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8th Battalion War Diary, January 1916

From the Lonsdale Battalion wiki
    8th Border Regiment War Diary Transcriptions (1915-1918)
The National Archives WO/95/2251    
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Date Hour Summary of Events
TRENCHES 1st The expected retaliation to our fusillade last night did not materialise On the whole a quiet day. Sniping was more active on both sides.
TRENCHES & PLOEGSTEERT 2nd Relieved by 2nd Batt S. Lancs. Regt. during afternoon, the relief took place later than usual owing to the clear weather. There were no casualties.
3rd The Battalion rested in billets. At 6pm a fatigue party of 1 officer and 20 men were told off to assist the RE. 250 men were sent to the [Battn? or could be Baths?].
4th A, B & C companies supplied the usual fatigue.
5th Nothing of importance to report.
6th A quiet day. The enemy shelled the northern end of Ploegsteert but did little damage a few fell near Battn HQ.
PLOEGSTEERT TRENCHES 7th The usual relief took place at 3.30pm There were no casualties. On account of the shelling of Battn HQ the machine gun section was billeted in Lancashire Support Farm. The XI Cheshire Regt. is on the left & the Lancs. Fusiliers on the right. A Coy in Lancs. Support Farm.
8th The enemy were particularly active with regard to sniping especially at "stand to" in the evening. There were no casualties. The repairing of the parapets & building parados occupied the companies during the day. At 8pm fatigue party from A Coy.
TRENCH 9th The enemy shelled our sector more than usual Lancashire Support Farm had a few shrapnel bursts within 100 yards. Sniping was not as active as yesterday. A Coy supplied night working parties also carrying parties.
10th [Laurence?] Farm considerably shelled during the morning. 18 HE falling within a few yards of the far. The tram line torn up in places but repaired by the RE. One man Pte Fitzwilliam of A Coy slightly wounded in the back. No damage done.
11th The enemy again shelled [Laurence?] farm. 8 HE shells were fired. There were no casualties or damage done.
12th A quiet day with the exception of the afternoon when from 4pm - 4.30pm the Germans fired 25 shells which fell in the vicinity of Lancashire Support Farm and [Laurence] Farm. There was no damage The usual work carried out in the front line trenches.
TRENCHES &PLOEGSTEERT 13th The usual relief tookplace. We were relieved by the 2nd S. Lancs. Regt. On account of theGerman shelling the relief took place after 4.30pm.
14th The Battn, with the exception of A Coy was employed in various fatigues.
PLOEGSTEERT 15th Ploegsteert received about 15 HE shells during the afternoon, the Soldiers home was demolished but apart from this little damage was done.
16th Divine Service was held at [Soyer] Farm at 9.30am. Quiet day.
17th Nothing of importance to relate. A lecture washeld at Bailleul 9 officers attended. Ploegsteert had a few shellsabout 6pm, and again at 8.15pm.
18th The usual fatigues were furnished. Exceptionally quiet day. Wet.
19th Lt. Gray[1] was slightly wounded in the eye. The Germans put a few shells near Lancashire Support Farm about 10.30pm and also shelled the main communication trench. At 12.30 pm a minor operation started on our right this was carried out by the 74th Bde. The Battn supported their attack by rifle fire, machine guns, and grenades. The Germans replied by shelling our line. We had 6 casualties all of A Coy. Pte Fitzwilliams & 2 Lt Tyson both seriously wounded, L/C Williamson & L/C J Thornton slightly wounded. Pte Coates[2] and Woodhead slightly wounded & Pte McGarr[3] B Coy was slightly wounded.
20th A quiet day. Col. Winston Churchill inspected our lines with a view to taking them over during the night. Lt. Warren[4] and Corpl. Hodgson[5] were on patrol they did not return, no evidence is forthcoming what happened to them.
TRENCHES 21st The Coy Commanders of the relieving Battn inspected our trench during the morning. There was considerably more sniping than usual during the late hours of the afternoon and the evening.
22nd A quiet day, nothing of importance to record. The usual work on drains and parapets etc. was carried out.
TRENCHES & PLOGSTEERT 23rd The Battn relieved by the 2nd S. Lancs. The relief commenced at 5am and was finished by 7am. There were no casualties. There was much more sniping than usual during the relief.
PLOEGSTEERT 24th Nothing of importance done except for a few fatigues. Coys arranging for move back on 26th.
25th Everything packed up for move tomorrow. A Coy found cart from the farm which took back Coy blankets. 2 motor lorries arrived for greatcoats & blankets.
26th Battalion moved out from Ploegteert and marched to billets at LA CRECHE. Start was made at 5am 20 minutes being allowed between coys to pass X roads at church. Arrived at La Creche about 8am. Advance party of 1 officer & 8 OR took over our billets night before. Stayed at this place for one day only.
LACRECHE 27th Moved off at 6am to Strazeele. Arrived about 10 am after a good march, few men falling out. Billets at Strazeele were again taken up by advance party of same strength as before. Coys rather too far apart but billets good on the whole. Took over from the 6th Scottish Rifles (Cameronians). Billets untidy & in a bad state.
STRAZELLE 28th Cleaning up. No work done as other Battalions had not arrived from Ploegsteert yet. Day quiet. Nothing to report.
29th D Coy changed billets as they were so far away from the others. Got much better billet near other coys.
30th Other Battalions arrived in Strazeele. Rearguard joined up here again and reported all handing over done correctly.
31st Coys went on route march from the different billets of about 4 miles length. Games [??] being played in the afternoon.

C.E. Bond
Lt. Col. Cmdg 8th Border Regt.

References / notes

  • 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. From Army List 1915: Lt. Gray is A.E. Wingate-Gray.
  2. Possibly Robert Coates (19663 Pte.) of A Company, 8th Border Regiment. He died 5 July 1916, aged 24. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Son of John and Isabella Coates and husband of Sarah Ann Woodburn (formerly Coates) of 188 Main St., Holborn Hill, Millom, Cumberland.
  3. Probably Thomas McGarr (12078 Pte.) killed 5 July 1916. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
  4. Lt. Archibald Alexander Warren, twice 'Mentioned in Despatches', died 20 January 1916 aged 19 and is buried at Cabaret Rouge Cemetery, Souchez. Son of Timothy and Mary Don Warren, of 10 Westbourne Terrace, Kelvinside, Glasgow. Born at Hamilton, Lanarkshire.
  5. Thomas Allan Hodgson (14467 Cpl.) Son of Timothy and Mary Ann Hodgson, of 39 Blencathra St., Keswick, Cumberland. He enlisted 7 September 1914 and was sent to France 26 September 1915. Was Reported missing on the night of 20 January 1916. Buried at Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez.
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