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War Diary, 1/18th London Regiment – June to August 1915

June 1st – Givenchy.
The Canadian Division took over from the 18th London Regiment the position of the line (Section B2 from the Shrine (exclusive) up to the point dividing Section B2 from Section B1. The remainder of the line section B2 was taken over on the previous night by the Gordon Highlanders (7th Division). The relief of the Canadian Division was completed about 6pm and the 18th London therefore proceeded by march route to billets on the Rue d’Aire at Bethune. Provisional command of the 141st Brigade has been taken by Lieut Col Godding commanding the 17th London.


June 2nd – Givenchy.
Officers Commanding Battalion of the 141st Infantry Brigade attended at 9am at Noyelles Les Vermelles to reconnoitre the line at Vermelles to be taken over today by the 17th and 20th Battalion from the 1st Guards Brigade (Gloucesters and Cameron Highlanders). Conference at 4pm at the Brigade office to meet Brigadier General Thwaites now appointed to succeed the late Brigadier General Nugent. The 18th Battalion proceeded in the evening by march route to billets at Annequin.


June 3rd – Annequin.
In rest at Annequin.


June 4th – Annequin.
In rest at Annequin. Working parties detailed for 7pm tonight and 6am tomorrow per Brigade Orders. Billets at Annequin were shelled by the enemy between 8 and 9 pm this day. Inspection of 18th Battalion Transport at Sailly Labourse by Brigadier General Thwaites.


June 5th – Annequin.
In rest in billets at Annequin. An inspection by the 18th Battalion in the afternoon by Brigadier General W Thwaites. Working parties for the trenches as detailed by the Brigade office. Instruction received late in the day from the Brigade office that the 18th Battalion is to proceed tomorrow to Les Brebis to act temporarily as a Reserve for the 142nd Infantry Brigade.


June 6th – Annequin.
Inspection in the morning by Brigadier General Thwaites, accompanied by Officers Commanding 18 and 19 Battalion, of the trenches east of Fosse No 7 at present occupied by the Inniskilling Fusiliers. The 18th Battalion proceeded by march route at 1045pm to Les Brebis to act as reserve in the 14nd Infantry Brigade.


June 7th – Les Brebis.
Arrived at Les Brebis at 1am and took over billers vacated by King’s Liverpool Regiment. Arrival reported to the 142nd Infantry Brigade and also to the 141st Infantry Brigade Officers Commanding. Coys of the 18th Battalion proceeded at 1030amn to meet guide of the Inniskilling Fusiliers at Fosse No 3 to reconnoitre the trenches to be taken over from them. The 18th Battalion left Les Brebis a 330pm to proceed by march route to Fosse No 7 and took over from the Inniskillings. The transport of the 141st Infantry Brigade moved to Houchin.


June 8th – Fosse No 7.
Inspection of trenches by Brigadier General Thwaites. Companies of the 18th Battalion as follows: Firing ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ Coy (each less one platoon).


June 9th – Fosse No 7.
Quiet day in trenches. During night, enemy put several shells into parapet but damage repaired before daybreak. Two men wounded.


June 10th – Fosse No 7.
Quiet day. Major Healy went on leave and command of Battalion assumed by Major Beresford.


June 11th – Mazingarbe.
Relieved by 20th Battalion and went in to reserve billets at Mazingarbe. Five men wounded.


June 12th – Mazingarbe.
In Divisional Reserve – marched to Noeux les Mines arriving about 10pm.


June 13th – Noeux Les Mines.
Carried our Company inspections and issued Battalion with clothing etc.


June 14th – Noeux Les Mines.
Training continued. Bombing and bayonet practice.


June 15th – Noeux Les Mines.
Training continued. Battalion inspected by Brigadier General Thwaites at Houchin. Major Healy returned from leave.


June 16th – Noeux Les Mines.
Training continued. March at 830pm to position of readiness at Mazingarbe. Bivouacked.


June 17th – Les Brebis.
Marched to Les Brebis and took over billets of 22nd Battalion under orders of 142nd Brigade.


June 18th – W1 Trenches.
Relieved 21st Battalion in Subsection W1. ‘A’ and ‘D’ Companies in front line, ‘C’ in support, ‘B’ in reserve.


June 19th – W1 Trenches.
Major Healy went to hospital. Command of Battalion assumed by Major Beresford.
Quiet day. Heavy bombardment on our right in French lines.


June 20th – W1 Trenches.
Quiet day.


June 21st – W1 Trenches.
Enemy shelled Grenay in afternoon and wounded several children close to Bttn HQ. One man wounded.


June 22nd – W1 Trenches.
Enemy shelled Grenay in afternoon, wounded three children close to Bttn HQ. Two men wounded in village.


June 23rd – W1 Trenches.
Quiet day. No shelling of our Sections. Heavy artillery fire on our right in French area. Brigadier General Thwaites inspected trenches. Orders received to destroy all pigeons in area and collect licences. Two men wounded in front trenches.


June 24th – Les Brebis.
Relieved by 20th Battalion and went into Brigade Reserve at Les Brebis. Relief completed by midnight.


June 25th – Les Brebis.
In reserve billets. Unable to carry out drill due to proximity of enemy’s observation balloon and danger of shelling. Splinter proofs being dug. Four officers arrived from England with draft of 12 men from Base.


June 26th – Les Brebis.
In reserve billets. Digging of Splinter proofs proceeded with.


June 27th – Les Brebis.
Reserve billets. Digging of Splinter proofs again proceeded with.


June 28th – Les Brebis.
Reserve billets. Relieved 20th Battalion London Regiment in W3 in evening. Relief completed by 1230am. ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘D’ in front line, ‘C’ in reserve.


June 29th – W3 Trenches.
Quiet day. Slight shelling by enemy but no damage done. Work commenced in B Line.


June 30th – W3 Trenches.
Enemy shelled Bttn HQ and neighbourhood with HE shell. Four casualties. Considerable damage done to north observation station. Work in B line continued.


July 1st – Maroc.
Enemy shelled neighbourhood HQ at intervals throughout day, only damage done to north observation station, Work continued in B line and repairs to observation station.


July 2nd – Maroc.
As July 1st.


July 3rd – Maroc.
Enemy shelled Crassier heavily all afternoon and did extensive damage to both observation stations and compelled withdrawal of observer. Work continued in B line and repairs to damage. Trench Howitzer Battery reported for duty in Sector.


July 4th – Maroc.
Heavy shelling round Reserve Coys. Splinter proofs in afternoon. One man killed, 7 wounded. Carried out repairs to observation station and work on B Line.


July 5th – Maroc.
In trenches. Heavy shelling all day. Men wounded.


July 6th – Maroc.
In trenches. Good deal of shelling during day. Relieved by 15 Battalion at night.


July 7th – Mazingarbe.
In Brigade Reserve. Enemy sent some shells into town in evening, wounding one man.


July 8th – Mazingarbe.
In Brigade Reserve. CO and Captain Beamish left for English in 7 days leave.


July 9th – Mazingarbe.
In Brigade Reserve. Drill and refitting carried out.


July 10th to 14th – Mazingarbe.
In Brigade Reserve. Found working parties during night.


July 15th – Fosse No 7.
Took over X1 sector from 21st Battalion, London Regiment. Relief completed 11pm.


July 16th – Fosse No 7.
In trenches. Quiet day. CO and Captain Beamish returned from leave.


July 17th – Fosse No 7.
Adjutant left on seven days leave to England. Battalion relieved by 20th Battalion.


July 18th – Mazingarbe.
Nothing to report.


July 19th – Mazingarbe.
In reserve, quiet day.


July 20th – Mazingarbe.
Two platoons Camerons attached for instruction. Quiet day.


July 21st – Fosse No 7.
Quiet day. Relieved 20th Battalion in X1.


July 22nd – Fosse No 7.
Intermittent shelling. Two Coys, 6th Camerons attached for instructions.
8 officers also attached with 5 Warrant Officers.


July 23rd – Fosse No 7.
Enemy shelled front line heavily during afternoon. One fell in Splinter Proof, killed 2, wounding 3 men.


July 24th – Fosse No 7.
Enemy shelled subsection at intervals during day. Two Coys, 7 KOSB relieved Camerons. O/C, Adjutant and MO attached for instructions, also 5 Warrant Officer and NCOs.


July 25th – Fosse No 7.
Quiet day. Relieved by 20th Battalion in evening.


July 26th – Philosophe.
Billets at Philosophe. Cellar and dugouts accommodation good. Enemy shelled area regularly.


July 27th – Philosophe.
Quiet day. Enemy shelled area in rear.


July 28th – Philosophe.
Enemy sent a few shells into Fosse No 3. Insignificant damage. Apparently searching for Batteries in rear.


July 29th – Philosophe.
As 28th.


July 30th – Mazingarbe.
Relieved by 6th Battalion, Went into billet in Mazingarbe. In Divisional Reserve. Billets good.


July 31st – Mazingarbe.
Carried out training. Handling arms, Guard and close order drill.


August 1st – Mazingarbe.
Enemy sent a few shells over which fell short of billets. No damage.


August 2nd – Mazingarbe.
Training continued. Received orders that Battalion is going into Corps Reserve on 3rd.


August 3rd – Mazingarbe.
Coy devoted to cleaning up.


August 4th – Allouagne.
Arrived Allouagne at 3am. All men settled in Billets by 6am. Day devoted to resting men. Billets in some cases not very sanitary.


August 5th – Allouagne.
Coy Training carried on.


August 6th – Allouagne.
All men of Battalion bathed at Auchel Mines. Running and close drill carried out under Coy arrangements.


August 7th – Allouagne.
Training under Coy arrangements carried on.


August 8th – Allouagne.
Church Parade under Battalion arrangements.


August 9th – Allouagne.
Battalion route march in morning. 7 miles men marched. Very hot day. Musketry in afternoon.


August 10th/11th – Allouagne.
Training under Coy arrangements continued.


August 12th – Allouagne.
Training continued.


August 13th – Allouagne.
All men now bathed.


August 14th – Allouagne.
Battalion drill in morning. Battalion sports in afternoon.


August 15th – Allouagne.
Brigade Church Parade. Heavy rain broke up parade. Battalion sports continued in afternoon.


August 16th – Allouagne.
Brigade Route March, Weather cool and made marching easy.


August 17th – Allouagne.
Training continued. Brigade sports in afternoon, Battalion very successful.


August 18th – Allouagne.
Moved to Noeux les Mines 12 noon. Arrived 330pm. Billets good. Owing to guides of outgoing Battalion leaving before arrival, men were not settled until, about 4pm.


August 19th to 24th – Noeux les Mines.
Digging parties provided for new Third line.


August 25th – Noeux les Mines.
Quiet day. Coys resting.


August 26th – Noeux les Mines/Les Brebis.
Move to Les Brebis at 8pm. Moved 920 pm. Men billeted by 10pm. Billets good.


August 27th – Les Brebis.
Whole Battalion digging at night in front of W3. New line to be constructed 200 yards in front of present line. Very moonlit. Enemy did not fire on party. Work commenced at 9pm.


August 28th – Les Brebis.
Digging continued. Enemy shelled Battalion at intervals from 11pm. Our guns replied immediately on enemy front line. Enemy infantry did a good deal of sniping. Our losses light – 2 killed, 3 wounded.


August 29th – Les Brebis.
Communication trenches out to new line finished to 6 feet depth and joining up commenced, Considerable shelling by enemy with 4.7 and Field Guns, both high explosive and shrapnel. One officer and 6 men wounded. One man dying after reaching hospital. Left Les Brebis by motor bus for billets at Houchin.


August 30th – Houchin.
Arrived Houchin 430am and took over billets of 19th Battalion. Slight rain falling. Billets bad and men very crowded. Men very tired and allowed to rest all day.


August 31st – Houchin.
Inspected by Brigadier General Thwaites, who expressed himself as being very satisfied with work done and with the appearance of the Battalion. Read out a message from Major General Barter that CRE had reported the excellent work done and especially remarked on the steadiness of the 18th, who carried out their task uninterruptedly under considerable fire. The Major General directs that report be communicated to all ranks and wished to express his complete satisfaction with the organisation and work performed. A message from CRE was also read thanking the officers and men of the Battalion for the good work done.