2/9th Battalion War Diary - July to September, 1917

1st to 8th The Battalion remained in Brigade Reserve less "B" & "C" Companies who remained in the Trenches until the 4th instant on which date "C" Company was relieved by "D" Company.
9th The remainder of the Battalion joined B & D Companies in the trenches and relieved the 2/10 Scottish Bn. K.L.R. in the FLAMENGRIE Subsector. Disposition of the line:-
right subsector - "C" Company
Centre subsector - "A" Company
Left subsector - "D" Company
Subsidiary line - "B" Company
10th A Patrol of 1 Officer and 4 other ranks reconnoitered the ground in N.M.L. on their right in view of future operations, and detected enemy's listening post.
11th Our T.M.B.s active onto enemies wire and support trenches, which brought back heavy retaliation.
A Patrol of 1 Officer and 8 o.r. went out from right subsector with a view to capturing enemy's listening post heard the previous night.
12th Same patrol as on previous two nights was out in front of our right subsector. Patrol of 1 N.C.O. and four men patrolled in front of left subsector and located an enemy listening post, but owing to the fact that the enemy held a position at a Bridge on their side of a wide ditch, surprise was impossible.
13th Same patrol on the right subsector, and post was again located, unfortunately however, our artillery fired on to trench behind listening post and the enemy retired without our patrol being able to cut them off.
A Patrol of 1 officer and 15 men went out on the left to cut off listening post detected the previous night, but no enemy were encountered.
14th to 17th Patrol out on right as in previous nights, but no contact gained with the enemy. T.M.B. shoots in conjunction with our artillery took place daily. With the exception of retaliation to our artillery and T.M.B. shoots, which took place daily, this was a very quiet tour in the Trenches.
The 2/5th SOUTH LANCS REG relieved the Batt on the evening of the 17th with the exception of "C" Coy who remained on as fifth Company.
21st The Battalion returned to billets in Brigade Reserve round ERQUINGHEM, "D" Company relieved "C" Company in subsidiary line of trenches.
24th Captain J. MAIR took over command of "C" Company from Captain R.N. MOUNTFIELD.
25th The Battalion relieved the 2/5th SOUTH LANCS REG on the night of 25th inst. in the FLEMENGRIE subsector.
26th During the day from 6.30 a.m. the Trenches were subjected to a very heavy bombardment from Trench Mortars until 5.30 p.m. Considerable damage was done to the Trenches. The support line suffering the most heavily. Enemy very active from 6 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. with his artillery and T.M.B.s
26th/27th A patrol of 1 N.C.O. and 4 men went out and examined enemy wire after T.M.B. shoot in front of INDEX TRENCH. A patrol of 1 N.C.O. and 3 men also examined wire after T.M.B. shoot in front of INCOME TRENCH.
27th A quiet day, enemy retaliated to our T.M.B. shoot to a small extent. A Patrol of 1 N.C.O. and 2 men entered enemy trench called INCOME, and lay in wait for the enemy, but none encountered.
27th/28th A Patrol of 1 N.C.O. and 4 men reconnoitered wire in front of INCREAS TRENCH. The Battalion on our left was subjected to a heavy gas shell bombardment but no-one was affected in the 2/9th.
28th A quiet day, enemy putting a few shells to the right of COLLEGE GREEN WILLOW AVENUE.
28th/29th A Patrol of 1 officer and 10 men with Lewis gun went out with the object of capturing suspected enemy listening Post which however was found unoccupied. A party of 5 O.R. then proceeded into enemy trench at INDEX, which was found to be unoccupied.
29th Our artillery in cooperation with the T.M.B.s bombarded enemy trenches in the morning and afternoon. Enemy retaliated with 100 shells on to support line, from which our men had previously been withdrawn.
TRENCHES, FLAMENGRIE SECTOR 1st 6 p.m. to 2nd 6 a.m. - A Patrol of two N.C.O.s and four men examined a listening post in front of the enemy's lines which was found to be vacant. A very quiet period throughout.
2nd 6 a.m. to 6 pm. - Rain fell most of the day & artillery was quiet on both sides in consequence.
6 p.m. to 6 a.m. - Rain continued and night was quiet, & following day was very quiet.
3rd 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. - The Battalion was relieved by 2/5th SOUTH LANCS REG at 8 p.m. & returned to billets in Brigade Reserve round ERQUINGHEM except "B" Company which remained in subsidiary line at MOAT FARM.
4th Lieut. Colonel E.V. MANGER assumed command of the Battalion.
7th "A" Company relieved "B" Company at MOAT FARM and "B" Company returned to rest billets.
11th 6 p.m. - The Battalion relieved the 2/5th SOUTH LANCS REG at 8 p.m. relief completed at 10 p.m.
12th 6 a.m. - A quiet night along our front.
6 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Our artillery carried out heavy bombardment on enemy's Back areas and T.M.B. fired from our right subsector on enemy wire. Retaliation light.
12th/13th 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. - Artillery again active on enemy Back areas. A Patrol proceeded towards enemy lines composed 1 N.C.O. & 9 men opposite our right subsector to examine wire after T.M.B. shoot. They encountered a large working party with covering patrol. Party withdrew and our artillery was immediately put on to the enemy. & special patrol at 2 a.m. proceeded along the whole of our front line examining gaps between our posts and reported all correct & patrol of 1 officer & four men examined wire on our left which was reported on.
13th 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Our Artillery & Medium Trench Mortars were very active in the afternoon. Enemy retaliated fairly heavily on our front and support line.
13th/14th 6p.m.to 6a.m. - Our Artillery kept up their activity until 9 p.m. & a patrol of 1 N.C.O. & 9 men proceeded to examine wire in front of our centre subsector & reported T.M.B.s had made two good gaps in enemy wire.
14th 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Quiet day, nothing unusual.
14th/15th 6p.m. to 6a.m. - Continual Patrolling during the night.
15th 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Quiet day, nothing unusual.
15th/16th 6p.m. to 6a.m. - Patrols & listening Posts were out in front of the Trenches but no contact with the enemy.
16th 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Quiet day.
16th/17th 6p.m. to 6a.m. - Two Bangalore Torpedoes successfully exploded in enemy wire.
17th 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. - M.T.M. Fired on enemy trenches, & retaliation was fairly heavy, the enemy putting about 130 shells on the sector.
17th/18th 6p.m. to 6a.m. - Patrols active all along our Front, five different parties operating.
18th 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Quiet day.
18th/19th 6p.m. to 6a.m. - Patrols out as usual.
19th 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. - At 2.30 p.m. 700 Gas Projectors out over enemy's line. In evening this Battn. Was relieved by 2/5 S. LANCS REGT.
ERQUINGHEM rest billets occupied.
20th Inspection by C.O. of all Lewis Guns in the Battn. Coy training. Baths.
21st Inspection of B. Coy by C.O. Coy training.
22nd Training all day, in rest billets all day. Specialists under specialist officers.
23rd D Coy was relieved by C. Coy, took over duties of 5th Coy in Subsidiary Line. D. Coy to rest billets at STREAKY BACON. Coy training & baths.
24th Inspection of all Specialists at Hqrs by C.O. Coy training. A. Coy held in readiness to move at once if necessary by day, B.Coy by night. Medical Inspection of A, B & D Coys.
25th Divine Service at ROLANDERIE FARM (C. of E.), Non-Conformists ERQUINGHEM, R.C. ERQUINGHEM CHURCH.
26th Baths for 3 Coys. A, B, D.
27th This Battn. Relieved 2/5th S. LANCS. REGT. In FLAMENGRIE Sub-Sector. Relief complete 10.35 p.m.
28th 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Very quiet all day. Heavy rain. Our M.T.M.s fired from SAFETY ALLEY on INDEX TRENCH. Enemy retaliated with Pineapples & a few whizzbangs.
28th/29th 6p.m.to 29th 6a.m. Organised programme of fire by night including artillery, M.G.s, L.G.s & rapid Rifle fire, extremely little retaliation from enemy.
29th/30th 6p.m. to 6a.m. - Organised programme of fire by artillery, M.G.s, L.G.s & rapid Rifle fire. 3 patrols left our trenches at 1 a.m. & successfully laid listening sets each side of BRIDOUX SALIENT & 1 to the left of STANWAY AVENUE.
30th 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. - Artillery fired in retaliation to enemy's T.M. fire - enemy artillery more active, JOCK'S JOY, KIWI & COLLEGE GREEN being shelled with whizzbangs. Several Minnies on & around top of SAFETY ALLEY.
30th/31st 6p.m. to 6a.m. - Organised fire by artillery, Stokes, M.G.s, L.G.s & Rifle fire on INCOME, INCOMPLETE & INDEX support trenches. Slight retaliation by Pineapples.
31st 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Combined Artillery & T.M. shoot on enemy's front system. Retaliation negligible.
G. B. L. Rae
TRENCHES, FLAMENGRIE SUB SECTOR 31/8 - 1/9 Quiet period. Bright moon at night. Three patrols went out to obtain identification. All were heavily fired on when half way across No Man's Land. One casualty (wounded) three others had M.G. bullets through clothing. Patrols withdrew.
2nd Quiet period. No patrolling during night owing to bright moon. Special enterprise 2nd Lt. L. I. LOCON and Corpl. J. PRINGLE left our front line breastwork at 10 a.m. and crossed NO MAN'S LAND in green crawling suits to reconnoitre the enemy's support line and the condition of the ground and wire in front of same, opposite our left sub Sector. They found the enemy front line unoccupied, but concrete dugouts in good repair. The parapet in front line much damaged. They looked over the enemy front line breastwork and obtained an excellent view of his support line and Switch line. The wire in front of the support line was thick, consisting of iron knife rests. The support line appeared in good condition and lower in level than the front line. The communication trenches from front to support line were very low and in bad repair. Patrol returned without being discovered. Before leaving enemy front line this officer and N.C.O. placed two black aiming boards on enemy front line breastwork.
3rd Night of 2/3, no patrols owing to bright moonlight. Quiet day. At 8.55 p.m. in order to ascertain if the enemy held his front line in strength, and what portion if any was unoccupied a flare composed of old explosive was fired close to the enemy wire. This gave us the required information. The enemy appeared to take the flare and smoke for a gas attack. Many very lights were fired & whistles & horns blown. Our artillery opened on his front & support lines where held thickest.
4th Enemy artillery active behind our front line system. At about 5 p.m. the enemy retaliated to our Medium T.M. shoot, one heavy Minnenwerfer fell on the breastwork of our extreme right post garrisoned by letter B Coy, killing four men and burying five others who were all wounded. The entombed men were quickly dug out by the survivors under the supervision of the Medical Officer and Chaplain. The Battn was relieved at 8 p.m. by the 2/5 SOUTH LANCS. REGT & returned to billets outside ERQUINGHEM less A in subsidiary line. The battalion in Brigade reserve.
6th Routine. 64 O.R. sent to be trained under Brigade Lewis gun officer. At night one Company wiring in front line system. One Company finding Brigade duties.
7th Inspections, routine. One Company wiring as on 6th inst. One Company finding Brigade duties.
8th Training under Company Commanders. A Coy was relieved in the subsidiary line by B Coy.
9th Parade Service. At night one Company wiring in front line system, one Coy finding Brigade duties.
10th Training & routine. One Company wiring in front line system.
11th Inspection of Kits & Clothing.
12th The battalion relieved the 2/5 SOUTH LANCS REGT at 7.30 p.m. relief complete 9.25 p.m.
FLAMEGRIE SUBSECTOR, BOIS GRENIER SECTOR 13th Very quiet period. Repair and improvement of trenches.
14th Period of inactivity. Trenches thoroughly salved.
15th Quiet, enemy inactive. Wiring done in front of posts.
16th Very quiet period. Parties of 14th Bn. ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS arrived to see line previous to taking over the Sub Sector.
17th Quiet period. This battalion was relieved by the 14th Bn. ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS. Relief commenced at 7.30 p.m. and was completed at 9.25 p.m. This Bn to billets in the village of SAILLY for the night of 17th & 18th.
VILLAGE OF SAILLY 18th Bn remained in SAILLY village and had baths and a complete change of clothing.
19th 8 a.m. - Bn marched to Brigade rendezvous at LAGORGUE, passing the starting point at 9.38 a.m. & marched via ESTAIRES, LAGORGUE, LESTREM to the crossroads HINGES where the Bn broke off and marched independently to billets in the village of MT. BERNENCHON where they billeted for the night. An hours halt was made at noon for dinners. The men though somewhat soft marched well and none fell out. Total marched about 14 miles. Time occupied including halts 7 hours. The band and mid-day halt were invaluable in preventing fatigue. Men bathed their feet on arrival at MT BERNENCHON.
20th 8 a.m. - The Bn left MT. BERNENCHON at 8 a.m. and proceeded to Brigade starting point at the crossroads in BAS RIEUX passing the starting point at 10.38 a.m. Route BAS RIEUX - LILLERS - BOURECQ - south of St. HILAIRE - WESTERHEM to the crossroads 400 yds south of A in FEBVIN-PALFART thence by Companies to billets in FEBVIN-PALFART and NONENGHEM: there were the usual halts including 1 hour for dinners. The Battn arrived in Billets by 3.30 p.m. No men fell out - marching good.
21st Day devoted to cleaning of equipment & interior economy.
22nd Inspection of all Companies & Specialists by C.O. Coys at disposal of Coy Commanders.
23rd Parade Service on Battn Parade Ground at 11.30 a.m. R.C.s at FEBVIN-PALFART 9 a.m.
24th Training commenced according to Bde programme - including Ceremonial March Past. In the afternoon Kit Inspection of the whole Battn.
25th Training in morning & games in the afternoon - 1 Coy on the range.
26th Training in morning & games in the afternoon - 1 Coy on the range.
27th Training & Baths in morning - 1 Coy on the range. Inspection by G.O.C. 57th Divn. At 2.30 p.m. followed by March Past including Transport. Lecture by Major ANDERSON, 1st Army Instructor in P.T. & B.F. at 3.15 p.m. Games in the evening.
28th Training according to Programme in morning. Games in the afternoon. 1 Coy on the range. 2 Coys fitted with new containers for Box Respirators.
HONENGHEM 29th 8 a.m. - Routine & Training in the morning - 1 Coy on the range. Games in the afternoon.
30th 8 a.m. Divine Service, C of E on Battn Parade Ground 10.30 a.m. R.C.s 9 a.m. at FEBVIN-PALFART. Nonconformists 11 a.m. at FLECHIN.
E.V. MANGER, Lt.Col.
Commdg. 2/9 Bn. The Kings (Liverpool Regt)