WAR DIARY

1/8th (ARDWICK) BATTALION MANCHESTER REGIMENT

SEPTEMBER 1918


SEPTEMBER 1 1918 - PYS
The Battalion (in Divisional Reserve) was in bivouacs in and near the Gully in G33 c. Bn. H.Q. G32 d75.15.
In case of enemy counter attack the Battalion was to be prepared to occupy or deliver attacks against the trench system South West of LOUPART WOOD. The day was spent in Resting, Cleaning up and Reorganization of Companies. Lieut. Col. T.E. TETLEY D.S.O. left the Battalion for the Base.
Major A. HODGE D.S.O. M.C. assumed command of the Battalion.
The weather remained cool and fresh.

SEPTEMBER 2 1918 - PYS
During the day the Battalion was engaged in cleaning up and bathing, kit inspections & reorganization. A Company Commanders Conference was held at 2 pm.
At 11.45 pm Orders were received to be ready to move at half an hour's notice to occupy the trenches in N3 c & 9a.

SEPTEMBER 3 1918 - PYS
At 7.30 am information was received from Bde. H.Q. by telephone that the Battalion was to be ready to move forward at once - as a first bound to N9 b - as the Division was making rapid progress forward. All preparations were made but the Battalion actually marched off at 12.15 pm. Route WARLENCOURT- EAUCOURT, Le BARQUE & LIGNY TILLOY. The Battalion Bivouaced at N10 b4.2 and ate the midday meal.
In accordance with verbal orders - written orders were received on the line of march - the Battalion marched off at 6 pm through RIENCOURT and VILLERS- au-FLOS and bivouaced in O14 a - Bn. H.Q. O14 a16.
As there were trenches and a number of shelters and a fair amount of material in the area the night was spent comfortably.

SEPTEMBER 4 1918 - VILLERS-AU-FLOS
Orders were received at 2 am that the Battalion would probably move forward during the morning East of BARRASTRE as the Division was continuing the attack at 7 am. Preparations were made for an early start which did not materialize. Defensive Positions were reconnoitred in case of enemy attack. The weather was fine and the rest helped the men to recover from their previous heavy fatigue.

SEPTEMBER 5 1918 - VILLERS-AU-FLOS
As considerable resistance was being met with the advance of the Division was rather slower than it had been and the Battalion did not move from the place of bivouac.
In the afternoon there was a heavy shower of rain which flooded all the shelters of the Battalion.
An advance party was sene to LE BARQUE to reconnoitre the village for billets as the Division was expected to be relieved that night.

SEPTEMBER 6 1918 - VILLERS-AU-FLOS
The Battalion marched to billets & bivouacs in LE BARQUE where as part of 42nd Division it was to be in IV Corps Reserve. Route via BEAULENCOURT and LIGNY-THILLOY. The Divisional Commander watched the Battalion march past at N9 a00 (approx.) and expressed himself well satisfied with the appearance of the Battalion.

SEPTEMBER 7 1918 - LE BARQUE
The Battalion was very comfortable in the billets as accommodation was good and plentiful. The day was spent in cleaning up, kit inspections and reorganization.

SEPTEMBER 8 1918 - LE BARQUE
Sunday. Parade Services were held for the Church of England, Roman Catholic & Nonconformist Denominations.
At 12 noon the Divisional Commander made an informal inspection of the Battalion and addressed the men. Although considerably interfered with by heavy rain the Battalion marched past in Columns of Route.

SEPTEMBER 9 1918 - LE BARQUE
Training Continued but was somewhat interfered with by rain. Two ranges - one of 250 yds. and the other 100 yds. were available. As there are plenty of wide open spaces in the vicinity (over which a considerable amount of fighting has actually taken place) there is plenty of scope for tactical training.

SEPTEMBER 10 1918 - LE BARQUE
Training continued. The rifles of one company inspected by the armourer sergeant. Range Practices, Tactical Schemes were the chief points of the training besides the ordinary smartening up drill and recreation.

SEPTEMBER 11 1918 - SEPTEMBER 13 1918 - LE BARQUE
Training continued but considerably impeded by the weather remaining unsettled. The Regimental Concert Troupe gave a concert on Wednesday and were very successful. The Divisional Band & Troupe also gave performances during the week.

SEPTEMBER 14 1918 - LE BARQUE
Showery. Battalion Concert in the Evening. During the night orders were received to be ready to move off towards the line, at 5.30 am. Nothing however materialized.

SEPTEMBER 15 1918 - LE BARQUE
Sunday. News wired through that the enemy had attacked but had been driven off with heavy losses.
Church Parades were held in the morning for all denominations. A successful inter platoon sports meeting was held during the afternoon.
The Corps Line (East of YTRES) was reconnoitred.

SEPTEMBER 16 1918 - SEPTEMBER 17 1918 - LE BARQUE
Training Continued - special attention being paid to Company Formations & Company Tactical Schemes. The Weather remained showery. Concert in the Evening by the Divisional Troupe.

SEPTEMBER 18 1918 - LE BARQUE
Orders received in the afternoon that the Brigade was to stand to at once ready to move forward as the S.O.S. had gone up along the Corps Front. Later orders were issued that the Battalion was at half an hour's notice to move.

SEPTEMBER 19 1918 - LE BARQUE
Information received that the Situation now normal.
During the day various orders were received concerning the move of the Brigade into the Line. Move orders received at 10.45 pm.

SEPTEMBER 20 1918 - LE BARQUE
Advance parties to the line and to the billets for the night left at 8 am. The Battalion marched out at 10.15 am via THILLOY, the outskirts of BAPAUME and FREMICOURT to a Nissen Hut Camp in I29 central.

SEPTEMBER 21 1918 - LEBUCQUIERE
Company Commanders reconnoitred the new line.
At 5.30 pm the Battalion marched out to Relieve 6th Bn. Middlesex Regiment in the Front Line. Route via BERTINCOURT, RUYALCOURT, MATHESON ROAD and HAVRINCOURT WOOD. Relief Complete 11.[0]5 pm.
Dispositions shown on attached map.
During the night there was some spasmodic shelling.

SEPTEMBER 22 1918 - FRONT LINE
Between 2 & 4 am the enemy fired about 2000 rounds of gas shell - yellow cross - chiefly on the Eastern Portion of HAVRINCOURT WOOD. The Remainder of day fairly quiet - spasmodic shelling and a few Light T.M. from the enemy although our artillery remained active throughout the day. Our patrols were very active during the night. Battalion Dispositions slightly altered to secure more depth with a more thinly held front line.

SEPTEMBER 23 1918 - FRONT LINE
Much quieter - little artillery activity on either side. Visibility good. Dispositions further altered - the front line now now (sic) held comparatively thinly.
Enemy M.G.s active at night - on BUTLERS CROSS ROAD. About 10 - 10.30 pm about 30 light aeroplane bombs were dropped near BUTLERS CROSS.

SEPTEMBER 24 1918 - FRONT LINE
Very quiet. Officers of 125th & 127th Inf. Bdes. reconnoitred the line to view the ground over which they shortly expected to attack.
During the night two enemy patrols approached our line but were driven off by our Lewis Gun Fire.

SEPTEMBER 25 1918 - FRONT LINE
Quiet. Considerable increase in the amount of artillery covering the front. Tanks also came up in the rear.

SEPTEMBER 26 1918 - FRONT LINE
Quiet. In the evening A Company took over the whole of the Battalion Front. Two companies of 1/5 Manch. R. came into the Battalion Area and the Battalion withdrew leaving A Co. in the front line until 4 am to enable the 1/5 Manch. R. to form up for the attack.
The night was very wet and after the withdrawal the Battalion proceeded to P4 and bivouaced in the open and in our old trench.

SEPTEMBER 27 1918 - FRONT LINE
The Division attacked at 8.20 am & the Bn. as part of the Reserve Bde. was ready to move forward at very short notice.
At 5 pm orders were received to occupy the old front line before dark. This was done. The Battalion passed the night without incident although all preparations were made to advance at once.

SEPTEMBER 28 1918 - LINE
Verbal Orders were received at about 11 am for the Battalion to move forward in artillery formation to the valley in L31. Here the battalion was to form up ready to advance through the most advanced troops to exploit as much as possible up to WELSH RIDGE. It was understood that the front line ran along HIGHLAND RIDGE (L32, R2 & 7). Information was then received that the 1/10th Bn. Manchester Regiment had advanced further and was occupying WELSH RIDGE.
The Battalion moved forward from the position of assembly at about 3.30 pm. Right to Left A & C Cos. in Front, D & B in Rear. Coming under fire from WELSH RIDGE whilst crossing HIGHLAND RIDGE, the Battalion at once extended widely and A & C Companies pushed forward through the 1/10th Manchester R., over the difficult wooded & (?)marsh(?) covered COUILLET VALLEY, across the Railway & up the Ridge. Here considerable opposition was met with from about four M.G.s near the top of the ridge and although casualties were incurred chiefly in A Company progress was continued chiefly by infiltration.
Bn. H.Q. was established in COUILLET AVENUE at about L32 b70 which afforded very good observation of WELSH RIDGE. Visual Communication lamp & shutter was maintained successfully the whole time with the two forward companies.
At about 7.30 pm orders were received that early next day the N.Z. Division were to pass through the Division and make an attack.
Our line then ran approximately along CENTRAL AVENUE & SAILOR RESERVE (R3 d & b) with outposts on the road running N.E. through R9 c & b, R3 d, R4 a.
The Intelligence Officer was sent to reconnoitre for any available accommodation for the battalion in L32.
Casualties Killed 1 Officer (2LT A. McLAUCHLAN) 5 O.R. Wounded 1 Officer (2LT GILPIN) 18 O.R.

SEPTEMBER 29 1918 - LINE
At 2 am the two forward companies withdrew to shelters in the sunken road in L32. The Support Companies (and shortly afterwards Bn. H.Q. withdrew) at 2.30 am. Bn. H.Q. L32 a91.
At 12 noon the Battalion marched out first to Q6 and then when new orders were received to Q1 & P12 a & c.
The Battalion was comparatively comfortable in bivouacs of corrugated iron.

SEPTEMBER 30 1918 - LINE
The day spent in cleaning up, bathing and improving the accommodation - 30 tents were received so that accommodation was now quite good.


Officers O.R.

Casualties

Killed

1 12

Wounded

2 45

Sick to hospital

2 72

 

October 1918

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