BIZET. A further withdrawal to the ROAD Clef de la BELGIQUE-OOSTHOVE was necessitated during the afternoon, and late at night the right flank was swungback to the line COUTRE RUE OOSTHOVE-DOUDOU – Two companies 9th Cheshires being on our right at COURTE RUE, and 2 companies 9th Cheshires on our left at OOSTHOVE.
OOSTHOVE 11th Enemy attacked early morning but was driven off by rifle & LG fire. Position bombarded fairly heavily. About midday a withdrawal on the left necessitated falling back on TRENCH LINE about LE ROSSIGNOL which was held till night. LT STRONG & party of 40 OR captured a MG & restored a temporary gap in the line about BRUNE GAYE in the afternoon. Orders to evacuate NIEPPE SALIENT being received, the Battalion withdrew to CONNAUGHT ROAD at dusk – where it dug in, in support to 75th Inf Bde Group.
CONNAUGHT & KORTEPYP 12th Day was fine. Beyond little shelling & sniping nothing of great importance occurred during the morning. About 2pm a general retirement was observed on our right – which necessitated a further withdrawal to KORTEPYP – where the line was reorganised.
13th Very heavy mist in morning. The night had passed quietly. About 6am 6th SWB were seen to be retiring along the NEUVE EGLISE Road & soon after under cover of mist & the heavy bombardment enemy attacked in great strength & forced us back to the line NEUVE EGLISE – TROIS ROIS CABT where elements of 75th Bde Group & the 9th HLI had already dug in. Here a stand was made. Capt COXON[1] & LT BOTT[2] were both killed making a counterattack on the enemy’s flank during the morning. Meantime a position was being prepared from CRUCIFIX CORNER along the ridge in a NORTH EASTERLY direction.
14th Morning quiet except for heavy shelling of back areas. About midday enemy began dribbling small parties forward & soon evidence of massing was observed in the valley along the NEUVE EGLISE-DRANOUTRE ROAD about TBC Central. Our barrage & MG fire nipped the attack in the bud. Orders for Bde relief received about 9.30pm.
KOUDOKOT MONT des CATS 15th Battalion relieved in line by 71st Bde about 2.30 am & marched to KOUDOKOT where it joined the rest of the Brigade. At 2pm the Brigade marched via BERTHEN to MONT DES CATS which was reached about 7pm.
LA LEVRETTE 16th About 10.45pm Battalion marched via BOESCHEPE to LA LEVRETTE in support to 33rd & 34th Divisions. Bde formed into a composite Battalion under Lt-Col J.B. ALLSOPP. Capt BENTLEY & Lt DUGGAN remained with Battalion. Lt-Col BIRT returned to rear Brigade HQ.
17th Still at LALEVRETTE - Shelled rather heavily during the day.
MONT DES CATS 18th Early morning the Battalion returned to hutments at MONT DES CATS. Major STEWART rejoined Battalion temporarily during the evening. Draft of young boys mostly.
19th Snow fell - very cold. Shell burst in C Coys hut killing 5 & wounding 26 OR.[3]
20th Cold. Cleaning up & refitting. Enemy shelled vicinity fairly heavily. Classes for specialist. Firing on range behind MONASTRY. Inlying piquet established as a safeguard against surprise.
VOXURIE - POPERINGHE 21st Brigade marched to HIRST CAMP near VOXVRIE-POPERINGHE. Fine.
22nd Fine. Classes continued. 18 officers joined Battalion in afternoon & draft of 63 OR.
23rd Lewis Gun classes continued. 2nd Lt Mackie joined the Bn and was posted to A Co.
24th Specialist classes continued. Lt M. TURNBULL[4] joined the Bn. He was posted to D Co and appointed Bn signalling officer.
25th The Bn was employed in digging trench line. At 10am orders were issued from Bde warningthe Bn to stand by ready to move. Coys were recalled from digging and preparations were made for an immediate move. At 2.30pm the Brigade moved to HOUGRAAF CABARET where the division were ordered to concentrate. At 11pm the DIVISION received orders to counterattack inthe vicinity of KEMMEL. The 7th Brigade on the right and the 74th Brigade on the left were ordered to move forward in conjunction with the 39th French Division. The 75th Bde were in close support. The Battalion moved forward and took up aposition in the right of the LA CLYTTE- RENINGHELST road about 600 yards E of RENINGHELST at 2AM.
RENINGHELST 26th Owing to heavy enemy shelling D Coy [?????ed] to a [????] position on the flank. The remainder of the day was fairly quiet.
IN LINE 27th During the afternoon the Bn. moved forward and relieved the 10th Cheshires (7th Brigade). In the evening the Bn moved into the front line and relieved the 8th Loyal North Lancs and 3rd Worcesters. Patrols were sent out during the night. Small parties of the enemy were encountered and dispersed.
28th Intermittent hostile shelling throughout the day. Otherwise quiet. Lt F.W. DARVELL[5] took out patrol during the day and patrolled the whole of the right front. During the night patrols were again sent out and a little wiring was done.
29th At 3am the enemy opened a bombardment of Gas shells which at 5am developed into a heavy HE barrage. The SOS was seen going up on the left of the line. At 6.15am the two from coys reported the enemy were massing on the right front and appeared to be attempting to attack down the LA CLYTTE-KEMMIL road. Owing to our artillery MG and rifle fire the attack did not develop. About this time the two front Coys were subjected to heavy MG and rifle fire from the right front. At 10am LT-COL CWH BIRT, DSO, was wounded in the left arm by a shell. Capt A.J. BENTLEY A/Adjt took over command of the Bn. Up to 11am considerable enemy movement was observed on the right front. MG and rifle fire was opened on them and heavy casualties inflicted. Owing to heavy hostile shelling throughout the morning communication with the rear was difficult. At 5.15pm the enemy opened a heavy barrage on our front and support which continued until 6.15 when the enemy again appeared to be attempting to attack along the LA CLYTTE-KEMMIL road. This attack was again broken up by our artillery MG and rifle fire. The remainder of the day was without incident. The following officers were wounded during the morning. CAPT C.W. McLENNAN, Gassed went down to ADS and returned to the Bn. 2 Lts. J.W. ROGERS (B coy) J. GIBSON (B Coy) J.T.R. VAREL (B Coy) J.H. MACKIE (A Coy) on the night of the 29/30 the Bn was relieved by the 2nd Bn South Lancs. On relief the Bn moved back to a position on the LA CLYTTE-RENINGHELST road 800 yds west of LA CLYTTE. There Major H.G. FRASER joined the Bn and assumed command.
LA CLYTTE 30th The day was fairly quiet. At 6pm the vicinity of Bn HQ was heavily shelled for about an hour.

HONOURS and awards during the month
MILITARY MEDAL for Conspicuous gallantry during the retreat on the SOMME
32272 Cpl J.S. SEWELL
12235 Cpl J.W. BURKIN[6]
9844 Cpl P. CARR
24645 L/C J. LEE
11884 Sjt J. MACDONALD
21036 Cpl H. WISE
27434 Pte H. SINGLETON
5622 Pte H. FERGUSON
18388 Pte. R. LAWRENCE
13589 Pte. J. VARITY
16233 L/C B. DUCKWORTH
30198 Pte. G. PORTER
15597 L/C G. JOHNSTON
14509 Pte. J.KELLY
15091 Sjt M. CRAYSTON

[Signed] A.J. Bentley Capt
for Major Comdg
8th Bn The Border Regt.

See also[edit]

References / notes[edit]

  • National Archives Catalogue Reference: WO/95/2251
  • The transcription above is available under the National Archives Open Government Licence for public sector information.
  • War diary made available by M. Deacon and transcribed by P. Bramham.
  1. Capt. Percy Hunter Coxon, MC. Age: 25. Buried at Messines Ridge British Cemetery. Gazetted Sept. 1914; wounded at Thiepval July, 1916. Son of Thomas and Mary Coxon of 8, Vernon Parade, Whitehall Rd., Gateshead.
  2. Lieut. G.G.R. Bott BOTT, MC. Age: 26. South Lancashire Regiment (attd. Border Regiment). Buried at Messines Ridge British Cemetery. Son of Arthur T. and Constance Bott of 63, Victoria Rd., Fulwood, Preston; husband of Mary A. Bott.
  3. CWGC list 6 deaths on 19th:-
    • M.S. Mitchinson (202985 Pte.) buried at Tourcoing (Pont-Neuville) Communal Cemetery.
    • Charles Edward Hill (34574 Pte.) Age: 19. Buried at Meteren Military Cemetery. Son of James Edward and Florence Hill, of Hemming Green, Old Brampton, Chesterfield.
    • J.R. Jones, MM & Bar (15153 Pte.) Age: 22. Buried at Meteren Military Cemetery. Son of the late John R. and Mary A. Jones of Branthwaite, Cockermouth, Cumberland.
    • G. Martin (18166 Pte.) Buried at Meteren Military Cemetery.
    • J. Potts (24856 Pte.) Buried at Meteren Military Cemetery.
    • Edward Quinn (18993 Pte.) Age: 32. Buried at Meteren Military Cemetery. Son of David and Eliza Quinn. Native of Workington, Cumberland.
  4. Capt. Maxwell Turnbull, MC. Date of Death: 18/10/1918 Age: 27. 3rd Border Regiment (attd. 8th Border Regiment) Buried at Etaples Military Cemetery. Son of David and Isabella Beattie Turnbull of Ellock, Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire.
  5. 2nd Lieut. Frederick William Darvell, MC. Age: 20. Commemorated on the Soissons Memorial. Son of the late Arthur H. and Jane Darvell.
  6. J.W. Burkin, MM, (12235 Cpl.) Date of Death: 18/04/1918. Buried at Haringhe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery.