WAR DIARY

1/8th (ARDWICK) BATTALION MANCHESTER REGIMENT

JULY 1918


JULY 1 1918 - BRIGADE SUPPORT
Weather warm and dry. Visibility very good.
In the morning Company Commanders reconnoitred the new line which the Battalion is to take over tomorrow. Advance parties (to remain in the line until the arrival of the Battalion) also went to the new sector in the afternoon. The day was very quiet - there was very little activity of any sort.
In the afternoon the Major General addressed the men who were to take part in the raid which was arranged for that night.
The Raid took place at 11 pm. On the right (LA SIGNY FARM) the objective was reached but the area found to be quite empty of the enemy. On the left considerable resistance was met with, in the nature of the wire & the enemy bombing so that little progress was made before the signal to withdraw was given from the rear. No prisoners were taken. Our casualties were Wounded 1 Officer (2LT SHARROCKS) & 6 O.R.
Casualties 13 O.R. Sick.

JULY 2 1918 - BRIGADE SUPPORT to FRONT LINE
Very quiet. Weather bright & warm - good visibility.
In the afternoon the previous day's raid was reconstructed for the Major General who questioned and afterwards addressed the men who took part in it.
In the evening the Battalion relieved the 1/5th Lancashire Fusiliers in the Front Line. At the same time the northern boundary was altered and the Division's dispostions reorganized. The Battalion then became the left Battalion of the Division with the New Zealand Division on the left occupying HEBUTERNE. The Battalion is disposed as shown on the sketch map.
Front line Right to left A & B Cos. Support C Co. (in strong point FORT HOD) Reserve D Co. manning FORT STEWART Strong Point. Bn H.Q. K12 d76. Relief complete without incident 10.50 pm.
About 15 4.2 shells fell in and near FORT STEWART about 10.30 pm but otherwise the night was quiet.
The Front Line is on the main ridge overlooking all the enemy's defences - a very wide view is obtained. Everything behind the ridge is dead to the enemy - except balloons and probably accounts for the (?)proximity(?) of communication trenches.
The enemy is supposed to have a few advanced posts on the sunken road (now CETORIX TRENCH) running through K22 a & c with his main line further back. Owing to the numerous old trenches still in existence it is very difficult to trace his exact line.
Rations are brought by limber as far as the Company cookhouse & carried forward from there. The two support companies carry for the Front Line Companies. Water arrangements were re-organised as soon as possible as they were unsatisfactory. Barrels were put into position for storage at K20 b2.8 where the water cart comes up from BERTRANCOURT.
Casualties wounded 1 Officer (2LT SHARROCKS) & 6 O.R. [repeat entry of July 1st listing]
Sick 1 Officer (2LT BENNETT) & 6 O.R.

JULY 3 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather dry & warm - visibility good.
During the day our artillery was active on enemy positions in K22, 23 & 24. Enemy artillery was also active - 60 shells - 5.9s & 4.2s fell in pairs during the morning near PAPEN TRENCH in K15 d & K21 b and 20 more between 4.30 & 6.15 pm. About 77mm shells also fell near the front line of the right company during the morning.
During the night two patrols went out but there was no sign of the enemy. The night was very quiet.
Casualties Killed 1 O.R. Wounded Nil. Sick 1 O.R.

JULY 4 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather continued fine and warm. Visibility good.
Throughout the day and night our artillery was very active - chiefly with harassing fire - roads, tracks, etc.
Enemy artillery was also active - about 45 shells - 5.9 & 4.2 fell during the day on and near FORT HOD (K21 a). A few shells were also fired on the HEBUTERNE - SAILLY Road and into FORT STEWART & K21 b.
Enemy Machine Guns were very active against all our aeroplanes flying over his territory.
Two daylight patrols went out during the afternoon. None of the enemy were seen although GUESCLIN TRENCH was reached.
In the evening the dispositions were slightly changed.
Casualties 1 O.R. wounded. sick 1 Officer (Capt H.C. GALSTER) & 1 O.R.

JULY 5 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather fine - visibility good. Very warm.
During the morning about 50, 77mm shells fell near the Front Line in K21 b&d. The day was otherwise quiet.
Patrols were sent out during the afternoon and night but no sign of occupation was found in the sunken road (CETORIX TRENCH) in K22 a&c.
Casualties Wounded 2 O.R. Sick 9 O.R.

JULY 6 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather fine - hot. Visibility very good.
Our artillery continued its activity - enemy artillery slightly more active during the day on FORT HOD, FORT STEWART.
During the afternoon and night our patrols were active. An unoccupied sniper post was found at about K22 c16.
Evening the two front line companies were relieved by the two support companies. Dispositions Right to Left D & C Cos. Support B Co. Reserve A Co.
Casualties Wounded 1 O.R. Sick 8 O.R.

JULY 7 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather very hot - good visibilty. Day quiet - little artillery activity on either side. Patrols sent out but their work greatly interfered with by our artillery firing on CETORIX TRENCH.
Night very quiet.
Wounded 1 O.R. Sick 7 O.R.

JULY 8 1918 - FRONT LINE
Particularly hot during the day. Visibility good in morning but misty in afternoon. Slight adjustment of front line dispositions and the front line arranged in localities which are to be strongly wired in.
Enemy artillery fairly active during the day - chiefly on K21 a&c.
Our artillery and T.M.s were also active.
During the day and night our patrols were active. One of our men on daylight patrol was killed by a sniper.
Casualties Killed 1 O.R. Sick 3 O.R.

JULY 9 1918 - FRONT LINE
Dull with some rain in the afternoon.
Very quiet during the day - little artillery activity on either side. One of our observation balloons was brought down behind SAILLY by a low flying enemy aeroplane which succeeded in regaining its own lines.
Reconnaissance patrols were active during the day and night. A fighting patrol was also sent out at night to surprise an enemy post in CETORIX TRENCH & capture a prisoner. Surprise failed however & as the patrol was subjected to a heavy fire of Machine Guns and Bombs, it withdrew.
Casualties Wounded 1 O.R. sick 7 O.R.

JULY 10 1918 - FRONT LINE
Very warm and inclined to be showery. Good visibility.
Quiet during the day - little activity on either side.
During the morning the two front line Companies were relieved by 1/5th Bn East Lancs. Regiment. The two support Companies were relieved in the afternoon. Relief complete without incident at [no time listed] pm.
After relief the Battalion went into Brigade Reserve immediately in front of SAILLY-au-BOIS. The Battalion is disposed along a front of (sic) in platoon localities. Order of Companies Right to left B, C, A & D Cos. - see Sketch Map. Battalion Headquarters in SAILLY.
Rations and water are taken direct to each Company Cookhouse.
The greater part of the Battalion is occupied on daily working parties under R.E. supervision. There are few men available for independent work.
The night was very quiet.

JULY 11 1918 - JULY 14 1918 - BRIGADE RESERVE
Weather continued warm and close with showers at intervals.
Working parties continued. Very little shelling in the Battalion Area & the Brigade front remained quiet.
Sickness normal - the slight Influenza Epidemic now ceased.

JULY 15 1918 - BRIGADE RESERVE
Battalion Headquarters moved to the dugout vacated by 125th Inf. Bde, H.Q.

JULY 16 1918 - BRIGADE RESERVE
Weather warm and showery. Very Quiet. Working parties continued.

JULY 17 1918 - BRIGADE RESERVE
Parties from 1/5th Bn. Manchester Rgt. reconnoitred the Battalion Area.

JULY 18 1918 - BRIGADE RESERVE
Battalion relieved in Left Brigade Reserve by 1/5th Bn. Manchester R. T.F. Relief complete without incident at 7 pm.
After relief the Battalion came into Divisional Reserve - B & D Cos. & Bn. H.Q. in Bivouacs in J22 c and A & C Cos. in shelters behind the Purple Reserve Line ready to man it in case of enemy attack. See Sketch Map.

JULY 19 1918 - DIVISIONAL RESERVE
Day spent in cleaning up, kit inspections & bathing - 70 O.R. on working parties.
Weather dry & warm.

JULY 20 1918 - DIVISIONAL RESERVE
Weather fine & warm. 127th Bde. evacuated CORNISH TRENCH, an alteration in dispositions of Coys. was accordingly effected (see sketch map). This was carried out without incident & completed by 4 pm. 130 men on working parties remainder bathing & recreational training.

JULY 21 1918 - JULY 23 1918 - DIVISIONAL RESERVE
Weather fine & warm. Working Parties (R.E.) of 130 O.R. supplied daily. Remainder of men improving accomodation of area & cutting crops during the morning & bathing & recreation during afternoon.
[July 23rd] 2 O.R. Wounded on working Party.

JULY 24 1918 - DIVISIONAL RESERVE
Weather unsettled & showery. Working parties (R.E.) 130 O.R.
Fair amount of enemy shelling in vicinity of Forward Coys. Signals within the Battn. carried on by visual only, good results being obtained. Small parties to Baths.

JULY 25 1918 - DIVISIONAL RESERVE
Weather still unsettled. Relief Order (No. 100) received. Relief of 125th Bde. in Front Right Sub-sector to take place on night of 26/27rh. C.O., Adjt, (?)I.(?)O., (?)Sigs.(?) Off. & O.C Coys. reconnoitred the line to be taken over. Bn. Operation Order No. 28 issued 6 pm for relief of 1/5th L.F. Working Parties (R.E.) 130 O.R.

JULY 26 1918 - DIVISIONAL RESERVE
Weather during morning very unsettled - visibility poor.
Between 2.30 pm & 4.30 pm the Bn. relieved the 1/5th Lancs. Fusiliers with the exception of 3 newly established forward posts at K28 c2.3, K28 c1.4 & K28 c3.6. These posts were relieved late in the evening the completion of relief being 12.15 am 28th [? 27th ?]. The relief went off without incident excepting that it was carried through in wretched weather.
Patrols were out in the right Coy. front during the night & obtained useful information. Very little artillery activity. The Bn. is now disposed as shown on sketch. D & C Coys. in front Line A & B in support.

JULY 27 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather very squally, fair intervals. Visibility fair. Our Aircraft was active during the day. Enemy aeroplanes dropped a few bombs in the Vicinity of COLINCAMPS in the early morning. Our artillery slight, enemy's quiet. Patrol out from Left Front Coy. found Bosch at K34 a3.3 but were unable to close on him owing to intensity of M.G. fire. [no number entered] Sick to Hospital.

JULY 28 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather fair, visibility moderate. Very quiet day. Considerable amount of work done establishing communications to & between Forward post of left Coy. Reconnaissance patrols were out during the day & night.
During the later portion of the evening the Bn. on our left (1/7th Manchesters) endeavoured to establish posts along CETORIX to the junction of RAILWAY. Owing to condition of trench & enemy bombing these could not be consolidated. We assisted this operation with L.G. fire.
Our aircraft was active throughout the day. One enemy aeroplance crossed our lines but was driven off by A.A. fire.
Casualties 2 O.R. Sick to Hospital.

JULY 29 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather fine & warm. Visibility good at intervals. Our Artillery fairly active throughout the day & harassing fire at night. Enemy artillery quiet. Aerial activity on both sides slight.
Reconnaissance & fighting patrols were out by day & at night. Good information obtained & enemy encountered at K26 c44. Several Bosches wounded & 1 Killed. We had 1 O.R. wounded in this encounter. Casualties 2 sick to Hospital. Battn. Operation Order (No. 29) issued for inter coy. relief 30th inst.

JULY 30 1918 - FRONT LINE
Weather fine & hot. Visibility good. During early hours of the morning enemy sent a considerable amount of gas shells on to battery positions to our right rear.
At 9am V Corps on our right carried out a feint attack. 10 mins. smoke barrage, 25 minutes bombardment. Enemy retaliated rather weakly on our front & support lines.
Between 2pm & 4pm A & B Coys. (in support) relieved D & C Coys, in the front line, with the exception of the three forward posts in front of LA SIGNY FARM, these being relieved at 11.30 pm. D & C Coys. on being relieved, occupied the positions vacated by A & B respectively.
Artillery on both sides fairly active. Enemy appear to be ranging on their own positions.
Five enemy aeroplanes crossed our line at 10.45 am. One of them was seen to fall in flames.
Harassing fire & crashes were fired by our artillery throughout the night.
Reconnaissance patrols were out during the later part of the evening & into the following morning.

JULY 31 1918 - FRONT LINE
Fine warm day. Visibility good at intervals. Artillery fairly quiet during the day, fairly active during the evening.
Work on (?)defendant(?) localities progressing & condition of trenches generally improving.
During the evening enemy aircraft dropped several Light Bombs in the vicinity of COLINCAMPS.
Reconnaissance patrols out during the latter part of the evening.


Officers O.R.

Casualties
(from above listings)

Killed

2

Wounded

1 15

Sick to hospital

2 59

 

August 1918

8th battalion home page