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War Diary, 2/18th London Regiment – October 1916

October 1st – Mont St Eloi.
Bttn in divisional Reserve.
Sick – OR 3.

October 2nd – Mont St Eloi.
2/Lieut WH Kimberley and 2/Lieut K Brayden reported for duty from Reserve Bttn.
Crater Consolidation Course – 2ORs reported for this today.
Sick – OR 7.

October 3rd – Mont St Eloi.
Lieut Tyler relinquishes his appointment of Town Major of Ecquivres and re-joins B Company.

October 4th – Mont St Eloi.
Bttn in Divisional Reserve.

October 5th – Mont St Eloi.
Bttn relieved 2/20th Bttn London Regiment in front line trenches L2 sector. Capt McClure temporarily appointed Town Major of Ecquivres.
Sick – OR 3.

October 6th – Mont St Eloi.
Bttn in front line.
CSM Roffey and Sgt Keen descended “Q” mine shaft at top of Common to rescue a gassed miner. After some 15 minutes during which they were in great danger of being overcome of gas themselves and could feel the effects of the gas stealing upon them, they succeeded in getting the men out with the aid of 2/Lieut McCartney RE and thereby saved his life. Both men were considerably affected by gas poisoning.
2/Lieut SM Toms and 2 ORs reports for Crater Consolidation Course.

October 7th – Trenches.
Bttn in trenches.
Killed in action – No 4281 L/Cpl AH Wiltshire. Wounded – OR 4.

October 8th – Trenches.
Lewis Gun Course – 2/Lieut Brayden and 3 ORs reported for this course.
Divisional Anti Gas Curse – 2/Lieut Gray and 2 ORs reported for this course.

October 9th – Trenches.
During the morning a minenwerfer buried a man in the P Line. 2/Lieut Hicks, Sgt EG Gray, Cpl AG Baxter and Rfn FC Smith endeavoured to dig him out despite the fact that other minerwerfer shells were falling close to the spot. They all were killed by a subsequent shell, while gallantly risking their lives to save the buried man.
At 8pm, a large raiding party consisting of 3 officers and 98 ORs carried out a raid upon the enemy front line over a frontage of 100 yards north of P 78 Sap 1.
The wire was cut by 2” TMs and at 8pm the artillery opened a rectangular barrage on the enemy support line.
The raiding party had meanwhile crawled out from P78 Sap 1 in 3 parties under 2/Lieut Curling, Lieut Brown and 2/Lieut Kimberley respectively and lined up on a white tape, which had previously been laid by 2/Lieut Cousin and Lieut Whyte.
As soon as the raiders moved forward, they were met with a very fierce machine gun and rapid rifle fire, which inflicted many casualties before they even reached the enemy’s line. The enemy was found to be well prepared and the front line was thickly manned with men, 6 to a bay with others on the parados.
The night was very light as there was a bright moon and our men were visible for a considerable distance as they advanced.
2/Lieut Kimberley was shot in the leg before he had gone more than a short distance from our trench and Lieut Brown was wounded by a bomb before he had reached the enemy wire. In spite of the very fierce resistance, our men pushed on, encouraged by 2/Lieut Kimberley and other wounded who urged the others forward and the whole of the left party under 2/Lieut Curing succeeded in penetrating the enemy’s trenches as did a party of the centre party. The enemy fought steadily until our men came to close quarters when he broke and ran for dug outs. A considerable number of Germans were bayonetted in the trench and others fled to dug outs and were then bombed by Mills and phosphorous bombs which our men hurled down.
At 815pm, the recall signal was given and the men returned to our lines. Throughout the raid, and despite the fierce fire to which they were subjected, the men all remained remarkably cool and steady.
The Corps Commander issued the following letter in regard to this raid:
“I have read the report of this raid with great interest and I consider that the party showed determination and gallantry and a fine fighting spirit which reflects credit on the Battalion.
I shall be glad if you will so acquaint the Commanding Officer for the information of the Battalion.”
Charles Fergusson, Lieut General, Commanding XII Corps.
Wounded – Lieut Brown, 2/Lieut Kimberley, 2/Lieut Curling.
Missing – 5 OR, Wounded – OR 41.

October 10th – Trenches.
Draft of 70 ORs arrived from the Base.
Wounded – OR 4.

October 11th – Trenches.
Killed in action: 2/Lieut Sanderson and 3 OR. Wounded: OR 5.
Bttn relieved by 2/20th London Regiment and went into Brigade Reserve.

October 12th – Brigade Reserve.
The following officers reported for duty from the base:
2/Lieut AG Glendenig. 2/Lieut GE Macnamara.

October 13th – Brigade Reserve.
Major Parry left the Bttn to attend Commanding Officers’ Course at Aldershot.

October 14th – Brigade Reserve.
Bttn in Brigade Reserve.
Crater Consolidation Course – 2/Lieut Whyte and 2 ORs attended.
2/Lieut Ashbridge and 2/Lieut BE Turney reported for duty from the Base.

October 15th – Brigade Reserve.
Bttn in Brigade Reserve. Divisional Anti-gas course. 2 ORs attended.

October 16th – Brigade Reserve.
Bttn in Brigade Reserve.
Admitted to hospital: Sick – OR 4.
Divisional Sniping Course – 3 ORs detailed to attend.
Lewis Gun Course – 3 ORs detailed to attend.

October 17th – Trenches.
Bttn relieved 2/20th Bttn London Regiment in Front Line Trenches.
2 ORs reported from the Base.
9 ORs transferred to MG Corps.

October 18th – Trenches.
Lieut Col Murphy proceeded on 7 days leave to England.
Captain Frisby commands the Bttn in the absence of Lieut Col Murphy.
Crater Consolidation Course – 2 ORs attend.

October 19th – Trenches.
Musketry Course – 2 /Lieut Cement and 1 OR detailed to attend.

October 20th – Trenches.
Wounded: OR 1, sick: 3.

October 21st – Trenches.
Bttn in trenches. Sick: OR 1.

October 22nd – Trenches.
Bttn in trenches.
Killed in action: OR 2, wounded: OR 3.

October 23rd – Trenches.
Bttn in trenches.

October 24th – Trenches.
Bttn relieved by the Princess Patricia’s Canadian light Infantry.
2/Lieut Willis and 8 NCOs left to assist incoming bttn.
Bttn proceeded to Acq to billets.

October 25th – Acq.
Bttn rested and bathed.

October 26th – Acq.
Bttn proceeded by motor buses to Bouret to billets.

October 27th – Bouret.
Bttn in billets at Bouret.
2/Lieut Willis and 8 NCOs rejoined bttn at Bouret.

October 28th – Bouret.
Bttn marched to Outrebois and billeted for the night.

October 29th – Vacquerie.
Bttn marched to billets at Vacquerie.

October 30th – Vacquerie.
Bttn in billets at Vacquerie. Interior economy.

October 31st – Vacquerie.
Bttn in billets at Vacquerie practised attack in waves.