WAR DIARY

1/8th (ARDWICK) BATTALION MANCHESTER REGIMENT

SEPTEMBER 1917


SEPTEMBER 1 1917 - ERIE CAMP - POPERINGHE
Training under company arrangements in the morning. 2nd Lt. HILL assumed command of C coy. vice 2nd Lt. (a/Capt.) OWENS sick to hospital. Rain in afternoon and strong westerly wind. Hostile shelling of back areas carried out during day. At night about 9.30 pm E.A. flew over camp and was reported to have been brought down outside YPRES. Strength (?)with(?) (?)line(?) 29 officers 778 O.R. Detached 10 officers 175 O.R.

SEPTEMBER 2 1917 - ERIE CAMP - POPERINGHE
Church parade in morning. Heavy rain about 11 am, but weather cleared after noon. (?)Pack(?) transport was utilized in afternoon for drawing rations. A bright moonlight night. E.A. very active from 9 pm until 1 am. A few bombs were dropped in areas near camp. A few shells were also fired by hostile artillery into the back areas in the vicinity of TORONTO Camp.

SEPTEMBER 3 1917 - ERIE CAMP - POPERINGHE
Training under company arrangements. Special attention being paid to attacking strong points. Considerable aerial activity all day and numerous bombs dropped in Back areas by hostile aircraft during the night.

SEPTEMBER 4 1917 - ERIE CAMP - POPERINGHE
Training continued. C.O. and Coy. Commanders went to a demonstration of how to attack the strong posts at GUEMY 10 miles N.W. of ST. OMER. Aerial activity continued, also heavy shelling all along front. Various hostile air (?)raids(?) at night in back areas. Some Bombs dropped near camp.
Casualties 1 O.R. wounded H.E.

SEPTEMBER 5 1917 - ERIE CAMP - POPERINGHE
Bn. training in morning. In afternoon Brigade sent for C.O. and Adj. and a (?unknown?) bn. move was ordered about 3.30 pm. This was cancelled at 5 pm.
3 O.R. wounded with H.E.

SEPTEMBER 6 1917 - ERIE CAMP - POPERINGHE
A demonstration was given by the (?unknown?) Manch. R. in an attack on a strong point. Later in the day orders were received for move on following day. Numerous bombs dropped in the vicinity of the camp by E.A. at night.

SEPTEMBER 7 1917 - ERIE CAMP - POPERINGHE
Morning was devoted to getting kits packed, cleaning guns, etc. The battalion entrained at 7.30 pm. Various details were left behind under the command of Major LINGS as battle surplus. Strength of Bn. going up line 18 officers 538 O.R. Officers going up Lt. Col. E.B.K. CROSS in command, Capts. MOORE, HORSFALL, PRESTON, 2nd Lts. HILL, OLIVER, SKINNER, SALOMON, ROBERTSON, WHITLEY, JEPSON, DEIGHTON, KILMER, HOBOROUGH, PETERS, (?unknown?), BORRINO & Capt. OLDERSHAW. Bn. relieved 1/6th Lancs. Fus., 2 coys. 1/6th Manch. R., 3 coys. 8th Lancs. Fus. in left section, left sector on the Divnl. Front. Relief completed at 2.45 am Sept. 8th. In route of relief. Train to ASYLUM, YPRES then marched via MENIN GATE, MILL COTT. A (?)trek(?) to line. Bn. Hqs. at SQUARE FARM.
Casualties NIL.

SEPTEMBER 8 1917 - LEFT SECTION, LEFT SECTOR, DIVISIONAL FRONT [near FREZENBERG]
Relief complete at 2.45 am. Our artillery shelled Hill 35 intermittently until dawn. Bn. dispositions are: D Coy. commanded by Capt. HORSFALL on left front, B coy. commanded by 2nd Lt. OLIVER right front coy. with Hqs. at LOW FARM. C coy. commanded by 2nd Lt. HILL in support in front of SQUARE FARM, and A coy. in reserve on CAMEROON DRIVE. Just after relief a number of Gas shells were fired near our reserve coy. A small party of enemy seen digging near BECK HOUSE at 7.45 am who were dispersed with L.G. fire. SQUARE FARM shelled with 150mm at 3.25 pm and at five minute intervals until 3.40 pm. Between 7.15 pm and 7.45 pm enemy put up red and green lights from the direction of BECK HOUSE. Heavy barrage (?unknown?) on POMMERN REDOUBT, SQUARE FARM, LOW FARM and trenches in D19 c and D25 a. This barrage came down again on same places at 9.50 pm and lasted until 11.15 pm. Earlier - in the afternoon about 5.10, 3 E.A. flew very low over POMMERN Redoubt & LOW FARM in spite of having Machine gun and Lewis gun fire. Area jumping off trench was commenced in front of LOW FARM and on in front of POMMERN REDOUBT.
Casualties 4 O.R. Killed 27 wounded. 2nd Lt. SALOMON and 3 O.R. gassed. Fine day, visibility very good about 5 pm.

SEPTEMBER 9 1917 - LEFT SECTION, LEFT SECTOR, DIVISIONAL FRONT [near FREZENBERG]
Hostile shelling very slight before dawn. At (?unknown?) intervals during the day our artillery put a five minutes barrage on enemy strong posts. Most of these barrages were replied to by hostile batteries chiefly with 4.2 & 5.9s. SQUARE FARM and left front and support coys. chiefly shelled. Orders for relief came through. Various patrols & posts (?)sent out(?) in the morning for front cos. and support (?unknown?) (?)each(?) (?unknown?) having sent out (?)two(?) on the night of 8/9.
Casualties Killed 2nd Lt. E.D. SKINNER and 5 O.R., 21 O.R. wounded. 2nd Lt. OLIVER wounded. 2nd Lt. JEPSON and 12 O.R. gassed.

SEPTEMBER 10 1917 - LEFT SECTION, LEFT SECTOR, DIVISIONAL FRONT [near FREZENBERG]
Relief by 1/6th Manchesters commenced at 12.05 am and was completed by 2.20 am. The Bn. marched down to camp at H16 a5.4 the last company arriving there by 5.30 am.
The day was spent in rest, orders came through. (?)Rest(?) bn. (?unknown?) then a day to practice for taking of Beck FARM, KAY NORTH and IBERIAN FARM. Objectives allotted as follows: B coy. under Lt. FORBES will attack enemy positions at BECK. C is under 2nd Lt. HILL will attack KAY NORTH. D coy. under Capt. HORSFALL will attack IBERIAN and occupy the building or establish a line in the vicinity. A Coy. less 1 platoon will leap frog D coy. and establish a line on the final objective. Jumping off trenches marked green on attached map, final objective marked blue.
R.S.M. KNOTT D.C.M. died of wounds. 3 O.R. wounded.

SEPTEMBER 11 1917 - CAMP [near YPRES]
Training devoted to practice (?)with(?) the tapes on ground near GOLDFISH CHATEAU and the practice was (?unknown?) out again in the afternoon. Maps, (?)outcomes(?) etc. prepared. (see Appendices)

SEPTEMBER 12 1917 - CAMP [near YPRES]
Practice attack carried out in the morning. News came through that owing to the fact that the 61st Divn. on our left had not taken Hill 35, the attack was to be cancelled. Ordinary reliefs to be carried out, are to relieve the 1/6th Bn. Manchester Rgt. in the left front sector. Bn. embussed commencing 7 pm at GOLDFISH CHATEAU. Lorries only went to MENIN GATE owing to shelling. Relief carried out under bursts of enemy artillery fire. Relief complete at 12.45 am. D coy. left front section. B co. right front section. C is in support. A coy. in reserve. Bn. Hqs. at SQUARE FARM. Strength of Bn. going into the line, 15 officers 407 O.R.
Casualties 10 killed, 11 wounded, 6 gassed, also 2nd Lt. O. ROBERTSON injured by watercart.

SEPTEMBER 13 1917 - LEFT SECTION, LEFT SECTOR, DIVISIONAL FRONT [near FREZENBERG]
Fairly quiet night after completion of relief at 12.45 am. SQUARE FARM heavily shelled between 4.30 am and 5.05 am, one shell penetrating front wall. Our artillery put down a practice barrage on our front at 8.25 am, the enemy only fired a few mortars in return. We also put a practice barrage down at 5.35 pm for 9 mins. with very little reply.
At night 3 cos. of 1/5th Manchester Regt. and parties from M.G. co. and Trench Mortar Battery came up and assisted in making 'jumping off' trenches in front of LOW FARM positions and POMMERN.
Casualties 6 O.R. wounded 1 gassed.

SEPTEMBER 14 1917 - LEFT SECTION, LEFT SECTOR, DIVISIONAL FRONT [near FREZENBERG]
Quiet morning. Enemy aircraft busy over our lines just after dawn. Our heavy artillery shelled enemy back areas intermittently all day until 5 pm. Hostile shelling slight except for one period when SQUARE FARM was shelled for half an hour at 9 am.
Advance relief party of 1/8th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers came up about 2 pm. At 5.30 pm enemy put a heavy barrage down on the division on our left which continued for about 2 hours. Relief commenced at 9.30 pm and was completed by 12.40.
Bn. marched down to ASYLUM, YPRES where it entrained and was taken to No. 3 crossing G11 a99 from where it marched to camp at TORONTO Camp. Last co. arrived at 4.30 am.
Casualties 2 wounded, 8 wounded (at duty).

SEPTEMBER 15 1917 - TORONTO CAMP
Bn. rested all day. Short parade in afternoon. L.G. (?)material(?) overhauled, etc. Carrying party of 3 Officers and 160 O.R. reported to C.R.E. 9th Divn. and acted as carrying party to GREY RUIN.

SEPTEMBER 16 1917 - TORONTO CAMP
Church service in the morning. Kit inspections, line inspections. A number of enemy aircraft flew over camp during the day but no bombs dropped. 3 Officers and 120 O.R. worked under C.R.E. 9th Divn. near MENIN GATE burying a cable.

SEPTEMBER 17 1917 - TORONTO CAMP
Bn. marched to BRANDHOEK No. 3 Area (G12 c77) via BUSSEBOOM and relieved 16th ARG. Highlanders, arriving there about 4.30 pm. A working party of 2 Officers & (?)130(?) O.R. acted as carrying party for 9th Divn. at MILL COT. at night.

SEPTEMBER 18 1917 - BRANDHOEK
Bn. route march in morning under co. arrangements. L.G. classed started under 2nd Lt. NICHOLS. A working party for 9th Divn. at MENIN GATE of 1 Officer and 63 O.R. went up at 6.30 pm returning at (?)6(?) am.

SEPTEMBER 19 1917 - BRANDHOEK
Bn. as part of 127th Bge. marched off at 9.30 am to WATOU No. 1 area, and camped at TAY camp arriving there at 12.30 pm. The 13th KINGS (Liverpool) was in occupation of camp and did not (?)vacate(?) until 4.30 pm. Heavy rainfall at night.

SEPTEMBER 20 1917 - WATOU
Bn. as part of 127th Bge. continued its march moving off at 7.10 am, and marched to A camp J16 c17 via WAYOU, DROGLANDT and WINNEZEELE arriving there about 12.15 pm. The Bn. under canvas. Hqs. in billets at WINNEZEELE. Nos. falling out on line of march, 1 O.R. who rejoined about an hour after bn. arrived.
Marching out strength 24 Officers 656 O.R.

SEPTEMBER 21 1917 - J16 c17 [near WINNEZEELE]
Bn. training in morning. Platoon and company drill, P.T. & B.F. and smartening up drill. Orders for move received at 11.45 pm.

SEPTEMBER 22 1917 - J16 c17 [near WINNEZEELE]
The Bn. as part of 127th Bge. proceeded to COXYDE in buses via WORMHOUDT, WYDLER, PUYTHOEK, KROMMELHOEK, GHYVELDE and LA PANNE arriving at COXYDE at 1.30 pm. Bn. put up bivouacs & huts in field. Warned that we were to relieve the 32nd Divn. 97th Brigade the 24/25 Sept. Bn. now in XV Corps 4th Army.

SEPTEMBER 23 1917 - COXYDE
Bn. carried out P.T. and B.F. exercise in the morning. Slight enemy shelling during the early morning. Orders received that the Bn. were to relieve the 2/6th Bn. Manchester Rgt. in the Right Sub-sector NIEUPORT BAINS Sector. Enemy aircraft flew over camp at 6 pm but were driven away by our A.A. guns. A few shells, 5.9 calibre, fired in the vicinity of the camp at 11 pm.

SEPTEMBER 24 1917 - COXYDE
Various parties went up line to see new position. Morning spent in cleaning up L.G.s, etc. Bn. marched off at 6.30 pm via OOST DUNKIRK and relieved the 2nd/6th Bn. Manchester Rgt. in the right Sub-sector NIEUPORT BAINS Sector. Relief completed at 9.45. A coy. took over right front co., D co. left front co., C co. less 1 platoon in close support. 1 platoon of C co. in reserve at M20 d75.30. B co attached to 2nd AUSTRALIAN Tunnelling co. 2nd Lt. TEARE and 25 O.R. attached to 429th Co. R.E. M.G. map attached.
The 16th N. Fusiliers on our right (32nd Divn.) and 5th Manchesters on our left. Hostile shelling slight.
Casualties 1 O.R. wounded. 1 O.R. wounded (at duty).

SEPTEMBER 25 1917 - RIGHT SUB-SECTOR NIEUPORT BAINS SECTOR
Quiet morning in our area. Enemy shelled NIEUPORT BAINS intermittently with (?unknown?) all morning. A number of our 'planes flew low over enemy positions and were engaged with M.G. fire. At 11.30 am four enemy 'planes crossed our lines but were driven off by A.A. and L.G. fire. At 5.35 an enemy 'plane came over our A co.'s line, very low, and was vigorously engaged with L.G. fire, it flew back to enemy lines and descended about M15 b apparently hit. From 8 pm to 9.30 pm very quiet. Between 11 pm and 3 am about 50 T.M. tear gas shells were directed on our front and support lines.
Casualties 1 O.R. wounded. 1 O.R. Gassed.

SEPTEMBER 26 1917 - RIGHT SUB-SECTOR NIEUPORT BAINS SECTOR
Patrols sent out to get in touch with 16th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers at 1 am, 3 am and 5 am. From 5.30 am until 9.15 am hostile battery fired on our positions at M20 b. BEACON ALLEY damaged by shell fire at 9 am. Intermittent shelling of NIEUPORT BAINS all morning. Between 4 pm and 4.11 pm our artillery had a practice protection barrage on 32nd Divnl front. Bosche replied feebly. Quiet night. Improvement of trenches and work in BOSCHE support carried out.
Casualties 1 O.R. wounded. 1 O.R. gassed.

SEPTEMBER 27 1917 - RIGHT SUB-SECTOR NIEUPORT BAINS SECTOR
At 6 am Enemy put down a heavy barrage on 32nd divnl. front (M22 c&d). Our S.O.S. went up at 6.10 am and our artillery put down barrage. A raiding party, hostile, were driven off only three men entering the trenches. 2 killed. 1 O.R. prisoner, by 32nd Divn. Our front was only slightly shelled. Desultory shelling all day. Lt Col. CROSS and three O.R. swam the river at night and patrolled the opposite bank of the river. No enemy were observed. Much useful information was obtained as to river banks, tracks used by hostile patrols, etc. and a bit of Bosche wire was (?unknown?).
Casualties 1 O.R. wounded.

SEPTEMBER 28 1917 - RIGHT SUB-SECTOR NIEUPORT BAINS SECTOR
Work was carried on in the trenches on improvement, etc. until 5 am. 5.15 am to 9.30 am enemy artillery active, particular attention being paid to M14 c, M20 c, M30 d, chiefly with 5.9. Desultory shelling along our Support line during the day. Calibre 77mm. Hostile aircraft over our lines between 3.45 pm and 4 pm, driven off by M.G. & L.G. fire. An enemy working party were heard hammering in stakes at M15 a55 about 7 am. During day various individuals were seen on the beach near LOMBARTZYDE BAINS. Work carried on at night as usual. Quiet night, hostile shelling slight.
Casualties NIL.

SEPTEMBER 29 1917 - RIGHT SUB-SECTOR NIEUPORT BAINS SECTOR
Usual patrols sent out to the bn. on our right. Our field Batteries were active during the day. Much enemy movement was observed in M15 b during the day. Enemy shelled Support line, vicinity of Bn. Hqs. and back areas intermittently all day. An enemy working party at M18 c(?)84(?) at 10 pm were dispersed by L.G. fire.
Casualties 1 O.R. Killed. 1 O.R. wounded (died of wounds later).

SEPTEMBER 30 1917 - RIGHT SUB-SECTOR NIEUPORT BAINS SECTOR
At 2 am gas shells were sent over mixed with H.E. just behind Support line. 3.10 am Short intense H.E. and gas shells bombardment on the island (M21 d). Hostile heavy trench mortar active all morning from 12 midnight until 9 am. Major General held a conference of C.O.s at Bge. Hqs. (MONTE CHRISTO). Quiet morning. Our aircraft active. Heavy shelling of the back areas all day. From 9 pm to 11 pm gas shells dropped behind our Support line chiefly lachrymatory. Heavy trench mortars (hostile) shelled M15 a intermittently between (?)8.20(?) and midnight, otherwise Quiet night.
Casualties 2nd Lt. W. BORRINO wounded. 2nd Lt. A. ASHTON rejoined from Hospital.


Officers O.R.

Casualties

Killed

1 23

Wounded

2 77

Wounded at duty

3 9

Gassed

2 20

 

October 1917

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