WAR DIARY

1/8th (ARDWICK) BATTALION MANCHESTER REGIMENT

NOVEMBER 1917


NOVEMBER 1 1917 - NIEUPORT
(?)6.30(?) am. The enemy shelled the vicinity of the Redan with 4.2 also the area to the right of Bn. front where the Dam was burst the previous day. Owing to the bursting of the Dam the part of Nose Alley near the Redan was under water. Nasal Support and Nose Alley as far as the Huiterie were also very wet.
(?)11.40(?) am. About noon the enemy shelled the posts of the left front Company near the Geleide Brook, nearly 200 shells fell here.
(?)5.10(?) pm. Heavy shelling of Bn. H.Q. and Putney Bridge with 4.2. This lasted until 8.30 pm consequently there was no traffic over the Bridge during that Period. The Bridge however was not broken.
(?)2.00(?) am. A large number of Medium T.M. fell near M22 d86 and M28 d66 Nasal Trench. One post in NASAL TRENCH was partly smashed in.
(?)5.50(?) am. A patrol of 1 Officer and 7 O.R. to reconnoitre NO MAN'S LAND area went out from the Right Companies left post in NASAL TRENCH. After proceeding some distance in a N.W. direction they found a stream running towards enemy trench, the width of which varied from 6 to 20 feet. The patrol went along side of stream in order to find a crossing but without result. The ground was full of shell holes and very difficult going. No signs of the enemy were seen.

NOVEMBER 2 1917 - NIEUPORT
(?)6.00(?) am. About thirty trench mortar shells medium and light fell in the vicinity of NASAL TRENCH and NOSE ALLEY.
During the day the enemy artillery was less active than usual. The Bn. was relieved by the 1/6th Man. Regt.
(?)5.30(?) pm. A (?)salvo(?) of 4.2 shells was fired at PUTNEY BRIDGE just as the 1/6th MAN. REGT. were commencing to cross over the bridge. One man was wounded. After this the enemy were very quiet and enabled the relief to be carried out without casualties. The relief was reported complete at 10.30 pm. The Bn. going into Reserve in NIEUPORT, the COMPANIES occupied the same postitions as last time in reserve. A COMPANY has an additional (?)Liaison(?) Post to occupy in NEW PARADE.

NOVEMBER 3 1917 - NIEUPORT
(?unknown?) am. All COMPANIES made use of the new foot baths in NIEUPORT during the day.
(?)2.00(?) pm. The enemy shelled the vicinity of NEW WALK and PRESQU'ILE. A number of working parties were found for work under the R.E.s during the evening.
(?)9(?) pm. Enemy planes flew over NIEUPORT and dropped a number of bombs.

NOVEMBER 4 1917 - NIEUPORT
Enemy Artillery much more active than usual. D Co. H.Q. in the Sardiniere had a direct hit with a 4.2 but no damage was done. Enemy planes over NIEUPORT many times during the day flying very low.
Working parties were found for the R.E.s during the evening.
The Commanding Officer examined all Platoon Commanders in S3 d43.

NOVEMBER 5 1917 - NIEUPORT
The Battalion were relieved by the 1/8th LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS at 8.00 pm and proceed to FURRES ROAD HUTMENT, LA PANNE via WOLDEN & COXYDE. It was originally arranged that the Bn. should go into the billets vacated by the 1/8th L.F. on the sea front this was however changed at the last minute.
The night was very dark this making the relief much later than expected. Relief complete reported at 10.30 pm. The COMPANIES marched to their new billets independently. The last COMPANY arriving at 2.00 am on the 6th inst. Two L.G. were ordered to relieve the 1/5th L.F. for Anti Aircraft purposes at FURNES RAILHEAD.
The Bn. H.Q. was about 2 miles from the hutments and was situated near the Area Commandant's Office at W15 a01. The remainder of the OFFICERS were billetted at the GRAND HOTEL DES ARCADES at W20 b 9.9 with the exception of one Officer per Company who lived at the HUTMENTS.
1 Officer and 50 O.R. remained in NIEUPORT and were attached to the Special Co. R.E. carrying Gas Projectors.

NOVEMBER 6 1917 - LA PANNE
The day was spent in generally cleaning and smartening up. New Clothing was also issued. The training area allotted to the Bn. was in square W20.

NOVEMBER 7 1917 - LA PANNE
The training programme arranged could not be carried out owing to heavy rain. A number of fatigue parties were found during the evening.
Lt. C.M. Ware joined the Bn. and was posted to B Coy.

NOVEMBER 8 1917 - LA PANNE
Training was carried on as far as possible during the morning with the men available. During the afternoon the C.O. held a kit inspection of all the men in the camp.
The party of 1 Officer and 50 O.R. left in Nieuport when the BN. moved down reported at the camp at 4.00 am.

NOVEMBER 9 1917 - LA PANNE
The training in the morning was chiefly in Musketry. D Company used the range situated in the rear of the Camp.
Two L.G. teams for A.A. work at St Idesbalde Railhead were relieved by the 1/6th Manchester Regt.
The whole of the Bn. made use of the Corps Baths at COXYDE during the afternoon.
The following Officers reported for duty with the Bn. this day, 2/Lt. F. Sloane, 2/Lt. G.K. Walton, 2/Lt. S. P. Dawson, 2/Lt. S. Brierley, also the Rev. Father J. McGinnell.

NOVEMBER 10 1917 - LA PANNE
Training was carried out in the morning as per programme attached. Afternoon very wet.

NOVEMBER 11 1917 - LA PANNE
Devine Services were held during the morning.
The C.O. interviewed all N.C.O.s and men desirous of obtaining Commissions. The (?unknown?) held an inspection of all Company (?)lines(?).

NOVEMBER 12 1917 - LA PANNE
Training carried out according to programme. The weather was bright and the ground almost dry after yesterday's rain. Enemy aircraft over LA PANNE. Several bombs dropped & several civilians killed & wounded.

NOVEMBER 13 1917 - LA PANNE
Training continued. A demonstration of Lewis Gun Firing took place near the Camp. The Major General and the Brigadier General attended.
Enemy aircraft over the camp and the town (?)twice(?). (?unknown?) (?unknown?) (?)came(?) the second time and dropped several bombs. Several soldiers & civilians were killed & wounded in bombing. 1 O.R. of this Unit killed.

NOVEMBER 14 1917 - LA PANNE
Training Continued. Weather still fine. No firing on beach on account of the quickly rising tide. Pte. FRASER (killed by Bomb on the 13th inst.) buried at COXYDE cemetery.

NOVEMBER 15 1917 - LA PANNE
Official warning of the move on the 16th inst. Two Railway Waggon Loads of rations sent by ST. IDESBALDE RAILHEAD for dispatch direct to final destination.

NOVEMBER 16 1917 - LA PANNE
Marched to COLUMBIER FARM (500 yds. E. of UXEM). French Troops pouring into LA PANNE until we left. Fine weather for march. No men fell out.

NOVEMBER 17 1917 - COLUMBIER FARM
Marched to WORMHOUDT. Good weather for marching. Two men fell out.

NOVEMBER 18 1917 - WORMHOUDT
Marched to village of RIETVELD a small village a mile Sth. of WORMHOUDT. No men fell out.

NOVEMBER 19 1917 - RIETVELD
Marched to HONDEGHEM Area - Coys. scattered in farms 1 - 3 miles N.W. of WALLON - CAPPEL main cross roads. No men fell out.

NOVEMBER 20 1917 - HONDEGHEM
Marched to ISBERGUES. No men fell out.

NOVEMBER 21 1917 - ISBERGUES
Day spent on cleaning up, bathing & kit inspections, etc.
All the men in good billets now. One Coy. at Baths.

NOVEMBER 22 1917 - ISBERGUES
Training carried out at O9 a88 in the morning. Afternoon Football - Inter Coy. League Matches played.

NOVEMBER 23 1917 - ISBERGUES
Training carried out. One Coy. on Range. Warning Order from Bde. as to probable move on 24th inst. Warning Order Cancelled & warned for Move to BETHUNE on 26th inst.

NOVEMBER 24 1917 - ISBERGUES
Battalion Parade & Training Continued in the morning. Afternoon Football (Inter Company League).

NOVEMBER 25 1917 - ISBERGUES
Final Warning Order that Bn. moves into Line on 27th inst.

NOVEMBER 26 1917 - ISBERGUES
Marched to BETHUNE. The whole Battalion Billetted at the Tobacco Factory very comfortably. No men fell out on march. Men allowed out in the town where there are plenty of amusements for them.

NOVEMBER 27 1917 - BETHUNE
Bn. left Tobacco factory at 10 am and marched up via BEUVRY, LE QUESNOY & GORRE to relieve 4th South Staffs. in the GIVENCHY Sector (left Battalion). RELIEF complete at 3.20 pm.
Dispositions right to left in front line A, C, & D Coys. In support in the Old British Line where Bn. H.Q. is situated is B Coy.
On the left is the 4th Portuguese Infantry Battalion (part of 1st PORTUGUESE Division). On the right is the 1/5th Bn. Manchester Rgt.
The frontage is about 2000 yds. There is a continuous front line except for about 600 yds. which are held by 3 isolated posts (part of the original front line now flooded). The Fire trenches, Communication Trenches & the O.B.L. (Old British Line - Now the support line) are all dry as duck boards are being laid everywhere needed over the mud and water. On account of the swampy nature of the Ground it is impossible to dig any trenches so that breastworks are used instead.
Communication both forward and to the rear is very good (?unknown?).
Rations are brought by limber to ESTAMINET Dump (F6 c48) and then pushed in (?)limbers(?) along the Railway Lines to the Coys. at BARNTON TEE (A3 a56), RICHMOND (S27 a20.85) and to O.B.L. Water is pumped up to Tanks (?unknown?) the Left & Centre Coys. Water Tanks for the remainder are put on trucks at the pump at the BREWERY (S20 d43). The cooking for all coys. is done in the O.B.L. The food is carried up to the Companies in the line in Hot Food Containers. The Support Company does this carrying as well as pushing up the other rations and R.E. material to the Companies. All refuse is brought down from Coys. and sent on the trucks to Estaminet Dump where it is removed to the incinerator by the limbers.
There are fairly plentiful dug out accommodation for all the men although these dug outs like the trenches are in need of repair as they are very old.
This is a wonderfully quiet sector.
Touch is kept with Bn. on right by (?)Lonely(?) Patrols.
A working party of about four of the enemy were observed about 70 yds. in front of centre company. Shelling very slight.

NOVEMBER 28 1917 - LEFT FRONT BN. GIVENCHY SECTOR
Patrols sent out to inspect the wire in front of left & centre Coys. 2 places the wire is only in moderate repair.
About 10 rounds 4.2in fell near brewery about 9 am. During Morning another 15 rounds fell near the same place.
An enemy aeroplane circled over the front line at high altitude about 1 pm. Casualties 1 O.R. wounded at duty.

NOVEMBER 29 1917 - LEFT FRONT BN. GIVENCHY SECTOR
Very quiet all day. Two patrols sent out at night from left & right Coys. Left Coy. (D Coy.) sent out 1 Officer (2LT WILKINSON) and 11 O.R. from S28 a3.9 at 9 pm. They proceeded along the dike to S22 c48.03 and found that the dike was dammed by the parapet of our old trench. None of the enemy were encountered although flares were sent up later (10.10 pm) from S22 c85.03. Patrol returned at 9.50 pm.
Right (A) Coy. sent out 1 Officer (2LT LINDLEY) and 12 O.R. to examine the enemy wire. They went out from 2.30 am to 3.30 am (30th inst.). They left our line at A3 a91 and on reaching the enemy wire East of this point a machine gun opened fire from about A3 b33.10. A sergt. and private were wounded (both flesh wounds). As no further progress would be made the wounded were brought in and the patrol withdrew.

NOVEMBER 30 1917 - LEFT FRONT BN. GIVENCHY SECTOR
Enemy artillery very quiet. M.G. not located fired burst at night on QUINQUE RUE and Right Cover Trench.
3 of the enemy seen digging at S23 a98 about 8.40 am.
At 2 pm a hostile aeroplane was over our line. At 2.45 pm two hostile aeroplanes over our lines were driven off by our anti-aircraft gun fire.


Officers O.R.

Total of Bn (In France)

37 767

Trench Strength

22 457


Casualties

Killed

2

Wounded

1 25 (including 9 at duty)

 

December 1917

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