WAR DIARY

1/8th (ARDWICK) BATTALION MANCHESTER REGIMENT

JUNE 1918


JUNE 1 1918 - PAS
A & D Companies carried out Field Practices on the 300 yds. range at C9 b. B & C Companies practiced tactical exercises on the Training Ground in C11 d.
Afternoon the men played games - football, boxing, etc. The weather remained fine.
In the evening a telegram was received cancelling the Warning Order that the Division was to Relieve the 57th Division on 4/5th & 5/6th inst.
It was expected that the Division was to be sent South to take part in the Fighting near SOISSONS. There were no developments.

JUNE 2 1918 - PAS
Sunday. Services for all denominations were held.
Warning Order received that the Division was to relieve the New Zealand Division on the 7th/8th inst.
Afternoon Sports & Games. Weather fine & warm.

JUNE 3 1918 - PAS
A, B & C Companies occupied on Working Parties. D Company carried out training at C11 d - practice with Discharger Cup & Tactics against Cavalry. The digging out of tents - protection against aeroplane bombs was continued.
Weather continued fine.

JUNE 4 1918 - PAS
No training carried out - A, B & C Cos. on Working Parties. D Co, on digging out the floors of tents to a depth of two feet.
The C.O. and Company Commanders reconnoitred the Support Line the Battalion is to take over.

JUNE 5 1918 - PAS
Advanced Parties went up to live in the line until the arrival of the Battalion on the 7th inst.
Working parties continued.
Evening the Battalion Officers' Mess held a Guest night - the Brigadier, O.C. 1/5 East Lancs., 1/10th Manch. R. & O.C. Bn. 307 Regt. U.S.A. attached to the Brigade were present.

JUNE 6 1918 - PAS
During the morning training continued. A & B Companies on C11 d Training ground. Platoon Tactical Schemes, Defensive Tactics against Cavalry and Bombing (Practice with Discharger Cup). C & D Companies Miniature Range & Assault Course in C17 b.
Afternoon sports & organised games. The American Regt. attached to the Brigade (307th) left PAS for an unknown destination.

JUNE 7 1918 - BRIGADE SUPPORT
The Battalion embussed outside the Camp on the PAS-GAUDIEMPRE Rd. at 1:30 pm. The embussing proceeded with great expedition and on arrival at BUS- les-ARTOIS the Battalion marched into the Wood about J20 c83. After dinner the Battalion proceeded at 5.15 pm to march to relieve the 2nd Canterbury Rgt. (N.Z. Division) in Brigade Support. Route via BERTRANCOURT and tracks skirting north of COURCELLES au BOIS and COLINCAMPS.
(The Battle Surplus (4 Off. & 60 O.R.) marched from PAS to HALLOY and the Administrative Portion of the Battalion (4 Off. & 101 O.R.) proceeded to camp at LOUVENCOURT.)
Relief was complete without incident at 9.10 pm.
The country is very open and undulating and the numerous tracks are used almost as far forward as the Front Line Trenches. The Front Line is on the Crest or on the Reverse Slope and whilst there is a very extensive field of view of the enemy country, all our ground behind the Front Line is dead to the enemy.
The Battalion is disposed in two lines of posts a platoon strong, distributed along a front of about 2600 yds. B & A Companies are in the Front Line and C & D Companies in the Second Line as on Sketch (APP II).
The day was remarkably quiet - very little shelling.

JUNE 8 1918 - BRIGADE SUPPORT
About 3.30 am the enemy laid down a heavy barrage of light & medium Trench Mortars on the left Company's (of the Brigade) Front Line. A number of casualties were caused.
In the afternoon a number of 5.9s fell near Brigade H.Q. (J24 d60.75). Supply Arrangements - Ration Limbers leave LOUVENCOURT about 2.30 pm and deliver rations at Bn. & Co. H.Q. (at each of which there is an efficient and simple cookhouse) at about 5 pm.
A water cart which is stabled about J24 a42 fills from a pump & well in SAILLY au BOIS and delivers loads to Company Headquarters at each of which there are barrels or tanks.
At night the Division on the Right made a raid with two Battalions. There was considerable bombardment from our guns which was replied to by the enemy who also sent up a large variety of coloured lights.
The day was warm and bright throughout and very quiet.

JUNE 9 1918 - BRIGADE SUPPORT
The morning, the weather was fine but in the afternoon some rain fell - with a corresponding fall in temperature.
About 8 4.2 shells fell near A Company H.Q. during the morning and at 5 pm 14 77mm shells fell close to Bn. H.Q. Otherwise very quiet.
In the evening verbal instructions were received to reorganize the Battalion dispositions - Instead of Support and Reserve Battalions each having their Companies scattered along the whole length of the Brigade Front, the Support Battalion was to take over the Left Positions & the Reserve Battalion the Right Position. Thus each Battalion would be more compact and more capable of delivering or organizing a counter-attack. (Previously the Role of the Support Battalion was to "hang on" to the last - passive resistance.)

JUNE 10 1918 - BRIGADE SUPPORT
Weather fine and warm. Visibility good - 8 enemy observation balloons were up during the day.
The enemy artillery were fairly active - our batteries were very active. At 6.30 pm companies marched by overland routes to their new areas. The Move was complete without incident at 8.15 pm.
Working parties - 150 O.R. from the Battalion worked on RAILWAY AVENUE. 70 men bathed in the afternoon at the BERTRANCOURT Baths.
Casualties 2 O.R. Wounded H.E. (1 at duty).

JUNE 11 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather warm and bright - visibility good.
Bathing Parties at BERTRANCOURT and usual working parties continued. In the Evening the Battalion relieved 1/10th Manchester R. in the Left Battalion Sector. The relief was complete without incident at 11.50 pm. Dispositions from right to left: Front Line D & C Cos. Support A & B Cos. The Battalion Front is about 1100 yds and the Battalion is distibuted in a depth of 1400 yds. (for dispositions see attached map).
Rations are brought up nightly to the Battalion Headquarters and carried to companies from there. Water is drawn from SAILLY-au-BOIS (5 Water carts daily) and put into Tanks (capacity 200 gallons) near Bn. H.Q.
There was little shelling or other sign of enemy activity during the day or night.

JUNE 12 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather warm & dry - visibility good.
Little artillery or M.G. activity on either side. Our 6" Trench Mortars (Newton) fired 80 rds. during the afternoon, on BASIN WOOD.
The enemy seemed very nervous, as about 10 pm the enemy threw a number of bombs into and round his post at K27 d66.88 apparently making certain before he occupied it, that we were not holding it already.
During the night a few 77mm shells fell on the Front Line but the night was otherwise quiet.
Patrols reported the Concrete Emplacement at K27 b58 to be unoccupied. There was no sign of the enemy near it. Small working parties were observed at about K27 b88.50 & K27 b60.19. Machine Guns fired from approximately K27 d60.98 & K28 a55.98.

JUNE 13 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather continues warm and dry. Visibility good. Very quiet all day. Our Field & Heavy Artillery were very active and our 6" Newton T.M. fired 20 rounds during the day in BASIN WOOD, RED COTTAGE & LA SIGNY FARM, At night our Machine Guns were also active.
During the day the enemy fired spasmodically in the Vicinity of the Sugar Factory & near EUSTON DUMP (K33 a).
At night about 10.30 pm the enemy again bombed himself into his forward post at K27 d66.88. During the night some shells fell on the front & support lines.
Patrols went out from K27 c35.25 & K27 d35.55. Machine Guns observed at K27 d69 & K28 d0.1.

JUNE 14 1918 - FRONT LINE
At 5.30 am & 6.10 am in conjunction with the Division on our Left, our 6" Newton T.M. bombarded the Eastern Edge of LA SIGNY FARM. During the day, apparently in retaliation, the Front & Support LINE was shelled vigourously with 77mm - about 250 shells in the forenoon and occasionally in the afternoon.
At about 9 pm two red lights were sent up by the enemy, followed by 40 minutes bombardment of our front line - 4.2s chiefly. At 10.30 pm two further red lights were sent up by the enemy whereupon the enemy again bombed himself into his post and heavy artillery fire was opened on the front line system - our left company in particular received a good deal of attention. This continued most of the night.
Our artillery & M.G.s continued their activity during the day & night.
Active patrolling of No Man's Land was carried out during the night.
Casualties Wounded 1 O.R.

JUNE 15 1918 - FRONT LINE
Slight Showers during the day - visibility fair.
About 3 am the enemy shelled our front and support lines, chiefly in the left Company Area - 77mm. He showed an increased artillery activity during the day, particularly with his artillery.
The Front Line Trench of the left Company is on the forward slope of a hill and the trench being shallow, all movement along it is observed and promptly shelled. During the day there were a number of direct hits on the trench.
Our artillery & M.G.s remained active the chief artillery targets being OBSERVATION WOOD, MATTHEW COPSE & BASIN WOOD. Our 6" T.M.s fired 60 rounds on K27 b&d & K34 a.
During the night there was again a considerable amount of shelling on our Front System - about 200 shells fell in the left Company's Area.
A raid was carried out on the left on FUSILIER TRENCH (K1 b6). In conjunction with this a Chinese Barrage was put on VALLADE TRENCH in K34 a&d.
Casualties Killed 1 O.R. Wounded 5 O.R. (1 at duty) all H.E.

JUNE 16 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather warm & bright. Visibility good.
During the morning there was some shelling of our front system but in the afternoon this died down, and there was little activity on either side after this for the remainder of the day.
In the evening the two support Companies (A & B Cos.) relieved the two front line companies (C & D Cos.). The relief was complete without incident and the remainder of the night was very quiet.
Our artillery continued its normal activity.
Casualties Killed 3 O.R., W. 8 O.R. (all H.E.)

JUNE 17 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather fair. Good visibility.
During the morning RAILWAY AVENUE & trenches in K27 c&d were shelled - 77mm, 4.2s & 5.9s.
In the afternoon a shoot was carried out on LA SIGNY FARM. All the troops in the area affected were withdrawn. Between 5 & 8 am over 200 shells (6" Hows.) were fired on the target.
Between 9 & 10.30 pm in retaliation the enemy heavily shelled all salient points in the whole Brigade Area, the front & support lines receiving particular attention. At 10.15 pm our artillery - field & heavy guns opened a heavy retaliation fire. This was effective only for a short time when the enemy artillery again opened fire. Our batteries then opened a heavy neutralizing fire - making use of gas shells. This proved effective for the remainder of the night, which was quiet.
A patrol left our lines at K27 d22 and proceeded along RAILWAY AVENUE. All the dugouts in this trench were inspected but no sign of recent occupation was noticed. A sentry (and probably a post) was noticed at K27 d83.70. Two machine guns opened fire on the patrol from K27 d82.50 & K27 d33.65.
Casualties 1 O.R. wounded at Duty (H.E.)

JUNE 18 1918 - FRONT LINE
About 3 am a few rounds were fired on our front & support lines. The remainder of the day was quiet. Efforts were made to repair the damage caused by the enemy's shelling the previous day.
Our artillery fired shrapnel over LA SIGNY FARM and was active on the enemy's back areas.
At midnight a heavy barrage of guns and T.M. supported the raid on the right of the 1/5th East Lancs. In retaliation the enemy put down a barrage on our front line system and also on his own front line trench. The enemy sent up numerous coloured lights and the following was thought to be the meaning of his signals: 2 green lights - enemy shelling front lines. 2 reds - all clear (i.e. he has occupied posts at night which are empty in the day time). Golden Rain - S.O.S.
Patrols went out during the night but no contact was made with the enemy and no new information learned.
Casualties Nil.

JUNE 19 1918 - FRONT LINE
The whole day was very quiet, there being very little artillery activity on either side.
Advance Parties of 1/5 East Lancs. Rgt. visited the line to take over. Orders were received that one company of the 1/5th E.L.R. would not be available for relief on account of having been engaged in the raid the previous day.
In the evening the Relief of the Battalion (less D Co.) by the 1/5th East Lancs. R. proceeded without incident and was completed at 11.55 pm.
After relief the Battalion proceeded into Brigade Right Support.
Dispositions Right to left, C [&] B in Front, A & D in rear.
Casualties Killed 1 O.R. Wounded 2 O.R. all H.E.

JUNE 20 1918 - BRIGADE RIGHT SUPPORT
Weather inclined to be showery - unsettled.
Working parties commenced - 100 O.R. and a party of 25 O.R. detached in Tunnelling Work.
During the day bathing parties marched to COURCELLES where some good baths had been arranged.
The men are quite comfortable - there are plenty of shelters. As there are good cookhouses & supplies of water and rations good, the men's food arrangements are very satisfactory.
In the evening D Company was relieved and joined the Remainder of the Battalion in Brigade Support.
At night there was a considerable amount of shelling throughout the Battalion Area - chiefly 4.2s and 5.9s. A number of shells fell behind Battalion Headquarters & over a hundred shells fell near C Co. H.Q.
The day was otherwise quiet.

JUNE 21 1918 - BRIGADE RIGHT SUPPORT
Slight Showers during the day.
Working parties & bathing continued.
Commencing today arrangements made to send five officers daily to Rear H.Q. for Baths, etc.
In the evening there was a little shelling but no casualties were caused.

JUNE 22 1918 - BRIGADE RIGHT SUPPORT
Some rain. Very dull and sky overcast.
Working parties continued. Men not employed on these, carried out work on trenches & wiring.
Very Quiet.

JUNE 23 1918 - BRIGADE RIGHT SUPPORT
The Brigade was relieved by 127th Inf. Bde in the evening but this Battalion remained in its position and was attached to 127th Bde.
Weather fine - visibility good - strong wind blowing.
Very quiet during the day & the night.
Working parties and bathing continued.
Casualties Wounded at Duty 1 O.R.

JUNE 24 1918 - BRIGADE RIGHT SUPPORT
Some showers during the day but visibility remained good. Working parties were reduced by 60 O.R.
During the day D Company practiced the raid arranged for the 28th inst. In accordance with Divisional & Brigade Suggestions, the plan was considerably altered in the evening.
About 9.30 pm a heavy mist gathered and remained the whole night. About 9.45 pm a few gas shells fell in the vicinity of Battalion Headquarters.
During the night there was considerable shelling in the neighbourhood of COLINCAMPS.

JUNE 25 1918 - BRIGADE RIGHT SUPPORT
Heavy mist in the morning but cleared about 9 am and visibility then good. Weather warm.
Working parties continued including the 60 O.R. who were cancelled for the 24th inst.
A practice ground for the Raiding Party was laid out with tape.
Very quiet all day.

JUNE 26 1918 - BRIGADE SUPPORT
Weather warm and fair - visibility good.
During the morning the enemy artillery fired a number of rounds on our batteries South of SAILLY au BOIS. The day was otherwise [un]eventful as there was little shelling.
Working parties continued.
Capt. J.H. PRESTON after 3 years continuous service with the Battalion, proceeded to U.K. for an Ordnance Course.
2LT. SEED proceeded to U.K. for transfer to R.A.F.
The trenches to be raided were taped out on a suitable piece of ground for carrying out a practice. The raid was considerably altered in plan.
The projector gas attack was postponed for the night.

JUNE 27 1918 - BRIGADE SUPPORT
Weather continued fine and warm with good visibility.
At 11 am a practice of the raid was carried out - the Major General, Brigadier & C.R.A. were present.
The Baths at COURCELLES was used by the Battalion between 8 am & 2 pm. There were few clean clothes available however, although the baths themselves were excellent.
At night the Projector Gas attack arranged for 10.30 pm was postponed on account of the wind being unfavourable.

JUNE 28 1918 - BRIGADE SUPPORT
Weather continued fine - good visibility.
The raid was again rehearsed before the Major General, Brigadier & C.R.A. The Major General gave a short speech to the men to be engaged on the raid.
In the afternoon efforts were made to obtain as good a resemblance to the actual ground as possible. Large branches to represent trees of (sic) hedges were used and a shelter farm house in ruins constructed to represent LA SIGNY FARM.
The day was very quiet and little of interest occurred.
At night orders were received to move Bn. HQ. to Q1 b05.
At 10 pm a gas projector attack was successfully carried out.
Casualties 1 O.R. wounded H.E.

JUNE 29 1918 - BRIGADE SUPPORT
Preparation for the Raid continued.
At 11 pm a final rehearsal was arranged but this was cancelled on account of the enemy's heavy bombardment of the Battalion Area, with gas and H.E. shells. LT. PETERS the Battalion Intelligence Officer was wounded.
The day was warm and bright. Visibility good.
During the day the enemy's artillery showed an increased activity - a good deal of high bombing shrapnel - chiefly 4.2 was used.
The new Battalion Headquarters at Q1 b05 was established at 9.30 pm.
In accordance with the plan raid was [to] take place two days after the projector attack (?)i.e.(?) on 30th inst.

JUNE 30 1918 - BRIGADE SUPPORT
Weather warm and bright - visibility good.
Very quiet during the whole day - little activity of any sort.
In the afternoon, an order from D.A. (sent to us for information) told us that the Raid was cancelled for tonight. All arrangements for the raid including Medical had been made and had all to be cancelled. The raiding party were greatly disappointed that the raid was once more postponed.
Another practice was held at 10.30 pm and was quite satisfactory. The Brigadier was present.
During the night there was the ordinary night firing on both sides.


Officers O.R.

Casualties
(from above listings)

Killed

5

Wounded

1 21

July 1918

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