JANUARY 1 1918 - OBLINGHEM
C & D Coys. worked up the line for 428th Field Coy. R.E. Buses reported for this party at 2.30 am. A Coy. and details of the Battalion bathed at LOCON. The weather very cold. At night B Coy. held a Company Concert.
JANUARY 2 1918 - OBLINGHEM
No working parties, so training was carried out. A Coy. & the remainder of the Battalion had box respirators tested at the Divisional Gas School ESSARS.
JANUARY 3 1918 - OBLINGHEM
The Battalion left OBLINGHEM to relieve 1/9th Bn. Manchester Rgt. in Reserve to the Right Brigade at LE PREOL. The day was bright and the visibility very good. The relief was postponed from the morning until dusk. Head of Battalion passed starting point at 3 pm and reached LE PREOL 5.30 pm. Relief complete at 6.30 pm.
JANUARY 4 1918 - LE PREOL
Working parties started - 20 O.R. at KANTARA R.E. DUMP (F3 b53), 20 men to R.E. Dump PONTFIXE (A14 b25.15) + 20 O.R. (relieved 3 times during the day) to assist Artillery to wire in their gun positions. O.s C. Coys. and other Officers reconnoitred the Village LINE.
JANUARY 5 1918 - LE PREOL
Working parties continued. Remainder of Bn. engaged in training. The VILLAGE LINE and approaches were reconnoitred by another party of Officers & N.C.O.s. Afternoon Games. A draft of 57 O.R. arrived. Most of the men have been in France before and are of good physique and are a good stamp of men.
JANUARY 6 1918 - LE PREOL
Working parties continued. In the afternoon Brigade Headquarters informed us that there was considerable enemy T.M. activity on the Brigade Front and that although no infantry action was expected the Battalion was to be ready to turn out at short notice. Companies were therefore ordered to be ready for immediate action but were not to stand to. In the evening orders were received for a working party of one Company to report to 1/6th Manchester Rgt. to help clear the communication trenches and to assist in repairing the damage caused by the T.M. bombardment during the afternoon. This party worked all night and returned about 7 am. Considerable damage to the trenches had been caused but only one man was wounded in 1/6th Manchester Rgt.
JANUARY 7 1918 - LE PREOL
Party of Officers reconnoitred the Right Battalion Lines which this Unit is to take over on the 9th inst. During the day the usual working parties continued. The remainder of the Battalion was engaged in training & bathing at the Baths in LE PREOL. At night another party was sent up to assist the 1/6th Bn. Manchester Rgt. to repair their trenches.
JANUARY 8 1918 - LE PREOL
Bathing continued during the day. All men of the Battalion now bathed since arrival in LE PREOL. Ordinary Working parties continued. In the evening a concert was given in one of the rooms of an Estaminet by the newly raised Regimental Troupe - "The New Agains". The performance was very successful and was greatly appreciated by everybody.
JANUARY 9 1918 - LE PREOL
This Battalion relieved 1/6th Bn. Manchester Rgt. in the Line in the Right Subsector of the Right Brigade Sector. At first the battalion was first ordered to leave LE PREOL but on account of the good visibility, the move was postponed one hour. During the afternoon the sky clouded over and about three inches of snow fell. Relief complete at 7.55 pm. During the relief everything was very quiet. Dispositions. The four companies are in the Front Line in the Order from Right to Left B, D, A, C. Each Company has one platoon in the line and one platoon in close support. The Headquarters of each Coy. is in a Trench running from the Reserve Line (Support) to the Front Line.
There is an organised and somewhat complicated system of trenches which are deep but in poor repair particularly those which were damaged by the bombardment by the enemy trench mortars. On account of the thaw & the snow, the trenches are very muddy.
The Front Line is held by 21 small posts, there now being a scheme for organising them into Defended Localities, self defendent and mutually supporting & offering an all-round resistance. From the Front Line a number of saps run out and overlook the line of craters which runs from 50 - 100 yds. in front of the line. The saps were previously occupied as listening posts but are now merely patrolled at night by the patrols from post to post.
About 30 medium T.M. shells fell between A21 d50 & A21 d56 from 8.50 - 9.10 pm. These caused two casualties - 2 O.R. killed.
Enemy 4.2s fixed at 3 minute intervals for 1/2 hr. on BACK St in A27 b. Our 18 pounders fired registering shots on the BRICKSTACKS & LES BRIQUES.
JANUARY 10 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
Our 18 pounders fired 12 rounds on A29 c93 and 6 on A28 b45 during the morning. Enemy artillery quiet. Enemy M.G.s fired occasional bursts during the night on LA BASSEE ROAD. 12 Light T.M. shells fell in No Man's Land at about A21 d72 at 7 pm. 6 Medium shells fell near A21 b95 about 3.45 pm.
A patrol of 1 Officer (2LT BENNETT) & 2 O.R. left TWIN SAP (A27 b64) at 11.30 pm. From here they proceeded for about 50 yards South and then 150 yds. East. When about 30 yards from SAXON CRATER (A27 b73) movement was heard and Very Lights were fired. It was concluded that there was a post on the East side of the Crater.
At night 3 Officers & 6 wiring parties of 10 O.R. each from 1/6th Bn. Manchester Rgt. came up from LE PREOL to wire in the Defended Localities in the Reserve Line - R1, R2, R3, R4, R5 & R6.
All available men working on clearing the Trenches damaged by T.M. fire. During the day visibility fair.
JANUARY 11 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
Very little artillery activity on either side. Occasional enemy M.G. burst on CAMBRIN - LA BASSEE RD. Between 3.15 pm & 4 pm 4 heavy T.M. shells fell near A21 b95. At 7 pm 12 Light T.M. shells fell in No Man's Land near A21 d72. Visibility good. At night wiring of R1, etc. continued - little progress made. Clearing trenches continued.
JANUARY 12 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
Enemy artillery and M.G.s quiet during the day. Our 4.5 Howitzers fired about 60 rounds on various targets during the day and our 18 pounders about 50 rounds. About 20 heavy T.M. shells fell near A21 b95 but little damage was caused.
An enemy aeroplane over our line during the morning was driven off by our Anti- Aircraft Fire.
Most of our trenches beginning to fall in on account of the thaw and all available men engaged on repairing them.
A patrol of 1 N.C.O. (Sgt KELLY) & 2 O.R. left TWIN SAP (A27 b66) at 2 am and proceeded along S.E. edge of POLLUX CRATER until they were within 10 yards of the enemy wire when an (sic) M.G. at approximately A27 b76 opened fire on them. They then moved East for 50 yds. and heard the sound of talking from the M.G. position. The patrol then returned along the wire for about 30 yds. when Very Lights were fired from a post at A27 b75. The strength of this post could not be ascertained. The whole of the enemy wire reconnoitred was in very good condition.
JANUARY 13 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
Little Artillery activity on either side. Enemy M.G.s used overhead fire as usual for a few bursts on the back area. Enemy T.M. action 6 Heavy T.M. shells on A21 d50 at 10 am, 6 mediums at 1.30 pm on the same place, 12 lights on A27 b35 at 2.25 pm, & 16 lights on A27 b45 at 3.31 pm. Our medium T.M.s replied effectively silenced the enemy.
A patrol of 1 Officer (2LT NYE) & 3 O.R. left D Coy. at 10 pm and proceeded East until the West side of ETNA Crater was reached. Working round to the North side they came to a strong belt of wire within which there was a post. Laughing was heard there and about ten minutes later, he opened fire with rifle and also discharged a rifle grenade. The going was very bad and the side of the Crater very steep.
2LT DUNN & 5 O.R. left STIRLING POST - the left Post of the Battalion and worked East along the side of Brickstack F. There was no sign or sound of the enemy. Further out an old disused trench was noticed, leading to our lines. Later one of the patrols developed a bad cough and so the patrol returned. The ground was very heavy and the going bad.
JANUARY 14 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
Little activity of artillery on either side. Visibility poor and later there was a slight fall of snow - a patrol should have gone out but was cancelled on this account. About 30 H. T.M. shells fell near A21 b83 between 9 & 10 pm. No damage to the front line was caused. Our medium & heavy T.M. retaliation was both prompt & effective.
JANUARY 15 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
During the night a thaw set in and made the trenches quite bad.
The Battalion was relieved by 1/6th Bn. Manchester Rgt. Relief complete 11.55 am. Visibility during the day very poor. Little activity of any sort today. After relief the Battalion went in Brigade Support.
Dispositions Bn. H.Q. GLASCOW RD at A20 b74.35, C Coy. in two redoubts North of the Canal ORCHARD KEEP (A15 a83) & SPOIL BANK KEEP (the latter by H.Q. A15 c79) B Coy. in two redoubts in A21 a & A20 d - MOUNTAIN KEEP & BRADDELL KEEP respectively. D Coy. is in MARYLEBONE Rd as support to and under tactical control of the Right Bn. A Coy. with 1 platoon in GUNNER SIDING (A15 a) and 1 platoon in ESPERANTO TERRACE (A15 d) in support to and under tactical control of left Bn. of the Brigade. The Role of A & D Coys. is primarily for counter attack in case of enemy capture of front line.
The condition of all the trenches & keeps taken over is very bad, nearly all the sides of the trenches are falling in owing to the pickets securing the revetment not being driven sufficiently firmly into the ground. The trenches are about six inches deep in mud or water - in places much more. Every available man on the work of repairing them. A (?)daily(?) working parties amounting to 183 men in all are found for the 428th Field Coy. R.E.
JANUARY 16 1918 - SUPPORT BATTALION CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY-GIVENCHY area]
Working parties for 428th Field Coy. R.E. continued. All available men working on trench repairs. During the day 80 O.R. were sent to the Baths at LE PREOL. The Anti-trench foot centre near CUINCHY Station was also used. Visibility fair - general activity was very light. LT N.A. HOLDAWAY reported for duty & posted to C Coy.
JANUARY 17 1918 - SUPPORT BATTALION CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY-GIVENCHY area]
Working parties and bathing continued throughout the day. Our artillery fairly active during the day - a few enemy T.M.s on the Front Line.
JANUARY 18 1918 - SUPPORT BATTALION CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY-GIVENCHY area]
Working parties and bathing continued. 2LTs S. MERRY, S. HIND & H. TUSON reported for duty and were posted to D Coy., A. Coy. & D Coy. respectively. Visibility poor during the day. Slight Drizzle.
JANUARY 19 1918 - SUPPORT BATTALION CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY-GIVENCHY area]
Working parties & bathing as yesterday. Visibility good. Enemy Trench Mortars active on front line.
JANUARY 20 1918 - SUPPORT BATTALION CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY-GIVENCHY area]
Visibility very good. Considerable hostile artillery activity. Our guns replied. Bathing & working parties continued during the day.
JANUARY 21 1918 - SUPPORT BATTALION CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY-GIVENCHY area]
Bathing & working parties as yesterday. The trenches are still in very bad condition.
JANUARY 22 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
The Battalion relieved 1/6th Bn. Manchester Rgt. in the Line. Visibility during the first part of the morning was poor but afterwards slightly better. Relief complete by 9.59 am. Dispositions as before.
Our artillery fired about 130 rounds of 4.5 & 6 howitzer shells, & about 30 18 pounder shells. Everything quiet during the day. Two enemy aeroplanes were over our lines at 11 am. They were very high but were driven off by our A.A. fire. The two right Coys fronts have not been greatly affected by the weather but the two left Companies are in very bad condition. The LANE and A Coy.'s Front Line are particularly bad - in places the water is about two feet deep.
Work was carried out during the night in the Front Line, the LANE & BURBURE ALLEY which is also in a bad condition.
A prisoner captured by the Division on the Right (11th Division) showed that the Division opposite us is the 4th (ERSATZ) DIVISION. The prisoner gave a considerable amount of useful information. The Division was in France from shortly after the outbreak of war till May 1917 when it was moved to Russia for a rest, the morale being poor. The Division returned to France in December 1917. Major H. S. BOWEN, ESSEX RGT, reported as 2nd in Command.
JANUARY 23 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
Very quiet the whole day. Visibility fair. During the night a Very Light was fired from A21 b95 & a signalling lamp was seen at about A22 b98 flashing towards our lines, as though signalling to one of their forward stations.
A patrol of 1 Officer (2LT R. NYE) & 5 O.R. left our lines at 4.15 am from LEICH SAP and reaching the Crater in front, turned south & after crossing a good deal of broken ground - barbed wire, disused trenches, shell holes, arrived at ETNA SAP. They then proceeded towards the enemy lines but had to return shortly on account of the approaching dawn. A considerable amount of wire was seen in front but there was no other sign of the enemy. The patrol returned at 6 am.
JANUARY 24 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
Very Quiet. About 8 light T.M.s at 7.30 pm & 15 at 11.15 pm fell near A21 d57. A green light was seen flashing from the same spot as yesterday - A22 b98. A patrol of 1 Officer (LT JACKSON) left our lines at 2 am from A27 [b]49 at 2 am and returned to the same point at 4 am. The patrol passed over a ridge & a crater and when some distance out discovered a track leading to the enemy lines. They stopped here and listened but nothing was heard save the sound of a running motor behind the enemy lines. There was no sign of the enemy.
JANUARY 25 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
Very quiet all day. A light T.M. fired 8 rounds at 7.30 pm and 15 at 11.15 pm. This gun was located by us as being at A28 a35.
The same green light as yesterday was seen flashing about 5.30 pm.
Two of the enemy were seen working close [to] their trench in A21 d85 at 6 pm. Fire with rifle was opened on them at once by D Coy. and the men were seen to throw up their tools and fall. A patrol of 2LT TUSON and 6 O.R. was sent to bring in the bodies which however had been taken by the enemy.
2LT S. MERRY & 6 O.R. left our lines at 3.30 am and went out via ETNA and the CRATER. The patrol returned at 4.45 am and during all the time the patrol was out, nothing was seen of the enemy.
Visibility very good. Bright Moonlight at night.
JANUARY 26 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
Very quiet all day - little activity of any sort. Visibility very good - the weather is warm and dry.
The companies working on the wire of the "R" Localities -almost complete now. The front line is also much better.
A patrol of 1 Officer (2LT BENNETT) and 6 O.R. left our line at A27 b74 and made its way via the Southern Lip of POILU CRATER to the enemy wire which was in good condition and without gaps. There was no sign of the enemy the whole time the patrol was out. The going in No Man's Land is good. The patrol returned to our lines at 3.40 am. The night was frosty.
JANUARY 27 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
Early in the morning a heavy low lying mist made visibility very poor. Later the sun was bright and the mist dispersed. Very quiet all day - little shelling & M.G. activity. Three of the enemy were seen crawling near our line at A22 a16 at 7.30 pm. Fire was opened on them and although a patrol was sent to reconnoitre nothing more was seen of them but two bombs thrown by us were answered by two of theirs in the distance.
Work on clearing trenches and in wiring the "R" localities carried out during the night which was bright moonlight - too bright for patrols.
JANUARY 28 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
Visibility very good throughout the day. Increased artillery action on both sides - 10.25 am 10 rounds of 4.2s on A27 c54, 1.50 pm 25 rounds 4.2s on A21 c76, 3.15 pm 12 rounds 4.2 on A27 b96. Our artillery replied with great effect on LES BRIQUES.
Two enemy aeroplanes over our lines during the morning driven off by our A.A. gun fire. Work on clearing trenches continued - the difference in the condition of the front line trench very noticeable. The wiring of R1, R2, R3, R4 & R5 now finished.
The night was again very bright but a patrol was sent out under 2 LT HARRISON. Nothing was seen or heard of the enemy. A sharp Frost at night.
JANUARY 29 1918 - RIGHT SUBSECTOR OF CANAL SECTOR [CUINCHY area]
The Battalion was relieved in the Line by 1/7th B. Lancashire Fusiliers. The sun was very bright but as there was a heavy ground mist the relief was not interfered with. The relief was very slow - the head of the column reached CAMBRIN Cross Roads at 10.30 am whilst Relief was complete at 2.35 pm. After relief the Battalion marched by Companies to Billets in BEUVRY where everything is compact and comfortable. Three of the Companies are billetted in a School whilst the other Company is in huts. Each Company has a dining hut and good cookhouses. There is also a Sergeants Mess and an Officers Mess both of which are very good.
JANUARY 30 1918 - BEUVRY
All four companies on working parties. The C.O. inspected all the billets. During the morning the Line FOSSE 9 (BETHUNE) - CAMBRIN Church was reconnoitred so as to form a defensive flank facing South East in case of the Division on the right being attacked.
JANUARY 31 1918 - BEUVRY
One Company on working parties and the other three Companies spent the day in cleaning equipment & bathing. LT. TEARE left the Battalion for 6 months duty in England.
Total Strength In France
Sick to hospital