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War Diary, 1/18th London Regiment – October 1918.

1st October- PIERREMONT.

Moved by march route to St Pol. Entrained at St Pol Station for Merville and moved by march route to bivouacs in field near Estaires arriving in billets about 1am 2nd inst.


 2nd October.

Left Estaires Area by march route about 14.30 to relieve the Brigade of the 59th Division in front of Harlech Castle. Information received that the enemy had withdrawn.


3rd October.

Message received at 0410 ordered the Battalion to move at 0700 to gain touch with the enemy. The Battalion moved forward in artillery formation to South of Fromelles. Hostile machine Gun fire and snipers very active from the Right. Lieut J K O’Donoghue (wounded) and approx 30 O Ranks casualties.


4th October.

Advance resumed at 0800. The 142nd Infantry Brigade passed through. The 141st Infantry Brigade & the Battalion side slipped and proceeded due East in support to the 19th & 20th Battalions who were subsequently held up near the Railway north of Radinghem.


5th October.

The Battalion was relieved by the 1/18th London Regt. and moved to O.7.2.a in Divisional Reserve. The day was spent in cleaning up etc.


6th October.

Battalion in Divisional Reserve. Day spent in cleaning up, repairing of clothing and boots by the Tailor and Shoemaker respectively. The armourers inspected the Lewis Guns and rifles.


7th October.

The Battalion as for yesterday. Warning Order received to be prepared to relieve 142 Infantry Brigade on night of 8th / 9th.


8th October.

The Battalion as for yesterday. The Battalion bathed in Camp. The warning order received the day prior cancelled and Warning Order received to be prepared to relieve 140th Infantry Brigade on night 9th / 10th.


9th October.

The Battalion as for yesterday. After dusk Battalion moved up and relieved 21st Bn London Rifles in the Left Subsector Divisional Front. 2/Lt R B Berry proceeded on leave.


10th October.

The Battalion in the line. Enemy very quiet all day with the exception of a ¼ hour strafe during the afternoon of all calibres including yellow X Gas. “A” Company relieved “C” Company in front line who moved back as Reserve Company.


11th October.

The Battalion in line as for yesterday. Hostile Artillery very quiet.


12th October.

The Battalion in line as for yesterday. Situation quiet. Very wet day. “D” Company relieved “A” Company in front line.


13th October.

Battalion in line as for yesterday. Situation very quiet. Warning Orders received of relief by 57th Division and that the enemy were withdrawing that night (information from prisoners) and that all guns had been withdrawn East of Lille with the exception a few guns to cover his retirement.


14th October.

Battalion in Line as for yesterday. The 1/24th Bn London Regt on our Right raided the enemy’s lines at 06.00. Message received from Brigade that a German wireless message had been tapped ordering withdrawal on the front last night.


15th October.

Battalion in line as for yesterday. Embankment clear of the enemy. The Battalion was ordered to re-assemble round Radinghem and drop back into Divisional Reserve. This relief was afterwards cancelled for 24 hrs. 2/Lt t W Whiteley reported for duty from Base and was posted to B Company.


16th October.

The Battalion in line as for yesterday. Battalion HQ was taken over by 172nd Infantry Brigade and Battalion withdrew at 12.00 hours to near Fromelles where Bn entrained at 1500 hrs for Estaires arriving there about 17.00 hrs. Billets very good.


17th October.

Battalion in billets in Estaires. Entrained at La Gorgue and travelled by returning supply train to Aire station and moved by march route to billets at Lambres. Billets good. Division came under direct orders of fifth army.


18th October.

At Lambres. Cleaning up and scrubbing of equipment.


19th October.

The Battalion in billets at Lambres. The Battalion paraded at 10.15 on the main road and marched to field just outside the village for induction by the Commanding Officer.

Lt F Clement reported from base for duty and posted to A Company.


20th October.

The Battalion in billets as for yesterday. An “as strong as possible” Brigade Church Parade was to have taken place during the morning but owing to bad weather this was cancelled. The Divisional Commander presented medal ribbons in a hanger at the disused Aerodrome at C1c x d at which approx 50 per Battalion were present. 10 of the Battalion were decorated.


21st October.

The Battalion in billets as for yesterday. The Battalion paraded at 09.15 on the main road Lambres – dress TMO. Battalion training was carried out.


22nd October.

The Battalion in billets as for yesterday. The Battalion paraded at 09.15 – dress TMO and proceeded to the training ground in the neighbourhood of the Aerodrome at C1c x d. Battalion training was carried out. Lt G H Warren reported from base for duty and was posted to D Company.


23rd October.

The Battalion in billets as for yesterday. The Battalion paraded at 09.15 on the main road – dress T M O. “A”, “C” & “D” Companies proceeded to the Training Ground in the neighbourhood of the Aerodrome and carried out training. “B” Company proceeded to the Range at N 10.d.60.00 for firing practice.

The 42nd Infantry Brigade carried out a Tactical Scheme in the St Venant AREA. One officer from each company attended.

A football match was played between the X1th Corps School Linghem and the Battalion team. Result Corps Schools 1 Battalion Nil.

The officers held a dinner in the School Room in rear of the Battalion Orderly Room at 19.45. The Battalion Orchestra played selections during the dinner and various members of “Shamrocks” entertained afterwards.

Notification was received that the following decorations were awarded

DSO Lt Col G H Neely MC

Bar to MC Capt C T Burnay MC

MC Capt T F G Carless

MC 2/Lt C H Gibbon

MC Capt C A Fea

MC 2/Lt F E Taylor

MC 2/Lt G H R Stancourt

MC Capt G F H Wraight

DCM 590048 CSM J Tilbey

DCM 590774 CSM R Fuller


24 October.

The Battalion in billets as for yesterday. The Battalion carried out a Tactical Exercise in the Fontes – Lambres area commencing at 09.30 (Ref map 36a). Dispositions “B” Company Front – “C” Company Right and “D” Left Immediate Support – “A” Company Reserve.

Intention – The enemy has been driven out of his positions Fontes – Lambres. Information received that the enemy had been reinforced and were holding X Roads at N34 X-Road junction N34.a.8.6 – N34.a.0.9 – N27.b.9.9 – N21 central Witternesse inclusive. Hostile MGs located at N28.d.1.4 & N28.a central. Hostile batteries active from direction of Rely and Longhem. Prisoner captured states that he had been told by officers that a further withdrawal to Ligney-les-Aire – Estree Blanche line was expected. They were to retire if heavily attacked.

The X1 Corps will continue the offensive at 1000 hrs 25th Oct. 19th Div Right. 47th Div. Centre 57th Div Left. The 47th Div to attack with 140 Inf Bde on Right. 141 Inf Bde on LEFT and 142 Inf Bde in Support. Inter Brigade Boundary Line N16 cent – N36 cent. 141 Bde will attack with 19th Londons on Right. 1st LIR on Left. 20th Londons in Support.

1st Objective Line N28.d.23 – N27.b.5.3 M in Linghem – N20 central.

2nd Objective Road N34.a.2.8 – N27.c.2.9 – N20.d.2.0

One 18 bde Section and one M G Section to be attached to each of attacking Battalions also 2 V Ms

The Final Objective to be captured and consolidated. Patrols being pushed out to maintain contact with the enemy.

Capt H A Staples MC reported from Xth Corps School for duty and posted to “C” Company.


25th October.

The Battalion in billets as for yesterday. The Battalion paraded on the main road Lambres at 09.15 – dress TMO “A”, “B” and “D” Companies proceeded to the Training Ground in the neighbourhood of the Aerodrome for Battalion Training. “C” Company proceeded to the Range for firing practice.

Orders were received for move to forward area. Transport moved off to Estaires area. Battalion billeting party proceeded ahead to Lommes.


26th October.

The Battalion in billets as for yesterday. Left Lambres by march route at 09.15 and moved to Berguette Station thence by train to Perenchies and thence by march route to Lommes. Billets good, empty houses. Battalion cleaning equipment and getting ready for march through LILLE


27th October.

The Battalion in billets at Lommes. Cleaning up


28th October.

The Battalion (fighting order) left billets at Lommes and moved by march route through the town of Lille in the following order Band, HQ, A, C and D Companies, 2 cookers, 4 Lombard wagons, 1 water cart. “B” Company provided a cordon round the Grande Place. The Battalion marched “At Attention” from Porte de Canteleu until after passing the Grande Place. A 10 minute halt was called before reaching the Grande Place in order to allow for the Army Commander to present his standard to the mayor of Lille.

The remainder of the transport moved from Lommes to new billets in the Faubourg de Fives area. The Battalion on completion of march through Lille proceeded to this area. Billets very good – all officers and most of the men in beds.


29th October.

Battalion in billets in the Faubourg de Fives area. Warning Order received to be prepared to move forward on the 30th inst.

Company at the disposal of Company Commanders for training.


30th October.

The Battalion in billets as for yesterday. Moved by march route to Willems. Billets good but scattered.


31st October.

The Battalion in billets at Willems. Moved by march route to billets in Templeuve. Billets good.