8th Battalion War Diary, February 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
LE BIZET & SUPPORT LINE 1st The Battalion furnished the usual carrying parties to the front line. A few shells fell in the village to the south of Batt HQ.
2nd & 3rd Extra carrying parties were required to carry up material to front line in anticipation of a thaw.
TRENCHES 4th The Battalion relieved the XI Cheshires in the trenches taking over the same portion of the line as in the last tour. A Coy on left – D in centre and C on the right. B in support at Tancrez Farm.
5th Quiet day. Nothing to report.
6th The Companies were engaged in wiring, and making knife rests.[1] No digging was possible owing to hard ground.
7th Quiet day. Lieutenant Donohue died of wounds received in action.    [The second line was added later in pencil, not ink as used for rest of the diary]
8th The enemy was very active especially with trench mortars. Batt HQ at [S??y] Farm was shelled, receiving 5 direct hits. Lt. Donohue was wounded and died next day.[2]
9th The enemy again active with trench mortars especially about 6pm doing considerable damage to the trenches held by A Coy who had 2 casualties.[3][4]
10th The Battn relieved by the XI Cheshire and came back into support at LE BIZET. A & D Companies holding the front line. A on the left & D on the right.
11th Church parade. 50 men were employed in carrying parties for the Trench Mortar Battery.
12th-15th The Battn furnished carrying parties for the front line.
TRENCHES 16th The Bn Relieved 11th Cheshires. A Coy on left. C centre. B on right. D in support at Station Redoubt. Enemy very quiet.
17th Enemy artillery active & our Artillery were put on to working party – who were dispersed. Shouting was heard opposite ESSEX FARM.
18th Patrol went out at 9pm opposite Sap C to ascertain if enemy were working on their wire, this was thought to be the case. Lewis Gunners were [turned?] on. Weather misty.
19th As arranged our Artillery were very active at 7-9pm, the enemy retaliated with 77mm & 4.5" shells on Long Avenue. C [Gap?] and behind [????thwaite?] house – Also T.M. which fell short of our line. Pigeons were observed flying past from NE FRELINGHAM FARM. During our Artillery activity 1 Red light & 1 Green rocket set of from Frelinghem.
20th Between 4-4.30 enemy shelled vicinity of C 16a88 with field gun - afterwards range was shortened & 3 shells fell round CARTERS FARM. Our right coy supports & around BARKENHAM HOUSE was shelled between 12.30 & 1pm [????] field guns from SE. Rifle Patrol went out to ascertain if enemy was attempting to repair gaps made in enemy wire by our artillery – nothing was observed & rifle fire was kept on gaps during the night.
21st Enemy sniping from opposite LE TOUQUET has increased. Enemy working party observed opposite C 10b 15-65. LG [Lewis Gun] fire opened. Sound of water pumped from [???ch?] opposite ESSEX CENTRAL heard at 11pm and 3am – Enemy has thrown many bombs into NO MANS LAND between C4d24 & C4c98 - Heavy mist. Capt. E.S.Philips died of wounds received in action.[5]
22nd Battn were relieved by New Zealand Bn & moved to LE BIZET.
23rd Working parties furnished for work on BARKENHAM AVENUE.
24th As yesterday.
25th Battn to NIEPPE.
EECKE 26th Battn marched with Bde. to EECKE.
27th Engaged in cleaning billet & equipment.
28th Training under Coy arrangements. All specialists returned to Coys. Reorganisation of platoons commenced. In afternoon classes [???? - obscured by signature] for Junior officers & Reserve Teams.
[Signed] T.S. Wilkinson
for Lt-Col. Comdg 8th 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. Named after the similarly shaped table top item, a "knife rest" was a portable obstacle barrier consisting of two X shaped end pieces with a pole between them, used for blocking gaps, roads etc.
  2. This was mentioned in the previous day’s diary. The CWGC records the date of death as 8/2/17. 2nd Lieut. Thomas Donohue is buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery, Nord.
  3. First casualty: J.W. Nelson (24880 Pte.) Age: 32. Buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery. Son of Edward and Ann Nelson. Husband of Fanny Neen (formerly Nelson) of 17, Derwent Avenue, Seaton, Workington, Cumberland. Married Fanny Osborne 27th Nov 1906, two daughters, enlisted 12 Dec 1915 and entered France 22 Dec 1916.
  4. Second casualty: William Sewwell (8/17283 L/Cpl.) Died on 10/02/1917. Age: 24. Buried at Hazebrouk Communal Cemetery. Son of John and Elizabeth Sewell of 30,South St., Egremont, Cumberland.
  5. Capt. Eric Sutherland Phillips. Age 22. Buried at Pont-de-Nieppe Communal Cemetery. Son of Elizabeth Phillips of York House, Clarendon Place, Leamington Spa, and the late J. A. Phillips. Native of Rugby.