8th Battalion War Diary, November 1917

  8th Border Regiment War Diary Transcriptions (1915-1918)
The National Archives WO/95/2251   
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Place Date Hour Summary of Events
In support PONT FIXE 1st Dull Day - Normal artillery activity – Conference of Company Commanders 10am.
2nd Dull day. Great artillery and trench mortar activity throughout day – Normal MG fire during night. No aerial activity.
3rd Dull day. Normal artillery activity. No aerial activity. MG's active during evening.
4th Fine but dull. Very slight artillery activity. No EA’s [enemy aircraft] seen. Slight MG activity.
LA BASSEE canal sector FRONT LINE 5th Fine, but dull. Very quiet. Usual working parties found. The batt relieved the 11th Cheshires in the front line (right sector) 2 patrols sent out with a view to future operations.
6th[1] Fine. Fair observation. 1 of our planes playing low fired MG into enemy positions. Enemy's aeroplanes inactive, also artillery inactive. At 10.30pm Cloud gas was discharged from our right, with a gas shell bombardment. Usual patrols sent out.
7th Fine weather, observation fair. A large number of gas shells were fired into our supports behind the centre company between 2.0 and 3.0am. Normal artillery activity during day.
8th Fine day with good visibility. 3 EA's came over the lines. Hostile artillery very quiet. Our snipers fired 5 shots at working parties. Usual working parties employed.
9th Fine day, cloudy, fair visibility. Our artillery active on enemy front & support line. Enemy artillery inactive until 11.0pm when he shelled our supports. Normal EA activity. Usual patrols & working parties.
10th Very wet day until afternoon. At 2.20am GAS was projected on AUCHY at the same time 2 fighting patrols went over under cover of smoke,[2] they found no enemy in the front line. Enemy artillery was very active about noon on the support line behind the right company.
LE PREOL 11th Battalion relieved by 11th Cheshires proceeded to LE PREOL in reserve. Fine day.
12th Fine day. Cleaning up & Baths. 5 days RE course started for officers & NCO's.
13th Fine day. Coy training lectures to platoons by officers. Lecture to NCO's in canteen.
14th Fine day. Coy training lectures to platoons, Lectures to officers. Night compass march for officers.
15th Fine day. Battalion parade. Brigadier, Brig Major, M.G. officer & Coy Commanders to dinner.
16th Divine Service. Company Commanders conference at NQ. Football match with RE's at Noeux cancelled owing to casualties in RE team.
LA BASSEE CANAL SECTOR FRONT LINE 17th Fine day, fog in morning. Relieved 11th Cheshires in front line by 11am. Mill tunnel and LANE generously treated with Minnies. Both artilleries quiet. Usual patrols & working parties.
18th Fine day, overcast, no rain. Fairly quiet. Our snipers hit 4 Germans. Usual working parties. Patrols found 2 enemy post and saw 12 Germans.
19th Fine day, very cloudy. Artillery fairly active. 2 EA's seen. A patrol of 2nd Lt Kamester, 2nd Lt Robson, a Sergeant, and a Corporal went out. 2nd Lt Robson and the Sergeant did not return, it is believed they were captured.[3]
20th Very dull day, rain commenced about 11.0pm. Our artillery & T.M's carried out a programme from 3.0pm to 3.45. Enemy artillery above normal. 5 casualties caused to medium T.M. crews 1 being killed.
21st Rainy day, bad observation, our artillery very quiet. Enemy artillery quiet. T.M's very active near Burbure post. Usual working parties. Above normal activity was observed in the enemy lines.
22nd Fine day, but dull. Low heavy clouds. Our artillery carried out a wire cutting programmeastride the BETHUNE-LA BASSEE RD from 12.30pm to 3.45pm. Enemy artillery very active. 1 EA flew low over our lines firing with his M.G., but doing no damage.
PONT FIXE 23rd Fine day. 11th Cheshire relieved us in front line, while the 8th Borders went into support. Very quiet day.
24th Fine day. Our artillery carried out a programme with the TMs.
25th Fine Day. Fairly quiet, warned to expect a raid on the 7th Brigade front. Did not materialise, expected early in the morning.
26th Fine day until 11.0pm when it started snowing with turned into rain. Our artillery carried out an organised shoot. Gas was projected at 8.0pm on the 74th Bde front. Fairly sharp artillery retaliation by the enemy.
27th Still raining, colder.
ANNEZIN 28th Bn relieved in support lined by 6th Lanc Fusilers (42nd Div) & moved to ANNEZIN Nr. BETHUNE - Fine.
BURBURE 29th Bn moved to BURBURE – (Brigade march) & marched past G.O.C. DIVISION & Brigadier – fine.
ERNY ST JULIEN 30th Bn marched in Brigade to ERNT ST JULIEN – Inadequate accommodation – Capt Darwell[4] reported from Bde for temporary duty with Bn during training - Showery.
[Signed] CWH Birt, 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. This date marks the end of the Third Battle of Ypres.
  2. This action refers to the actions of the 8th Border Regiment's planned trench raid.
  3. It is highly possible these men were captured as they are not listed as casualties by CWGC.
  4. There were several "Darwells" from the Appleby area served with the Regiment. Could possibly have been Capt. George Darwell, later a Major. He was at Gallipoli with the 6th Border Regiment where his younger brother 2nd Lieut. Claude Randal Darwell, was killed.