WAR DIARY

1/8th (ARDWICK) BATTALION MANCHESTER REGIMENT

OCTOBER 1917


OCTOBER 1 1917 - NIEUPORT BAINS
At 2 am hostile gas shells were sent over mixed with H.E. just behind the Support line and at 3.10 am a short intense H.E. (chiefly 4.2 calibre) and gas shell bombardment was put in same place. At 6 am several T.M. shells were fired on front line. Enemy fired at (?unknown?) (?unknown?) from M21 a46. A golden rain (?)rocket(?) was fired by enemy at 5.15 am. (?)Much(?) enemy movement was noticed Between 6 am and 6.30 am at in about M15 b. Enemy aircraft flew low over our lines at 2.45 pm. Back areas were shelled by hostile batteries during afternoon. A few gas shells were fired on our lines about 11 pm.
Casualties 1 O.R. wounded. 1 O.R. killed.

OCTOBER 2 1917 - NIEUPORT BAINS
Very quiet morning. In the afternoon enemy shelled back areas and NIEUPORT BAINS. Complete orders for relief received.
Relief by 1/6th Bn. Manchester Regt. commenced at 7.30 pm and completed at 10.45 pm. (?unknown?) parties were sent down during the day to take over new camp YORKSHIRE Camp. Enemy aircraft active after dark. Capt. L. OLDERSHAW, R.A.M.C., killed near Suicide Corner. Major LINGS wounded. Also 8 O.R. attached to Tunnelling Co. wounded.

OCTOBER 3 1917 - YORKSHIRE CAMP
Most of the day spent in cleaning up, fitting equipment and kit inspections. Afternoon the funeral of Capt L. O. OLDERSHAW, R.A.M.C. took place at COXYDE (VILLE) Military Cemetery with full Military Honours.

OCTOBER 4 1917 - YORKSHIRE CAMP
Morning spent in training (by Companies).
Captain H.C. GALSTER, U.S. M.O.R.C., reported for duty.
Preliminary Orders came through for the Division to be relieved by the 41st Div.

OCTOBER 5 1917 - YORKSHIRE CAMP
Training as yesterday. Afternoon enter platoon cross country race. Result A, D, C Coys. each had one platoon left in semi final.
Orders for the Relief arrived at 11.15 pm.

OCTOBER 6 1917 - YORKSHIRE CAMP
Battalion relieved by 11th Bn. Queen's Own Royal West Surrey Rgt. Battalion marched to camp at X3 a 91 ST. IDESBALDE. When we took over the camp it was in extremely filthy and unsanitary condition. Rain the whole day.

OCTOBER 7 1917 - ST. IDESBALDE
Battalion marched to AUSTRALIA Camp (W18 b63). 127th Infantry Brigade now the Brigade in Reserve to the Division (the Division having relieved the 39th Division) in the front immediately on the right of the old Div. Front.
Working party of 175 O.R. (?)required(?) (?)in(?) (?)future(?) for night work.

OCTOBER 8 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
Training continued, particular attention being paid to the Training of Reserve Lewis Gunners and Signallers.
Afternoon semi-final of inter-platoon cross country race. Result 1 platoon each of C & D Coys. left for the Final.

OCTOBER 9 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
Started working party of 150 O.R. for daytime. Total number now working in 24 hrs. 290 O.R. Only the Reserve Lewis Gunners & Signallers left to train. 2LT. J. LINDLEY reported for duty from the 42nd Div. Wing.
Capt C.G. MOORE assumed Command of the Bn. during the absence on leave of LT. COL. CROSS.

OCTOBER 10 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
Working parties as yesterday - likewise training. 2LT. N. WOOD reported from Div. Wing. 2 LT S.J. DAVIE killed and 1 O.R. wounded when proceeding on a (?)train(?) up the line for the evening working party.

OCTOBER 11 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
Working parties & training as yesterday. 2LT S.J. DAVIE buried with full military honours at COXYDE (VILLE) Military Cemetery.

OCTOBER 12 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
Working parties & training as yesterday. 2LT J. WILKINSON reported for duty from Divisional Wing.

OCTOBER 13 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
Working parties as yesterday. 5 limbered G.S. waggons also required. The approaches to the line reconnoitred.

OCTOBER 14 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
Sunday C.E. Divine Service in Church Army Hut at 11.30 am.

OCTOBER 15 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
Working parties as Usual. Very wet. Half a company of the 1/7th Bn. Manchester Rgt. started sandbagging the huts of this Camp.

OCTOBER 16 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
Another party of 60 O.R. required daily. Total of men working daily 350 O.R.

OCTOBER 17 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
As yesterday. At night the camp was shelled slightly. Five shells (5.9") fell in the Camp area. Casualties 6 O.R. wounded. Several shells also dropped on COXYDE.
2LTS. W. BENNETT, G.V. HULL, H.S. PEPPER, W. SMART reported for duty from Div. Wing.

OCTOBER 18 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
Slight amount of shelling in this Area during the day. Some of the men bathed at COXYDE.

OCTOBER 19 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
More bathing for men. Slight shelling of back area at night. Orders for Relief came through.

OCTOBER 20 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
All men's feet treated against "Trench Foot". Advance party of 1 (?)man(?) per coy. & Bn. H.Q., Scout Sergt. & Sergt. Cook and LT. TEARE went up to 1/8th Lancs. Fusiliers.

OCTOBER 21 1917 - AUSTRALIA CAMP
Lt. Col. CROSS rejoined from leave. Bn. marched out at 4.15 pm to relieve 1/8th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers in the LOMBARTZYDE Sector. Marched out (including advance party) 18 Officers 445 O.R. Relief complete at 11.25 pm. Remarkably quiet the whole night. No casualties.
The route taken by the battalion through NIEUPORT was entirely through tunnels which were in very good condition - the greater part are lit electrically. The Bridge across the YSER to Bn. H.Q. (PUTNEY BRIDGE) is a track of duck boarding on floats and is very precarious. It is frequently damaged by hostile shell fire and rendered impassable. Bn. Headquarters (RUBBER HOUSE) is an old farm house heavily concreted. It is very commodious & contains the headquarters of the Bn. (left / Front) and the Support Bn. (1/7th Bn. Manchester Rgt.). The Dispositions are shown on the attached sketch.

OCTOBER 22 1917 - NIEUPORT
No movement is allowed by day so communication with the forward company by telephone only. The lines are broken frequently by shell fire. There are duckboard tracks between Bn. H.Q. & the Companies but portions are destroyed and have never been repaired. The whole ground is waterlogged and movement is very difficult.
Rations came up tonight to Town Major's Office NIEUPORT (near where the petrol tins are filled with water). All bridges across the River were broken so Rations & Water, etc., were very... [part of image missing] ...not repaired at midnight. Patrol... [part of image missing] ...M22 b41 in N.W. Direction to enemy post about 70 yds. away found this post unoccupied.
Our artillery quiet the whole day. Enemy artillery rather active during the day near the bridges between 5 pm and 9 pm. Area between Nasal Trench & Nasal Support shelled by small trench mortar. One direct hit in Nasal Trench. Slight Damage.
Casualties at noon Nil. Coys. in Front line sent patrols to Coys. on right.

OCTOBER 23 1917 - NIEUPORT
All rations & water sent up to the Coys. before daybreak.
Intermittent shelling most of the day. PUTNEY BRIDGE Rendered Useless by hostile shelling. Some shrapnel.
Casualties 6 O.R. wounded (2 at duty and 2 accidentally).
PUTNEY BRIDGE repaired about 2 pm & Rendered impassable again 6 pm. Two patrols went out, one from M22 a45.10, the other from M22 b40.30. Neither of them came in contact with the enemy owing to the inundation of the ground.

OCTOBER 24 1917 - NIEUPORT
PUTNEY BRIDGE was impassable when the ration limbers arrived & there was some congestion on BROWDER BRIDGE. The rations however were got over in good time, together with water & 100 clean shirts tonight up by the ration limbers - arrangements having been made for 100 shirts per day to be exchanged at the clothing store at the baths in COXYDE VILLE.
5.15 am An enemy working party of 7 men were seen apparently improving their position at M22 b44 which was damaged by our shell fire yesterday.
1 pm Between 1 & 2 pm communication by the bridges was interrupted by continuous hostile shelling (H.E. 4.2s) at a fairly steady rate of something more than one round per minute. Retaliation was called for & two-minute bursts were fired by our artillery on selected targets.
(?)7.30 pm(?) A patrol consisting of 1 Officer and 8 O.R. went out from M22 a24 in a N.W. direction to try and discover whether any enemy posts or patrols were in the vicinity. After proceeding for a short distance a L.G. was heard firing from M22 a43. The patrol returned to investigate and found that an enemy patrol approaching had been fired on. Search was made and the body of one German was found. The following identifications were obtained. One Shoulder strap. Identity disc, Fried Hemmerich, Neudorf. Bay. 14 J.R. 1X 3839. a metre measure & (?)three(?) pay books. This enabled Intelligence to identify the troops in front as the 14th BAVARIAN REGT. belonging to the 16th DIVISION, which was known to have suffered heavily at ZONNEBEKE in the battle for MENIN ROAD in September. This Division afterwards moved to ROULERS & then relieved the 3rd NAVAL DIVISION in the LOMBARTDYZE Sector.
11.00 pm. A patrol of 2 Officers & 12 other ranks went out from M22 b45.10 to an old enemy breastwork about 100 yds. N.W. of that point which was found to be unoccupied. Patrol did not come in contact with the enemy.

OCTOBER 25 1917 - NIEUPORT
The day passed without incident & in the evening the battalion was relieved by the 1/6th Bn. Manchester Regt. & moved into the reserve line. Neither PUTNEY nor CROWDER Bridge was broken during the afternoon or evening of the relief, the first company of the 1/6th MANCHESTERS crossing the river at 5.30 pm, relief was reported complete at 8.25 pm.
Disposition of the Battalion in Reserve Bn. H.Q. at M27 b65.40; A Co. headquarters in the same series of dug outs with one platoon as (?unknown?) of the PRESQU'ILE (M21 d); B Company in the reserve line near Bn. H.Q.; C Company in NIEUPORT at M28 c54.40; D Company in the SARDINIERE (M34 b80.80). During the relief rations were brought up to three separate ration points & the water cart was brought up & left at Bn. H.Q.

OCTOBER 26 1917 - NIEUPORT
During the day the M.O. held a foot inspection of the whole battalion.
The day was quiet in the reserve line except for intermittent hostile shelling mainly in the neighbourhood of the PRESQU'ILE & occasionally along the bank in which the H.Q. & B Co. dug outs were situated. In the Evening Working parties totalling from 140 to 200 O.R. were detailed by the Brigade. Nearly all (?)their(?) work was done between 7.00 pm & 12 M.N. A party of 25 O.R. carried R.E. Stores over to the REDAN Dump: 30 O.R. carried (?)mining(?) (?)timber(?) for the 257 Tunnelling Co. R.E.s: and two officers & 70 O.R. worked under R.E. direction till midnight on the improvement of the trenches, NOSE LANE & NOSE ALLEY.
Three hundred of the clean shirts which had come up from Bn. Dump were issued to companies with soiled shirts returned by transport.

OCTOBER 27 1917 - NIEUPORT
Another quiet day with intermittent shelling. Working parties were again found in the same numbers at night & a party of 25 O.R. worked for two hours (?unknown?) cable under R.E. direction.

OCTOBER 28 1917 - NIEUPORT
A quiet day, the same working parties found with the addition of (?unknown?) party of one officer & 40 O.R. to carry water once to the reserve supply in the REDAN.

OCTOBER 29 1917 - NIEUPORT
During the greater part of the day, the battalion made use of the Brigade anti- trench-foot Bathing room (situated in a cellar in NIEUPORT). With the assistance of the R.A.M.C. personnel, every man who (?)was(?) going into the line had his feet washed with "trench-foot" (?)prep(?) generally (?)attended(?) (?unknown?) (?unknown?) (?unknown?).
6.30 pm. The Battalion relieved the 1/6th Manchesters in the line. A Coy. were the right front Coy., B the left front Coy., C Coy. in support in the Huiterie and D Coy. in reserve in Nieuport. There were no casualties during the relief. Patrol went out from M22 a34 towards the Geleide River. Enemy working party was seen and dispersed.
M.G. firing into the Redan during the night. A few trench Mortar shells fell near A Coy. H.Q. no damage done. Also the aerial shelling of the bridges.

OCTOBER 30 1917 - NIEUPORT
Intermittent shelling of the bridges during the morning.
3.00 pm. Putney Bridge badly smashed, but repaired about 8.00 pm.
7.20 pm. Patrol went out from M22 a45.00 and proceeded along bank N.E. for about 300 yds. passing a large shell crater. The enemy turned Rifle and M.G. fire on patrol, no one however was hit. After waiting for the enemy to come out of his post to search ground without result, the patrol returned to our line. The body of a Pte. in the 1/5th K.O.Y.L.I. was found by this patrol with his effects taken off him.
11.20 pm. A patrol went out from M22 b45.10 in a N.W. direction for a short distance then went N.E. for about 50 yds. an enemy Working party with a covering party was discovered. The patrol immediately opened fire, on which the enemy replied, shortly after Sgt. Taylor (?)i/c(?) of the patrol ordered his men to withdraw to small bank just in (?unknown?), whilst doing this one man No. 301334 Pte. Edwards was killed. The moon being full made patrols very difficult.
Enemy M.G. firing into the Redan was responsible for several men being hit. The Battalion was congratulated on this patrol by G.O.'s C. Division in Bde. Casualties 1 Killed. 2 wounded.

OCTOBER 31 1917 - NIEUPORT
Enemy artillery quiet during the day except on the right of the Bn. front where they destroyed a dam. The ground for some distance around being inundated at High tide.
1.20 am. A patrol of 1 Officer & 7 O.R. went along bank to Geleide brook where they met an enemy patrol of from 14 to 20 O.R., bombs were thrown by the enemy. Our patrol engaged them with Bombs and rifle fire and made them retire. The patrol went out again twice during the night to see what casualties they had inflicted but were fired on by M.G. and rifles, bombs were also thrown, the patrol engaged them again and chased them back for some distance. After which the enemy fired Rifle Grenades which lit very near our post. The casualties in our patrol were two men slightly wounded, two men were also wounded in the post by Rifle Grenades.
A party went out from the Right Company and brought in the body of the man killed the previous night on patrol.
Casualties 4 O.R. wounded.


Officers O.R.

Casualties

Killed

2 2

Wounded

1 39

 

November 1917

8th battalion home page