8th Battalion War Diary, August 1917

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    8th Border Regiment War Diary Transcriptions (1915-1918)
The National Archives WO/95/2251    
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Place Date Hour Summary of Events
BELLEWARDE FARM 1st At 1.30 Battalion was ordered from Mud Lane to take up position in close support of 23rd Bde who were holding BELLEWARDE RIDGE. At 4am the Bn was in position between BELLEWARDE LAKE and YPRES-ROULERS RAILWAY. C Coy (Capt KING) & D COY (Capt DUGGAN) right & left respectively. A Coy (Capt SMITH)& B Coy (Lt Birnie MC) in support. – Battalion HQ & Aidpost at BELLEWARDE FARM. Rained heavily all day. Men suffered from exposure & cold. Enemy shelled the position fairly considerably. Two parties 50 men each sent forward at night to assist dig support trenches on West slope of WESTHOEK RIDGE.
2nd Still in position North of BELLEWARDE LAKE. Rained nearly all day. Warning received of probable counter attack on BLACK LINE (WESTHOEK RIDGE) Bn held in readiness to move forward to BELLEWARDE RIDGE and to counterattack if necessary. Shelled intermittently.
3rd Still in BELLEWARDE position. Acting under order GOC Bde who visited us in the morning. A party of 100 men under Capt F.J. Gemmel-Smith who detailed to assist the XI Cheshires who were attacking the next morning in order to push their forward post out a couple of hundred yards. Owing to the continued rain the attack was postponed. Sec Lieut W.F.J. LAIT killed in action near LAKE FARM.[1]
4th Still in BELLEWARDE Position. Weather fine though threatening.
5th Still in BELLEWARDE Position. Little rain Ground in very muddy state. Movement difficult.
RAILWAY WOOD 6th Bn relieved early in morning by 1 coy L.N. Lancs[2] & 1 Coy Lanc Fus[3] and moved back to Dugouts in RAILWAY WOOD.
7th More Rain. 2 working parties of 110 men each provided for 74th BDE to carry knife rests.[4] At 10pm Bn moved forward. A & C Coy (Capt SMITH & KING resp) to JACOB TRENCH – A on right. DCoy (Capt COXON, MC) north of LAKE FARM. B Coy (Lt BIRNIE MC) IDIOT RESERVE, HQ & AID POST at BELLEWARDE FARM.
BELLEWARDE 8th Bn ordered to be prepared to assist 74th Bde in proposed attack. A Coy placed under orders Lt Col FINCH (13 Cheshire) to support his right flank South of WESTHOEK. D Coy brought into JACOB TRENCH to be vacated by A coy & B coy sent down to RAILWAY WOOD to assist carrying parties. Aid post at BELLEWARDE FARM and Bn HQ. at junction JACOB TRENCH and IDIOT DRIVE. All in position by 12 midnight 8/9 August. Rained heavily & enemy shelled very heavily.
9th Attack postponed owing to unpropitious weather & by 6am the Bn was moved back to the positions occupied by it 24 hours previously. At 11.30am the Battalion was relieved by the 3rd WORCESTERS & moved back via MENIN GATE & BELGIAN BATTERY CORNER (where lorries were waiting) to WINNIPEG CAMP. Sec Lt R. Smith died of wounds received in action while he was being relieved.[5]
WINNIPEG 10th Bn resting & refitting in Camp. "B" teams from transport rejoined. Men Bathed.
11th Warned to move back to line to relieve 2nd R. Irish R. Lt Col BIRT went forward to arrange relief with 4th Bde. Bn moved by lorries to BELGIAN BATT. CORNER. Thence marched via WARRINGTON ROAD and BIRR CROSS ROADS to position on WESTHOEK RIDGE. Owing to enemy barrage & heavy rain& guides not being at appointed place relief much delayed. Ground very wet & boggy.
WESTHOEK 12th Bn completed relief of 2nd Royal Irish Rifle by 3.30am & disposed as follows: A Coy (2/Lt HASWELL) J8a65.20 – B Coy (Capt COXON MC) J8a50.40 – C Coy (Capt KING) J8a60.65 - D Coy (2/Lt CROOKSTON) J8a60.75. All on Easterly slope of WESTHOEK RIDGE AID POST at SEIBEN HOUSE BN HQ J7d80.90. Morning was fine but rain fell heavily in afternoon. Movement during day practically impossible. Position shelled very heavily especially at night. By 11.30pm the Battalion was relieved in the 2 right coys by 3rd LONDONS & 2 left coys by XI Cheshire & moved via BELGIAN BATTERY CORNER (where lorries were waiting) to DOMINION CAMP.
DOMINION CAMP 13th Bn all in camp except for one or two stragglers. Transport & the B teams with transport moved from forward transport lines (near BELGIAN CHATEAU) to DOMINIONCAMP. The Day spent in resting & cleaning up. Little rain.
14th Heavy rain during the day. Bn resting & cleaning up & refitting. CAPT TURNER (MO)sent down sick & Capt WELLS sent from 76 FA to relieve him. Capt READE rejoined his battalion 8th S. Lancs.
15th Thundershowers. Battalion refitting. B teams rejoined & reinforcements from MILLAM. Capt DOVE,[6] 2/Lts HOGG, OAKDEN, & LAY joined from Corpos Reinforcement Camp. Brig Gen C.E. BOND (late CO) paid the battalion a visit.
16th Received short notice to move up to Divisional Rsve. Left at 12 noon for SWANCHATEAU – no casualties. Carrying parties (5 of 50) – for the 8th Divn, carrying to DUMP by BELLEWARDE RIDGE. Casualties - nil.
SWAN CHATEAU 17th Relieved in evening by 17/Londons & marching to embossing point on OUERDOM-FLAMERTIGHNE Rd.
GODEWEARSVELOT 18th Arrived at Billets at 4am. Major F.A.WILSON 1st R Dublin Fus joined Bn for duty as 2nd in Command.
19th Church parade & cleaning up.
20th Brigade moved to STEENVORDE AREA. Left at 9am – marched as Bn. Lieut Col CWH Birt, DSO left Bn for a week’s rest at [Jen?] - side.
STEENVORDE 21st General inspection by C in C Field Marshal SIR DOUGLAS HAIG, KCB etc. Bn did very well - complimented by C in C.
22nd & 23rd General & specialist training in morning. Recreational training in afternoon .
24th      do.     Competition for BOND CUP completed – A Coy winners.
25th General & specialist training in morning. Recreational training in afternoon. Lieut Col CWH Birt, DSO rejoined Bn.
26th Church parade. CO’s Conference at Bde HQ (start) Heavy rain at night.
27th Heavy rain. Indoor classes. CO’s tactical exercise for Senior Officers.
28th Heavy rain. Indoor classes.
29th Bde Horse Show & Sports. Bn tied with 11 Cheshire for 1st place in Transport events & scored highest points in Athletic events.
30th General & specialist training in morning. Final for Divisional Football played on Bn ground in morning & won by 13 Cheshires. Afternoon 8 S. Lancs beat Bn (Football) 4-2. Evening Bde Boxing Tournament.
31st General Specialist Training. Musketry on 30’ range at CASSEL.
[Signed] CWH Birt Lt Col
Cdg 8th Bn Border Reg.

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. Wilfrid Francis James Lait, 2nd Lieutenant, 3rd Border Regiment (attd. 8th Border Regiment). Commemorated on the Menin Gate.
  2. Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.
  3. Lancashire Fusiliers.
  4. Knife rests: a portable barrier with X-shaped ends and a pole between, named after the table top item of a similar shape.
  5. 2nd Lieut. Robert Smith. Buried at Hooge Crater Cemetery.
  6. Charles Bertram Dove, Captain. Date of death: 21/03/1918. Age:34. 3rd Border Regiment (attd. 8th Border Regiment). Buried at Favreuil British Cemetery. Husband of Amy Caton Dove, of "La Casina", Hayling Island, Hants.