1/9th Battalion War Diary - July to September, 1917

WIELTJE 1st - 3rd Enemy artillery was fairly active during this period. On the night 2nd/3rd the Battn was relieved by the 2/5th LANCS FUSILIERS, relief complete at 3 a.m. During the night every available man was working on HOPKINS TRENCH, this trench was completed before the Battn left the Line. Owing to it being daylight the time the Battn was relieved it was necessary for us to proceed in small parties, and as the roads were being shelled by the enemy, the Overland Tracks were used. The Battn was reported present in "QUERY" Camp at 6 a.m. on the morning of the 3rd.
As the Battn had to be clear of QUERY CAMP by 12 noon we moved to Field in the vicinity of the Camp, and the men had dinner. We afterwards marched to BRANDHOEK STATION, and entrained there at 3.30 p.m. We then proceeded to LUMBRES, HAZEBROEK 5 'A' arriving there at 7.30 p.m. thence by route march to BOISDIGHEM, arriving at the latter place at 10.45 p.m. The men were tired and were ready for a rest, after having done 22 days in the Front Line System, during which time they had been subjected to rather heavy shelling, and also they had had very little sleep for 2 days.
BOISDIGHEM 3rd - 6th During our stay in this village, a Church Parade was held & Companies were at disposal of Company Commanders, for cleaning up, organizing, re-equiping etc. The billets in this village were quite good, the weather was very fine.
MORINGHEM 6th At 11.30 a.m. the Battn paraded and marched to MORINGHEM. There was only accommodation in this village for H.Q. Details & one Company in billets; One Company bivouacked; 2 Companies accommodated in tents.
7th to 21st During our stay in this village "practice in the attack" was carried out under Brigade arrangements, each Battn operating on the front that was to be allotted to it in the attack. A Special Training Area was allotted to the Brigade for the Practice Attacks, this area being marked clearly with Tape & Notice Boards, indicating the objectives that the Brigade would be allotted during the actual attack. These practices were very instructive, and practically every man in the Battn was fully acquainted with the Area, and with what would be expected of him, during the actual "show". The whole Battn was very keen and in very high spirits as to the "show" being a huge success. The weather during the period was somewhat warm, with occasional showers of rain. Unfortunately there were no facilities for bathing the men. On two occasions, Sundays the 9th & 16th, Companies marched independently to HOULLE for bathing in the river. On the 9th a regrettable fatality occurred, L/Cpl DODDS, A. being drowned.
On the 9th & 10th a "Foden Disinfector" was allotted to this unit, every man's Clothing was put through this patent process, & all vermin in clothing was effectively dealt with. The leave allotment during this period was exceptionally good.
21st The Battn paraded at 8 a.m. and marched to SAINT-OMER entraining there at 11 a.m. arriving at POPERINGHE about 3 p.m. thence by route march to "B" Camp. With the exception of Cookers, Water Carts, Medical Cart, Mess Cart & 5 Chargers which proceeded by rail, the Transport proceeded by road from MORINGHEM on the 19th inst.
21st - 28th During our stay in "B" Camp training was carried out under Company arrangements, particular attention being paid to the Lewis Gunners.
On the 23rd inst. a working party of 50 O.Ranks was supplied for work with the R.E.s at POTIJZE DUMP.
On 24th one Company was sent up to the CANAL BANK to be attached to an R.E. Coy for work. This Coy rejoined the Battn on 29th. On the night of 27th a working party of 200 O.Ranks was sent to POTIJZE for Cable-burying, this party was sent back to Camp at 11 p.m. arriving at 3.30 a.m. on the 28th. On the night of 27th Aeroplanes (enemy) dropped bombs in the vicinity of the camp, one bomb fell in the camp and wounded 2 Officers and 2 Other Ranks. The following reinforcements joined the Battn during the month:-
4th … 109 O.R.s
7th … 22 O.R.s
9th … 29 O.R.s
14th … 2 O.R.s
17th … 14 O.R.s
Reinforcements arrived at Divisional Reinforcement Camp for duty with this Battn during the month.
The following Casualties were sustained during the month:-
2nd July - 1 O.R. wounded, 1 O.R. killed
9th July - 1 O.R. drowned
9th July - 1 O.R. wounded
5 O.R. wounded & killed during employment with 255th Tunnelling Coy, Royal Engineers during this month.
27th - Capt. S.T.J. PERRY, Lieut. S.S. FAUSSET, 1 O.R. wounded and one Died of Wounds. (all caused by Aeroplane Bomb).
29th The Battn moved from B Camp to DURHAM REDOUBT, H.11.c & d (less the party to be left out of action) arriving there at 10.30 p.m. The party to be left out of action proceeded to the transport Line at EDWARDHOEK.
DURHAM REDOUBT 30th During the day the Transport Lines moved from EDWARDHOEK to VLAMERTINGHE. At 8.30 p.m. the Battn proceeded by Platoons to OXFORD TRENCH & took up their positions ready for the attack the following morning.
The Battalion objective was the BLACK LINE from C.24.b.35.55 to D.19.a.40.45. The forming up trench was OXFORD TRENCH, Battalion Headquarters being in CART DUGOUT. All dispositions were completed by about 2.30 a.m. - the first wave was composed of C Company on the left (LEFT) and D Company on the right (RIGHT) with a platoon from B Company under 2nd Lieut EBBELS in rear to mop up PLUM FARM and APPLE VILLA. B Company was in support and A Company in reserve.
At 3.0 a.m. tea was issued, and the leading wave got out of OXFORD TRENCH and lay in front of it. Zero hour was fixed for 3.50 a.m. when the 5th and 6th KING'S would leave to attack and capture the German Front Line System and consolidate the BLUE LINE.
OXFORD TRENCH 30th/31st The Battalion went into action as follows:-
Major E.G. HOARE, in Command
Capt. F. ATKINSON, 2nd in Command
2nd Lieut C.B. JOHNSON, Adjutant
2nd Lieut N. LEES, Signalling Officer
Lieut. G.W. HARRISON, Medical Officer

A Company
2nd Lieut W.L. GELDERD, in Command
2nd Lieut S.H. RANDALL
2nd Lieut L.H. RAWCLIFFE
2nd Lieut G.A. HENRY

B Company
2nd Lieut E. TOWLE, in Command
2nd Lieut R.C.H. ELLAM
2nd Lieut J.K. EBBELS
2nd Lieut T.H. LLOYD

C Company
Capt L.L.S. RICHER, in Command
2nd Lieut W.L. BARKER
2nd Lieut J.F. HICKSON
2nd Lieut H.F. DEY

D Company
Capt E.H.G. ROBERTS, in Command
2nd Lieut F.J. MAURICE
2nd Lieut R.C. WHITE

Headquarters Details

The night was quiet, and the Battalion got into position without casualties. At 3.50 a.m. the barrage started and the 5th & 6th KING'S left the trenches. Our leading waves left OXFORD TRENCH to take up their position in WARWICK TRENCH. At 4.20 a.m. the Battalion started - it was very dark and difficult to pick up landmarks - no news had yet come in from the 5th & 6th KING'S. Four minutes after ZERO, the enemy put a heavy barrage of H.E. Shells on OXFORD TRENCH - Several men were hit there, a Lewis Gun team was knocked out, and the reserve Lewis Gun ammunition blown up. The Aid Post in PAGODA STREET had previously been blown up, and the wounded had to be dressed in the open trench. No news came in for a long time, but numbers of German prisoners were seen coming over to our lines.
At 6.30 a.m Capt ATKINSON, Lieut. G.W. HARRISON, 2nd Lieut LEES and A/R.S.M. ROBERTS went over to establish Headquarters at JASPER FARM. No news was received from the 5th, 6th or 9th until 7.30 a.m. when a runner returned from Capt ATKINSON bringing messages from the front line Companies and supports. Capt RICHER reported that he had reached his objective but was in need of reinforcements - Capt ROBERTS reported that he had crossed the STEENBEKE with from 6 to 10 men, another message following immediately said that he had reached BANK FARM. 2nd Lieut GELDERD reported that he had reached his final objective with seven (7) men.
Headquarters then proceeded, first to UHLAN FARM, and then to a dugout near JASPER FARM. A message was then received that 2nd Lieut. ELLAM had reinforced 2nd Lieut GELDERD with fifty (50) men and that all were consolidated. A runner reported that D Company had been held up by Machine Guns on both flanks but the men who had been temporarily held up were rejoining their Company in small parties. At this time the enemy was shelling his old front line system, NO MANS LAND and as far back as POTIJZE very heavily with 77MM, 4.2, 5.9 and 8 inch shells in addition to high-bursting shrapnel. In the vicinity of JASPER FARM were five (5) Tanks, most of which were derelicts.
A message was received at 9.30 a.m. from 2nd Lieut EBBELS who with his Platoon was at APPLE VILLA saying that the enemy was massing on HILL 35 - at the same time the 164 Brigade who were to attack the GREEN LINE began to pass JASPER FARM. A verbal message was received saying that Lieut FAUSSET had been killed and 2 Lt BARKER wounded. 2nd Lieut RAWCLIFFE was slightly wounded.
At 11.45 a.m. Orders arrived from the Brigade that all available men were to be sent up to the BLACK LINE and that we were to be reinforced by two (2) Companies of the 6th KING'S. Major HOARE then went forward by PLUM FARM to BANK FARM and the POMMERN REDOUBT to see what the situation was - at PLUM FARM there were several wounded and Lieut HARRISON established an Aid Post there in a concrete dugout. BANK FARM had been captured by this Battalion although it was really in the sector allotted to the 166 Brigade. A German Machine Gunner on the roof of a concrete dugout had caused us many casualties - in carrying out the attack on this gun Lieut FAUSSET who led the party was shot through the heart - a Tank arrived at the critical moment and shot the machine gunner who had been firing his gun up to the last minute and was now lying dead on the roof of the dugout - surrounded by hundreds of empty cases. Capt. ROBERTS had also come up against BANK FARM whereupon 2nd Lieut GELDERD seeing that the leading Companies were going too far to the left (LEFT) attacked POMMERN REDOUBT with six men, one of them being a signaller armed with a shutter. Unaided they captured about 40 prisoners. Then 2nd Lieut ELLAM arrived with B Company and the number of prisoners was increased to about 90 (ninety) - the enemy was quite demoralized and running in crowds over the crest of HILL 35. 2nd Lieut RANDALL had led an attack on a party of Germans who started bombing our men on their left flank as they were digging. At BANK FARM Capt ROBERTS saw a party of Germans lying in a trench - he immediately rushed towards them shouting as he raised his hands above his head "Hoch, hoch, hoch" - the enemy at once stood up and also putting up their hands replied "Hoch, hoch, hoch" and surrendered. During the attack on the POMMERN REDOUBT, Corporal James CLARK discovered an enemy Machine Gun team trying to take their gun out of action - he immediately shot one of the gunners, put the remainder to flight and caused them to abandon their gun. At the same place Lance Corporal J. Marchbank organized a bombing squad and worked his way down an enemy trench - this squad although only seven (7) strong took twenty (20) prisoners. Private F. FOWLER also displayed great gallantry in bombing the enemy and when his supply of bombs was finished he used German bombs. Through his efforts at least a dozen prisoners were taken.
The Companies were re-organized and were consolidating a line from BANK FARM to POMMERN REDOUBT - this was being heavily shelled from 11 a.m. till 4 p.m. Company HQ were established in a Dugout at BANK FARM on the roof of which was the Machine Gun which had caused so much trouble. This dugout had been the Headquarters of an Artillery Officer believed to be a Colonel who was taken prisoner by Sergeant WILLIAMS. A number of maps and papers were taken here and sent down to the Brigade.
Battalion H.Q. were now established at PLUM FARM.
About 4 p.m. reports began to come in that things were not going well with the 164 Brigade in front of us and that it was falling back but for some time no confirmation of this was forthcoming. Company Commanders were warned to be ready to meet a counter attack - at this time the situation was very obscure - the day had been dark and misty and it was impossible to see anything clearly. Some distance away on the left parties of Germans could be seen some of them apparently advancing with their hands up - what had happened on the right flank we did not know. FREZENBERG we believed to be in our hands as the enemy appeared to be shelling it. Further reports came in that 164 Brigade was falling back - small groups of men appeared to be coming back over HILL 35 but there was still no sign of a general withdrawal. The Battalion however was "standing to" ready to meet a counter attack - an artillery officer came in during the evening and reported that 164 Brigade had retired and the enemy were holding HILL 35 in force. An operation order arrived from the Brigade directing a general closing up on the BLACK LINE but this involved no change in our own dispositions - it ended by saying that the BLACK LINE was to be held at all costs - it was followed later by another ORDER directing that the 164 Brigade was to be relieved that night. All efforts were now directed to bringing up supplies and every man at Batn H.Q. who could be spared was put on this job. The shelling was now very violent all round PLUM FARM. A party of 20 (twenty) had been sent for from the FRONT LINE to carry up water etc. - in less than half an hour all but three (3) were casualties, eight (8) of them being killed. During the night the 164 Brigade retired over the BLACK LINE and rain fell heavily.

(Intd.) W.R.
Lieut. Colonel Commanding
1/9 Bn. The Kings L'pool Regt. T.F.
In the Field
Aug 1st 1917
1st At daybreak parties of men could be seen round two (2) derelict Tanks on the crest of HILL 35 but it was uncertain whether these were enemy or men belonging to the 164 Brigade. Rain fell heavily throughout the day and the ground was in very bad condition especially in the VALLEY of the STEEBEKE - the trenches were full of water and the sides beginning to crumble in. The men had had no rest and no shelter but they were holding on to the position cheerfully; they were however being heavily shelled.
In the afternoon most welcome supplies arrived from the transport. Headquarters' rations had been lost in coming across NO MANS LAND and H.Q. had so far subsisted on one tin of lobster and half a loaf of mouldy German bread discovered in PLUM FARM. Shelling was very heavy in the evening and during the night.
During the day (Aug 1st) Sergeant GRIFFITHS and fifteen (15) men dug a strongpoint about 200 yards in advance of our front trench with a view to pushing forward our line toward the crest of HILL 35.
1st to 2nd On the night of 1st/2nd a patrol went out under 2nd Lieut EBBELS and confirmed the fact the enemy was holding HILL 35.
2nd About 5 a.m. a message arrived from the Brigade stating that the nucleus of the Transport Lines was coming up to relieve an equal number of men who were most worn out, and that guides were to meet them at UHLAN FARM at 9.15 a.m. This was followed by a second message saying that it had been ascertained from a German prisoner that the enemy were determined to recapture the BLACK LINE that morning. This was telephoned on to the front Companies - so far there had been no sign of any counter-attack. Two signallers were on duty night and day at Battn H.Q. to watch for the S.O.S. from the front line. There were no signs of movement on HILL 35, but the shelling was still heavy - it was still raining hard and the mud made all movement exceedingly difficult. The VALLEY of the STEENBEKE was deep in mud and water in many places up to the waist and was continually barraged by the enemy night and day - the majority of the shells appeared to come from the direction of ZONNEBEKE enfilading all this area from the SOUTH. The men were quite worn out taking what cover they could under their oil sheets. The trenches were in places over the knees in water and falling in. There had been a good many casualties from shell-fire and snipers were busy on our left flank, sniping at us as we stood near the entrances to the dugouts at BANK FARM. There were also great difficulties with regard to the evacuation of the wounded. Many of the wounded had been lying at POMMERN REDOUBT for 48 hours and had not yet been dressed. Lieut G.W. HARRISON was working night and day at PLUM FARM where about 30 cases were awaiting evacuation and new cases were continually coming in. Our own regimental stretcher bearers were working magnificently but the work of evacuation was beyond their powers. Some R.A.M.C. bearers appeared to have been sent up but did not arrive at POMMERN REDOUBT. 2nd Lieut N. LEES with some runners went to UHLAN FARM to meet the fresh men from the transport at 9.15 a.m. and to send them up to the front line in small parties. The enemy was now shelling the whole area between UHLAN FARM and POMMERN REDOUBT very heavily and these parties suffered some casualties on their way up.
Shortly after midday a message arrived from the Brigade saying that a German prisoner had given the information that the Germans were determined to recapture the BLACK LINE the same day at all costs. All units were to send up all their fresh men to support the 7th and 9th KING'S in the front line. A second message followed saying that the Brigade would shortly be relieved. The shelling was now intense - the reinforcements from the transport were posted in the new trench and the men who had suffered most were withdrawn to CAPTAIN TRENCH a short distance in rear. All the men were warned to be ready to meet a counter-attack and to clean their rifles as well as they could. The 7th KING'S were holding POMMERN CASTLE on our right but were quite unable to get in touch with anyone on their right flank. It was now evident that the Division on our right had retired. A report came in that a German Machine Gun had got round in rear of 7th KING'S. The situation on the left flank was obscure. In the meantime the enemy was massing EAST of HILL 35 - his movements could not be seen from our front line but were watched by observers at UHLAN FARM.
At 12.40 p.m. the Germans started to advance and all our own guns had opened out and both heavy and field artillery were putting up a tremendous barrage along the crest of HILL 35. The appearance of our own men had completely changed - the arrival of the fresh draft from the transport about sixty (60) strong, our own tremendous artillery barrage in front and the prospect of immediate action after merely hanging on for so long in the mud and rain had put new life into them - everyone was cheerful and happy and it was evident that no-one intended giving up the position that we had won. Most of the rifles were quite unserviceable owing to the mud and there were no clean materials wherewith to clean them. The Lewis Guns had been taken into a dugout and cleaned as well as was possible under the circumstances. The Trench Mortar Officer reported that he had only 15 (fifteen) rounds of ammunition and that these were wet and useless. Machine Guns had been placed in a position to bring cross fire to bear upon the enemy immediately he appeared over HILL 35. It was clear that our chief hope in resisting a counter attack lay in these and the bayonet - twice the enemy advanced but each time he was crushed by our artillery fire before reaching the top of HILL 35 and we saw nothing beyond a few isolated parties. The Germans still kept up a very heavy barrage between our front line and PLUM FARM. We now received information that we were to be relieved the same night by the 9th R.I.R. - that evening we buried as many of our dead as we could - late in the evening the relieving Battalion arrived and in the early morning the relief was complete.
3rd The Battalion marched back in small parties to CONGREVE WALK - rain was still falling in torrents and it was exceedingly difficult to move. At CONGREVE WALK tea and rum were issued and the Battn had to wait here for further orders. There was little or no shelter, the rain continued throughout the day and no orders arrived as to our further movements. A large number of our batteries had moved up in this vicinity and the enemy now started to shell them. One shell fell in a group of men killing 3 (three) and wounded several more - all the morning and afternoon we remained here, until at 5 p.m. orders were received that motor buses would meet us at VLAMERTINGHE at 9.30 p.m. to take us to WATOU. The draft from the transport were to wait until we were relieved, the remainder could start off at once. The Companies started off in small parties, many of the men could hardly walk, some were wounded passing a battery position on their way back.
About 8 p.m. a wire was received saying that the Battalion was now relieved and Headquarters left POTIJZE for VLAMERTINGHE. The cookers had been brought to VLAMERTINGHE and tea was issued. The Commanding Officer and the Adjutant met the Battalion here. A party of thirty men who were quite unable to walk were sent off straight to hospital in motor buses - a long line of buses was waiting to take the whole Brigade but there was an unaccountable delay in starting and another long wait by the roadside in the dark.
ABEELE 4th 12.30 a.m. - We started off about 12.30 a.m. and were put down about 3 Kilometres from our billets. The Battalions formed up on the road as best they could and started to march to billets. Many of the men could hardly walk at all, everyone was wet through, cold, tired and covered in mud - it was impossible to keep any kind of formation. It was growing light when the billets were reached and everyone turned in for a rest. The whole of this day was spent in resting and getting clean; during the day the following message was received from Brigadier General BOYD MOSS
To the Officer Commanding 1/9th Kings "Liverpool Regt"
"Will you please congratulate all ranks of your Battalion on the great gallantry they displayed during the recent operations. They not only captured all their objectives but also helped other troops to capture theirs. The magnificent way in which they captured the position and held it against all counter attacks makes me very proud to have such a Battalion in my Brigade. (Signed) L. BOYD MOSS, Brigadier General, 165 Brigade, Aug 4th 1917."
The Battalion went into action with 16 (sixteen) officers and 566 (five hundred and sixty six) other ranks. The total casualties were KILLED 44, WOUNDED 193, MISSING 6, excluding officers of whom Lieut. FAUSSET was killed, 2nd Lieut HICKSON died of wounds, 2nd Lieut DEY wounded and missing. 2nd Lieuts RANDALL, RAWCLIFFE, WHITE & TOWLE were wounded, 2nd Lieut HENRY injured his back, 2nd Lieut ELLAM had to leave the trenches on the second day with rheumatism, 2nd Lieut LLOYD was down with pneumonia as soon as the Battalion came out of the trenches. Where all ranks did such excellent work it is almost impossible to discriminate. The runners and stretcher bearers were very noticeable having to pass through barrages time after time. The linesmen did excellent work, the lines being cut repeatedly by shell fire. The Rev W D GEARE was killed on the 31st near MILL COTTS while dressing a wounded man - he was then on his way to PLUM FARM bringing cigarettes for the men.
5th The Divisional Commander came over in the morning to speak to the Brigade. He first inspected the Battalions then addressed the Brigade as a whole, after which he went round to the officers shewing great interest in their personal experiences.
6th 9.30 a.m. - The Battalion left billets at 9.30 a.m. for ABEELE STATION, entrained at 11.30 a.m. for AUDRUICQ, arriving there about 5.30 p.m. and marched to BLANC PIGNON.
BLANC PIGNON 8th 2nd Lieut HOSKYN reported for duty from Reinforcement Camp and a draft arrived of 10 other ranks.
9th One O/R arrived from the Reinforcement Camp and 52 O/R from the 24th I.B. Depot.
10th Capt. L.S. ELTON reported for duty.
13th Brigade Field Day on the Training Area.
15th 2nd Lieut J.R. WINDLE reported for duty & 2 O/R reinforcements.
16th The New Drafts proceeded to the bombing pit for practice in throwing live grenades.
17th Battalion Sports were held - the weather was fine and the sports were a great success. The R.O.B. band played in the sports field during the afternoon.
18th Five officers reported for duty i.e. 2nd Lieut F.C. PETERS, 2nd Lieut A. NEWMAN, 2nd Lieut R. SNEEZUM, 2nd Lieut H. BRANDON and 2nd Lieut A.W. RICHMAN.
A Brigade Field Day was held on then training area.
19th Divisional Cross Country Run was held in the afternoon on the Training Area - the Battalion was seventh on the list.
21st Brigade Field Day on Training Area.
25th 2 O/R reported as reinforcements.
26th Brigadier General BOYD MOSS presented Military Medals to N.C.O.s and men after Church Parade. He made a short speech in which he spoke very highly of the Battalion then marched past in column of fours.
27th The following Special Order was issued by the G.O.C. 5th Army:- TRANSPORT DRIVERS: "The Army Commander recently mentioned to the Commander in Chief the good work done by the horse and mechanical transport drivers in connection with the operations round YPRES and specially the gallantry shown by them in getting forward the requirements of the Army through YPRES and elsewhere under very heavy fire. The Field Marshall Commanding in Chief desires that his warm commendation may be conveyed to the drivers for their gallant and faithful performance of a trying duty, the punctual fulfilment of which is so essential to the success of the operations".
28th 22 O/R arrived as reinforcements.
29th Honours won by officers were published. The following officers gained the MILITARY CROSS. Lieut G.W. HARRISON, 2nd Lieut W.L. GELDERD, Capt. L.L.S. RICHER, and the following officers gained a bar to their MILITARY CROSS, Capt. E.H.G. ROBERTS, M.C., 2nd Lieut S.H. RANDALL, M.C.
Since coming out of the line the Battalion has been training on the same lines as at MORINGHEM. The training seldom exceeding 4 hours a day. On some days this is carried out in the vicinity of the billets and Brigade Field Days are frequently held on the Training Area which is 3-4 miles distant. On these occasions the Battalion starts off at 8 a.m. and the cookers are taken out. Tea is issued at 1 p.m. after which the Battalion returns to billets. A new form of ATTACK is being practised. The weather throughout the month has been changeable with some very wet days alternating with fine hot days. On the 28th there was quite a cyclone which is said to have come from England - trees were blown down everywhere blocking the roads.
30th 30th The following 6 officers reported as reinforcements:-
2nd Lieut BONIFACE
2nd Lieut ROBERTS J
2nd Lieut WALTON T.F.
2nd Lieut CAIRNS T.A.
2nd Lieut WARD A.C.
2nd Lieut JEEVES C.A.V.
(Intd.) W.R.
Lieut. Colonel Cdg.
1/9 Bn. "The Kings" (Liverpool Regt.) T.F.
In the Field
Sept 1st 1917
BLANC PIGNON 1st to 15th During this period the weather was perfect except for a few days on which it rained somewhat heavily. The Battalion did the usual four hours daily training (in accordance with 5th Army Instructions) except on Brigade & Divisional Field Days. Training was carried out in "The Attack on Strong Points" almost daily and "Companies in the Attack" was a notable feature. The usual routine was also carried out. In addition "Classes for Officers" were taken by Major E.G. HOARE and "Instruction & Lectures to N.C.O.s" by R.S.M. Also, "Training of Snipers & Signallers under their own programme was carried out.
Between these dates the area was visited three or four times by enemy aeroplanes. The times chosen for these visits appeared to be between 10 p.m. to 12 p.m. & a large number of bombs of a heavy type were dropped, some falling near to the billets occupied by the Battalion but without causing any casualties or much damage.
3rd A Brigade Field Day was held on the 3rd and on the 10th a Divisional Field Day was held, a notable feature being the visit of the Commander-n-Chief & the General Officer Commanding the Vth Army who inspected the work then in progress with keen interest.
4th On this day 90% of the Battalion who were due for or required inoculation were duly inoculated (T A B) by the Battalion Medical Officer Lieut. G.W. HARRISON.
6th The Division held their annual Horse Show & Gymkhana which was extremely successful, weather conditions being perfect but later on a heavy downpour of rain bringing events to rather an early close. This Battalion was very successful in the competitions provided, being third in the aggregate number of points scored. The prizes won by this Battalion included two FIRSTS, two SECOND, & two THIRD, and also placed FOURTH & FIFTH in two other events, a record which must be regarded as very satisfactory - as all units reached a very high standard.
During this period of rest the Battalion had ample facilities for bathing the men and the Leave Allotment also was exceptionally good and the billets provided were comfortable and of a good class.
The whole Battalion seemed quite refreshed after the 5 weeks rest and judging by their appearance on leaving the area were ready and fit for any further work which might be required of them.
The Battn left BLANC PIGNON on the 15th marching to AUDRUICQ where they entrained at 9.15 a.m. arriving at PESEL HOEK about 3.30 p.m. (the personnel of the Transport moved by road on the 14th at 7 a.m.) where the Battalion detrained at VLAMERTINGHE and marched to No. 2 AREA.
[Sheet No. 28 N.W. Belgium] VLAMERTINGHE 15th VLAMERTINGHE
17th This was an exceedingly busy day, which was spent in equipping the men in fighting order for the attack. About midday the enemy shelled the camp with his H.V. gun but no damage was done.
7 p.m. - Commencing about 7 p.m. the Battalion left VLAMERTINGHE, Companies marching off independently, the order being A, B, C, D and H.Q. The Battalion went into action as follows:-

Commanding Officer Lieut Colonel F.M. DREW
2nd in Command A/Captain E.H.G. ROBERTS, M.C.
Adjutant 2nd Lieut C.B. JOHNSON
Sigs Officer 2nd Lieut N. LEES
Medical Officer Lieut. G.W. HARRISON

A Company
Captain ELTON, L.S.in Command
2nd Lieut LUNNON, W.J
2nd Lieut BONIFACE, W.H.
2nd Lieut BRAGG, F.J.

B Company
Captain A.G. WARDE, M.C.
2nd Lieut NEWMAN, A.
2nd Lieut J. ROBERTS
2nd Lieut T.F. WALTON

C Company
Capt R.C. WILDE M.C. in Command
2nd Lieut A.W. RICHMAN
2nd Lieut C.A.V. JEEVES

D Company
2nd Lieut A.M. ADAMS, in Command
2nd Lieut HOSKYN J.H.
2nd Lieut T.A. CAIRNS
2nd Lieut A.O. WARD
2nd Lieut R. SNEEZUM

Headquarters Details

Officers - 22
Total - 536

17th The Companies marched along the main road to YPRES and found that the road was considerably congested with traffic of all kinds. At the WATER TOWER they turned to the LEFT, skirted the PLAINE D'AMOUR, passed the DIXIMUDE GATE and proceeded along No. 5 TRACK to the OLD BRITISH FRONT LINE.
A & B Companies took up a position in the old GERMAN FRONT LINE close to the intersection of that line made by No. 5 TRACK and made use of the remaining German "Pillboxes". C & D Companies took up a position in the OLD BRITISH FRONT LINE - in this place they were somewhat congested as there was not much dugout accommodation. Fortunately it was a fine night and the men did not suffer on account of the weather. Headquarters were established in WARWICK FARM DUGOUT where also were the headquarters of the 7th KING'S. The Battalion relieved the 1/5th SOUTH LANCASHIRE REGIMENT T.F. and the 1/5th THE KING'S OWN ROYAL LANCASTER REGIMENT of the 165 INFANTRY BRIGADE.
The move was accomplished without casualty as there was very little hostile shelling.
18th Dispositions were taken over and the Battalion reported "Relief Complete" at 1.0 a.m. During the day the men were rested as much as possible. About 5 p.m. the Divisional Commander interviewed the Commanding Officer at B.H.Q. WARWICK FARM.
Between 7.15 p.m. & 8.0 p.m. A & B Coys moved up to the then BRITISH FRONT LINE, B. Coy taking up a position between SOMME & POMMERN with H.Q. at SOMME. A Coy was accommodated at BANK FARM. C & D Coys took over the positions in the GERMAN FRONT LINE vacated by A & B Coys. H.Q. left WARWICK FARM at 7.15 p.m. & experienced some difficulty in reaching BANK FARM as the guide lost his way & the enemy subjected the STEENBEKE VALLEY to a heavy barrage. No casualties were sustained.
19th The Battalion relieved the 1/5 SOUTH LANCS REGT and then held the line - this was an exceedingly busy day in making the final arrangements for the attack.
At 7.30 p.m. "C" & "D" Companies moved up into the Front Line - the night was exceptionally dark & rain commenced to fall at 10.45 p.m. Capt A.G. WARDE M.C. and Sgt WILLIAMS were detailed to tape out an assembly line - it is proper to remark that the Division that the 55th Division relieved had not left a continuous front line. After about 4 hours no word had been heard from Capt WARDE and shortly before midnight Capt ROBERTS M.C. & L/Cpl GILL went to SOMME and reconnoitred the ground between SOMME and POMMERN but did not find him.
20th At 1.5 a.m. Captain WARDE returned and reported that he had marked out our jumping off line but had failed to get in touch with the 7th KING'S on our right.
At 4.45 a.m. the Battalion was reported to be in position ready for the attack and about this time the enemy put down a barrage of 150mm and 105mm on the line SOMME-POMMERN.
At 5.5 a.m. Lieut Colonel DREW left BANK FARM for SOMME to conduct operations - Before going on to active operations it is well to mention that the enemy was holding the front opposite us by the 2nd Guards Reserve Division which consisted of the 15th, the 77th and the 91st Reserve Infantry Regiments. This Division was one of the YPRES Group of the 4th German Army. The enemy did not hold a continuous front line but had placed strong garrisons & plenty of Machine Guns with enfilidatading arcs of fire in the strongly concreted "pill boxes" which were echeloned in depth. This was a new system of defence adopted by the enemy as a counter measure to the British wave formation of attack.
5.28 a.m. At 5.28 a.m. hostile shelling increased. Zero was at 5.40 a.m. at which time the heavies, field guns and machine guns opened fire. The Battalion advanced in four waves (each Company forming one wave) in the following order, "B", "A", "C", "D". The distance between the waves was 50 yards.
The Battalion, on the right, was held up at LENS for several minutes, the left of the Battalion being at the same time able to advance in the direction of GALIPOLI. At LENS, rifle grenades were used against the enemy who were in the open, and under cover of these rifle grenades the men were able to advance by short rushes from shell crater to shell crater so that eventually our men approached so close to the Strong Point that one or two were able to creep around the flanks whilst others approached it from the front. The Garrison then surrendered & about 30 prisoners were taken & one field gun. The right of the Battalion was again held up at HILL 35 and it was not until the 6th KING'S came up & reinforced the Battalion that any headway could be made.
The left of the Battalion proceeded close to the barrage and took a strong point which consisted of a block house on the LEFT Battalion boundary about 150 yards to the NORTH of GALLIPOLI, there taking 2 Machine Guns and killing all the garrison. Capt R.C. WILDE M.C. then led the attack on GALLIPOLI where the opposition was strong and determined - the enemy withheld his fire until our men were about 60 yards away when he opened fire with 2 Machine Guns, despite this our men were able to advance under cover of rifle grenades from shell crater to shell crater until they got to GALIPOLI where a violent hand to hand encounter took place, and it is pleasing to note that the bayonet was freely used, the garrison eventually surrendering after suffering very heavy casualties, and four machine guns and about 30 prisoners were taken. Captain R.C. WILDE then established his headquarters at GALIPOLI and ordered his men to consolidate.
The Commanding Officer was a witness of the grand achievements of his Battalion from SOMME & later on GALLIPOLI, and at noon he returned to Battalion Head Quarters at BANK FARM having a thorough grasp of the situation. A few minutes before his arrival the Signallers had succeeded by heroic efforts in establishing telephonic communication with Brigade H.Q. this enabled the Commanding Officer to confer with the Brigadier whom he informed that with a battalion he could get the GREEN LINE and 2 Companies (afterwards 4) of the 1/5th SOUTH LANCS REGT. Were placed under Lieut Colonel DREW's command. The instructions he gave to those Companies when they came up about 2 hours afterwards enabled them to capture & consolidate HILL 37.
About this time it was reported that the Commanding Officer of the 1/6th KING'S was seriously wounded whereupon the Commanding Officer of this Battalion was given plenary powers over the left sector of the Brigade in which were included the 5th LOYAL NORTH LANCASHIRE REGT.
About 5 p.m. a message was received from Brigade that men were seen retiring from HILL 35 and Captain E.H.G. ROBERTS and R.S.M. ROBERTS were detailed to go there and rally the men if necessary.
They found all the men on HILL 35 and at LENS and GALIPOLI manfully & cheerfully "standing to" their posts.
Shortly afterwards, at about 7 p.m. the enemy launched a heavy counter attack which was broken up by our artillery and machine gun fire and not a single man retired.
21st During the night of the 20/21st two (2) Companies of the 10th KING'S L'POOL (SCOTTISH) REGT were placed at Lieut Colonel DREW's disposal and these he detailed to protect the left flank of the Brigade. The night passed quietly but about 9 a.m. on the 21st a hostile aeroplane flew over the vicinity of BANK FARM dropping several heavy bombs. The remainder of the day was tolerably quiet and a considerable amount of work was done, the Commanding Officer reorganizing the Sector into Areas, carrying parties being detailed for each Area. At about 4 p.m. Brigade sent a message that a Counter Attack was imminent and all strong points in the sector were ordered to "stand to" - about 6.45 p.m. a heavy counter attack was launched but owing to the magnificent barrage put down by our artillery and machine guns the enemy was unable to penetrate our line; about 9 p.m. the situation became normal and owing to the splendid organization of R.S.M. ROBERTS all units in the LEFT Sector were supplied with RATIONS, WATER, BOMBS & S.A.A.
22nd The day was tolerably quiet, and much useful work was done in laying tracks to POMMERN and SOMME, and establishing an advanced DUMP at SOMME. During the morning the Brigade Major visited BANK FARM and arranged final details for relief of the LEFT Sector by 59th Division and operation orders were issued to the various units under Lieut Colonel DREW's command.
The night was exceptionally quiet and the relief took place in a most orderly manner, and the Commanding Officer was able to report to Brigade "Relief Complete" by 2.20 a.m. on the morning of the 23rd.
20th - 22nd The dispositions of the Battalions in the left Sector under Lieut Colonel DREW's command were as follows:- 9th & 6th KING'S L'POOL REGT. GALLIPOLI, SULVA, HILL 35, with a few advanced posts. 1/5th L. NORTH LANCS, KIER FARM DUGOUTS, and positions forward of HILL 35. 1/5 SOUTH LANCS, HILL 37. 2 Coys 1/10th L'POOL SCOTTISH protecting left flank from KIER FARM DUGOUTS to HILL 35.
VLAMERTINGHE 23rd The valiant conduct of the linesmen contributed in no small measure to the success of the operations and mention must be made as to the efficiency of the Medical arrangements & individual gallantry of the Stretcher Bearers who worked with the utmost heroism and succeeded in evacuating the wounded in a remarkably short space of time. The Battalion Runners acquitted themselves with courage and fortitude and their alacrity and cheerfulness throughout the operations during which they many dangerous and difficult missions to perform, are worthy of remark and praise.
The Battalion rendezvoused at VLAMERTINGHE No. 2 AREA where a hot meal was awaiting them.
The Battalion entrained at VLAMERTINGHE at 11.30 a.m., proceeded to POPERINGHE, detrained about 12 noon & proceeded by route march to the WATOU area arriving about 3 p.m.
24th & 25th The Companies were for the next two days placed at the disposal of Company Commanders for reorganisation, cleaning up, taking of indents and refitting.
BAPAUME 26th The Battalion paraded at 8 a.m. & marched to PESEL HOEK entraining there at 11.30 a.m. and proceeded to BAPAUME where the troops detrained about 9 p.m. & then marched to the BARASTRE area arriving there about 11 p.m.
BARASTRE AREA 27th to 29th For the following three days the Companies were again placed at the disposal of the Company Commanders to complete refitting and reorganisation.
30th A Boxing Competition was held in on this day under ideal conditions & the Battalion was well to the front in the series of contests, but unfortunately an early dusk caused the final bouts to be postponed.
The following reinforcements arrived during the month:-
1st 2nd Lieut F.J. BRAGG, 3rd Devonshire Regt.
11th 68 Other Ranks
17th 91 Other Ranks
19th 24 Other Ranks
28th 24 Other Ranks
30th 2nd Lieut WHEELER, Fredk., 3rd KING'S

The following casualties were unfortunately sustained during the operations of the 20/23rd Sept.
Sec. Lieut. JEEVES C.A.V. - KILLED
And the following O/Ranks
TOTAL - 265

(Intd.) W.R.
F.M. DREW Lt.Col.
Lieut. Colonel Commanding
1/9 Bn. Kings (Liverpool Regt.) T.F.
In the Field