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War Diary, 1/18th London Regiment – December 1915

December 1st – Raimbert.
Divisional route exercise. Idea formulated by 47th Divisional Staff. Route march to have started today – postponed to tomorrow.

December 2nd – Raimbert/Rebecque.
Route exercise. Left Raimbert at 8am. Arrived Rebecque at 330pm.

December 3rd – Rebecque/Raimbert.
Went into billets. Left Rebecque 930am. Arrived Raimbert at 330pm.

December 4th – Raimbert.
Bttn at disposal of O/C – one hour’s steady drill. Remainder of day resting.

December 5th – Raimbert.
Church Parade.

December 6th – Raimbert.
Training resumed. Range practice recommended.

December 7th – Raimbert.
Range practice – Senior officer – outpost exercise.

December 8th – Raimbert.
Bathing (3 Coys). Range practice.

December 9th to 11th – Raimbert.
Training and Musketry.

December 12th – Raimbert.
Church Parade. Sgts of Bttn reunion dinner.

December 13th – Raimbert/La Bourse.
Entrained from Lilliers 920 am. Arrived Noeux-les-Mines 11am.
Marched into billets at La Bourse. Billets good. Resting in Divisional Reserve.

December 14th – Hairpin Section.
In trenches. Relieved Black Watch in sub section. Known as “Hairpin”.

December 15th – Hairpin Section.
In “Hairpin” Section. The enemy made a small bombing raid on our barricade in Essex Trench about 9am this morning but were easily deal with. About 5 of the enemy accounted for climbing over their own barricade by our rifle fire and those who succeeded in getting into the space between the barricades were easily cleared by our bombers. It is difficult to say if any were killed by our bombs owing to the nature of the ground but our bombing was extremely accurate and completely stopped the enemy’s attack. Enemy’s snipers were very active yesterday and today but have been silenced by our snipers. The remainder of the day, the enemy kept very quiet. About 7pm, a German succeeded in crawling down Shipka Sap as far as our barricade and looked over the top and appeared to be reconnoitring the ground. A bomb was immediately hurled at him and he disappeared. This, together with the fact that the enemy had name an attack that morning led us to believe that the enemy was contemplating a further attack. A sharp look out was kept and the Grenadier Officer, Lt Munro, moved his two Reserve Sections closer to the saps. A patrol was sent out about 8pm, which reported that our bombs had done considerable damage to the enemy’s barricade in Essex Trench but the enemy did not appear to be doing any work on it. All was quiet until 1145pm when a German officer suddenly appeared behind our barricades in Shipka Sap and fired three rounds from his revolver at our bombers; at the same time, the bomb attack commenced. Our bombers fell back a little at first to avoid the enemy’s bombs, which were well directed and thrown from the right flank of the sap as well as the front. In a few seconds, our bombers were reinforced…and drove enemy back over his own barricade but the bombing duel continued for over ¾ an hour. The German bombers were well concealed on our right front and flank and some of their bombs fall as far as 40 yards down our Sap.

December 16th – Hairpin Section.
About 1220am, it was decided to ask for artillery support, which was immediately given. The bombing on the part of the enemy ceased. The enemy used rifle grenades during their attack, presumably with the idea of forming a barrage behind our bombers but the fire of these was badly directed and exploded harmlessly in ‘No Man’s Land’ between Essex Trench and our Front Line. The attack was of a determined nature and was directed by an officer, who could be seen observing as the bombs were thrown and then shouting orders to his party. It could not be seen if any casualties were inflicted on the enemy owing to the darkness. They kept remarkably quiet for the rest of the night. At dawn our bombers became aggressive and bombarded the German barricades but received small encouragement from the enemy and the affair died down.
Later, went into support.

December 17th – Hairpin Section.
In support.

December 18th – Hairpin Section/Verquin.
Relieved by 7th Bttn and marched to Verquin.

December 19th – Verquin.
Battalion billeted in ‘Chateau Verquin.

December 20th to 22nd – Verquin.
Resting in Verquin.

December 23rd – Verquin.
Relieved 23rd Battalion, London Regiment in Hohenzollern Section.

December 24th – Hohenzollern Section.
7am, British exploded own and German mine, 18th Battalion occupied Crater. 16 killed, 11 wounded. Heavy hostile shelling.

December 25th – Hohenzollern Section.
Relieved by 19th Battalion, London Regiment. Relief very difficult owing to terrible state of trenches – two feet of mud. Relief started 6pm 25th, relief effected 10am 26th. Men very tired.
Many gum boots had to be left in mud to enable men to extricate themselves from trenches.

December 26th – Sailly.
In Sailly. Men resting.

December 27th – Sailly.
Resting in Sailly. Cleaning up proceeded with deficiency in 200 gum boots.

December 28th – Sailly.
Relieved 29th Battalion in Hohenzollern Section.

December 29th
In Hohenzollern Section.

December 30th – Vermelles.
Relieved by 19th Battalion and went into support in Vermelles. A Coy in Lancashire Trench, C Coy in Line. D Coy in junction Keep and Railway Keep. B Coy in Vermelles.

December 31st – Vermelles.
Relieved at Vermelles by 8th Bttn at 9am and marched to billets at La Bassee.