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

October 1st – Hesdigneul.
At 10am, the Battalion paraded as strong as possible. 14 officers and 559 other ranks and were addressed by Brigadier General W Thwaites, Commanding 141st Infantry Brigade. The General complimented the Battalion on their spirit during the recent operation and the splendid discipline which carried the battalion through a very trying period – at the end of his address, three cheers was given for the general. Remainder of day was spent refitting and rerorganising the battalion. 2/Lt JAO Mason reported and was taken on strength of the Battalion.

October 2nd – Hesdigneul.
The day occupied in refitting men. Each company carried out an hour’s drill during the day. General Barter, Commander 47th Division, visited the men… today and said a few words of praise to ‘B’ Company on the company parade ground. All names for honours sent in today.

October 3rd – Hesdigneul.
930am – Battalion paraded as strongly as possible.. marching more without packs for a Brigade Church Service. The GOC 47th Division was present at this service. After the service, the Battalion returned to billets to pick up their packs and paraded again at 11am, with 1st Line Transport to carry out a short route march. Route; Laboissiere-Hallicourt and back to billets. Battalion returned by 120pm.

October 4th – Hesdigneil.
Battalion paraded as strong as possible at 845am for Brigade route march. Route: Hallicourt-Gosnay and back to billets. It rained heavily during the march. Battalion got back to billets by 1130am.

October 5th – Hallicourt.
Company and Battalion Training is carried out during the morning. Battalion paraded at 4pm and proceeded to Hallicourt to occupy billet at this place. Battalion arrived at its billeting area at 5pm but owing to some confusion about billets, the Battalion did not get in until after 7pm. It rained incessantly throughout the operation of changing billets.

October 6th – Hallicourt.
Day spent in refitting men with equipment and …..men in billets. Lieut Maginn, Steele and Lewin reposted their arrival and were taken on strength of battalion.

October 7th – Hallicourt.
Commanding Officer inspected the Battalion in marching order starting with ‘A’ Coy at 10am and other Coys at 15 minute intervals. The turnout was good considering the difficulty in getting equipment at short notice.

October 8th – Hallicourt.
Battalion paraded at 8am to take part in a Brigade route march and Outpost …. Battalion returned to billets at 230pm. Battalion was placed on ½ hour notice to move, from 5pm to 9am.

October 9th – Hallicourt.
Battalion paraded at 1030am as strongly as possible in dress marching order for inspection by Corps Commander. The whole of the 141st Brigade, with other detachments, were present on the parade. General Sir H Rawlinson, after ……… addressed the parade and complimented all ranks on their achievement during the recent operation. After the Corps Commander had left, the 141st Brigade marched past General Thwaites.

October 10th – Hallicourt.
Battalion resting. Voluntary Church Parades for CE, Non Conformists and RC. OC and Acting Adjutant attended a conference at Brigade HQ (141st) in connection with Operational Order No 14, 141st Infantry Brigade.

October 11th – Hallicourt.
Practised opening to Artillery Formation and lines of skirmishes. The Brigadier General visited the Battalion during the exercise. Lieuts Keane, Staples and Munro joined and were taken on strength of Battalion – also Captain and Adjutant HP Hamilton rejoined.

October 12th – Hallicourt/Mazingarbe.
Company training was carried out from 9am to 10am. Remainder of morning preparing to move billets.
8pm – Battalion arrived in Mazingarbe and was billeted by 830pm. 1st Line Transport by Noeux les Mines.

October 13th – Mazingarbe.
Battalion under orders to move at half an hour’s notice. Men remaining in billets resting. Draft of 100 ORs arrived from Base at 8am and were taken on strength. Transport section joined from Noeux les Mines.

October 14th – Mazingarbe.
Battalion remained under orders to move at half an hour notice. Men confined to billets resting. At 5pm, orders received to move to line of trenches G 30d (ref Trench Map 36c NW3) to relieve Munster Fusiliers. Battalion moved at 645pm and took over at 8pm. Lt Dircks and 2 ORs wounded.

October 15th – Trenches north of Loos.
Front line trenches in good condition except portions blown in by shell fire which at present, it is decided not to occupy. Communication trench to front line very shallow – line shelled by light HE from direction of Hill 70 and heavy HE from direction of Hulluch. Work on our wire and deepening of whole line commenced – Front line ‘C’,’B’,’D’ Coys and Support ‘A’ Coy.

October 16th – Trenches north of Loos.
Support line shelled by light HE shells – retaliation by 18 pounders on German front line – Lt Tivy joined from Havre – 1 other rank wounded.

October 17th – Trenches north of Loos.
Quiet – 1 other rank wounded. Continuation of improvement of front line trenches. Trench salvage of arms and equipment collection and sent down.

October 18th – Trenches north of Loos.
Shelling by both light and heavy HE shelled – wounded 7 other ranks. Pioneer Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers commenced new front line in front of Puits 14 bis.

October 19th – Trenches north of Loos.
Fairly quiet day – about 80 bodies buried dug part 4 nights – wounded other ranks,5.
Royal Welch Fusiliers complete new front line to a depth of four feet.

October 20th – Trenches north of Loos.
2/Lt Monypenny and 26 ORs from Base was to have been relieved by 17th London Regiment but owing to the possibility of attack, this was postponed until tomorrow. Interviewed French Coy on our right as to means of covering their left flank should there be an attack. Decided to move line Coy and one MG gun to new front line. This was carried out at 6pm – Sections ordered to be especially vigilant. Heavy shelling of old front line by HE. No attack was launched.

October 21st – Trenches north of Loos.
Intermittent shelling of whole of old front line by heavy ME. Communication trench blown in in places and intermittent shelling by light HV guns. Battalion relieved by 17th London Regiment. Relief completed by 815pm. Battalion moved to Reserve trenches on north side of Loos. Plenty of dug out… Killed – 8 ORs, wounded – 10 ORs.

October 22nd.
Men sleeping most of day. Working party found for work Chalk Pit Alley at 6pm.

October 23rd.
Men resting, Took over A2 sub sector (Chalk Pit and Chalk Pit Wood) from 20th London Regiment at 7pm. Front line ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘D’ Coys, in reserve ‘C’ Coy. 17th London Regiment on our right. 19th London Regiment on our left.

October 24th – In Trenches.
Line in bad condition due to heavy shelling – difficulty of communication between Bttn HQ and troops owing to being in Chalk Pit, which is intermittently shelled all day. Nine casualties in front of left Coy. Wounded – 12 other ranks.

October 25th – In the trenches.
Intermittent shelling all day – retaliation of own artillery. Direction of hostile shell – Cite St Elle and Bois Hugo.
Heavy and intense shelling of whole sub sector from 220 to 430 pm…. Owing to all shells falling someway short. Wounded – 2 ORs.

October 26th – In the trenches.
Patrols obtained useful information re enemy’s work in in front line. Enemy appears to be working hard and to be improving their wire – shelling of sub sector all day. Wounded – 5 other ranks.

October 27th – In the trenches.
Very heavy shelling of whole sub sector from 9am till dusk – Lt BG Dale and 2/Lt Ebury wounded. Killed – 4 ORs, Wounded 13 ORs. Retaliation of own 9.2s and heavy howitzers.

October 28th – In the trenches.
Heavy shelling continues. Three direct hits on Battalion but no casualties. Wounded – 12 other ranks.

October 29th – In the trenches.
Heavy shelling all day. Killed – 1. Wounded – 5. Moved staff some taking over sub sector. Battalion relieved by 19 London Regiment. Relief completed by 930pm. Battalion moved to Reserve Trenches north of Loos.

October 30th.
Battalion resting in Reserve Trenches.

October 31st.
Battalion resting in Reserve Trenches. Battalion moved to billets at Mazingarbe being relieved in Reserve Trenches by 6th London Regiment. Relief completed by 1035pm. Brigade now in Divisional Reserve.