8th Battalion War Diary, November 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
PLOGSTEERT 1st On account of the inclement weather very little was done. A company sent 1 officer & 100 men to work under the RE. The men were employed in reconstructing NORFOLK AVENUE. This communications trench requires a good deal of repairing. The remaining companies improved the defences in the vicinity of their billets. Quiet day.
2nd The weather again was very bad, and great difficulty was experienced in getting any satisfactory work done. Parties were sent out to gather wood C & D companies supplied large working parties for the RE. Quiet day.
3rd A slight improvement in the weather. 3 officers & 200 men were detailed with the RE. These were again employed in the communication trenches.
PLOGSTEERT TRENCHES 4th The Battn relieved the 2nd S. Lancashire Regt. in the trenches. The relief was carried out than[intended?] in account of the clear day. The trenches were in bad state owing to the constant rain. The support trenches of the centre section of the line were 2 feet under water. The advance dressing station was also flooded and had to be brought back to the [ C???t ]farm East of Battn Headquarters. Very little sniping while the relief was carried out.
TRENCHES 5th A fine day with little rain. There was hardly any sniping on either side. 2 men Pte [Donnelly?] and Pte [Woodhouse?] both of A Company were wounded, both were hit by the same bullet. [???] observation post was located, this being a tall chimney. Every available man was employed in repairing drainage to the trenches. Parties were employed to rid the trenches of water. During the night the enemy snipers were fairly active.
6th A very quiet day. The fog was too thick to allow of much sniping. A fairly hard frost in the early hours of the morning. The whole Battn. was engaged in improving and repairing the front line trenches. Nothing of importance occurred during the day.
7th Again a quiet day on account of the fog. Good progress was made in repairing parapet and communication trenches. Unfortunately Pte Troughton[1] of B company was killed when repairing parados. Towards evening the enemy machine gun was active in front of A Company holding the centre section of our line. Our sniping bag during the day was one pheasant.
8th A distinct improvement in the weather. Many of the trenches have been almost emptied of water. The enemy artillery was particularly active about 11.35am, their attentions were particularly directed to D Company holding the right of our line. Unfortunately two of our men were hit but neither dangerously. About 4.30pm our artillery returnedthe compliment also our machine guns were active. At 3.30pm Pte Denvir[2] of A Company was killed. He was working on support trench.
10th The day passed quietly. There was very little sniping but the enemy artillery were fairly active. At 4pm the relief of the Battn by the 2nd S. Lancashire Regt. took place.
PLOEGSTEERT 11th The Battn rested in billets during the day all the companies had baths at Pont De Nieppe and the 25th divisional bath at Nieppe. The day was fine and our artillery was particularly active. The enemy's reply to this was weak. An aeroplane descended in the rear of [Soye?]farm. This was a Belgian aeroplane.
12th Very wet day. Detachments from all companies were sent out to assist R P in[?arfaungaud?] reconstructing trenches. A few shells were fired on Ploegsteet at 6.30pm. No damage.
13th Again a wet day. The usual fatigues were sent out. The enemy's artillery [????] active.during the evening again shelled Ploegsteert and the [????] One shell penetrated the roof of the stable at Bde, HQ and a few dropped close to the Battn HQ.
14th A fine and fairly clear day. Church service was held at [Soye?] farm. A & D companies were supplying the fatigues for the RE wiring parties were sent to learn wiring, also 12th & 13th.
15th A quiet day. Sniping at the working parties was indulged in by the enemy and we had one casualty Pte [Burney?] of A Coy who was rather seriously wounded by a bullet in the face.
16th The battn relieved the 2nd Batt S. Lancashire Regt. in the trenches C Company on the right of line, A Company in centre, and B on the left. D company in reserve at Lancashire support Farm. Our artillery very active. No casualties reported.
17th About 2.30am the artillery on our left very active. This was in the Canadian sector. This was a demonstration on the part of the Canadians. The trenches still very wet and the centre support line still impassable.
18th A great deal of difficulty was caused by considerable rise in the water during the night. The sector held by A Coy at 106 was particularly bad. Two pumps were kept hard at work all day to cope with this. The support trenches to this sector had to be abandoned Pte [Davidson?]of D Coy was wounded in the head while in the observation post at the [conduit?].
19th A hard frost during the night and early hours of the morning. This caused considerable damage to our parapets. B Coy had difficulty in ridding section 112 of the water. Artillery positions fairly active on both sides. Unfortunately C Coy had two men hit one our shells fired from B battery. They were Pte [blank spaces, maybe names were to be added at a later time].
20th There was a considerable decrease in the water level in both the sections occupied by B Coy and A Coy. The communication trench near the conduit was drained of water. Sniping was more active along the whole section. Night patrolling by [Lt Hamer?] [should?] [????][????] [find?] of a considerable amount of German ammunition, equipment etc. also a German helmet.
21st Little to report. The enemy was particularly quiet. The work of repairing the trenches is steadily carried on. Pte [blank space, maybe name was supposed to be added at a later time] A Coy was wounded slightly this afternoon. [????] trench reported our own machine guns were firing into their trench.
22nd Our relief was carried out by the 2nd Batt S. Lancashire Regt. in cold and misty weather without any casualties. The relief was completed before dark. During the morning A Company unfortunately had 3 men hit Pte Gilpin[3]] was killed bullet wound in head. Pte [Irwin?] was wounded in the hand and Pte [Ratcliffe?] in the neck, the last one was of a serious nature. The usual work of repairs and drainage carried out during the morning.
PLOEGSTEERT 23rd A very misty morning. About 11am the enemy dropped a few shells to the North of Ploegsteert. Sergt Hodgson of D Company was wounded in the stomach by a stray bullet. The companies had a day in billet and went to Nieppe for hot baths.
24th A, B & C companies were out all day working in particular under the supervision of the RFA. A quiet day.
25th B, C & D companies were out working for the RE. The enemy’s artillery was more active than usual about [4? - flaw on paper - could be 40 or just 4 and a mark] shells were fired into Ploegsteert during the morning. There were no casualties.
26th A very quiet day. The usual fatigues took place. A little rain and hail in the morning. A cold day. One man slightly wounded by splinter of shell.
27th The enemy shelled Ploegsteert in the morning and also search for our billet near [Soyer?] farm where A Coy is billeted. One shell burst over the farm, but little damage done.
PLOGSTEERT 28th The usual relief was carried out without casualties. B D & C companies posted in the firing trenches. A Coy being in support at Lancashire Support Farm. Relief carried out quicker than usual.
TRENCHES 29th Nothing of importance to record. Preliminary measures were discussed with reference to a proposed minor operation opposite the centre trenches at present occupied by D Coy. A quiet day less sniping than usual.
30th The usual fatigues were carried out during the day. Water again bad in the front line trenches especially B Coy. A quiet day. During the early hours of the evening the enemy set off an unusual number of very lights. A patrol from B Coy went out to see condition of enemy wire near the new work which they are constructing. Machine guns on [both?] sides were [times?] very active about 10.3? on our right.

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. J.W. Troughton (15852 Pte.), son of Mrs M.A. Troughton, "Sunny Bank" Underbarrow, Kendal. Buried Lancashire Cottage Cemetery.
  2. W. Denvir (14421 Pte.), according to the CWGC state he died on the 9th. Buried Bailleil Communal Cemetery.
  3. Robert Gilpin (14443 Pte.) Age 21. Son of Robert & Elizabeth Gilpin. 19 Shaws Brow, Kendal. Buried Lancashire Cottage Cemetery.