2/9th Battalion War Diary - April to June, 1917

Herewith War Diary of this unit for month ending 30th April, 1917.
2/9th Bn. King's L'pool Regt.
[Map Reference Sheet36 Scale 1/20,000] APRIL
12th The 172 Inf Brigade relieved 171 Inf Bde in the BOIS GRENIER and RUE-DU-BOIS Sectors. The Battalion less "A" Coy relieved 2/5 KING'S LIVERPOOL REGT in Brigade reserve at LA ROLANDRIE H.17 B.19.
"A" Company proceeded to the BOIS GRENIER Sector and took up position in the Subsidiary Line in support of the 2/10 K.L.R. Disposition of 172 inf Bde on this date as follows;
Front Line 2/10 K.L.R.
Reserve 2/9 K.L.R.
Front Line 2/4 S. LANCS REGT
Reserve 2/5 S. LANCS REGT
2/Lieut F. FISHER joined for duty 18/4/17 from 7th (Res) K.L.R. and was posted to "B" Coy.
16th "B" Coy relieved "A" Coy in subsidiary line.
20th The Battalion relieved the 2/10 K.L.R. in the BOIS GRENIER Sector and occupied the trenches in the following order
Right front Company C
Centre front Company A
Left front Company D
Subsidiary line Company B
Attached 1 Coy, 2/10 K.L.R. in Subsidiary line.
Relief completed without casualties
24th 11 a.m. - Hostile Aeroplane brought down by M.Gun fire from one of our planes in No Mans Land opposite Centre Company.
25th 11 p.m. - Patrol under 2/Lt L.T. LOCAN reconnoitred plane. They brought into our lines portions of the Machine, remains of the Photographic apparatus etc. The pilot was completely incinerated and no identification was obtained.
25th/26th On this night patrol under 2/Lt A.T. BARKER penetrated first line of enemy system with the object of obtaining hostile identification. The patrol was absent from our lines 5 hours but did not succeed in their object. The attempt was repeated on the night of 27/28-4-17 but no results were obtained although the patrol penetrated a similar distance.
28th The Battalion was relieved by 2/10 LIVERPOOL REGT and moved into Brigade reserve at LA ROLANDERIE less "D" Coy which remained in the subsidiary line in support of the 2/10 LIVERPOOL REGT. During the period spent in the trenches the enemy showed more activity than usual. His artillery was very active during the whole period. BOIS GRENIER and the houses and farms in the vicinity were subjected to heavy shelling by artillery of all Calibres. The use of rifle grenades and Light trench mortars firing PINEAPPLE bombs by the enemy was very marked during the period. Enemy patrols and snipers wholly inactive during the period in the trenches. On the night 28/4/17 the enemy heavily shelled the sector during the relief. The relief was successfully carried out with only one casualty. Out light and medium trench mortars carried out successful bombardments of the enemy wire and front line trenches during the period. Our Field Artillery replied promptly to calls for retaliation on each occasion when called for. Heavy artillery registered and carried out distinctive fire on rear works of the enemy.
Casualties Officers
Lt A.P. CAWDLER (accidentally wounded)
Casualties Other Ranks
10 wounded
1 Accidentally wounded.
Headquarters, 172nd Infantry Brigade
Herewith War Diary for this Battalion for period 1st to 31st May incl.
Commdg. 2/9th Bn. King's L'pool Regt.
1st Capt G.C. WILLIAMS, R.A.M.C. (T), 2/3 Wessex F.A. attached for duty vice Capt A.S. PARKINSON.
The Battalion less 1 Coy relieved 2/10th KING'S (LIVERPOOL).
*1 O/R wounded 4/5/17
1 O/R wounded 5/5/17
1 O/R wounded 6/5/17
[Refce. Trench Map BOIS GRENIER, 36 NW.4. edition 7a, 1:10,000] 6th Regiment in BOIS GRENIER Sector, "C" Coy being in subsidiary line.
7th Gun positions in ERQUINGHEM LYS heavily shelled from 10.0 a.m. to 2 p.m. A Gas Main was received from Battalion on our left but our subsector was not affected. At 10.10 p.m. enemy put a box barrage on our front and support lines. I.31.1.-I.31.4. SAFETY ALLEY, STANWAY AVE, EMMA POST, BIRDCAGE WALK and WHITE CITY. Our artillery retaliated. Enemy ceased fire 10.40 p.m. A working party of 4 Battalion was at work in the front line in SALIENT LOCALITY and suffered fairly heavy casualties. For our casualties see margin.*
8th BOIS GRENIER shelled. 8/5/17. 1 o/r wounded.
9th/10th A special raiding party of 2 sgts and 12 o/r crossed enemy's wire at I.26d.1.4 and lay up against his front line parapet for 1¼ hours. No enemy passed along this trench.
5 o/r wounded
1 Offr wounded (Lt A.T. BARKER) & 1 o/r wounded 8/5/17.
11th 10.30 p.m. - ERQUINGHEM LYS again shelled. Enemy fired a large number of Gas shells from 2 guns. Effect very local and momentary. Shells fell to right of gap (I.31.1.)
11th/12th A special patrol endeavoured to raid enemy's trenches at point I.26.d.25.60 but after getting through his wire patrol found borrow ditch 12 to 16 ft wide which could not be crossed without a bridge.
Lt A.E. HUNT attd T.M.C. returned to this unit for duty 12/5/17.
12th/13th A raiding party of 2 officers and 26 o/r with two covering parties entered enemy's front line at I.26.b.8.3 at 11.55 p.m. Attacking party crossed to INCOME SUPPORT but were prevented from entering by a borrow ditch. Party remained in enemy's lines for 1½ hours but did not encounter the enemy.
13th GRIS POT battery shelled between 8 a.m. and 12.0 noon.
1 o/r wounded 13/5/17.
14th The Battalion less "A" Company, remaining in subsidiary line was relieved by 2/10 Bn. KING'S L'POOL REGT and proceeded to billets at LA ROLANDERIE FARM (C, D Companies) Huts near STREAKY BACON FARM (B Coy).
During the tour in the trenches enemy's artillery has been very active at times. He has also used his heavy trench mortars again after a period of inactivity, his principal targets being our C.T.s.
Casualties, 1 o/r wounded (accidentally) 14/5/17.
18th A Coy relieved by "B" Coy (Subsidiary Line). Name of SUBSECTOR occupied by Battn altered to "FLAMENGRIE". Centre Bde Sector noe known as BOIS-GRENIER sector.
1 o/r wounded 20/5/17.
2nd Lt A.LAMONT joined this Bn for duty 21/5/17 from 3/9 K.L.R.
22nd This Battalion relieved 2/10 Bn KING'S LIVERPOOL REGT in FLAMENGRIE subsector.
1 o/r killed 24/5/17.
25th/26th At 1.30 a.m. 26/5/17 a fighting patrol of two officers and 38 o/r (2/10 K.L.R.) left our lines at point I. 32.a.04.75 with the intention of entering the enemy's trenches about I.32.a.50.35 but when about 50 yards from his wire the enemy opened fire with 3 machine guns and patrol was forced to return having suffered sever casualties (2 killed, 9 wounded). Previous to this enterprise (11.5.p.m. 25/7/17) 180 gas projectors were fired simultaneously on front and support lines (INCONSISTENT).
27th Enemy fired a large number of gas shells into COLLEGE GN locality.
28th/29th Listening post in front of GAP, I.26.1. heard enemy patrol approaching. The enemy must have seen or heard our post as he retired hurriedly. 13 o/r wounded 28/5/17 (including 7 suffering from effects of gas and 3 at duty).
29th/30th Battle patrol (2/Lt A.T. BARKER & 10 o/r) saw enemy raiding party of about 30 men approaching. When about 20 yards away our patrol attacked (2 bombs were thrown, one round by each man and a noisy charge made, severe injuries were inflicted on enemy as several men returned with bloodstained bayonets. The enemy fled to his lines precipitatedly closely followed by our patrol. One wounded prisoner was brought in. Normal identification. We sustained no casualties.
2 o/r wounded 29/5/17 (1 accidentally).
30th The battalion, less 'D' Coy remaining in the subsidiary line, were relieved by 2/10 K.L.R. and went into billets near ERQUINGHEM-LYS.
B.H.Q. H.17.d.4.3
"C" Coy - Huts near "STREAKY BACON FARM".
During period in trenches our artillery were very enterprising and aggressive. Enemy's artillery very quiet. He seemed to have withdrawn the majority of his guns and relied on increased T.M. activity. Rum Jars and Heavy T.M. were frequently employed against C.T.s several of which were placed temporarily out of use. Some dugouts and firebays were wrecked. Hows. retaliated with good effect; one H.T.M. was moved to an alternative position. A large number of "Pineapples" were fired into SALIENT locality (I.31) throughout the tour, often at night in reply to L.G. fire. Enemy has made obvious repairs to his parapet in INCREASE and INDEX trenches. More noise than usual has been heard in enemy's lines during night.
1st The following letter of congratulations has been received with reference to the Gas Shell attack made on the battalion on the morning of 27th May. "The Divisional Commander congratulates the 2/9th King's Liverpool Reg on the very few casualties they had during the early morning of the 27th May from the enemy gas shell attack. The attack was one of some severity, and the promptitude with which Box Respirators were put on , and the local alarm given reflects great credit on all concerned".
5th The following letters of congratulation have been received in reference to the listening patrol under 2nd Lieut. BARKER:- 1. "Corps Commander wishes his congratulations conveyed to Colonel LEGGAT Commanding "K" Battn on the enterprise and spirit shown by 2nd Lieut. BARKER and the men who attacked hostile party in No Man's Land on the morning of May 30th and who captured a prisoner". 2. "The G.O.C. Division congratulates the 2/9th Liverpool Regiment on the action of the listening patrol commanded by 2nd Lieut. BARKER on the night of 29/30th May. The promptitude of their action, and the dash displayed, is highly creditable". 3. "The G.O.C. Brigade wishes to congratulate 2nd Lieut. BARKER and the patrol of "K" Battn on winning the Brigade competition. This patrol attacked a German Patrol three times its strength with the bayonet and chased the Germans back to their own lines, obtaining one prisoner and wounding others. The G.O.C. hopes that other patrols will adopt the same Tactics and show the same excellent spirit".
FLAMENGRIE SUBSECTOR 3rd "D" Coy (fifth company) in Subsidiary Line were relieved by "C" Coy.
7th The Battalion relieved the 2/10th Bn "The King's" (L'pool) Regt, relief being completed at 11.30 p.m. During the period of rest there were no unusual occurrences. The area occupied was not shelled. The Gazette dated 6/6/17 deprived a number of officers of their temporary rank, leaving the Battn without a single Captain.
10th & 11th A party consisting of 2 officers and 36 O.R. went out with the intention of making a Silent Raid on the enemy's lines, to inflict casualties upon him, obtaining identification and ascertain the strength of his front line garrison. On arriving at his trenches the party found the enemy occupying them in force. A sharp encounter followed when several of the enemy were killed and wounded. In spite of a barrage of trench mortars our party less one man (missing) returned to our lines, the casualties sustained being 4 men slightly wounded. The Commanding officer, Lt. Col. T.F.S. LEGGATT whilst attending operations from the Breastwork was slightly wounded.
11th, 12th & 13th Parties consisting of 1 N.C.O. and 2 O.R. went out and occupied a shell hole about 15 yards from the enemy front line for 24 hours. Neither party was discovered. Valuable local information was obtained.
14th The Battalion was relieved by 12th PORTUGUESE Battalion. The relief was carried out successfully and was completed by 10.0 p.m. The Battalion went into billets at ERQUINGHEM-LYS. During the tour of the trenches a marked change was noticed in the enemy operations, indicating a relief or an alteration in his defences and tactics which may have been due to our activity north of his subsector (MESSINES and PLOEGSTEERT). He has been very active by day - with artillery and Trench Mortars, Snipers etc. and more alert at night. Information having been received that a withdrawal of the enemy was possible our activity in raiding and patrolling was increased but no information regarding an enemy retirement was obtained: his trenches were being held strongly. Our artillery has been active and effective retaliation has been forthcoming when required. Hostile artillery and Trench Mortar activity has been directed chiefly against our left flank, the trenches opposite which are less strongly held than opposite our right. Only one hostile patrol reported (11th/12th).
10th AWARD
Under authority granted by H.M. The King, The Field Marshal Commanding in Chief has awarded the Military Cross to the undernamed officer for gallantry and devotion to duty in action:- Sec. Lieut. A.T. BARKER, 2/9th Bn K.L.R. (T.F.)
14th On being relieved the Battalion went into billets at ERQUINGHEM for 6 days rest.
20th On completion of which time we relieved the 10th Scottish K.L.R. in Brigade Reserve less "A" Coy who relieved a Coy of the Scottish in subsidiary line of FLAMENGRIE Subsector. The remainder of the month was was passed in Brigade Reserve, with the exception of "C" Company who went into the line on the night of the 27th, & "B" Company who relieved "A" on the 28th. The other two companies and all other available men were employed on working parties during the nights of 26th, 27th & 28th.
Officers Other Ranks
31st May - 1 wounded
4th June - 1 wounded
5th June - 2 wounded
9th June 1 (2/Lt.A.E. Hunt) 2 wounded
11th June 1 (Lt.Col.A.F.S.Leggatt) 3 wounded
12th June - 8 (1 killed, 6 wounded, 1 missing)
14th June 1 (2/Lt. A.J.Harrison) 1 wounded