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

1st November – Templeuve.

Companies paraded at 0915 and carried out training under Company Commander until 1230. As it was All Saints Day, a special church parade for Roman Catholics was arranged to enable them to attend mass at the Parish Church in Templeuve at 0900. The CO rode over to Houilly during the morning to reconnoitre the positions occupied by the 19th Bn London Regiment in Support. Company commander also did so in the afternoon.

The undermentioned were awarded the MM for gallantry and devotion to duty in the field:

592793 Sgt S Chilton.

592737 Sgt R Carroll.

2nd November – Templeuve.

Baths allotted to the Battalion until 1300 hours. At 1615, the Battalion moved off to relieve the 19th Bn London Regiment in Support around Houilly. HQ, A, B and Companies billeted in house occupied by civilians in the village itself whilst C Company had two platoons in empty farms at Rumez and two at Ramegnies-a-Chin. The Germans shelled heavily with HE and Gas during the night obtaining one direct hit on a barn occupied by A Company. Several gas casualties were caused.

3rd November – Houilly.

Intermittent shelling all day, chiefly with HE. The Bn was mainly occupied leaning and improving billets, also digging out trenches for shelter in case of heavy shelling. Lt Ashbridge and Sergeant Cullen each took a patrol out across the Escaut Canal and obtained valuable information. Both patrols were especially commented on by the Major General.

4th November – Hoully.

A bright, sunny day enabling the Bosche to watch us very closely from Mont St Aubert so that all movement was restricted as much as possible. The CO and Company Commanders visited the front line battalion (19th Londons) during the day preparatory to relieving them at night. The relief was completed without disturbance by the enemy. Two patrols went out during the night but one failed to cross the Escaut Canal owing to the bad condition of the ridge the party was to cross by.

5th November – Pont-a-Chin.

Dispositions were as follows. C Company on the left front occupied a farmhouse east of Ramegnies-a-Chin. B Company in the centre in houses in Pont-a-Chin and D Company on the right in a chateau on the south side of the latter village. A Company in reserve and Bn HQ occupied parts of a large aeroplane repair shop situated south west of Pont-a-Chin. The enemy kept up steady gun fire and intermittent trench mortar activity throughout the day. A daylight patrol of ours consisting of 2 NCOs  L/Cpl AE Breese and L/Cpl GH Woolgar and 4 O/Ranks crossed the canal about midday, took a German post completely by surprise and captured the entire garrison of five Bavarians.

6th November.

A very wet day. The Battalion was to have been relieved by the 22nd London Regiment but owing to the terrible state of the weather, the relief was postponed for 24 hours by special orders of the Major General.

7th November.

This was the last day which the battalion spent in the line before the signing of the armistice. Three patrols were out at dawn to discover whether the Bosche who was expected to withdraw overnight had actually retired. But his presence was soon discovered by rifle fire from is line. Lt JD Baxter took a small part of men out during the morning to engage an enemy post which had been discovered. He was directing the fire of his men when he was struck by a bullet and killed on the spot. His body was discovered during the evening and taken back to Willems. At 1900, the Battalion was relieved by the 22nd London Regiment and marched by companies via Templeuve to Willems. Capt HA Lane joined the Battalion and was temporarily posted to A Company.

8th November.

The Battalion spent the morning clearing up under the supervision of platoon commanders.

9th November.

Companies were at the disposal of Company Commanders for training in physical drill, bayonet fighting and tactical platoon exercises.

609858 Rfn EM Moore was awarded the Croix de Guerre.

10th November.

At 0800 hours, the Battalion with transport moved off from Willems and marched via Templeuve and Le Fresnoy to La Tombe arriving there at 1300 hrs originally with the intention of following up the enemy who had withdrawn from the line of the Escaut. Owing to the shortening of the front, however, the whole division was pinched out by the units on either flank so that it became unnecessary for us to proceed any further. Billeting therefore was taken in hand at La Tombe at once and by 1600 the whole Battalion was quartered in the village.

11th November.

Early the following morning, the Battalion marched into Tournai to relieve the 15th Bn Suffolk Regiment and to take over the picqueting of the town. There was some delay in getting the men into the billets because the Suffolks had received orders to stand by but eventually they left the town and enabled us to occupy our quarters.