8th Battalion War Diary, December 1915

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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
TRENCHES 1st A quiet day. Very little sniping. Had warning that artillery would be firing on enemy’s trenches near [Bridcage?] A Company sent 3 platoons [????] the front line trenches keeping one platoon in support at Lancashire support Farm. These platoons were recalled at the evening stand to.
2nd The morning was quiet. Sniping continued all day. Pte Edwards of B Coy was badly wounded about 2pm. Great difficulty is being experienced with the water in the trenches.The left of B Coy being particularly bad. About 7pm the enemy exploded a mine in trench 99 belonging to the 9th L.N. Lancs. Heavy firing on both sides was the result of this. [Lt Gray?] took a party of 12 men to No 99 trench to help to repair parapet and search for missing men.
TRENCHES PLOEGSTEERT 3rd The usual relief took place in the afternoon without any casualties.A very wet day. Great delay in obtaining the Battn. [lug/baggage?] on account of new regulations with regard to the transport. No sniping.
4th A quiet day. The Battn. Went to the baths and spentremainder of day in billets cleaning up and resting. [Soyer] Farm wasshelled by the enemy but luckily no casualties.
PLOEGSTEERT 5th The usual fatigues were told off. These were withdrawn at 1 O’clock.Divine service was held at the billets during the afternoon. About 12.30 two HE shells burst [????] [Soyer] Farm where A coy is billeted. There were two casualties Pte Robinson being wounded also Pte [Walth???] slightly wounded otherwise a quiet day.
6th A coy erected wire entanglements for purpose of experiment with reference to their projected night operation. [Soyer] Farm was shelled during the morning but no casualties. The remaining companies did the usual fatigues. The wire erected by the company blown up by the RE. Result,[the] knife [rest?] blown in half. The charge being [8?]lbs.
7th The explosion with the blowing up of the wire entanglements was again tried, with better results. 10lbs being used, this completely demolished it. A quiet day.
PLOEGSTEERT TRENCHES 8th The usual relief took place,the 2nd S. Lancs taking our place in billets. D, A & C companies in firing trench. B coy in Lancashire Support [Farm]. More firing than usual took place and again at midnight.
9th During the morning a 9.2 howitzer at [Dardre] Farm bombarded the German front line opposite trench doing considerable damage. Unfortunately one shell burst short and blew up D Coy headquarters. No one was near the spot at the time. During the night the R [latrines?] rose considerably and the fire trench about 30 yards either side became badly flooded. The enemy dropped about 30 shells N & E of Lancashire Support Farm but did no damage.
TRENCHES 10th During the night the water again rose. A Coy especially had great difficulty in coping with it and had to abandon 3 bays south of 101/2. The day was calm.
11th Water in trenches had subsided about 8 inches. The parapets were repaired as much of them had subsided. About 2pm the enemy again shelled the vicinity of Lancashire Support Farm and the tram line, no damage was done.
12th The 8th Loyal N. Lancs took over fat [forward assembly trench?] Paul & fat [Dudley] OC C coy extended his line northwards to the R. [W????rs?] OC A Coy on account of flooded dug out had to send 1 platoon to billet with B Coy at Lancashire Support Farm and 1 platoon from B Coy came to [mountain?] gun farm for billets. During the afternoon considerable shelling took place. In the morning Pte Carruthers C Coy was seriously wounded in the head[1] The water in 105 & 106 subsided a little during the day.
TRENCHES & PLOEGSTEERT 13th Relieved by the 2nd S. Lancs during the afternoon. The Battn returned to their usual billets.
PLOEGSTEERT 14th The Battn. Rested in billets and during the day went by campany to Pont de Niepe for baths. D Coy supplied night fatigue. [Capt] [???]the chaplain [???] by splinter of shell.
15th A, B & C companies furnished fatigues for the engineers at Touquet [Berthe] also night carrying parties from Touquet [Berthe] to Lancashire Support Farm.
16th The usual shelling of Ploegsteert took place, the brigade HQ had a few shells close to them, also C coy at [????ille] Farm. The machine gun school [hit two] shells. [ten?] men of the [Wilts?] Rgt attending the school were killed. The usual fatigues were carried out.
17th A very quiet day. The usual fatigues were found. A coy supplied 1 NCO and 30 men for a night fatigue in Touquet [Berthe].
PLOEGSTEERT TRENCHES 18th The usual relief was carried out. The relief started at 2pm. D Coy occupied the right section. A the centre, and B coy on the left. C Coy in Lancashire Support Farm. Col Brander took over command of the 7th Inf Bde.
19th Lt-Col. C. E. Bond took over command of the Regt from Col Brander who proceeded home. A quiet day. Very little sniping. All companies were employed on repairing parapets. A Coy supplied fatigue party for bring up of stores from Touquet [Berthe].
TRENCHES 20th Each company employed in repairing their parapet and freeing trenches from water. L Corp Smith[2],of D Coy was killed whilst working in CT 10?/3. OC 8th S. Lancashire Regt visited the line with a view to taking over when relief took place. At 2pm a bombardment of the enemy’s front line trench by trench mortars took place. The German retaliated. There were no casualties.
21st A quiet day. Very wet. The officers commanding companies of the 8th S. Lancs Regt went around the trenches during the morning with a view to taking over the line.
22nd All available men were employed in repairing parapets, and improving communication trenches. A coy started new dug out on the western side of the road inside of their support line. Quiet day, the right coy was shelled about 11am, about 7 shells falling in that area.
TRENCHES & PLOEGSTEERT 23rd The Battalion was relieved by the 8th S Lancs Regt during the afternoon there were no casualties.
PLOEGSTEERT 24th The Battn rested in billets and had baths in Nieppe. During the evening a night fatigue party was supplied both by B & D companies.
25th Service was held at [Soyer] Farm, nearly 200 men were present. There were fewer fatigues. A Coy supplied 30 men during the afternoon. Quiet Day.
26th Ploegsteert was shelled during the morning and evening. All the companies were on fatigues [???] during the morning. In the evening A, B & C companies supplied fatigue parties for the RE.
PLOEGSTEERT TRENCH 27th The Battalion went into trenches at 6.20am relieving the 8th S. Lancs Regt. The XI Cheshires were on our left and L.N. Lancs on our right. C Coy was the right of line, A Coy centre, and B Coy on left.
28th All companies were employed in repairing and remaking parapets and draining trenches. At 9.30pm an operation was undertaken by the Battn on our right. There was a good deal of rifle fire and bombardment lasting for about an hour. B Coy had a man slightly wounded. Lancashire Support Farm was hit.
29th Nothing of importance occurred during the day.
30th The enemy’s snipers were most active than usual. Pte Ellis Jones[3] of B Coy being killed in C T 109. The Battn occupied in repairing the parapet & draining trenches.
31st A quiet day. At midnight 10 rounds rapid werefired in reply to German fusillade. There were no casualties

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. CWGC states: R. Carruthers (15102 Pte.) died 13/12/15. Buried Bailleul Communal Cemetery.
  2. CWGC states: Robert Smith (8/15065 L/Cpl.) aged 23 son of John Smith 8 New St. Cockermouth. Buried Lancashire Cottage Cemetery.
  3. CWGC states: William Ellis Jones (14316) age 22. Son of Mr & Mrs Ellis Jones 9 Ferney Green, Kendal. Buried London Rifle Brigade Cemetery.