1/9th Battalion War Diary - January to March, 1917

YPRES 1st Weather fine. Orders were received that a bombardment of enemy trenches would take place at 5.30 (ZERO) p.m. by our artillery. We cleared our front line trenches at 4.30 p.m. and at 5.30 p.m. our artillery, stokes mortars and trench mortars opened fire in a "BOX" style of bombardment which started between two points about 800yds apart and gradually closed in. Considerable damage was done to enemy trenches. Almost immediately after our artillery started the Bosche sent up green flares which burst into two stars and in five minutes the enemy put up a slow barrage on our front line, communication trenches and support line. The bombardment lasted for about 20 minutes ceasing at 5.50 p.m. We then sent forward patrols up the communication trenches to ascertain the situation. On their return they reported no casualties to the three Lewis Gun Posts left there in charge of an officer, but the damage done to that part of the line occupied by the Left front Company was fairly severe, it being knocked in in several places and the parapet was not sufficiently high to give cover from view.
HAYMARKET was blown in in 5 places and PICCADILLY was badly knocked about the first 20 yards being almost impassable. The situation had completely quietened down by 6.30 p.m. and the order was given to reoccupy the front line, this being carried out in the most successful manner. Our men then started to work to repair the damage and, after working all night, by "stand to" at 6.3 a.m. HAYMARKET & PICCADILLY we completely cleared of all debris & repaired, the front line was also cleared, repaired and altogether some very excellent work was done. During the whole of the bombardment & retaliation we had no casualties.
Casualties, Other Ranks, 1 killed, 1 wounded.
2nd Weather fine until evening, when it rained very heavily. The Battalion was relieved by the 7th KINGS, their companies arriving soon after dark. Relief was carried out successfully and completed by 7.0 p.m. The Brigadier went round the trenches in the morning and was pleased with the work done by our men, in consequence, orders which we had for large working parties were cancelled. We took over the same billets in YPRES.
3rd Weather changeable. The day was spent in cleaning equipment etc.
Drills:- ½ hour Box Respirator Drill, ¾ hour Physical Drill. Various working parties.
From London Gazette 31/12/16, Appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order:- Temp. Mjr. H.K.S. WOODHOUSE.
4th Weather fine. Parades, 1 hour Physical Training, 1¾ hours Musketry.
Afternoon, Inspection of equipment etc. Various working parties.
5th Weather fine. The enemy shelled YPRES in the vicinity of the square, about 250 4.2 & 5.9 falling.
Drill:- 1 hour Bayonet fighting, 1¾ hours Musketry, 1 hour Box Respirator Drill.
Casualties, 1 killed, 1 wounded, 4 wounded but at duty. All other ranks.
6th Weather fine. The enemy did very little shelling during the day light but about 5.0 p.m. when the transport arrived, the town was lightly shelled. We were relieved in the billets by the 2/5 LANCS. FUS. They arrived about 5.15 p.m. & the relief was complete by 6 p.m. Our battalion then proceeded to the train en route for "C" Camp. We detrained at BRANDHOEK and after a 15 minute march we arrived at the camp.
Casualties, 1 other rank wounded.
7th Weather fine. Lieut. & Adjutant W. RAINE & No. 1027 C.S.M. ASH (Wounded 15/9/16) are both awarded the Military Cross. Mentioned in dispatches:- Capt. (temp. Lt.Col.) H.K.S. WOODHOUSE D.S.O., Capt. (temp. Major) N.L. WATTS (Killed 25.9.16), Lieut. (temp. Major) A.W. FULTON (Killed 12.8.16), Lieut. (Temp. Capt.) W.R. PERRY, No.2967 Pte. A. BOWYER, 'B' Coy.
The day was spent in Church Parades and cleaning up.
8th Weather fine. Major P.G.A. LEDERER, M.C. having returned from course resumed command of the battalion today.
Parades:- ½ hr Running Drill, 1¼ hrs Platoon drill with arms, 1½ hrs Musketry. Afternoon:- Games.
9th Weather changeable. Parades:- ½ hr Running Drill, Inspections.
12 other rank reinforcements arrived.
10th Weather changeable. As a very large party was detailed with a guide from the R.E. it was impossible for any drill. Lewis Gunners went firing on the range. A Mr. DUNN of Philidelphia having sent a cheque to the Corps, the Battn will be able to go to the Divl. Theatre in POPERINGHE.
11th Weather changeable. Lt. Col. H.K.S. WOODHOUSE having rejoined the Bn. resumed command as from 10th inst. Parades, ½ hr Arms & Saluting Drill, Inspection of Box Respirators. Demonstration in use of rockets as S.O.S. signal.
Major J.E. LEWIS, 18th ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS (attached to this unit) will assume command (temply) of 7th THE KINGS from tomorrow, 12th inst.
12th Weather wet. Large party supplied to be met at VLAMERTINGHE CHURCH by R.E.
13th Weather - heavy rain.
1 p.m. - Battalion moved from C CAMP to Z CAMP (F. 25. c. 8.1 Map 27 1/40,000)
Z CAMP (ST. JAHN-TER-BIENZEN) 14th Half an inch of snow, clear later. Church Parade and cleaning up of camp. 2/Lieut. BARKER H.B.M., 2/Lieut. JENKINSON H.W., 2/Lieut. GREEVES N.M, drafted to the battalion. Draft of 90 other ranks for the 7th KING'S attached to the 9th KING'S temporarily.
15th Slight frost. Platoon & Company training.
3.30 p.m. Lecture to Officers and N.C.O.s by Brig.Gen. F.J. DUNCAN, C.M.G., D.S.O.
16th Weather frosty. Company training. Lecture to officers by Lt.Col. H.K.S. WOODHOUSE, D.S.O. Returned from hospital, Capt ATKINSON, F. Draft of 34 Other Ranks (untrained) arrived for 9th KING'S. Draft of 50 Other Ranks for 7th KING'S attached to the 9th KING'S temporarily.
17th Heavy snow all day. Draft of 7 Other Ranks for 7th KING'S attached to the 9th KING'S temporarily. Draft of 70 Other Ranks (untrained) for the 9th KING'S arrived.
18th Snow and rain, freezing later. Company training including range practise.
5 p.m. - Lecture to Officers by Brig. Gen. F.J. DUNCAN, C.M.G., D.S.O.
19th Snow, freezing at dusk. Company & Battalion training; making strong points and attack from trenches. Night Outpost scheme.
11 a.m. - Inspection of new drafts by Brig. Gen. F.J. DUNCAN, C.M.G., D.S.O.
20th Frost, three inches of snow lying. Company training and football. New drafts inspected by Divisional Gas Officer.
21st Hard frost: three inches of snow lying and all waterpipes frozen. Church Parade. Drafts of 5th and 6th KING'S attached to 9th KING'S till 22nd inst., on 6th KING'S leaving Y Camp.
22nd Frost continued. Parades - Baths. Company training: lecture to Officers by Lt. Col. WOODHOUSE D.S.O. All new drafts (including 5th, 6th & 7th KING'S attached) proceeded to new Reinforcement Camp (K Camp).
23rd Frost continued. Company training: attack under dummy trench mortar barrage; night marching and patrolling.
24th Frost continued. Battalion training: attack from trenches and consolidation of position: Genl. Sir Herbert C.O. PLUMER, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., Maj. Gen. H.S. JEUDWINE, C.B. and Brig. Gen. F.J. DUNCAN, C.M.G., D.S.O. present. Afternoon:- games. Lecture to Officers by Maj. P.G.A. LEDERER, M.C.
25th Frost continued. Battalion training: Advance Guard practice to HOUTKERQUES, Lecture to Subalterns, C.S.M.s & Sergts. on "Discipline" by 2/Lt. F.J. MAURICE.
26th Frost continued. Battalion training; Outpost Scheme. Evening: Night Assembly practice and march. Major P.G.A. LEDERER proceeded to VIII Corps for attachment to "Q" Branch.
27th Frost continued. Battalion training: Assembly practice. Afternoon - Games.
28th Frost continued. (Sunday) Inspection of Lewis Gun teams with reorganised transport, also of loaded pack mules by Brig. Gen. F.J. DUNCAN, C.M.G., D.S.O. Equipment and kit inspections & practice in fitting equipment in accordance with G.H.Q. pamphlet.
Z Camp. ST. JAN-TER-BIEZEN and PROVEN 29th Frost continued. The 7th KING'S relieved this unit at Z Camp, the 9th KING'S marching to PROVEN where they took over billets. Lieut. RICHER, L.L.S., proceeded, with 17 other ranks, to take command of joint detachment at BERGUES.
PROVEN 30th Frost continued. Battalion paraded for work on Railway construction.
31st Frost continued. Battalion paraded for work on Railway construction.
Lewis Gun.
Classes for all officers formed under 2/Lts. R.C. WILDE and C.B. JOHNSON to be held each day from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Daily classes under Lt.Col. H.K.S. WOODHOUSE, D.S.O. Cmdg. on "Training of Divisions for Offensive Action" were started to be held from 5.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.
(Intd.) F. M.
Lieut. Colonel Commanding
9th The King's
PROVEN 1st Frost continued. Battalion on Railway Construction work. Capt. J.H. HALLIWELL proceeded to ROYAL FLYING CORPS.
2nd Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
3rd Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
4th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
5th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
6th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
7th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
8th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
9th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
10th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
One case Scarlet fever notified.
11th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
Second case Scarlet fever notified.
12th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
13th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
14th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
15th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
16th Frost continued. Battn on Rly. Construction work.
2 case German measles.
17th Thaw commenced. Battn on Railway Construction work.
18th Thaw continued. Battn on Railway Construction work.
3rd case of German measles.
19th Thaw continued. Battn on Railway Construction work. 4th case of German measles.
20th Thaw continued. Battn on Railway Construction work.
5th case of German measles.
21st Thaw continued. Battn on Railway Construction work.
6th case of German measles.
22nd Thaw continued. Battn on Railway Construction work.
23rd Battn on Railway Construction work. The battalion moved into billets at the PRISON, YPRES, entraining at PROVEN at 5.30 p.m. and detraining at ASYLUM, YPRES. Wind safe.
YPRES. RAILWAY WOOD SECTOR 24th Wind safe. The battalion moved into left sub-sector of Right brigade sector, the disposition of Companies being: Right front - A Coy. Left front - B Coy. Right support - C Coy. Left support - D Coy. Lieut. Colonel F.M. DREW (South Lancs. Regt.) took command of the Battalion, Vice Lt.Col. H.K.S. WOODHOUSE, D.S.O. to England.
25th Wind safe. Fine. Misty night & morning. Slight artillery activity. Lt.Col. E.G. HOARE (Yorks Light Infantry) assumed duties of 2nd in Command Vice Major J.E. LEWIS.
26th Wind safe. Fine. Misty night & morning. Slight artillery and machine gun activity. One man killed, two slightly wounded.
27th Wind safe. Fine. Misty night & morning. Slight artillery activity. Battn frontage reduced on right - now commencing at I.5.3 incl. and increased on left - now ending at C.29.3 inclusive.
28th Wind safe. Fine. Misty night & morning. Slight artillery activity.
(Intld.) F.M.
Lieut. Col.
Commanding, 1/9th BATT. "THE KING'S".
YPRES, RAILWAY WOOD SECTOR 1st Wind dangerous. Fine. Misty night and morning. Some aeroplane activity on both sides. At 11.30 p.m. we blew a small mine to immediate east of number 3 crater, under enemy front line. Intense bombardments by our artillery followed at fixed intervals. A patrol sent out by this unit, having enemy sap leading into no. 5 crater as objective, lost 1 man killed. Our snipers claimed a hit.
2nd Wind dangerous. Fine. Misty night & morning. Generally quiet. Artillery active in evening. Our snipers claimed a hit.
3rd Wind dangerous. Cold & dull. Misty night and morning. Slight artillery activity.
The battalion was relieved by the 7th KING'S (L'pl. Regt.) and moved into billets in YPRES.
YPRES 4th Wind dangerous. Church Parades. Inspections & Working parties. At night a raid was carried out on enemy sap adjoining no. 5 Crater. Two German prisoners were captured by the fighting patrol under 2/Lt. R.C. WILDE. 2/Lt R.C.H. ELLAM was in command of covering party. Lt. Darling directed operations from front line trench. Casualties:- Lt. R. DARLING wounded, 2/Lt. R.C. WILDE slightly wounded, 1 man killed, 4 wounded, 1 missing.
5th 3½ hours Platoon & Anti Gas Drill & Practice in new modified fighting order. Bathing parades by Companies. A patrol sent out by this unit to find a man missing from last night's patrol, was unable to find any trace of him.
6th 3½ hours Platoon training including Anti Gas Drill & Fitting of new Fighting Order. Working Parties. Battalion relieved in YPRES by 10th K.L.R. & moved to "C" Camp by train to BRANDHOEK.
7th Inspections & cleaning up, 3½ hours. Organised Games in afternoon.
8th Platoon & Company drill, 4 hours. Afternoon, 1 Coy Inspection, 1 Coy Instruction in Guards, 1 Coy digging Strong Point, Specialists own training, 1 hr. Lectures to Officers by C.O. Lecture to N.C.O.s by R.S.M. 1 hour each.
10th New numbers given to O.R.s (A.C.I. 2414 1916) 4 hours Drill & Route March. Organised Games in Afternoon.
11th Church Parade. Battalion inspection by C.O.
12th Coys reorganised on new basis, i.e. 1 Section L.G., 1 Section Rifles, 1 Section Bombers & 1 Section Rifle Grenades. Drill & Coys in attack from trench to trench (4 hours). Afternoon 1 Coy on Range, 1 Coy Instruction on Guards & 2 Coys digging Strong Point. Specialists own training.
13th 2nd Anniversary of Unit's arrival in France. 4 hours Drill & Coys in attack from Trench to Trench. Coys reorganised on New basis as on the 12th.
14th Drill & all ranks passed through Gas Chamber, 4 hours, 1 Coy on Range other Coys Organised Games.
15th Inspection by the Brigadier of the brigade who decorated Capt. S.T.J. PERRY with the M.C. ribbon & L/Cpl H.A. REED with the Croix de Guerre ribbon. The Brigade then marched past the Brigadier. Brigade sports were held in the afternoon, this unit winning the Football match against the 6th K.L.R., the Rifle Grenade Competition and was second in the Bomb Throwing.
16th Drill & Companies in the attack from Trench to Trench, 4 hours. "C" Camp was taken over by the 4th KING'S OWN whilst this unit took over from 10th K.L.R. in YPRES, proceeding there by train from BRANDHOEK.
17th Wind safe. Weather fine & clear. Heavy hostile shelling of YPRES. Casualties within unit, 1 killed, 3 wounded, of which one died since. The battalion relieved the 1/5th LOYAL NORTH LANCS REGT in the left sub-sector.
18th Wind safe. Weather fine. Enemy artillery active on Front Line, & Patrol of 1 officer, 3 O.R. examined our wire and reported it generally weak. 2/Lt. R.C. WILDE & 2/Lt R.C.H. ELLAM awarded the MILITARY CROSS.
19th Weather dull. Wind safe. Enemy raided our left front Coy. Casualties O.R.s, 3 killed, 9 wounded & 13 missing. Time 4.40 a.m. A patrol found gaps in our wire & a dead German N.C.O.. Gun Shot Wound 1 O.R.
20th Wind dangerous. Wet all day. 1 O.R. Gun Shot Wound. Enemy artillery quiet.
21st Wind dangerous. Weather changeable. Patrol reconnoitred from ODER HOUSE to the MOUND & found no sign of the enemy. Unit relieved by 7 K.L.R. & returned to YPRES.
22nd Wind dangerous. Weather changeable, some snow. Cleaning up. Working parties. Ceremonial parade. Battalion addressed by the Major General.
23rd Wind dangerous, weather fine. 3½ hours drill including Anti-gas drill. ½ hour lectures. Working parties. Coys at baths.
24th Wind dangerous. Weather changeable. 3½ hour drill including Anti-gas drill. ½ hour lectures. Working parties.
25th Wind dangerous. Weather changeable. Church Parades. Enemy shelled YPRES heavily. Summer time commenced, timepieces being changed at 11 p.m. to 12 midnight.
26th Wind dangerous, weather wet. Lt.Col F.W.M. DREW returned from 48 hours attachment to Heavy Artillery. 2½ hours drill including anti-gas drill. ¾ hour lectures. The battalion relieved the 7th KING'S in the left sub-sector, right brigade sector, dispositions of Companies being B, A, D, C, Right front, left front, right support & left support respectively. Night exceedingly quiet.
RAILWAY WOOD SECTOR 27th Wind dangerous. Weather fine. Some aeroplane activity, other wise very quiet.
28th Wind safe. Weather changeable. Enemy threw a few shells into vicinity of Cambridge Trench and front line - Enemy had one balloon up and an aeroplane. Night very quiet.
YPRES - RAILWAY WOOD SECTOR 29th Wind safe. Weather wet at first, changeable later. Slight enemy artillery, trench mortar & machine gun activity. Enemy sent up many flares at night. Enemy was noticed to expose himself at several places at STAND-TO. Some enemy trench mortar activity.
30th Wind safe. Weather variable, but generally fine and clear. Enemy patrol which approached our wire on left of sub-sector at 5 a.m. was dispersed by our Lewis Gun fire. Enemy shelled Battn Hqrs and vicinity during the night. 2 O.R. wounded.
31st Weather variable. Enemy artillery fairly active during the day principally directed at Front line & Communication Trenches.
(Intd.) W.R.
Lieut. Col.
Commanding 9th Kings