9th Battalion War Diary - April to June, 1918

ESTAIRES 1st 3.0 a.m. - Battalion relieved in FLEUBAIX Sector on 31/3/18 - 1/4/18 & proceeded to Hutments at ESTAIRES. At 10 a.m. the Battalion proceeded to HAVERSKERQUE & arrived there at 4.0 p.m. The march discipline of the Battalion was very good.
HAVERSKERQUE 2nd During the morning Kit & Feet inspections were carried out by Company Commanders. At 3.0 p.m. the Battalion proceeded to STEENBER?UE for entrainment. The entrainment was completed by 6.0 p.m.
DOULLENS 3rd The Battalion detrained at DOULLENS at 1.0 a.m. & proceeded to SUS-St. LEGER. The night was very dark & the roads were in a very bad condition. A few men fell out on the march, but on the whole the marching was very good. The Battalion arrived in billets at 6.0 a.m. The troops were rested during the morning, & during the afternoon further inspections were carried out.
SUS-St. LEGER 4th The time was chiefly devoted to cleaning equipment etc.
5th The Battalion proceeded to WARLUZEL, arriving there at 7.30 p.m.
WARLUZEL 6th-7th The usual programme of training was carried out during this period. On arrival at WARLUZEL a draft of 44 O/Ranks joined the unit from England. The draft was chiefly composed of youths who had just attained the age of 19 years and who appeared to be very keen.
8th The Battalion proceeded by route march to THIEVRES leaving WARLUZEL at 10.0 a.m. & arriving at destination at 12.30 p.m. During the last hour of the march it rained very heavily and consequently the troops were very wet. The afternoon was devoted to the drying of clothes, cleaning of equipment, inspection of feet etc.
THIEVRES 9th - 11th The usual programme of training was carried out, though not to the same extent as heretofore, owing to lack of training grounds. Several very interesting reconnaisances on points to be manned in case of an attack were carried out during this period.
12th Battalion proceeded by route march to SOMBRIN. The marching to SOMBRIN was very bad, a large number of men fell out.
SOMBRIN 13th A large number of men who had fallen out on the previous day's route march paraded for medical inspection. A large percentage of these men were marked "duty" by the Medical Officer. Instructions were received from the Brigade Head Quarters that all men so marked by the M.O. had to receive further training in route marching that afternoon. The route march was postponed owing to further orders being received for the Battalion to proceed to HENU. The Battalion left SOMBRIN at 4.20 p.m. & proceeded to BEAUCAMP RAV arriving there at 12.30 a.m. The Battalion bivouacked for the night in the wood.
14th Facilities for training were very poor at this place. During the afternoon men who had fallen out on the line of march to SOMBRIN were taken for a six mile route march. In addition, men who did not feel up to the present standard of route marching were also taken on this march.
HENU 15th The Battalion moved into camp at HENU. The arrangements for training in the camp were found to be very satisfactory. The rifle range, in the field adjoining the camp allotted to this unit, was found very useful for training purposes.
16th to 30th Every alternative day during this period, the Battalion found working parties for work on points to be manned in case of enemy attacks. The work was carried out very successfully & congratulations were received from the Divisional Commander. On the days the Battalion did not provide working parties strict training was carried out. Several competitions took place on the rifle range in which all concerned evinced great keenness. A competition between Lewis Gun and Rifle Fire also took place & proved very interesting. Prizes were given for this competition. The Lewis Gun teams winning First & Second prizes & a Rifle Team 3rd Prize. The men who were "not up to the present standard of route marching" were taken on several Route Marches during this period. The effect of this has been very beneficial to the Battalion, the tendency to fall out on the line of march having decreased to a very appreciable extent. Several reconnaisances, on points to be manned by the Battalion in event of defensive or offensive operations, were carried out during this period. The opportunities for Battalion sports were very good, and were taken advantage of by all the troops. All ranks in the Battalion appear to be exceptionally keen on keeping up the battalion reputation for sports & several very interesting competitions with various units in the area took place.

On the 18/4/18, Major S.C. BALL, M.C. ROYAL LANCASTER REGT. was appointed Acting Second-in-Command of the Battn. Vice Major G.B.L. RAE 10th Bn. attached. The Battalion was very pleased to welcome Capt. W. RAINE, M.C. & Capt. A.G. WARDE, M.C. who rejoined the unit from England on 30/4/18 & 24/4/18 respectively.

*Result of Lewis Gun & Rifle Competitions:-
(1) No.4 L.G. Section, No. 8 Platoon Fired 180 Rds in 2 Min.
44 Hits on Bull
(2) No.4 L.G. Sect. No.14 Platoon Fired 260 Rds in 2 Min.
35 Hits on Bull
(3) No. 3 Rifle Sec. No.3 Platoon Fired 179 Rds in 2 Min.
29 Hits on Bull.

F.M. DREW, Lieut. Colonel
Cmdg. 9th Bn. "The King's"
(Lpool Regt) T.F.
In the Field
1st May 1918
HENU 1st The weather was very dull & the ground was in a bad condition. A practice attack was carried out by "A" & "D" Companies. The remaining two companies carried out the usual training and firing on the range.
2nd - 3rd The usual training was carried out on both these days.
4th The Battalion was engaged in a practice attack with two contact aeroplanes. Every detail of this attack was carried out in an effective and successful manner, & the Commanding Officer received the congratulations of the Brigade Commander for the excellent manner in which the Battalion had done its work.
5th The Battalion relieved the 1/7th Bn. MANCHESTER REGT. in the right Sector of the Centre Division, in reserve. About 300 surplus personnel proceeded to the Divisional Wing, MARIEUX, and were accommodated in the Aerodrome. Rear Battalion Head Quarters were established at the Transport Lines, COIGNEUX.
GOMMECOURT WOOD 6th to 13th During this time the entire personnel were employed in working parties reclaiming trenches, digging communication trenches, & reclaiming mined dug-outs, before being relieved by the 1st Bn. R. MUNSTER FUS.
7th to 13th GOMMECOURT PARK was made into an impregnable & all round defensive position with a Central Keep.
11th/12th Heavy Gas shelling took place commencing 7.20 p.m. & continuing until 9.45 p.m. We sustained 24 Casualties.
14th The Corps Commander IV Corps inspected the defences constructed by this unit in GOMMECOURT WOOD, & personally congratulated the Commanding Officer on the magnificent work the Battalion had done.
14th/15th The Battalion relieved the 1st Bn ROYAL MUNSTER FUSILIERS in the left Bn sub-sector. The Battalion was distributed in depth, "D" Coy in the Front line, "A" Coy in support, "B" Coy in reserve and "C" Coy Counter-Attack Company.
15th Situation quiet. 1 O.R. wounded and later died of wounds at Advanced Dressing Station. A reconnoitring patrol left our lines to observe enemy movement but nothing unusual was noticed.
16th/17th Situation continued quiet. "C" Coy relieved "D" Coy in the Front Line. The usual patrol left our lines but did not observe any unusual activity on the part of the enemy.
17th Battalion HQ were shelled from 7.20 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. Two out of three of the mine entrances were blocked, the enemy obtaining two direct hits. 3 O.R. were wounded. During the remainder of the day the situation continued quiet.
18th Situation continued quiet during the day. The usual patrols left our lines to observe enemy movement, but nothing unusual was reported.
18th/19th "B" Coy relieved "C" Coy in the Front Line.
19th Lieut. A.T. BARKER M.C. led a small daylight patrol across NO MAN'S LAND. Before proceeding very far he suddenly encountered and enemy sentry. As this appeared to be a strong enemy post, & the patrol was only 3 strong, the patrol leader deemed it advisable to return to our lines and report his discovery.
20th/21st A Fighting Patrol of 19 O/R commanded by Lieut. L.H. COCKRAM, left our lines at midnight to engage the post discovered by Lieut. BARKER and to obtain identification. They approached the post and found it heavily wired. They attempted to cut the wire and immediately came under the observation of the enemy in the post, who numbered about 20, & who at once opened fire on them. The patrol replied and a sharp fight took place, but owing to the strength of the wire it was found impossible to enter the post, and the patrol returned to our own lines. As far as could be ascertained severe casualties were inflicted upon the enemy. We sustained one slight casualty.
21st A small Fighting patrol commanded by Lieut. PARKES left our lines at 12 noon for the purpose of obtaining identification. They proceeded across NO MAN'S LAND to ROSSIGNOL WOOD & were not long before they engaged a small party of the enemy. Sharp fighting took place but the party were unable to obtain identification. We sustained one casualty.
6th to 21st During this period a great amount of salvage work was done with very satisfactory results, the material salved being valued at £203 by Divisional H.Q.
21st/22nd The Battalion was relieved by 8th Bn. L'POOL REGT. 2 Coys were accommodated at the CHATEAU DE LA HAIE, & 2 Coys & H.Q. Details were accommodated at ROSSIGNOL FARM.
24th Bn. H.Qrs moved up to the CHATEAU DE LA HAIE. Lt Col F.W.M. DREW, D.S.O. being in need of a rest, Major S.C. BALL, M.C. assumed command. While at the Chateau, Bn Hqrs had the pleasure of being closely associated with the Hqrs of the 1st Bn R. MUNSTER FUSILIERS and it is interesting to note that this was not the first time the Battalion had the honour of working in conjunction with this illustrious Regt. Many members of the 9th had the honour of relieving the 2nd R.M.F., elements of which were incorporated in the 1st R.M.F. After the battle of LOOS in 1915, in the 3rd Infy Bde of the 1st Div.
BEER TRENCH 25th The Battalion relieved the 1st Bn R.M.F. in BEER TRENCH where "A" & "D" Coys and the Lewis Gunners of "B" were accommodated. "B" & "C" Coys remained in the CHATEAU DE LA HAIE SWITCH. There was heavy shelling of "A" Coy's area during the evening but no casualties were sustained. The Battn came tactically under the orders of the 170th Infy Bde while in BEER TRENCH.
27th Gas shells known as Yellow Cross shells were fired over "A" Coy's sector in the early morning. The men quickly adjusted their masks and no casualties were sustained. The rest of the day passed quietly.
27th to 29th These days were fairly quiet.
RUM TRENCH 29th The Bn relieved the 2/4th L.N.L. RGT and occupied the reserve position in the left Bde Sector. "B" Coy was headquarter in GOMMECOURT WOOD with HQ at the site of an old minenwerfer emplacement. "A Coy was in the centre with posts in GOMMECOURT TRENCH and "C" Coy was on the left flank in PIGEON WOOD. "D" Coy was in reserve with orders to man a strong point known as JULIUS POINT in case of an attack. Opportunity was afforded of studying the solidarity of the enemy, forms of revetment, their fortified sentry boxes, observation posts, and the thoroughness of their mined dug-outs, several of which were occupied by the Bn.
29th to 31st These days were spent in comparative quietness, the Battn furnished several working parties. There was abnormal sickness during this tour in the trenches, due in all probability to the effects of Gas.
Cmdg. 9th Bn. The King's.
GOMMECOURT 1st The Battalion was in reserve to the Brigade in the left Brigade Sector at GOMMECOURT, with Head Quarters in the old German Support line north of GOMMECOURT WOOD which was renamed RUM SUPPORT. The companies were disposed from right to left in the order "B", "A" & "C" in GOMMECOURT TRENCH & GOMMECOURT SUPPORT. "D" Company was in reserve. The Companies were housed in mined dugouts made by the enemy, and again evidence of the industry of the Germans was seen in the mined dugouts, armoured sentry boxes, substantial revetments & belts of wire entanglements. At morning "stand-to" the enemy put down a barrage on the Divisional Front. The S.O.S. went up in several places, & our artillery - some of which was immediately in rear - opened with rapid fire. It transpired later that the enemy raided the right brigade sector without success. The usual working parties were provided in the evening.
2nd The IV Corps Commander visited the Battalion Sector. The Battalion did considerable work in its own sector digging rifle slits and making baby elephant dugouts besides providing the R.E. with the usual working parties.
3rd The day passed in comparative tranquillity. Owing to the good weather prevailing at this period our observers were able to observe well behind the enemy lines. Occasionally they could see small bodies of the enemy moving about and sometimes horses grazing.
4th The day was spent very quietly & there is nothing of interest to record.
5th The Brigadier Commanding 172nd Infantry Brigade visited the Battalion & expressed his appreciation of the wiring done at SALMON TRENCH. Visibility was very good in the evening & several parties of Germans were seen. This day was also spent quietly.
6th 8 a.m. - The enemy opened a harassing fire on Battalion Head Quarters with 77 m.m. guns and 10.5 c.m. howitzers. The firing continued with occasional short intervals until 3 p.m. The remainder of the day passed quietly.
7th The day was spent very quietly and there is nothing of interest to relate.
7th/8th The Battalion relieved the 2/4th Bn SOUTH LANCS REGT in the left section of the left Brigade Front. Companies were disposed as follows:-
Left Front Coy "A" - Centre Coy "D" - Right Front Coy "C" - Reserve Coy "B". Battalion Head Quarters were established in SALMON TRENCH in the vicinity of a locality known as SALMON POINT.
9th The enemy displayed more than usual activity. The Brigadier General visited the Sector.
10th Some rain fell during the day. The enemy displayed his usual artillery activity. Two enemy aeroplanes, one of which was a Halberstadter, flew over the Battalion area at a low altitude for some time.
11th The day was fairly quiet. Our forward posts in front of ROSSIGNOL WOOD were troubled by our own artillery which persistently fired short.
12th The enemy was noticeably quieter.
13th The Duke of Marlborough & Mr Winston Churchill visited the Battalion Sector accompanied by the Divisional Commander. The day was comparatively quiet.
14th Artillery activity at night has quietened considerably. Our gunners still continue to harass the enemy with occasional rafaels from their field guns. The Battalion found a wiring party to assist the 2/4th Bn SOUTH LANCS REGT to wire BIEZ WOOD. The Brigadier General visited the Sector.
14th/15th The Battalion was relieved by the 2/6th Bn. LIVERPOOL REGT.
ROSSIGNOL FARM & CHATEAU DE LA HAIE 15th On relief the Battalion was disposed as follows:-
"A" & "D" Coys at the CHATEAU DE LA HAIE, and "B" & "C" Coys & Bn Headquarters at ROSSIGNOL FARM.
16th One Company from ROSSIGNOL FARM and one Company from CHATEAU DE LA HAIE formed working parties in the forward areas at night. The usual training was carried on during the day.
17th to 20th This period passed very quietly. Working parties were provided and the usual training carried out.
21st Working parties were found for work on the new bivouacs west of the farm. A Battalion boxing tournament was held in the orchard at ROSSIGNOL FARM. All ranks evinced a great interest in the various competitions held.
ROSSIGNOL FARM "A" & "D" Companies moved from CHATEAU DE LA HAIE & were accommodated with the remainder of the Battalion at ROSSIGNOL FARM.
22nd/23rd During the mornings working parties were provided for the work on new bivouacs west of the Farm. The afternoons were spent in general cleaning up.
23rd/24th The Battalion relieved the 2/4th Bn. LOYAL NORTH LANCS REGT in the Right Section of the Right Brigade Sector of the Centre Divisional Front of the IV Corps. The trenches were found to be in a state of bad repair and steps were taken immediately to rectify this. A great amount of of salvage was collected & sent down to the Salvage Dump.
24th to 26th This period passed very quietly. The Battalion found working parties as usual.
27th A shoot was carried out on ROSSIGNOLL WOOD, afterwards fighting patrols from the left Brigade penetrated into the wood. A number of casualties were inflicted on the enemy but no identification was obtained.
28th The situation continued to keep calm, and there is nothing of note to report.
29th to 30th Very quiet throughout these two days.
30th The Corps Commander visited the trenches on this day.
An appendix, marked "A" giving items of general interest, i.e. strength, drafts, changes in officers etc. is attached to this diary.
Lieut. Colonel,
Commanding 9th King's L'pool Regt.
In the Field
Appendix "A" to the War Diary for the Month JUNE 1918.

A comparison of the strength of the Battalion at various times during the month is interesting. The strength on the various dates is shewn hereunder.

1.6.18 Eff. Strength O/R 959
8.6.18 931
15.6.18 903
22.6.18 880
29.6.18 888

The following Officers became non-effective:

Lt. Col. F.W.M. DREW, D.S.O. Inv. to Eng. Sick 6.6.18
Lieut. F.B. CLEMENT Inv. to Eng. Wounded
Lieut. J.W. SMITH absorbed into est. of XV Corps School

The following Officers were admitted to hospital - sick

Lieut. W. DAVENPORT, M.C. 12.6.18
Lieut. L.H. COCKRAM 20.6.18
Lieut. F.W. VOYSEY 21.6.18
Lieut. H.J. HALLETT 26.6.18

During the month 1 officer (Lt. A.T. BARKER, M.C.) was wounded and evacuated.
4 O/R Killed & 12 O/R wounded.

45 O/R reinforcements joined.

The following Officers joined for duty during the month:
Major F.H. BOWRING from 8th Bn. K.L.R. as temporary Second in Command.
Captain J.W.B. HUNT, M.C.
2/Lieut. H.J. DALE