8th Battalion War Diary, March 1918

    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
LOG EAST CAMP ACHIET area 1st Training continued. Ceremonial Parade. Firing on 100 yards range (15 rounds rapid fire and five rounds application with box respirators. Coy training in Bombing etc and Jump Lines – remainder of Battalion (almost 100) passed through Gas Chamber.
2nd Training continued. Firing on 30 yd range. Coy Training. Surprise Gas Alarms. Demonstration of PBT by selected platoon of HAC at DIV HQRS. CO officers and 45 ORs attended lecture in Brigade Cinema on Growth of RFC by OC 59 Squadron.
3rd Divine Services & Recreational Training. Officers Record of Services Book received and issued, supplying a want much felt by junior officers owing to changes from one Battalion to another.
4th Training continued. Bde Horse Show on cold wintry afternoon. Cup for best cooker won by 8th Borders also 2nd & 3rd in limbers and 2nd in mess cart.
5th Training continued. Capt A.V. Bentley rejoined Battalion from hospital and resumed command of C Coy. Information received that 2/Lt (T/Capt) J.G. Runciman Royal Scots attached to this battalion has been posted to 5/6 Royal Scots. Night Firing on Corps Reinforcement Camp Range from 6.30pm to 10pm.
6th Training continued. Commanding officer took all officers over ground for proposed night Assembly and Attack. Weather mild & bright and Bde Sports took place in afternoon.
7th Training continued. Firing on 30 yds range. Night operations.
8th Returned to camp from night operation 8am. No training in morning. Lewis Gun class in afternoon. D coy on 200 yds range in afternoon.
9th Training continued. Firing on 200 yds range (15 rounds rapid & 5 rounds application) Recreational training in afternoon.
10th Divine service & recreational training.
11th Training continued. Ceremonial parade. Musketry (15 rounds rapid). Brigade staff ride for Coy Commanders. Recreational training.
12th Training continued. Ceremonial parade. Musketry. Recreational training. Brigade removed to SAVOY CAMP.
SAVOY CAMP ACHIET AREA 13th-16th Training continued. Ceremonial parade. Musketry. Recreational training.
17th Divine Service & Recreational Training.
18th Training continued. Ceremonial parade. Musketry. Recreational training.
19th Training continued. Ceremonial parade. Musketry. Recreational training. Practice attack under Brigade arrangements.
20th Training contined. Musketry. Lewis Gun Classes. Recreational training.
21st[1] Heavy guns fire 5.30am. Bn stood to 7.00am – Bn moved off 9.10am under Lt-Col Birtwith 1st line T’port to 150 Labour Coy Camp at BEUGNATRE - Bn was placed under order of 16 Bde & was ordered to counterattack North of VAULX Wood in the VAULX-MORCHIES line. Capt Dove killed[2] after leaving BEUGNATRE - order of battle from Right A Coy (Capt BIRNIE), B Coy (Lt REED), C Coy (Lt ALLAN), with D Coy (Lt DUGGAN) in reserve. Counter attack reached 1st objective 3.10pm & did not proceed further owing to wire being uncut. Communication established on the right by Lt BELL & party – D coy filled gap on left joining up with BUFFS on Rt & RSF on left. Lt REED hit in VAULX-MORCHIES lines & died of wounds.[3]
VAULX-MONCHIES LINES 22nd Shelling began early & enemy attacked about 7.30am – penetrated VAULX WOOD on our right. The Bn was surrounded on 3 side – for 4 hours Capt BIRNIE held the enemy at bay & only withdrew at 1pm our right being in the air - & the [Divn?] on our left falling back - All communication with Artllery & Bde was cut – Bn withdrew to VAULX-FRENICOURT road. During the day Lts DOWDELL,[4] McTAVISH & WARWICK[5] were killed. The Bn eventually reorganised in ARMY LINE assisted by Scottish troops (51stDivn) Bn relieved by 41st Divn Except Lt OAKDEN, Lt FENTIMAN[6] & 24 ORs who refused to leave until properly relief - which never came. Lt FRYER missing[7] CAPT BIRNIE,[8] Lt GANDOLFO, 2/Lts LIGHTFOOT & SANDWELL wounded.
SAVOY CAMP 23rd Bn relieved and moved to SAVOY CAMP – hot meal at 4am – At 9am ordered to move to ridge E of BEHAGNIES-SAPAGNIES road & dig in. About 4pm B team from 25 [ORB?] under MAJOR WILKINSON & 140 ORs arrived - & Col Birt handed over command and went down to transport.
BEHAGNIES-SAPAGNIES line 24th Trenches improved during day. Shelling became active in afternoon & increased – situation became very vague & Lt ALLAN[9] twice went forward to report. Night passed without incident. Bn was relieved by 1 Coy 5th Lancs Fusiliers [42? Div] & moved to [blank space denoting next location LOGEAST WOOD]
LOGEAST WOOD 25th LOGEAST WOOD – where the Bn dug in E of Wood Lt-Col Birt resumed command. Shelling was intermittent but never very heavy - Orders received 8pm to move to AISIEUX AU MONT.
AISIEUX AU MONT 26th Dug in – POISIEOX – with 62 [Divn?] on left - Information received 4am that enemy held MIRAUMONT & that our right flank was in this [a?] & ordered to concentrate north of GOMMECOURT – which was reached 6.30am – At 10am moved to form defensive position N of GOMMECOURT - 7th & 74th Bde infront - 75th in supports - At midnight Bn was withdrawn to [blank space denoting next location COUIN]
COUIN 27th COUIN arriving 4am - where a good nights sleep was obtained- left 3.30pm and marched to [blank space denoting next location PUCHEVILLERS]
PUCHEVILLERS 28th PUCHEVILLERS arriving 8pm - & left next morning 7.30 am for [blank space denoting next location VASQUERIE]
VASQUERIE 29th VASQUEERE arriving about 2pm - & billeted there.
30th Cleaning up & resting.
31st Marched to DOULLENS & entrained for GOOEWAERSVELDE.
[Signed] CWH Birt, Lt-Col.
Commanding 8th(S) Bn, The Border Regt.

See also

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. The start of the German Spring Offensive.
  2. Capt. Charles Bertram Dove. Age: 34. 3rd Border Regiment (attd. 8th Border Regiment) buried at Favreuil British Cemetery. Husband of Amy Caton Dove, of "La Casina," Hayling Island, Hampshire.
  3. Lieut. Gerald Francis Woolerton Reed. Age:22. Commemorated on the Arras Memorial. Son of Thomas Allen Woolterton Reed and Ida Reed, of The Inglenook, Rode Hill, Rode, Bath.
  4. 2nd Lieut. Ernest George Dowdell, MC, 3rd Border Regiment (attd. 8th Border Regiment). Commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
  5. 2nd Lieut. Colin Winder Warwick, MC, Age: 26. 5th Border Regiment (attd. 8th Border Regiment). Buried at Vaulx Hill Cemetery. Son of John and Sarah Warwick, of "Brundholme", Workington, Cumberland.
  6. 2nd Lieut. Frederick William Fentiman. Age: 19. Commemorated on the Arras Memorial. Son of Frederick and Annie Louisa Fentiman, of "Slievemore", Dalhousie Rd., Eskbank, Dalkeith, Midlothian.
  7. 2nd Lieut. John Percival Fryer. Age: 25. Commemorated on the Arras Memorial. Son of George K. and Frances Fryer, of Birkensha wColleries, Gomersal, Leeds.
  8. CWGC states Capt. Edward D'Arcy Birnie, DSO, MC, died on 22/3/18. Age:26. Buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension. Born in Workington, the son of Robert and Isabella Birnie, of Sycamore Terrace, High Harrington, Cumberland.
  9. 2nd Lieut. John William Anderson Allan, MC, died 10/04/1918. Commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial. Son of Andrew Alla, of 42, Cambridge Gardens, Leith; husband of Isabella D. Elliot Allan of 4, Montague Terrace, Edinburgh.
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