Early Days in
The 19th battalion endured a none to smooth Channel crossing and arrived in the
On the 9th, the battalion moved to
Berles-au-Bois, where it was attached to the 110th Brigade. Here,
the Officers and N.C.O’s went into the trenches for the first time for instruction
under Officers of the 6th
The next day, the Battalion marched to Pont Noyelles and the following day to Sailly Laurette.
On the 6th January the Battalion marched to
Bray where it was met by guides and taken to Bronfay
farm. Three Companies were billeted in Billon wood and the battalion supplied
working parties. On the 8th, the Battalion took its place in the
line, relieving the 14th
Matthew White was the Son of Harry and Amelia White of
14, Louisa Street, Miles Platting. He is buried in
The Battalion alternated between billets at Bray and the Carnoy trenches until the 7th March. There was intermittent shelling during most of this period and the Battalion lost over 20 Men killed and a good number injured. The men spent most of their time cleaning and improving the trenches which were in a particularly bad condition, the mud being indescribable. On the 7th March the Battalion moved to Bois des Tailles where it remained until the 14th when it moved to Corbie. The following day, the Battalion moved to Frechencourt where it remained until the 29th providing working parties for the light railway being constructed for the approaching battles.
For the next month, the Battalion alternated between Corbie, Bray and the Carnoy defences providing work parties and carrying out training.
On the 24th May the Battalion left the Carnoy defences and marched to Maricourt, the enemy keeping up a brisk machine gun and rifle fire on the Men as they marched. On arrival, the Battalion, along with the 2nd Wiltshire’s and the 2nd Bedford’s helped in the construction of an advanced trench which was being dug. During this spell, the enemy livened up the situation with artillery. There were numerous casualties.
The first few days of June were uneventful. On the 5th the Battalion relieved the 2nd Wiltshire’s and took over the Maricourt defences. Mining and working parties were supplied by the Battalion. On the 11th, the 17th Manchesters relieved the Battalion and the Men marched to Bois de Celestins. The next day found the Battalion at Briquemesnil where a model of the Battalions objective for the forthcoming battle had been constructed in great detail. It was studied in great detail by the Officers and in the afternoon the Men went over it in attack formation.
It was obvious to the Men that an attack was imminent and preparations gathered pace. By the 21st June, the Battalion was at Bray making its own preparations for the forthcoming battle.
On the 29th June, the greater part of the Battalion moved up to the trenches leaving behind a reserve of Officers and Men. In the Evening a party consisting of Lieutenant Higgins and Second Lieutenant Craston with 37 other ranks undertook a raid on the German front line with the objective of securing a prisoner. The party left the trenches at 11.20pm after a 15 minute bombardment. They returned at 11.40 without a prisoner stating that the front line had been levelled and no enemy were to be found. One man was killed on the return journey.
During the Night
of the 30th June the Battalion took up