8th Battalion War Diary, May 1916

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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 During the day & night the Battalion provided necessary working parties & carrying parties for construction of Southern line & repairs of C.T.s.
2nd Col. Bond returned to Battalion from the Divisional school at Buneville. The Battalion provided necessary fatigue parties for repairing CTs & building the Southern line.
3rd During the day the Battalion provided fatigue parties as before and in the evening relieved the XI Cheshires in the trenches of the left sector of the Brigade front. A, B & D in firing line & C Coy in reserve. B Coy had little bombing on their Y Post. Bombing accident in D Coy lines.
4th Battalion trenches. A start was made in the new Doublement line behind the front line. General repair & upkeep of trenches also engaged attention.
5th 3am Enemy put up 3 mines simultaneously, 1 opposite right of 064 & 2 in front of 063. They had the effect of extending the old craters (063.1 &064.1) & much of our lip subsided. No enemy attack was made, nor were any of our works damaged. We suffered no casualties. There was no Artillery fire – Rifles & machine guns together with bombs being employed where necessary. During the day the Battalion was employed on general repair work & in strengthening & consolidation our listening posts. The new Doublement line was progressed with during the night.
6th Nothing of importance occurred except in Y post where there was an occasional bombing duel. The old De la [Fonch?] trench leading from crater 063/1 was opened up as far as Doublement which latter trench was also progressed with during the night. Wiring the intervals of old 0/63 was begun.
7th The Day was quiet with a little bombing at night especially in Y post work on the Southern was proceeded with & the Doublement was extended behind 065.
8th In retaliation for some medium mortar bombs & some Stokes mortar bombs which we put over, the enemy [crumped?] the Southern line. No damage was done. Towards evening, by means of bomb & rifle grenades B Coy blew in an enemy post on the Eastern lip of crater 064/2.
9th The day passed quietly except towards evening, when there was considerable Artillery activity. For blowing in his post yesterday the enemy retaliated by bombing our Y Post. We had one casualty.[1] The Battalion was relieved by the XI Cheshire Regt. at night & reached the huts at ECOIVRES without incident.
ECOIVRES 10th to 15th In billets.
16th The battalion went into the front line trenches relieving the XI Cheshires. The S. Lancs on our right and the 1st Wilts on our left.
17th The usual repairs and improvements were made. Quiet day.
18th Considerable shelling by the enemy also they were throwing over more bombs & grenades than usual. We had 2 killed & 12 wounded.[2]
19th The enemy again active. We had 1 man wounded & Lt. Hinksman wounded.
20th The Battalion went into Brigade Reserve at Neuville St. Vaast being relieved by XI Cheshires. The relief was carried out during the afternoon. No casualties.
NEUVILLE ST. VAAST 21st The enemy shelled the village intermittently throughout the day and dropped "Tear Shells" those being the first the battalion had experienced. No casualties. The usual fatigues were furnished.
22nd The enemy again shelled the village with Tear Shells otherwise the day was quiet.
23rd About 20 large shells were fired into the village. No damage was done & no casualties.
24th The Battalion relieved the XI Cheshires in the front line trenches. 2nd Batt S. Lancs on our right 1st Batt Wiltshires on our left.
25th The enemy shelled our front line & support trenches during the morning. We had two men wounded.
TRENCHES 26th The usual shelling took place, but little damage done. 2 Lieuts [Alday?] & Brown slightly wounded by a bomb also two privates.
27th A quiet day no casualties.
28th Our front line & support line trenches were subjected to Artillery fire and mortars for the greater part of the day, our casualties, 1 man of A Coy wounded, 6 wounded & 2 killed in B Coy and 1 wounded in D coy.[3]
29th A fairly quiet day. The Battalion was employed in opening up & strengthening new trenches especially on our let. We had two men of B Coy wounded by a bomb.
30th The enemy blew a mine in front of our centre coy (B) a platoon was sent forward and immediately occupied & consolidated the rear lip of the crater. The only casualty was one man of A who died later.[4] No damage was done.
31st A quiet day on thewhole. We had one man L/Corp Wright of B Coy slightly wounded.[5] We were relieved during the night by 1/5 Seaforth Highlanders. The Battn matched to ACQ where they went into billets till the following day.
P. Strachan, Major
Comdg 8th Border Regiment

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. According to the CWGC, no other 8th Battalion casualties around this date: Robert McLaughlin, (8/15756 Pte.) Date of Death: 08/05/1916; aged 20. Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont-St. Eloi. Son of Catherine McLaughlin, of 38, Strand St., Whitehaven, Cumberland.
  2. Casualties both buried at Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont-St. Eloi: Walter Elson (8/15130 Pte.) aged 22. "C" Coy. 8th Bn. Son of Thomas and Martha Ann Elson, of Kendal, Westmorland. Also, Francis William Snaith (8/14345 Pte.) aged 25. Son of Mrs. and the late Mr. Snaith, of 3, Dockray Hall Cottages, Kendal. Wife Nellie Snaith, of Mill Fold, Crook, nr. Kendal. Plumber/ painter apprentice in 1911 census. Mother Mary A. Snaith ran a bakery and sweet shop at Dockray Cottage home. Other children include Ann and Violet.
  3. Deaths from CWGC: R. Skinner (14662 Pte.), Etaples Military Cemetery; Herbert Howard (8/21354 Pte.) Age 31. Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont-St. Eloi. Son of the late William and Sarah Maria Howard. Born at Barmer, Fakenham, Norfolk.
  4. John Henry Lickbarrow (14519 Pte.). Date of Death: 31/05/1916, aged 25. Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension. Son of Henry and Margaret Lickbarrow. A farm servant. Born Rowrah, Cumberland in 1891. Brother of Mary and Jane. On Holme Village War Memorial and Allhallows Church, Fellside, Kendal.
  5. Possibly: Leonard Wright (12209 L/Cpl.). Died 05/07/1916 aged 23. Thiepval Memorial. Son of the late Henry and Adelaide Wright of 13, Chapel St., Middleton St. George, Darlington. Or: C. Wright (12255 Cpl.). Died 21/10/1916. Stump Road Cemetery, Grandcourt.