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War Diary, 1/18th London Regiment – July 1918

July 1st.

The Battalion in billets at Picquigny. Parade 9am. The Battalion took part in the Brigade Tactical Exercise forming the Advance Guard to the Brigade moving on the Ferriers-Picquigny road advancing towards Abbeville.

The Battalion Boxing Competition at the following weights took place in the afternoon commencing at 3 pm. 10.7, 9, 8, 7 stone.

2/Lt W A D Martin went on a Musketry Course.

July 2nd.

The Battalion at Picquigny and took part as the Advance Guard to the Brigade in the Brigade Tactical Exercise as for July 1st forming an outpost line on completion W of Picquigny. Practice swimming and water polo matches were held in the afternoon at 3.30pm Capt Totton MC rejoined the Battalion

July 3rd

The Battalion on billets at Picquigny. Paraded at 9am and marched to the assembly position on the Bois de Neuilly preparatory to making an attack on the system of trenches on the hill by Tenfol Farm. The formations adopted were good and the men moved well in waves against the Final Objective. Major General Gorringe and the Brigade Commander witnessed the attack.

The Divisional Swimming Gala was held in the afternoon at Picquigny.

July 4th

The Battalion in billets at Picquigny. Assembled in the Bois de Neuilly for the attack as in the previous days, the advance being made by teams of sections making the fullest use of ground and cover in order to assemble in the hollow by Tenfol Farm and to emerge up the slopes for final assault in waves. The attack throughout was extremely well carried out.

July 5th

The Battalion in billets at Picquigny. Paraded at 9am under the Commanding Officer and each Company carried on afterwards with company training.

July 6th

The Battalion in billets at Picquigny. Paraded at 9am under the Commanding Officer. Company training was afterwards carried out.

The Battalion re-assembled at 12 noon and proceeded to witness a demonstration of Stones Trench Mortar Battery.

Lt Col G H J Neely MC reported to the Brigade HQ.

July 7th

The Battn at Picquigny and paraded for Divine Service at 11am.

Lt Col G H J Neely MC formally took over command of the Battn from Lt Col A D Thompson and addressed the men after Church Parade.

July 8th

The Battn in billets at Picquigny. Paraded at 9am and made an attack on the Bas de Neuilly emerging on the W side of the wood and proceed towards the Range on Tenfol Farm where there were targets to represent the enemy. The attack was covered by machine gun barrage and the advance was made in rushes and neighbouring unit giving covering fire with the rifles and Lewis Guns.

July 9th

The Battn in billets at Picquigny. Paraded for inspection by the Commanding Officer at 9am with platoon and Company training to follow.

About 15 Officers attended a lecture at 3 pm in a Hangar pua N of Bovelles by Brig Genl Cox DSO on the General Military Situation.

The Battn football team played the 15th Bn London Regt in the afternoon and lost 2 – 0.

July 10th

The Battn in billets at Picquigny. Paraded for inspection at 9am under Major WW Hughes DSO MC and continued with Company Training.

Lt Col Neely MC, the adjutant and four Company Commanders went up to reconnoitre the trenches with a view of taking over the line.

July 11th

The Battn acting on Operation Orders to relieve the 7th R W Kents 18th Division in the right sector of Divisional first embussed at Picquigny at 11.30 am and reached Warloy at 3.45 pm where tea was ready for the Battalion. (Map ref from now to end of xxx Senlis Special sheet 1/20000). The Battn moved off at 9 pm meeting guides at X Roads V. Senlis 1/20000. Relief was completed by 12 midnight. The following Officers went to the Divisional Wing at Molliens-Au-Bois.

Major Hughes DSO MC, Lieut H V G Hoole, 2/Lt Gibbon, 2/Lt Read, 2/Lt Sheridan, R & 147 Ors. The disposition of Companies in the line. Ref Senlis 1/20000. “A” Coy on the right in Warrego from v.30.d – v.30.c.3.4. “B” Coy in Murray Strong Point v.24.d – v.30.d.4.5. “D” Coy in Wallaby Trench v.30.a.6.6. HQ Coy v.29.c – v.29.b.90.70. Bn HQ v.29.b.95.75. “C” Coy in Carson Copse v.29.a.7.8. Casualties Nil.

July 12th

The Battalion in Support – disposition as for 11 July 1918. The Brigadier rested the Battn in the morning – work was carried on in making cookhouses in Murray – Wallaby  – Warrego. The enemy attitude extremely quiet. In the evening work on upgrading trenches Warrego – Wallaby. Casualties nil.

July 13th

The Battalion in Support disposition as yesterday – The enemy very quiet all day a little shelling in neighbourhood of Yarra & Albert- Amiens Road about 11-12 midnight. Work was done on Warrego Murray Strongpoint. Wallaby and Australia back from Wallaby deepening and making a 3′ beam. Cookhouses in Company Sectors were completed.

Two of our balloons shot down in flank by E A. Casualties Nil.

July 14th

Disposition as yesterday. The enemy artillery a little more active – a little promiscuous shelling all over the neighbourhood more particularly on Albert – Amiens Road. Operation Orders received to relieve the 14th Battn tomorrow night in the Right subsector. The CO & 2nd Lieut E Michael DSM reconnoitred the line. Work was done in deepening and beaming Australia Street. 33 ORs from A, B & D 11 from C about 200 yards trench was worked on but the night was very wet making work difficult. Work on our trenches was also done. 2/Lt G H R Harcourt went on special leave. Lieut H V G Hoole was sent for to replace him in “B” Coy. Casualties Nil.

July 15th

The Battn as for yesterday. Acting on Operation Orders the Battn relieved the 19th Bn London Regt in the right subsector. Disposition as follows:-

“D” Coy + 1 platoon of “A” Coy in front line Sector

“A” Coy less 1 platoon in close support in Brisbane Support Trench.

“B & C” Coys less 1 platoon each in Melbourne Trench – these two platoons in Millie Trench.

The reliefs except left front line system were complete during evening in daylight. During day enemy artillery very active all over the neighbourhood most especially S of Albert – Amiens Rd. A very severe thunderstorm all night 15th July. At 2.0 am message received as follows “Observers report 3 rows of sign boards 100 yds xxx 200 yds distance running south from W.30.v.40.85. for a distance of approx 2000 yds. They appear to be in a straight line and are covered off.

These are similar posts to those observed 18 . 3 . 18” – message from right division.

One of our balloons shot down in flames.

A patrol went out at 2 am under 2/Lt Michael DCM and visited the Stables in W.21.d. No enemy were seen. Casualties Nil. Working parties from all Coys were employed on making beams in Melbourne Brisbane Support & Brisbane also cutting crops in front line & in Barrington. Lieut Burway MC & 2/Lt G O P Baxter rejoined Training Camp from Division.

July 16th

The Battn in its new position – enemy quiet – The Major General & the Brigadier went round the line in the morning and called at Bn HQ. The canteen was opened in Australia Street. A patrol went out at 11.30 pm. 2/Lt Michael, 2/Lt Jones and No 2 platoon of “A” Coy. They patrolled the front and returned at 2 am. Rejoined the Div Training Camp. Lieut Vincent MC from Hosp. 2/Lt Sealy from course.

July 17th

Bttn in the line. The enemy artillery more active than usual. One of our aeroplanes landed behind Millie Trench. Shelled by enemy during afternoon – removed at night. A patrol went out 11.30 pm 2/Lt R Michael DCM, 2/Lt Fea and No 4 platoon of “A” Coy. No enemy met. Stables thoroughly searched. Lieut Vincent rejoined from Brigade Training Camp.

Canteen took 1300 francs approx.

Work was done in cutting crops in front of the front line trench.

Casualties 2 ORs wounded during shelling of aeroplane.

July 18th

Bttn as for yesterday. The Brigadier visited the line in the morning. A Captain and a Lieut of 131st Regt of 33rd American Div and a platoon were attached for experience from 18th – 20th. The 4 platoons replaced 2 platoons from each of our Companies who returned to Warley on relief. Guides met the USA troops at Henencourt Chateau at 10.30 pm. The two Officers stayed at Bn HQ.

Lieut Vincent MC took out a patrol of A Coy to see if Boshe occupied bank at E.2.a.8.5 as three Boshe had been seen there in morning – No enemy were seen. Patrol was out 10 pm – 2 am. There was some gas shelling during night. Lieut Burnay MC rejoined from Brigade Training Camp & took command of D Coy. Capt A. Mackenzie-Smith went to Brig Training Camp. The RSM & 4 NCOs & men went to Paris on leave.

Casualties Nil.

July 19th

The Battn as for yesterday. The Brigadier went round in the morning and called at HQ. An inter Coy relief took place in the evening. “B” Coy relieved “D” in the front line and “C” relived “A” in Brisbane Support. The 20th relieved the 19th on our left. Two patrols went out – one a daylight one – to the Stables – comprised of 4 ORs went out at 6pm and returned at 8 pm.

The other Lieut Vincent and 1 USA Officer and a platoon of A Coy went out at 10pm went thro’ the Stables and reconnoitred the Boshe Line – their object was to get a Boshe in which they were not successful. Work was continued on our new C T from Brisbane Support to Melbourne Trench – Wiring was done in Front Line and support shelter were also done in front line. Casualties.

July 20th

The Battn in line as yesterday. The 2nd Battn 131st USA Regt relieved the 4 platoons of 1st Battn at night. Guides – 1 British 1 USA – per platoon met incoming troops at Henencourt Chateau at 10.30 pm. The Bat Cmdr Major Gale & the Adjt Lieut Schmidt were attached to our HQ also HQ details. A patrol went out at 10.30 pm. 2/Lieut Taylor of 1 platoon of “C” Coy to visit Boshe Trenches. They went through Stables but did not succeed in reaching Boshe trenches they returned at 2.30 am.

July 21st

The Battn as for yesterday. Work was done on new C.T. from Melbourne to Brisbane Support. Wiring was done in front line – also work was continued on Cupola Shutters in Front Line. There was a little shelling in the valley on Millencourt – Albert ROAD during the night.

Casualties Nil

July 22nd

The Battn as for yesterday. The 3rd Battn USA 131st Regt relieved the platoon of 2nd Bn in evening – Major Allen & Lt Shannez on HQ. The Major General went round the line during the day with the Battn Cmdr – a patrol went out at 10.30 pm to get in touch with the enemy – the object being to obtain an identification – they got in touch and had 3 casualties wounded and returned at 3 am. Lieut Schmidt of 2nd Battn 131st USA Regt went with patrol which was under Lieut Vincent but the patrol did not get an identification. Casualties 3 Ors wounded one of which missing.

July 23rd

The Battn in line as yesterday. Reconnoitring parties of the 1/52 London Regt came over the Sector with view to relief tomorrow night. A patrol of 2/Lt Lea & 2/Lt Michael of No 4 platoon of “A” Coy started at 11.15 pm – their object being to visit the Boshe Trench and get an identification. The found Rfn Hawkins who had been wounded last night about 150 yds from the German Trench – shot through the leg and unable to move. On approaching the Boshe Trench they were met with rifle and machine gun fire bombs also being thrown. The bright moon showed them up too well and they abandoned the attack. A raid by one Coy of the 22nd London during the latter part of the night under a barrage obtained some firearms.

Sgt A/CQMS Warren was killed by a shell on road – returning with ration limbers. Work was done on wire to all front trenches and new Company Headquarters continued on Brisbane. Casualties 1 killed.

July 24th

The Battn in the line as yesterday. The enemy still quiet except for a little shelling in afternoon on batteries Acting on operation orders guides met the incoming Battn 1/22nd London at the X cross roads V. 22. c. 8. 8. – the relief was complete by 1.30 pm and the battalion moved by Platoons to Warloy where they were met by our Guides and billeted in the Town. They were rejoined here by the Platoons which had been sent on to make room for the USA Platoons. The USA Platoons were moved out and embossed at Henencourt Chateau. Lt H V J Hook was slightly wounded during the relief. Casualties – 1 Offr Wounded

July 25th

The Battalion in billets at Warloy – billets rather bad. There were no parades the men cleaning up clothing, rifles etc. – making latrines, cleaning up rubbish as usual. The Commdg Officer attended a conference at Brigade at 6pm. He met all Officers at 9pm and discussed the work in the line and general discipline in the Battn. Asked Company Commanders about making a raid & agreed on “A” Coy to do it. The Brigadier called during the morning. Platoons and details from Molliens Au Bois rejoined during the evening at the following Officers:-

2/Lts Sheridan, Martin, MacKenzie, Gibbon.

2/Lt Sheridan to command “B” Coy

2/Lt Ruffet                        “C” Coy

Lt Keane                          “D” Coy for this tour.

Major W Hughes DSO MC called to see the CO and returned to Molliens au Bois to resume command of camp details. The Canteen was open in Warloy and took 2,200 Francs.

July 26th

Battn in Warloy – Engaged in cleaning up – a working party of “B” Coy & 3 Officers wiring in front of Henencourt left at 4.30pm returned at 12.30pm. Platoon not going to line marched to Molliens Au Bois leaving here at 2.30pm under 2/Lt Taylor. 2/LTs Berry & Mann went with their platoons. Major Hughes DSO MC remains in command of London Irish there. The Brigadier Genl called at BN HQ.

July 27th

Battn at Warloy. Capt E M Ellis MC and Officers from all Coys went up to reconnoitre left Lavieville Line in view of relief tonight. Acting on Operation Orders the Battn relieved the 20th in Court Support and Jacques Support and Cavalry Trench. Left Warloy at 8.30pm and met guides at V. 22. c. 8. 8. at 9.45pm. The Companies were disposed as follows:-

“A” Coy in V. 22. b. 5. 5.

“B” Coy in V. 22. a. 8. 9.

“C” Coy in V. 22. a. 8. 1. and 8. 3.

“D” Coy in V. 22. c. 2. 2. – c. 5. 7.

HQ Coy in Sunken Road V. 22. c. 3. 4. – c. 4. 8.

Capt Wraight left for Course @ EU

Lt Burray MC remained at Warloy previous to going on leave to England on 28th.

July 28th

The Battn in support in new position, the trenches very wet after the heavy rain – work was done on reconstructing bivouacs. There was enemy shelling in left all the morning and some shells on BN HQ and there were some casualties one runner being killed. Working parties were provided in 8 hour shifts by all Companies for deep dug-out work. The Brigadier called during the morning with the Bde Int Offr. During the night the enemy shelled the Valley on two occasions with Gas & H.E. Casualties 1 killed and 2 wounded.

Lieut Lintott of the Australian X X was attached to us for instruction in patrols and raids.

July 29th

The CO, Adj and Coy Commanders went forward to reconnoitre the Sector to which we go tomorrow night, Working parties were formed for R. Es in deep dugouts. Lieut Lintott instructing platoons of “A” Coy on patrol and raid work. The new C.E. Padre Capt Hodge was brought up by Padre Taylor and held a service at 6 pm. Work was carried on in improving bivouacs. The 15th sent a party of R.Es to do sender work.

Col Seagrave DSO called with reference to taking over from us tomorrow night. The Bosche Art fairly active all round the neighbourhood and some gas at night on the Senlis Valley

July 30th

Battn as for yesterday, work continued on Shelters and dugouts in trenches and road. Acting upon Operation Orders the Battalion moved up to the line to relieve the 17th Battalion in the right Subsector of Left Sector of the Divn Front. Guides were met at X Rds V. 26. c. 2. 3. at 9.30 pm. The relief was complete by 1am. “A” Coy sent a patrol out at night. Casualties Nil.

July 31st

Battn in Right Sub-sector of Left Sector of Divnl Front.

Reconnoitring parties of 3/131 USA Regt for relief tomorrow night. Capt Magnor remains with us ’til relief. Work on cleaning up refuse on parapets and parados continues. “A” Coy sent out a fighting patrol which got into touch with Bosche in Quarry and had 1 killed and 2 wounded. The man killed could not be brought in owing to fire of the enemy. The General called in during the morning.

The Bosche active with trench Mortars on the front line during the day. Operation Orders issued for the relief tomorrow night when we go out to Contay.