An account of operations in which the 175th Brigade. R.F.A. was engaged 1 July 1916

 

 

An account of operations in which the 175th Brigade. R.F.A. was engaged

By

 

A.A. Laporte Payne

 

 

July the First.

At dawn on 1st July, as an intensely interested spectator, I watched our infantry pass down the narrow communication trench by our post to the front line.  It was a gloriously fine morning after rain.  In single file they went steadily by, silently save for the sound of equipment knocking against the trench and of their feet on the soft earth, burdened with rifles, belts on ammunition, bombs, picks, shovels, iron-rations, water-bottles, haversacks, gas-bags and tin helmets – nearly all to die or to fall wounded in the valley below.

 

At intervals there were halts as they were held up ahead. Hardly a word was spoken.  Some by slight nervous movements showed signs of strain, but most were steady-eyed enough.  Then they were gone.

 

Photo 1 & 2. We began to bombard at 6.25 a.m.  At 7.28 a.m. the large mine under Y Sap, which stuck out irregularly from the la Boisselle salient, was blown up by 40,600 lbs of ammonal.  For the purpose a gallery had been mined, 1030 feet in length, the longest ever driven in chalk during the war.  It was the only operation that went ‘according to plan’ on this morning.

Photos 3 & 4. At 7.30 a.m., to the second, our infantry rose out of their trenches and began to move across the valley that was No-man’s-land.

 

By our barrage we covered the first attackers on the left of the 34th Division.  The first to move were the 20th Northumberland Fusiliers (1st Tyneside Scottish Lt. Col. Sillery).  They went up the hill towards the trenches that lay back from and to the north of la Boisselle.  This village stuck out in a menacing way like a high bastion into No-man’s-land.  Yet it was ordered that it should not be directly attacked, but left isolated and surrounded.

 

This battalion was followed by the 23rd Northumberland Fusiliers (Lt. Col. Lyle), and then by the 25th Northumberland Fusiliers (Lt. Col. Arden).

 

Orders laid down that each battalion should advance in extended order in successive waves at 150 paces distant. They went, as ordered, slowly, upright, and heavily laden with kit and arms.

 

Their objectives were Contalmaison and beyond, even up to Mametz Wood, an advance not far short of 4000 yards; their task, the capture of two strongly fortified villages and no less than six lines of trenches protected by strong wire-entanglements. They staggered out into that death-trap, Mash Valley, towards the slopes beyond and the enemy.

 

Immediately I felt rather than heard the terrific noise of machine-gun firing. It came like a continuous blast of innumerable hard blows, such as I had never before heard.  Bullets cracked about the horizontal slit we used for observing and threw spurts of earth into it.  Shells began falling along the trench outside.

 

Below us we could see the infantry slowly crossing in successive waves. It was as if we occupied our assigned place on the circular gallery of some old Roman amphitheatre, into whose vast arena the combatants, like Gladiators, were now issuing to engage in the most costly spectacle ever staged.  Only they had no chance.

 

Photos 5 & 6. They surmounted the first terrace in sight, which contoured the hill-side from south to north and looked as if it once been an open road, as it had, to meet a deadly fire.  Some few, not already dead or wounded, fell back stung by innumerable and invisible machine-guns.

 

Others went on; but the lines thinned fearfully. Yet on, over the second grass-grown terrace they went.  But now the waves hardly existed; and here they left many more, as they topped the rise to meet a cruel fire from traversing machine-guns ahead in rear of the front line or in enfilade from the hidden and undamaged-guns in the flanking village of la Boisselle.

 

As our barrage, which now seemed so tragically ineffective, lifted, and those gallant few that survived of the first waves, passed the German front line, the trench appeared to be almost deserted.  Then, as those leaders went on as ordered up the hill, the enemy could easily be seen coming out of their dug-outs in the front line, which had been deep enough to escape our light field-gun bombardment; and, filling their trenches they stopped and flung back the succeeding waves.  So it was that our first wave, after they had passed on towards the enemy support line, were cut off and either annihilated or driven as survivors to exist lurking in shell-holes, until they too finally died even after several days.  So far as I could see no quarter was given, and the wounded were persistently shot.

 

Those conspicuous features of No-man’s-land, the terraces, which contoured the hill-side, formed a natural shelter and refuge for men assaulting or wounded. They ran or crawled under the banks to escape from the ceaseless and deadly fire, where at least they were under cover from the front.  But the shelter of the terraces was fatally deceptive.  The higher, a bank close to and running almost parallel with a field track, turned up the hill to enter the enemy’s lines, and so exposed its length to enfilade fire from Ovillers, which had by now successfully resisted the first assault of the 8th Division.  The Germans in Ovillers had the target of their lives.  The dead lay thickest there.  Photo 15

 

The lower terrace could just be enfiladed by the point of the Salient at la Boiselle. Instead of affording shelter these deceptive terraces became fearful death-traps.  And Mash Valley itself, a far too wide No-man’s-land, formed as it were a bay almost surrounded by the withdrawn front line of the enemy and the forward flanking salients.  Such was the foreseen result when those field fortifications were so cunningly sited and devised in 1914.

 

By 9.20 a.m. we were firing far ahead into Mametz Wood, at a range of about 6,600 yards. Then we dropped a little to afford a protective barrage on ‘the Crimson Line’, so appropriately was it named.  At 10.15 a.m. we lifted 500 yards to allow officer patrols to enter Mametz Wood.  But no one was there to be protected or to enter the wood.

 

After the struggle about the front line, in which the remainder of the troops became involved, had ended in complete collapse, the battle, so far as we were concerned, was over.

 

It was quite clear that the attack had failed, and that special arrangements made for surrounding and ‘moping up’ the trenches in la Boiselle, had proved hopelessly inadequate.

 

The three battalions were practically wiped out. Their dead in ranks lay thick in No-man’s-land, where they had been caught chiefly by fearful enfilade fire from la Boiselle while they were yet crossing so wide an open space.

 

Such was the result of leaving this fortified village unattacked. The Staff had hoped by overlapping and surrounding it to capture the place without a frontal and direct attack.  Defenders in this stronghold had not been neutralized by a sufficiently strong bombardment of heavy or lachrymatory shell, and the smoke screen was a complete failure.  By so trying to avoid a lesser evil our troops had encountered a greater.

 

On our left, too, the attack on Ovillers failed even more miserably, and the fire from there assisted in the slaughter. That battlefield that day was the most terrible thing I have ever seen.  Photos 5 & 6.

 

Colonel Sillery died at the head of his battalion, having penetrated well beyond the Boche front line. Previous to our arrival on the Somme I had spent many days with him in the trenches as his Liaison Officer.  Colonel Lyle of the 23rd was also killed, and Colonel Arden of the 25th was wounded.

 

It was found later that one officer and a handful of men, of the 103rd Brigade, actually reached Contalmaison, our final objective, before being killed; but they approached from the south of la Boisselle.  How they ever got so far no one who survived ever knew.

 

They were brave, those men, and some knew what was in store for them. On the south of the village Lt. Col. F.C. Heneker led over his 21st Northumberland Fusiliers, and was also killed.  He was an exceptionally fine soldier and good fellow.  I had known him for some time, and on the evening before the attack he had visited us in our O.P. to have a last look over the ground.  As he was leaving I shook hands with him and, wishing him good luck, said I should see him “over the other side tomorrow”.  His quiet reply was to the effect that they could never get through in the face of those defences.

 

Of our two Forward Observing Officers both were immediate casualties, Hickman being killed, and Crombie, of D Battery, seriously wounded as he scrambled out of our trenches.

 

On our immediate front our casualties were:

20th Northumberland Fusiliers            26 Officers. Total 631.

23rd                  “                                  18        “          “   640.

25th                  “                                  18        “          “   491.

A total of 1762 for three battalions attacking. Not all went up to the attack, a certain number were retained at the transport lines and elsewhere.  But in effect the first two battalions were wiped out.

 

The casualties of all three brigades of our Division in this operation were 6591, the highest ever suffered by any division in one attack. On this day alone on the British front nearly sixty thousand men had fallen.

 

At the Boche, at this time, neglected counter-battery work, our gun-line fortunately escaped heavy shelling; but the Observation Post was not so lucky. There we were shelled continuously, and crowded out with terribly wounded and distressed men, who had crawled up from No-man’s-land and sought the shelter of our dug-out steps.  For them we could do nothing when our supply of first-aid material was exhausted.  Water, too, soon gave out.  In the dug-out the single candle snuffed out every time a shell landed on the roof.  There were no doctors or stretcher-bearers near us, and we could not leave the post.

 

South of la Boisselle our troops were to some extent successful and managed to capture portions of the enemy’s trenches; but to the north, with one notable (Ulster Division) and two small exceptions, we failed miserably with fearful losses. La Boisselle itself was just at the point in our line where partial success and complete failure had met, and here we suffered the heaviest casualties.

 

So we were left with an empty front line, and a No-man’s-land in which our dead lay in ranks of shapeless bundles, or more thickly under ghastly terraces.

 

But not all of them were dead.

 

The wounded were left out where they could not be seen, in shell-holes, behind ditches, in long grass, or where no one could get at them. The less seriously wounded, fearful to move, crawled, where they could, to the fatal shelter of the terraces or craters; for to be seen was to be shot, and there they congregated, patiently waiting, but vainly, for stretcher-bearers.

 

Here and there a man would rise suddenly and run for safety elsewhere; but most seemed bewildered and to have lost all sense of direction. In the midst of little heaps of dead, an arm, now and then, feebly waving, a hand feebly beckoning, a wounded man’s last desperate attempt to tell his comrades he was still alive and worth bringing in; but daylight and those deadly machine-guns across the valley forbade any succour, even if stretcher-bearers could be found.

 

Our trenches seemed deserted and empty. All that beautiful summer afternoon we watched in helplessness, and too soon we were ordered to bring our gun-fire down once more on the enemy’s forward lines, regardless of what lay there.

 

As evening came and the sun sank behind us over Albert, the valley below lay so clear in the sunlight that all it held stood out in dreadful relief, making our realisation of its meaning all the more oppressive. But for occasional shelling and the sudden stutter of a machine-gun it seemed so quiet after the morning’s din.

 

Then when the sun at last sank, cries of wounded, like yelps of hurt dogs, and the horrible odour of a battlefield drifted on the night air up the hill towards us.

 

What little we could, we tried to do; but in the immensity it was as nothing.

 

And so for weeks the battlefield just there was left.

 

That night we posted a sentry at our dug-out entrance in case we were surprised, and slept for an hour or so.

———————

So ended the greatest effort and greatest loss that the British Army has ever experienced in any one day.

 

In England, to our later astonishment, the attack was hailed as a “famous victory”.  It was, indeed, – a triumph of the courage of men given an impossible task.

 

It is now known that the 34th Division, twelve battalions strong in the first assault, attacked three battalions of the German 110th Reserve Regiment (28th Reserve Corps, Second Army, F. von Below), on a similar frontage.  On the whole front of attack thirteen British Divisions assaulted four and a half German Divisions.

 

An official German report, referring to our portion of the front, records, “The British soldier, however, has no lack of courage, and once his hand is set to the plough he is not easily turned from his purpose.”

 

With considerable numerical superiority, with courage, and with determination –

 

Yet we failed!

 

WAR DIARY Of 8th Divisional Artillery from 1st June 1916 – To 30th June 1916

WAR DIARY Of 8th Divisional Artillery from 1st June 1916 – To 30th June 1916

Vol XX

 

HENENCOURT

  • The night was quiet. Ref 1/250,000 N W EUROPE

For Intelligence detail see the Daily Summary APPENDIX S/1 attached.   1/40000 ALBERT

Weather fine.  Light wind.  Barometer 29.6.                                                  Compound Sheet

APPENDIX S/1

HENENCOURT

  • At 3 a.m. our T.M’s in conjunction with 1 8” How Battery and 18 Pdr Battery bombed a portion of the hostile Trenches just North of OVILLER. The hostile retaliation was comparatively slight.

Hostile artillery less active during the Day.

Weather fine though colder.  Light wind continued.  Barometer 29.45.

HENENCOURT

  • The night was quiet.

Nothing of importance happened.

Weather fine, slight shower.  Barometer 29.52.

HENENCOURT

  • At 12.15 P.M. heavy gun fire was heard from the direction of HAMEL. This proved to be the 36th Division carrying out a Raid.  Almost at the same time the Germans opened very heavy fire on the whole 34th Div front                       (on our right).  This was followed by an attempted raid by the Germans which proved unsuccessful.  8th Div                        front remained Quiet.  At 2.20 a.m. all was quiet again.

During the Day the normal amount of indiscriminate firing took place.

Weather colder.  Windy with passing clouds.  Barometer 29.46 falling.

 

 

 

HENENCOURT

  • At 11 p.m. the 34th and 32nd Divisions assisted by the 8 Div Artillery carried          Ref 1/250,000 N W                                   out Raids on the German lines.  All was quiet again at 12.30 a.m.                             EUROPE

At 3 p.m. our Trench Mortars cut a portion of the hostile wire N. W. of                   1/40000 ALBERT                                            OVILLERS using the             NEWTON fuze.                                                                      Compound Sheet

One premature received wounding 1 Gunner.                                                            APPENDIX S/1

During the day D Battery were shelled by a 4.2 How Battery some 40 rds being fired.  One man was wounded.

Weather stormy, heavy showers.  Barometer 29.00.

Move The 45th Bde (less 57th Battery) and 2 Battery R.H.A. two Sections of Each Battery up moved to                                             BEHENCOURT marching out at 8.5 p.m. to practice camp. 57th Battery and remaining sections 18 Pdr                                               Batteries remained in action forming the Left Group under Lt. Col A.T. BUTLER.

Time Table of Move marked APPENDIX OO/7 attached 29.12                              APPENDIX OO/7.

 

HENENCOURT

  • The night was quiet.

Very little activity during the Day on either side.  D.A.C. moved to MILLENCOURT with No 4 Section at                                   HENENCOURT Wood.  All Battery Wagon Lines moved to E.2.a & b. E of ALBERT.

Weather changeable, cloudy some rain.  Barometer 29.24.

 

HENENCOURT

  • The night was quiet.  The move of Div Amn Column and Battery Wagon Lines took place on night of 7th.    Nothing of importance to report.

Weather cloudy, Showers during Day and night.  Barometer 29.26.

 

HENENCOURT

  • The night was quiet.  No shelling of any importance during the Day.

Weather changeable cloudy showers at intervals.  Barometer 29.30.

 

HENENCOURT

  • The night was quiet.

Nothing to report.

Weather changeable cloudy showers at intervals.  Barometer 29.30.

 

 

HENENCOURT

  • Heavy Gun fire was heard at 12.45 p.m. from direction of HAMEL. This lasted about an hour.  During the day                         the hostile Artillery appeared to be registering our Support and Communication Trenches about 250 rds 77 mm                    1 4.2 How being fired.

Weather changeable, showers at intervals.  Barometer 29.62.

 

HENENCOURT

  • The night was quiet. Hostile Artillery slightly more active during the day, chiefly directed against the NAB and             Trenches opposite OVILLERS.

Weather Cold Squally Showers at intervals.  Barometer 29.65.

Orders issued for 45th Brigade (less 57th Battery) and 2 Battery to move  from BEHENCOURT to                                        HENENCOURT WOOD (APPENDIX OO/8 attached).                                                     APPENDIX OO/8

HENENCOURT

  • The night was Quiet. Nothing of importance happened during the day.

The 45th Brigade (less 57th Bty) and 2 Bty R.H.A. marched from BEHENCOURT to HENENCOURT WOOD on                         on return from Practice Camp.

APPENDIX 00/9 attached.                                                                                                    APPENDIX OO/9

Weather cold and stormy heavy rain at intervals.  Barometer 29.45.

HENENCOURT

  • The night was Quiet. Nothing of importance occurred during the day.

5th Battery R.H.A. and D/5 How 5 Bde R.H.A. moved in to action from HENENCOURT during the night.

Weather Cold and wet.  Barometer 29.32.

HENENCOURT

  • The night was Quiet. A quiet Day.

3rd and D/5 Bty. How moved into action N.E. of AVELUY from HENENCOURT wood during the night.

Weather cold, rain all morning, cleared at night.  Barometer 29.46.

Ditto.

  • The night was quiet. Very little shelling on either side.

Orders issued for bringing up the 86th & 89th Bde. R.F.A. 19th Division marked Appendix OO/10 and attached.                                                                                                                                                                          APPENDIX OO/10

Weather fine and bright.  Barometer 29.52.

 

Ditto.

  • The night was Quiet. Nothing of importance occurred during the Day.

Weather fine.  Barometer 29.7.

Ditto.

  • The night was Quiet. Enemy’s Artillery slightly more active against our front system of Trenches.

D/86 Battery R.F.A. Hows and A/86 Bty (attached from 19th Dn) were brought up into action.

Weather fine.  Barometer 29.44.

HENENCOURT.

  • The night was Quiet. B/86 and A/89 Batteries 19th Dn brought into action.

Enemy’s Artillery and T. Mortars slightly more active.  PORT LOUIS Communication Trench, DONNET                              POST and CHEKERBENT Street being shelled during the Day.

Hostile Aircraft very active for the first time for some weeks.

Date of moving up the 89th Bde R.F.A. 19th Dn and moving Wagon Lines change in accordance with                                              Correction to Operation Order No. 10 APPENDIX 10/a attached.                                                    APPENDIX10/A

Ditto.

  • The night was Quiet.  The usual amount of shelling during the day.

C/86 Battery 19th Divn brought into action, thus completing the Centre Group under Col A.E. WILSON 86th                                     Bde R.F.A.

Weather fine, slight drizzle about 6 p.m., afterwards fine again.  Barometer 29.42.

Correction to Operation Order No. 10 marked APPENDIX OO/10b attached.

Ditto.

  • The night was Quiet.

Nothing of importance occurred during the Day.

Weather fine, Barometer.  Barometer 29.60.

Ditto.

  • The night was Quiet. Hostile Artillery very quiet.

Weather fine.  Barometer 29.7.

Ditto.

  • The night was Quiet. Hostile Artillery a little more active.  AVELUY was shelled by supposed 8” during the          night and early morning some 40 rds being fired.

8th Dn. Arty. Instructions No. 1 issued marked APPENDIXA1/1 attached.                                    APPENDIX A1/1

8th Dn. Arty. Instruction for forthcoming operations issued marked Appendix A1/2 attached APPENDIX A1/2

Weather fine.  Barometer 29.48.

Ditto.

  • The night was Quiet. During the Day 36th Battery old position was heavily shelled. The position was occupied by a Battery of the 34th

All arrangements for the forthcoming Operations completed with the exception that the Heavy Trench                                      Mortars not having arrived.

Weather morning very hot and muggy.  Heavy storm with rain afternoon.

Rain at night.  Barometer 29.44

HENENCOURT

  • The night was Quiet.

The 4th Army Offensive Operations started at 4 a.m.

The 8th Division with its Artillery was relieved at SAILLY by the 39th Divn.

The Artillery handing over to the 34th, 35th and 39th Divisional Artillery this being consequent on a slight reallotment of the line.  The Division trained to AMIENS thence to the FLESSELLES Area by route march.

On April 4th the Division started to take over that portion of the line in front (East of) ALBERT from 21st Division, the latter Division taking over the THIEPVAL Sector.  The Divisional H.Q. and Div R.A. H.Q. was established at HENENCOURT.  The Batteries occupying positions E of ALBERT and covering the LA BOISELLE and OVILLERS Sectors on 5th April the 34th Divn having recently arrived from FLEURBAIX started taking over the Division Right or LA BOISSELLE Sector.  By midnight 11th April the relief was complete.  All Batteries now started preparing forward positions for further Offensive Action.  This entailed much labour as all positions had to be made 5.9 How proof and in addition Ammunition stores to hold 1000 rds per gun for 18 Pdr and 800 4.5 How had to be prepared.  All O.P.’s were selected and prepared in the forward trenches and Communication Trenches.  O.P.’s being constructed with iron rails and concrete.  On June 15th all was ready but operations were delayed a further 10 days.

At 4 a.m. June 24th the 2” Trench Mortars under the direction of Capt. J.T. WALLACE R.H.A. started wire cutting on the hostile front line. Using the NEWTON fuze.  Owing casualties to the rifle firing mechanism, operations were somewhat hampered.  Soon after 4 a.m. 18 Pdr Batteries started wire cutting on the 2nd & 3rd lines and continued throughout the Day.  From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. all roads and approaches were kept under shrapnel fire.

The Divisional Artillery has been strengthened by two Brigades from the 19th Div Artillery.  86th Bde R.F.A. under Lt. Col. A.E. WILSON, D.S.O. and the 89th Bde under Lt Col. RAINSFORD HANAY.  The latter Brigade strengthened by D/88 Battery Hows.  The 89th Bde less 1 Battery (A/89) being held – Mobile reserve.

Weather fine.                          Barometer 29.56.

 

HENENCOURT.

25-6-16            During Night 24/25th all approaches and Communication Trenches leading to front line System were kept under Shrapnel fire also the wire which had been cut during the Day, Machine Guns dealing with the front line System. – At 10 a.m. every Gun and Howitzer (except 4.5” Hows) open a rapid rate of fire on POZIERES for 12 minutes.

At 10.30 a.m. CONTALMAISON was similarly treated. – At 4.15 p.m. all guns bombarded the first four lines starting from the front line and lifting back at stated intervals. – The rest of the day deliberate bombardments and wire Cutting were proceeded with.

Casualties 1 Officer.  LT A. ROSS wounded at Duty.                                                                      Casualty

Weather fine.  Barometer 29.52.                                                                                                         LT A. ROSS

5th Bty R.H.A.

Wounded at Duty.

HENENCOURT.

  • Bombardment continued. Special bombardments at intervals.  Rest of day wire cutting.

Night firing  9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Raid by Rifle Brigade.

Weather fine, some showers.

Ditto.

  • Bombardment continued by all natures of guns and Howitzers.

Enemy’s retaliation throughout has been slight.

Weather fine, dull and misty early morning.  Barometer 29.19.

Casualties 5th Battery 4 men killed 4 wounded by shell.

Officers LT SHAW 2/12 Trench Mortar Battery wounded.

LT C.F. LYNCH 2/19 “      “            “             “

The 89th Bde R.F.A. (Mobile Bde) brought “up to the LONG VALLEY” night 27/28th.

Ditto.

  • Night firing was kept up from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and then continued as a heavy mist hung over the trenches. At        12 noon it cleared and wire cutting was again proceeded with for the remainder of the day.

The hostile retaliation was again slight.  AUTHUILLE WOOD, BURNT ISLAND and MAXSE Redoubt being singled out for most of the rounds.

Weather Heavy mist and rain till noon.  Afterwards clear.  Barometer 29.26.

 

 

Ditto.

  • Night firing 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The ordinary bombardment and wire cutting proceeded with.  From 4 p.m. to 5.20    m. Special bombardment of front line system.  Hostile retaliation on the whole was slight during the day and             night.

Weather fine though cloudy.  Barometer 29.45.

HENENCOURT.

  • Night firing 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The ordinary bombardment and wire cutting continued.  Special bombardments of       front system at from 8 a.m. to 9.20 a.m. and 4.5 p.m. to 5.15 p.m.

Weather fine.  Light wind.  Barometer 29.48.

 

 

Report on Casualties to Personnel for month ending 30th June mark APPENDIX A/15 attached.

 

Appendices OO/7, OO/8, OO/9, OO/10, OO/10A, OO/10b, A1/1, A1/2 for month of June attached

 

E.R. Gover Major,

for

8/7/17                                                                                                                                                                 C.R.A. 8th Division

 

 

Monthly Casualty Return of Personnel – ending 30th June 1916

 

Monthly Casualty Return of Personnel – ending 30th June 1916

 

45th Bde R.F.A.

                        Officers                                                Other Ranks

 

Admitted

to Hospital.      Nil                                                       8  (Does not include those shown                                                                                            wounded.)

 

Killed.              Nil                                                       7 (Includes 2 Died of wounds)

 

Wounded.        1 Lieut                                                 9

 

Missing.           Nil                                                      

 

Absents.           Nil                                                      

 

Injured.            Nil                                                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monthly Casualty Return of Personnel – ending 30th June 1916

 

Monthly Casualty Return of Personnel – ending 30th June 1916

 

33rd Brigade R.F.A.

                        Officers                                                Other Ranks

 

Admitted

to Hospital.      Nil                                                       14

 

Killed.              –                                                           –

 

Wounded.        –                                                           1

 

Missing.           –                                                           –

 

Absents.           –                                                           1 (From 11th to 14th June 1916)

 

Injured.            –                                                           –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monthly Casualty Return of Personnel – ending 30th June 1916

 

Monthly Casualty Return of Personnel – ending 30th June 1916

 

8th Divisional Ammunition Column.

 

                        Officers                                                Other Ranks

 

Admitted

to Hospital.      Nil                                                       24 ***** discharged.

 

Killed.              –                                                           –

 

Wounded.        –                                                           4

 

Missing.           –                                                           –

 

Absents.           –                                                           –

 

Injured.            –                                                           –                                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monthly Casualty Return of Personnel – ending 30th June 1916

APPENDIX A/15

 

Monthly Casualty Return of Personnel – ending 30th June 1916

 

5th Brigade R.H.A.

                        Officers                                                Other Ranks

 

Admitted

to Hospital.                  –                                                           7  (4 have since rejoined)

 

Killed.                          –

 

Wounded.                    1                                                          1 (slightly. At duty)

 

Missing.                       –

 

Absents.                       –

 

Injured.                        –                                                           1 (accidental)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WAR DIARY Of Headquarters 31st Divisional Artillery June 1916

WAR DIARY Of Headquarters 31st Divisional Artillery

 

June 1st 1916 – To June 30th 1916

 

Appendix IV

 

From

 

O.C. 170 Bde 24.6.  8.25 am Enemy retaliated from 6.20 am to 7.0 am with heavy shells probably 5.9s.  Some 20 rounds fired over K.33.c.76, at 7. am lengthened their range reaching cross roads at the SUCRERIE 7. and 8 am all Batteries report no casualties, no O.P. shelled, no retaliation on any battery.

 

O.C. 171 Bde 24.6  12.30pm LA SIGNY FARM shelled 11.0 am by 77 mm.s support trenches  K.34.a., K.29.a., at 10.30 am 77 mm.s SUCRERIE, AVENUE, 6.30 am, 77 mms, PYLON TRENCH, 9.0 am to 11.30 am,  Heavy shell COLINCAMPS 9.50 am, no blinds observed.  Trench Mortars inactive.

 

O.C. 170 Bde 24.6.  12.45 am           11.45 am, 3rd & 4th lines wire cut.  Lanes 10 yards broad, second line partly cut (A/170)

B/170, 11.55 am, 3rd & 4th lines considerably damaged, appears to be a lane cut through third.  C/170, 11.55 a.m. 3rd & 4th lines considerably damaged, lane in 3rd 15 yards broad.  C/171, 11.25 am, lane 15 yards broad extending each side of SERRE ROAD on edge of SERRE VILLAGE.  Casualties nil.  One Breech Block burred, All communications intact.

 

O.C. Left Group. 24.6. 12 noon         Progress Report.  Wire-cutting A/171 2nd line wire cut, 3rd partly cut, A/165 wire-cutting fairly satisfactory, observation difficult owing to drifting smoke across front.  Communication to F.O.O. failed owing during first half hour – not yet re-established.  B/165 2nd line wire seems to have been cut, little effect on front line, 3rd & 4th lines, too misty to report.  C/165, Wire-cutting progress satisfactory, fire of Brigades was opened at 6.0 am as per programme.

O.C. Left Group. 24.6. 12.30             Hostile Artillery report.  A/171 position shelled lightly by 5.9s, no damage done.  Following areas also shelled by 5.9s.  PYLON AVENUE, K.32a. & b. valley from K.33.a.15.73 to K.27.a.12.48.  Also COLINCAMPS K.25, & K.31, calibre unknown, position of hostile batteries unknown.

On the whole, enemy artillery quiet.

 

O.C. Left Group. 24.6. 3 pm              Hostile artillery fired on following area, with 5.9.  K.27.b.85, LA SIGNY FARM, AVENUE, K.22.a. with salvo 3.50 pm enemy bracketed these Headquarters with apparently 4.2s.  Wrong for line.  Still firing.  Wireless report hostile artillery to be firing in L.22.a.27.  No other hostile battery located.

 

O.C. Left Group. 24.6. 4.55 pm         Wire-cutting report.  A/165 report good lane in 2nd line, lane in 3rd line not yet completed B/165 report 2nd line cut, and 3rd line half cut.  C/165 report 2nd & 3rd lines satisfactory.  4th line doubtful.  Observation difficult.  A/171 report 2nd & 3rd lines cut, 4th damaged.

 

O.C. 170 Bde     24.6. 6 pm   A/170 between 12 noon and 2.0 pm, the wire on 2nd line trench appears to have been cut – Pending aeroplane report.  3 – 4 pm A/170, there appears to be no wire on the 5th line lane.  Has cut some 40 yards to right of this point.  B/170 lane through 3rd line wire, 4th & 5th lines damaged, but       not cut through.  C/170 lane in 3rd line, 4th line severely damaged, but requires improving.  Another effective shoot on narrow lane already cut in 5th line.

 

O.C. 169 Bde     24.6. 5.15 pm          B/169, no wire-cutting since last report, B/171, progress poor, A/169 wire cut at K.30.c.16.65 and 15.50, also K.35.b.60.85. and 55.75.  Hostile fire heavier than in previous periods, becoming intense 3.0 to 3.30 pm round SIGNY FARM and TAUPIN HEDGE shelled at random with 77 mms and few 15 cms.  AVENUE and SUCERIE shelled with 15 cms.

 

O.C. 171 Bde     24.6. 5.25 pm          Hostile artillery shelled SUCERIE 11.30 to 2.30 pm, 10 rds 15 cm, K.34.a.5.5. at 1.0 pm, 10 rds 10.5 cm k.29.c.2.0 pm to 2.30 p.m., 10 rds 77 mm EUSTON 2. pm, 3 rds 10.5 cm TAUPIN TRENCH 2.30 pm, 7 rds 15 cm GENERAL. – Enemy artillery usually quiet, six blinds from 10.5 cm.

 

O.C. 171 Bde     24.6. 6.35 pm          15 yds lane cut in 3rd & 4th line wires, at points K.29.d.56.82., and K.30.c.10.70., lane in 5th line wire WEST of SERRE, and right of SERRE ROAD widened about 20 yds.

 

O.C. Left Group 24.6. 8.50 pm         Hostile fire report- Following areas shelled by 5.9s AVENUE, K.32.a. EUSTON, K.33.a. and K.27.a., PYLON AVENUE shelled fairly persistently with 5.9s – no further particulars available.

O.C. Left Group 24.6. 8.55 pm         Wire cutting- A/165 report 2nd & 3rd line lanes satisfactory, now cutting 4th, light bad.  B/165 report 2nd line well cut, 3rd line needs few more rds, 4th line not visible now.  C/165 report 2nd line lane quite satisfactory, 3rd & 4th not finished, A/171 report 2nd & 3rd lines lane cut, 4th damaged, but no lane cut yet.

 

O.C. 169 Bde     24.6. 9.30 pm          Progress report 9.0 pm.  A/169 wire cut at K.30.c.16.65., and 15.50, also  K.35.b.60.85., and 55.75.  B/169 two lanes cut in wire 1st NORTH of point 24, 2nd 100 yds N of Pt. 65, width 12 ft.  C/169 nothing to report since 4.0 pm.  B/171 nothing more to report.

 

O.C. 165 Bde     24.6. 11.48 pm        Selected targets.  Some of the selected targets were difficult to see from O.P.s but the effect on those fired at was good.  A fair number of direct hits obtained mostly on M.G. emplacements.

 

31 Div G.         24.6. 11.35 pm        Recd 12.15 am.  Code message.  If BERLIN between now and 1 am, DRESDEN if HANOVER at this hour knock off for night.

 

O.C. 171 Bde     24.6. 10.30 pm        9. pm report “U” day.  D/165 engaged trenches, 34 to 3rd line, 71 to 4th line, Point 74 and 52 damage effected, both trenches shew signs of being knocked about, effect not visible.  D/165 engaged Points 68 and 29, damage done not visible.  D/170 engaged 3rd & 4th line trenches, Points 76 and 28, some damage caused to trenches, but owing to soft nature of ground there were too many blinds.  D/171 Point 18 & 79 trench 18 to 79, K.30.c.5.9. K.30.d.6.2. fire was accurate, but damage does not appear very noticeable.  General information – 5.15 pm, two hostile balloons visible true bearings from K.34.a.56.47 53o and 89 point 30.  Hostile artillery activity, SUCRERIE and CEMETARY shelled with 15 cm from 5.15 to 6.30 pm.  EUSTON and AVENUE shelled continuously, TAUPIN shelled with 15 cm at 5.30 pm.

 

O.C. 169 Bde     24.6. 11.25 pm        Ten minutes ago a dense cloud of smoke was seen near JOHN COPSE.

 

O.C. 170 Bde     25.6. 12.35 pm        Progress 4 pm to 7.30 pm, 24.6.16, A/170 subsidiary lane cut K.30.c.10.35 including K.29.d.97.  New lane cut at K.29.d.28.48, subsidiary lane cut 15 yds at K.29.d.42.65.  B/170, lane cut in 3rd line wire, and wire cut in 4th, 5th, and 6th lines.  C/170, 3rd & 4th lines considerably damaged, lane in 3rd now passable for about 15 yds.  C/171, 5 yds lane cut in 3rd & 4th line wire, WEST of SERRE, and right of SERRE ROAD widened to about 20 yds.

O.C. 170 Bde     25.6. 4.35 pm          Progress 4 pm.  A/165, no more wire cut to-day.  Lanes cut yesterday are still open.  B/165 further progress has been made with the 5th line wire.  The Infantry liaison officer is of opinion that lanes are cut in 3rd, 4th and 5th line wire.  C/171, lane on 3rd line wire again fired at and widened.  8.0 am, target 11 fired on 10.30 am, target 17, 2.0 pm, target 16.  C/170, lanes on 4th and 5th line wires improved.  Wire in front of both 2nd line trenches has been cut.

 

O.C. 169 Bde     25.6. 4.55 pm          Progress report.  A/169 lanes increased at K.30.a.5.00, B/169 gap completed K.30.c.20.00., and at 24.  C/169, progress nil.  B/171wire cutting fair.  Enemy artillery more active.  Shelled TAUPIN and SIGNY FARM, also SUCRERIE and COLINCAMPS latter 4”.

 

O.C. Left Group 25.6. 5.15 pm         Hostile fire very quiet now.  Enemy shelled SAILLY fairly heavily with apparently 8” for a short time this afternoon.  Hostile balloon has gone back four or five miles.  Needs confirmation.

 

O.C. Left Group 25.6. 5.15 pm         Wire-cutting report.  A/165 report 2nd & 3rd lines on “Y” lane cut, 4th line hard to see, but appears nearly finished, now cutting 3 lines on lane 4.  B/165 report 2nd and 4th lines in “Z” lane cut, 3rd line requires little more, but good work being done on it in present good light.  C/165 report 2nd line on “W” lane apparently satisfactory, 3rd line effect uncertain owing to target being very difficult to see.  Effect on 4th line appears fairly good at present, assistance will probably be needed on line 3.  A/171 report further progress on lane “X” but 4th line not quite finished.  2nd and 4th lines of lane 4 cut.

 

O.C. 170 Bde     25.6. 9. pm              9 p.m. report (6 am to 9 pm) “V” day, 6-7.30 am misty.  All light guns very quiet on both sides.  7.35 am to 8.45 am SUCRERIE heavily shelled from L.20.a & c 21. A.00 – mostly 8” & 9” SUCRERIE water tanks, and Railway material dump appear to be chief targets, also two batteries 18 pdr 4th Div E of SUCRERIE.  10.20 am, flight of 8 to 10 enemy planes going E over HEBUTERNE.  10.40 to 11.40 am, communication with 31st D.A. broken.  12 noon casualties in 170 Bde Group, Nil.  12.15 pm COLINCAMPS under heavy bombardment.  12.30 to 1.30 pm, inspection of wire cut lanes.  A.B.C./170 all done to satisfaction of liaison officers.  C/171 all cut except 1st and 2nd lines (to be left for T.M.s).  No liaison officer has been present during the two days – a matter for regret.  2.15 to 3.30 pm,  SUCRERIE again subjected to similar bombardment as before (see above)   Something heavy L.22.a.  7.30 pm heavy smoke seen rising from SERRE – all white.  8.15 pm investigation into smoke shewed more smoke in direction of COURCELLETTE from O.P. at K.33.c.7.7.  Enemy would appear to be screening some movement by employment of smoke.  What appeared to be flashes of gun through the smoke were clearly seen, but flashes of the burst of time shrapnel, were seen as well, and the former might have quite well been low bursting shrapnel.  Evidently guns to SOUTHWARD of the THIEPVAL front were searching this SOUTHERN smoke cloud.  If guns were in position they were 1o 15 mins left of the tall chimney visible over BEAUMONT HAMEL from G.H.C. O.P. at K.33.c.7.7. which chimney I take to be in the direction of COURCELLETTE.  I hope to locate it to-morrow.

 

  1. 169 Bde 25.6 12.55 pm A/169, no wire cut yet, light too bad. B/169 lane cut just N of Pt. 18, also line below 24 widened, and cutting commenced at 24, and small lane cut K.30.c.20.65.  Wire 05 to 18 fired on.  C/169 Nil.  B/171 progress poor, light very bad.  Enemy shelled LA SIGNY FARM K.32.c. and COLINCAMPS.

 

  1. 170 Bde 26.6 11.30 pm Watched 9.40 – 10.20 am, bombardment from my H.Q. O.P. at 10.19 am, a yellow – green cloud went up from about K.30.d.2.1. in PENDANT ALLEY WEST. It might have been an enemy gas cylinder explosion.  Our smoke barrage if launched, was far too thin and local.  SERRE, PENDANT COPSE, and BEAUMONT HAMEL could be seen through all light smoke the entire time (except where heavy shell bursts threw up dust).  No enemy could have been led to believe an Infantry attack was intended.  His view was not obscured.  My A & B Batteries report enemy’s gas reached TALLADE near FREDDY STREET and GREEN STREET.  The O.P.s at 3.50 and 3.52 am this morning – no casualties up to date.

 

  1. 170 Bde 25.6 1.33 pm Progress 12 noon. A/170, only night barrage fired.  B/170, there are lanes through 3rd & 4th line wire, 5th & 6th lines, have also been cut.  C/170 complete lane cut in 3rd line.  Lane in 4th improved.  Shooting in latter proceeded.  C/171, four lanes cut in 3rd, 4th, 2nd and 5th lines all sufficiently wide for Infantry to pass.

 

  1. Left Group 25.6 ?26 1.50 pm Wire-cutting. A/165 report lane nearly completed, 4th line difficult to observe, and cannot guarantee lane at that point; line 3 in lane 4 now being started.  A/171 report 2nd & 3rd lines cut in  yesterdays lane.  2nd & 4th line in lane 4 cut.  B/165 report cannot communicate with F.O.P. but lane apparently progressing well.  C/165 report 2nd line wires appear to be cut.  Third line difficult to see owing to communication trench being in the way.  Range found and shells bursting correctly.  Cannot see actual effects.  4th line wire partially cut.

 

  1. 170 Bde 26.6 4. pm Daily report ”W” day. A/170, wire on 2nd and 3rd line lane improved.  B/170 wire 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th lines, lanes already cut.  C/170, wire-cutting continued, other lanes have been swept.  Lane in 4th line continued.  C/171 lanes in wire at K.29.d.55.85., and K.30.c.10.70., further widening of lanes already cut.  General information – 10 German balloons visible at a point 165o true bearing from K.27.a.06, Batteries report enemy’s gas in TAUPIN TRENCH and GREEN ST. at 3.50, and 3.52 am conveyed in gas shells.  Hostile artillery activity, five 5.9.s fell into COLINCAMPS between 2.45 and 3.20 pm.  HEBUTERNE also shelled by heavy.

 

  1. A/169 Bde 26.6 4.25 pm Progress report. A/169 wire cut K.29.d.55.25., and 45.50., and K.30.c.50.90.  Smoke hindered observation.   B/169 lane completed midway between 24 and 28.  Lane started between 73 – SERRE VILLAGE where there seems to be a strong point.  C/169 wire damaged MUNICH TRENCH.  B/171 wire at ridge WEST of SERRE damaged.  Enemy shelled SUCRERIE, SIGNY FARM, EUSTON, CHEAPSIDE and FLAG, COLINCAMPS 3. to 4. pm.  Enemy replied to special bombardment with T.M.s on front line.  Heavy bombardment proceeding 4.20 pm, on K.28.b.& d. and K.29.a. & c. with 15 cm and 10.5 cm.

 

  1. 169 Bde 26.6     4.30 pm O.C. B/169, reports enemy trench mortars exceedingly active on left sector – our heavies do nothing. Special report.

 

  1. Left Group 26.6 4.45 pm A/165 report no attempt to repair by enemy on ”Y” lane. Further improvements of No 4 alternative lane.  B/165 report mist too thick for shooting at 6 am.  During morning registered enemy’s communication trenches.  C/165 report lane improved and widened where possible to observe.  A/171 report machine gun emplacements, 1629 b 5220 engaged.  Two direct hits, one shell inside emplacement.  Back wire of enemy third line at 16.29.b. 35.35 cut.  All Batteries joined in special bombardment this morning.  Observation hidden by smoke.
  2. Left Group 26.6 5.20 pm Hostile artillery report. Enemy retaliated during special bombardment on ROBROY, JORDAN, NAIRN, and 48th Divl front, mostly 5.9.s, 4.2.s  Four flashes observed at bush in front of house in SERRE, K.30.b.25.30.  COLINCAMPS shelled at 3.30 pm with 5.9. otherwise not much hostile fire.

 

  1. How Group 26.6 9.25 pm Hostile artillery report. Area shelled – K.34.b.10AX, 77 mm, 4.30 pm, K.33, 40 BX, 15cm 5.30 pm MAILLY, 7, 15 cm, 8.10 am  4.30 to 6.30 pm, a heavy bombardment of front and support trenches by all sizes of guns and mortars.

 

  1. Left Group 26.6 9.35 pm A/165 report target engaged during bombardment, communication trench K.29.b.60.75., and K.29.b.95.68., this was effective. Wire at Pt 64, result believed to be satisfactory.  M.G. emplacement K.29.b.50.30., two direct hits obtained.  B/165 report 2nd line of path ”Z” 15 yds wide cut, 3rd line practically cut, 4th line difficult to observe, but no posts or wire to be seen.  C/165, report target engaged to-day, 2nd & 3rd & 4th line wires; also special point on front line.  Effect good.  A/171 report special bombardment, no visible result.  M.G. emplacement K.29.b.52.25., front knocked about, and one round through loop-hole.  Wire cutting, lanes in track 5, junction 2nd & 3rd lines widened, and parapet in former destroyed.  Wire being cut at K.29.b.35.35.

 

  1. Left Group 26.6 9.45 pm Hostile artillery report. From 4 – 5.30 heavy bombardment in front trenches.  CAMPION received attention from 5.9.s during that time.  Enemy guns sweeping along the line of trenches to NAIRN and back again.  From 6.O’clock, 5.9 and trench mortars were shelling TOUVENT till 8 pm.  No firing on our batteries.

 

  1. Reserve Group 26.6 9.50 pm A/169, nothing to report since 4 pm, B/169 wire near 73 much damaged, attention paid to K.30.c.60.85., which requires further firing at. C/169 engages SERRE – PUISIEUX ROAD and ORCHARD.  Damage effected unobserved.  B/171, wire at trench WEST edge of SERRE damaged up to 7 am.  Enemy shelled LA SIGNY FARM severely knocking down wall which shelters water carrying party.

 

  1. Reserve Group 27.6 4.55 pm Progress Report. – A/169, progress continues, B/169, gap between K.30.c.50.85., and 50.95., completed. C/169, wire-cutting good at MUNICH TRENCH, C/171 wire edge in front SERRE progress good.  MATTHEW COPSE shelled occasionally.  TAUPIN RIDGE and AVENUE RIDGES shelled 11.5 pm to 11.55 pm, last night.  Our trench mortars seldom active.

 

  1. How Group 27.6 9.25 pm Hostile artillery report. – MAILLY shelled 6. to 7 pm, 5 77 mms, SUCURERIE shelled 4.30 to 6 pm, 3 – 5.9.s, K.34.a & b, 10. to 11. am 60 A – 77 mms, heavy barrage on our front, and support trenches doing considerable damage 2.45 pm. This report was ready at 8.45 pm delay occurred at COURCELLES.

 

  1. Left Group 27.6 8.50 pm Hostile fire quiet till 5.30 pm. From then onwards, ROBROY and front line heavily shelled.  Little else to report.

 

  1. Left Group 27.6 3.50 pm A/165 report narrow lane almost through first line of lane ”Y”. Few parts remain in other lines on same lane.  These will be removed.  B/165 report cutting lines 2 & 3 in lane one alternative.  C/165 report lane cut first line of lane ”W”.  Are still widening this area.  A/171 report lane cut yesterday at K.29.b.30.25., being widened.  At 2.45 pm enemy 1st line was shelled for ten minutes by all batteries at fairly quick rate of fire.  Communication trench shelled at 5.10 a.m. as instructed.

 

  1. How Group 27.6 4.35 pm D/170 Point 29 to K.24.d.80.25., 3rd line from Point 44 and K.29.d, effect of fire, considerable damage has been done to these points. D/171 earthworks at K.20.d.5.2. seriously damaged to-day.  Heavy hows. are necessary to blot out this trench.  2nd line, 40 – 44 many direct hits, parapet damaged in places.  4th line Pt 24 – K.39.c.22.15, fire on this has been satisfactory.  D/165, gaps in parapet, many direct hits, parapet visibly damaged on 4th line.  34 to 18, K.36. 18.05, K30. 21.88.,  D/169, trench 37 to 29, slight damage effected, trench 29 L.24.d.8.3., parapet damaged in places.  General – Percentage of blinds up to average, but shells have been better detonated than yesterday.

 

  1. Left Group 27.6 3.55 pm Our trenches NAIRNE to CATEAU, between front and CAMPION, heavily shelled between 5 am and 5.30 am. These trenches were again bombarded at 10.25 am, and 2 pm with 5.9, and 4.2, otherwise not much activity – very little T.M. fire on enemy front wire, and all that was well over enemy trench.  No enemy balloons up to-day.

 

  1. Right Group 27.6 5.0 pm A/170, 1st line wire, good progress has been made on this target, 1st line wire K.29.d.12.35. much thinned, C/170 1st line wire lane now being widened.

 

  1. Right Group 28.6 9. pm C/171, 1st line wire, right and left of Pt. 10, gaps cut 50 yds wide. A/170, 1st line wire between these points (K.29.d.25 and K.29.d.13).  Wire almost entirely cut.

B/170, further progress on wire, and lane widened. C/170, improvement on wire already cut.   K.29.c.90.05. to K.35.a.8.8.  C/171 gap in wire cut yesterday, and to-day, all passable between K.29.d.10.80., and K.29.d.10.90., and also at K.29.d.10.80.  Hostile fire, some 4.2 on PYLON, EUSTON, and LA SIGNY FARM.

 

  1. Left Group   28.6 9. pm A/165 report not able to do much as guns very unsteady – they will be right by to-morrow. B/165 report progress on 1st line wire not very rapid this afternoon.  C/165 still cutting wire on 1st line.  A/171 have damaged wire for 200 yds SOUTH of Pt. 46, but no lane cut. – Hostile Artillery very inactive.

 

  1. How Group 28.6 8.35 pm “Y” Day. Less active than yesterday or any preceding day.  Our front line SOUTH of MATTHEW COPSE shelled by 5.9.s at intervals during the day.  MAILLY and SUCRERIE shelled with 5.9 at 12.30 pm.
  2. Left Group 28.6 4.25 pm Hostile fire, not very active. 1.15 pm A/171 position shelled for ¼ hour, with 77 mm shrapnel.  At 2. pm K.27.a.& c shelled with 4.2 for ¾ hour.  Infantryman killed in PYLON, by premature from Battery on plain.

 

  1. Reserve Group 28.6 7. pm Front line, Point 10 to K.29.d.28 very thin. Six lanes  K.30.a.75 completely gone.   K.30.a.50.85 – very thin.  One lane 28 – 24 fairly thin.  – 3 lanes Point 52- 74 very ragged – – 7 lanes.  No further progress in wire-cutting since 4.0 pm, except by C/169 clearing lane strands away at K.29.d.17.  Enemy barraged MODEL FARM 9 – 9.15, with 5.9 shrapnel.

 

  1. Right Group 28.6 5.21 pm A/170. Lane cut in front of line already enlarged this morning at K.29.d25, K.29.d.13.

B/170. Front line wire, good lane cut on this bty section.  Also heavy damage by big guns.

C/170. Wire-cutting continues, and lane enlarged in front line.

C/171. The whole of the wire in front of Point 10 has been destroyed on a front of about 80 yards.  Also gaps cleared at K.29.d.10.90; cutting at K.29.d.10.80 still proceeding.  Hostile fire about 25 –  77 mm came into C/171 position about 2. pm 25% duds, and no damage.

 

  1. Reserve Group 28.6 12.30 pm Wire round point 10, 3 lanes visible and wire thin. K.29.d.15.80 to Point 25 thin and much damaged.  K.29.d.15.65. still about 2 yards thick.  Wire now being engaged.  Trench mortars and heavy guns co-operation.  Enemy trench mortars inactive.

 

  1. Right Group 28.6 12.30 pm A/Bty. Enemy wire cut, and various points engaged after that in special bombardment area.  Most of shell went into trenches.  B/170.  Enemy’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th line wire lanes enlarged.  C/170. Bombardment area chiefly on trenches.  Wire-cutting area, all lanes improved; special objective engaged.  C/171.- Gaps in wire widened.

 

  1. Reserve Group 28.6 4.15 pm Progress report. – A/169 out of action for present. B/169 gap from Point 10. to K.29.d.28 continued, and nearer completion; some repairing appears to have been done during night.  C/169, wire in their area nearly all cut; only cross stakes being visible.  B/171 out of action.  Hostile artillery, few 15 cms at long range on TAUPIN RIDGE & MATTHEW COPSE.

 

  1. Left Group 28.6     1.32 pm Report on front line wire. – A/165 report narrow gap through at K.29.b.50.72; wire badly damaged 35 yds. B/165. – report from K.29.b.60.87 to K.29.b.77.97, uncut.  From  K.29.b.77.97 to K.23.d.33.31, much cut, and knocked about, but very thick, so not blown away.  From K.23.d.31.03 to K.23.d.70.09, uncut.  C/165 report two complete lanes 20 yds wide at K.29.b.20.15; wire badly damaged for 35 yds on either side of this.  A/171 report lanes as follows:- 20 yds wide at K.29.b.30.29, 10 yards wide at K.29.b.32.30, and 10 yds wide at K.29.b.32.50, otherwise wire uncut between lane 4 (alternative).  At lane X lane at K.29.b.32.50 has cheveaux de fries still standing on its right which is not yet knocked over.

 

  1. Left Group 28.6     4.20 pm A/165, report widening lane ”Y”, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th line, progress satisfactory. B/165 report front line wire in Battery zone engaged; except for gaps already reported in this line requires great deal of hammering.   C/165 report widening 2nd, 3rd & 4th line of lane ”W”.  Infantry report 1st line wire in this zone satisfactory.  A/171 report engaged1st line wire in zone.  Lane 10 yds wide cut 100 yds South of Pt. 46.  Wire badly damaged for 100 yds further South.  All Batteries joined in special bombardment 6.40 am.  Bursts all obscured by mist.

 

  1. How Group 28.6   4.15 pm D/165, 4th line trench, Pt 34 – 18, parapet damaged in many places, and portion blocked between Points 24 – 18. D/169, trench front 19 – 71 pounded all along with some success.  D/170 2nd line from Pt 40 to SERRE ROAD considerable damage appears to have been done.  S.W. side of SERRE seems very little damaged, and has the appearance of being very strong.  It is reported that the S.W. side of SERRE, especially Point 73 is very strong; both O.C. D/170, and O.C. D/171 state that whenever this point is fired on, instant retaliation is made.

 

  1. Left Group 29.6 12.35 pm Hostile artillery inactive. Few shrapnel of AVENUE at 11.45 am, and few on K.20.c. at same time.  Direct hit on C/165 emplacement.  Pit damaged; no further information.

 

  1. Left Group 29.6 12.40 pm A/165 reports still cutting between ”Y” and lane 4 at K.29.b.50.64. good progress. B/165 reports wire on front line considerably reduced, but only one patch if 15 yds completely cut.  C/165 report steady progress on front line.  A/171 reports lane in front wire as follows:- K.29.b.30.20, 50 yds South Pt 46, and two similar ones about 100 yds S. of Pt. 46.

 

  1. 169 Bde     29.6 4.30 pm Progress reports. – A/169.  Wire cut at K.29.d.25.50 and 20.60 and 15.80.  B/169 cutting wire near K.29.d52.72 at present untouched; needs attention from big guns.  Also cutting near K.29.d.20.75, but hindered by 170th cutting at same point.  C/169 engaged 1st line wire between (t.25 and K.29.d.10.80; renewed during night, damaged to-day, but not yet cut.  One lane cut 2nd line wire between these points; remainder damaged.  Enemy shelled SUCRERIE 10 am and COURCELLES – BERTRANCOURT ROAD 1.30 p.m.  Enemy wire third line still strong.

 

  1. 171 Bde   29.6 4.35 pm D/165.  A great deal of damage has been done to enemy front line between K.29.b.35.36 and point 25, particularly at Pt 10.  The junction of trenches at K.29.d.52.72 considerably damaged.  D/169, K.29.b.3.5 to Point 10, front line K.29.b.3.5 to Point 46 – very well battered.  Wire is still visible in front of this trench.  Some damage effected.  D/170.  K.29.d.10.25 to Point 25, Point 44 – 76 and K.29.d.55.80, Some damage done, but some points, especially between Points 25 & 10, needs further attention.

 

  1. 170 Bde 29.6 5.15 pm A/170 registering lifts for ”Z” day.  B/170, front line trenches K.29.d.05.20 to K.29.c.95.00; a lane is cut N. of this area, and forty yards further South wire has been thinned.  C/170, wire cutting continued on 1st line; some results obtained, but the wire cannot be satisfactorily dealt with.  C/171, gaps cut in 1st line widened at Pt. K.29.d.10.90, K.29.d.10.85, K.29.d.10.80, K.29.d.10.75; gap in last named place not more than 5 yds wide.

Hostile fire. – Enemy registered new road from COLINCAMPS – EUSTON, with 5.9; this by balloon over L.35.b. which was fired on and promptly descended.

 

  1. 170 Bde 29.6 8.6 pm The bridge over LEEDS STREET, and the road to front line trenches broken by hostile fire this afternoon.

 

  1. Left Group 29.6 8.55 pm A/165 report gaps 25 yds wide; left of this badly damaged for 10 yds. Left of this gap of 5 yds.  Wires between these two gaps can be cut to-morrow giving clear 40 yds gap.  Left and right of this is damaged wire.  B/165 report pile of wire and knife-rests on right of zone at K.29.b.60.81; these have been lifted several times, but fall back into place.  At left of zone, 25 yards from K.29.b.69.57 to K.29.b.62.77 remain uncut.  C/165 report, with exception of 3 very small patches, front wire appears to be completely cut from K.29.b.23.23 to K.29.b.15.10.  A/171 report further lane 5yards wide cut through wire at K.29.b.33.40; much trouble with springs running out has hindered to-days work very much.

 

31 Div               29.6  1.15 pm            Point selected K.29.d.02.15; requirements of heavy artillery to-night will be counter-battery work on batteries in ARTILLERY LANE and near PUISIEUX.

 

To 31 Div from VIII Corps 29.6 12.20 pm   This afternoons bombardment will last for forty mins.  Commencing at 4.40.  last ten minutes will be intense.  Bombardment will be directed on the points selected by Division for tonights raids.  Divisions to wire Corps H.Q. at once the points selected repeating Heavy Arty.  Also to include in telegram their requirements in respect of heavy artillery for to-night.  In view of possibility of further postponements, raids must be arranged for to-morrow night parties to enter trenches at 12 midnight.

 

31 Div             29.6  1.25 pm  Heavy bombardment this afternoon will last for 40 mins.  Commencing at 4.40.  the last ten minutes will be intense.  Bombardment will be directed on Point of entry of raid, K.29.d.02.15.

 

31 Div             29.6  1.30 pm  You will be prepared to carry out a raid to-night 30/1 in case one is ordered.

 

31 Div             29.6  3.5 pm    Observed in Division O.P. WAGRAM reports seeing at 2.0 pm, 4 lots of gun limbers each consisting of four limbers moving from ACHIET – LE – PETIT towards GREYVILLERS.  At 2.30 pm gun seen at G.29.b.08 and shortly afterwards it fired five rounds.

 

31 Div             29.6  7.10 pm  Gun at G.29.b.08 mounted on heavy motor lorry on road, and is anti-craft gun.  Shells watched bursting below aeroplane on our extreme right.

 

VIII Corps R.A. 29.6 10.45 pm        Reference conversation, and R.A. 395/87 of 28th, para 3.  Time to-morrow is 8.40 am to 9.20 am.  Same conditions apply as in R.A. 395/89 dated 29th except that another 600 yds be taken as objective.  Notify Heavy artillery.  Addssd all concerned.

 

31 Div           29.6                 Reference this office G.B. 50, and G.B. 52 of even date.  Divisional observers now report gun to be anti-aircraft mounted on heavy motor lorry.

 

  1. Left Group 29.6   9 pm A/169 wire-cutting 8.30 to 4.0 pm, wire cut at K.29.d.25.50, 20.60; 4 – 9 p.m. 15.18.

C/169 wire-cutting Point 25 and K.29.d.10.80, front line. This wire was renewed during night, has now been re-cut in several places.  2nd line E. of latter points considerable damage done.  General intelligence nil.  Hostile artillery generally quiet, SUCRERIE and MODEL FARM shelled with 5.9 in morning and 77 shrapnel in valley S of COLINCAMPS.

 

  1. 170 Bde     29.6 9 pm A/170, lane cut at K.29.d.10.75, and K.29.d.45.65 widened; fresh lane cut at K.29.d.13.40 and K.29.d.15.42.  B/170 large lane cut on N side of this Battery’s area (K.29.d.02.25 to K.29.c.95.50).  40 yds further South, line is much thinned.  C/170, wire on front line cut with fair success.  C/171 further work done on wires between Pt. 10 and K.29.d.10.75.

 

  1. Left Group 29.6   9 pm Hostile fire, following area shelled, 3.5 – to 3.30 pm. K.27.d. with 5.9, 4.40 pm, K.21.a to with 5.9, 4.30 pm K.15.d.17.15. all wires to B/165 O.P. cut during enemy retaliation with 5.9.

 

  1. 171 Bde     29.6 9.20 pm “Y” Day.  Hostile artillery fire less active than usual.  1st and 2nd line trenches at K.29.a. to K.34.b. shelled with 77 mm and 15 cm between 5 & 7 pm, 75 cm fired 35 shells into vicinity of SUCRERIE.  MAILLY ROAD with 77 mm at intervals during the day.

 

T.M.O.               30.6    12.10 pm       5.9 Battery in line MATTHEW COPSE to ROSSIGNOL WOOD has put LUKE COPSE guns out of action and is enfilading MATTHEW COPSE and other guns Believe this battery to be responsible for most T.M. Casualties.

 

  1. 170 BDE   30.6 4 pm A/170.  Wire cut last night at K.29.d.28.70 does not appear to be any more wire here at present.  Cutting going on steadily at K.29.d.25 – K.29.d.13.  Gap cut at K.29.d.18.48. is about 15 yds wide, and absolutely cleared away.  B/170 Target 3rd line wire.  Damage done.  A lane has been cut in 3rd line wire at K.29.d.55.20 just N of SERRE ROAD.

C/170, wire-cutting. 1st 3rd 4th and 5th line continued.  2nd line, no wire left by Heavies on my line cut.  Some good hits obtained, and improvement made.  C/171 Wire-cutting front and 2nd lines proceeding satisfactorily on the front K.29.d.10.90  to K.29.d.10.75.  A passable gap 15 yds wide will, it is expected, be cleared at K.29.d.10.80 by evening.  Hostile fire: about 20 77 mm shells fell round C/170 position – no damage done.

 

  1. 171 Bde     30.6 4.10 pm Progress report. D/169 objective Point 80 to K.29.b.89.75, Point 37 to Point 34 much damage has been done to this trench.  High mounds of earth that were there are now demolished.  D/165, K.29.d.35.62 2nd line, K.29.d.46.48. 3rd line, K.30.a.35.55 several hits were made on the parapet and in the wire at these points.

 

  1. 165 Bde     30.6 4.30 pm A/169 resting since raid last night. B/169 lines widened at K.29.d.25.85., and K.30.c.50.82.  C/169, lane widened K.29.d.10.75 and 12.73.  B/171 resting.  Gun firing from L.33. central 10 pm.  Flashes from 5.9 battery visible at 10.30 pm from about L.14.a.80.25, 5.9s active to-day on MATTHEW COPSE, LA SIGNY, TAUPIN RIDGE, otherwise little activity.
  2. 171 Bde     30.6 9.15 pm Hostile artillery report.  Enemy artillery more active than usual.  Our  2nd and 3rd line in K.35.a. shelled heavily between 10 a.m. and 11.35 a.m.  SUCRERIE & EUSTON shelled as usual.

 

  1. Left Group 30.6   9 pm Wire cutting report, same as reported by C.O. this afternoon. All batteries have widened the 2nd, 3rd and 4th line lanes. Hostile artillery very quiet.

 

From C.R.E. 48Div 30.6   9.31 pm     Arrange demolition of PYLONS in Divisional area to-night between 10.30 p.m. and 1.30 a.m.

  1. 169 Bde   30.6 9 pm Nothing to report since 4 p.m.  Intelligence. – Battery on ACHIET – BUCQUOY Road already reported.  Eight D emplacements L.32.a. PUISIEUX TRENCH.  7.40 pm two more guns ACHIET to BUCQUOY.  7.42 pm 20 mounted men, 4 guns, 6 wagons out of LOGEAST WOOD and outwards,  BUCQUOY on ACHIET – BUCQUOY Road.  Wagons and cyclists on GREVILLERS – ACHIET Road 5 pm to 8 pm.

 

  1. 170 Bde   30.6 10.30 pm A/170 wire cut last night at K.29.d.28.70 there does not appear to be any more wire there at present.  Cutting going on steadily at K.29.d.25 toK.29.d.13; gap being made.  The gap cut at K.29.d.18.45 is about 15 yds wide and absolutely cleared away.  Wire at K.29.a.25 to d.15.40 large gap cut.  No wire visible in 2nd line; Lane improved in wire cutting area K.29.d.34. – 20 bombardment.  B/170 target 1st line wire, damage done – lane cut in 1st line wire at K.29.d.55.20 just north of SERRE Road has been improved.  C/170 wire cutting continued.  Lane in 3rd, 4th & 5th line widened and improved, registration verified.  C/171 wire cutting on front K.29.d.10.75 up to pt. 10 has produced following results.  K.29.d.10.90 to pt 10 and 50 yds further North passable anywhere.  K.29.d.10.88 a clear 15 yards gap in front and second line.  K.29.d.10.85 a gap 10 yards wide in front line.  Second line badly smashed and probably passable.   K.29.d.10.80 a 20 yds gap with some stakes and a few strands of wire left which however form no barrier.

General information – some heavy guns firing on K.29.c.79 at 8.30 a.m. Part of ROMAN Road has been shelled during the day; EUSTON Road K.33.a.39 was rather more vigorously shelled last night.  Hostile Artillery – comparatively quiet except during bombardment when they shelled VALLADE vigorously for 15 minutes at 1.0 p.m.

JULY 1916

 

JULY 1916

 

The Somme

 

The morning of the 1st July 1916 was cloudless with a blue sky and a touch of mist. The British High Command believed the German wire had been cut and the German front line trenches completely destroyed, by the 5 day bombardment, along the 14 mile line scheduled for the attack. The British infantry was to walk across no-man’s land with full kit weighing approximately 66 lbs (30 kg). This flawed assumption was to write the death warrant for many British soldiers. The Artillery bombardment had failed because the wire was mostly intact and the German front line trenches had not been destroyed.

The British army suffered casualties of over 57.000 men, roughly equal to the population of Great Yarmouth. Of these 21,000 were either killed or missing. On no one day before or since have the British taken such losses, which number more than their total casualties in the Korean, Boer and Crimean wars combined.

At precisely 7.30 in the morning 60,000 British infantry, in four initial waves, left their lines and walked toward the German front line trenches. They were followed by succeeding waves of infantry which pressed on behind an artillery barrage. The Germans were alerted to the attack after a mine was exploded beneath Hawthorn Ridge, at 7.20am. The defenders were able to leave their dug-outs and set up their defensive machine gun positions for the British attack. By 8.30am they had inflicted more than 30,000 casualties.

One of the casualties was Second-Lieutenant Edward Brittain of the 10th Sherwood Foresters.

Upon going over the top, Brittain was wounded in his left arm, but continued to lead his men until a second wound to his right thigh disabled him. For this action he was awarded the Military Cross. He was eventually returned to England and spent nearly a year recuperating before returning to the Western Front. Edward was the brother of Vera Brittain, and great friend of Vera’s fiancée Roland Leighton who had been killed in action in December 1915.

Meanwhile, the Royal Flying Corps had temporary air supremacy and so were able to largely prevent German observations on the British lines and also carry out extensive aerial reconnaissance over the German trenches.

By the end of the day very little ground had been gained by the British. The French army, however, attacking south of the river Somme had more success. They took all of their objectives, as well as 4000 German prisoners. In places they advanced approximately 2km (one and a quarter miles). Their success could not be exploited because of the slow progress, by the British, north of the River Somme,

The medical services, not expecting such large losses, were incapable of caring for all the wounded, also there were insufficient ambulance trains to evacuate the thousands of serious cases to base hospitals.

On the 2nd July 1916, there was evidence that Sir Douglas Haig, Commander of the British Expeditionary Force, did not have a clear picture of how badly the previous day’s attack had been. This was due to reports arriving at Haig’s headquarters, either too late or contradicting one another. Any good news was emphasised by more experienced officers. Bad news was more likely to arrive from inexperienced officers. A meeting between senior commanders resulted in the order “to devote all energies” to capture the key position of Fricourt, which was based very close to the French lines. The attack on Fricourt was successful, but very heavy casualties dampened the rare good news of the British success in the Fricourt Salient.

 

From the 2nd July 1916, the most successful attacks were nearest to the French sector and General Sir Hubert Gough’s Reserve Army began to assume responsibility for the battles for the woods in an attempt to capture part of the German second line of defence.

Bernafay Wood was captured with few difficulties on the 3rd July.

 

After the British captured La Boiselle on the 4th July 1916 and Ovillers on the 17th July1916 an advance was made to threaten the rear of the German held village of Thiepval.

 

The first professional footballer to enlist at the beginning of the war was Second Lieutenant Donald Simpson Bell, of the 9th Yorkshire (Green Howards). He attacked and destroyed a German machine-gun post on the 5th July 1916. He was supported by Corporal Colwill and Private Batey. For this action Bell was awarded the Victoria Cross. Unfortunately Bell was killed in action on 10th July 1916.

 

Mametz Wood proved to be more problematical than Bernafay Wood, when attacked on the 7th July 1916. Fallen trees felled by the artillery barrage together with the dense undergrowth caused the attack to stall. The wood was finally cleared of Germans on the 12th July 1916 after another successful Allied attack on the 10th July 1916.

 

Meanwhile, an evening attack by the 8th & 9th Green Howards of the 23rd Division, resulted in the capture of Contalmaison on the 10th July 1916.

After the village was captured the German dug-outs in the Chateau cellars were used as an Advanced Dressing Station.

 

A night attack on Bazentin Ridge was launched by the British on the 14th July 1916. Advancing nearly 1,000 yards, the Allies failed to take advantage when   disorganization and lack of communication meant they waited too long to deploy cavalry. The Germans regrouped their defences and halted the Allied advance. Two days later the British once again penetrated the German line and advanced toward High Wood but were forced to retreat.

 

The Battle for Delville Wood [Devil’s Wood] was launched on the 15th July 1916 by South African Forces, and was one of the most gruelling and gruesome battles of the entire Somme fighting. The British finally assisted the South Africans in the capture of Delville Wood on the 28th July 1916, but German persistence to recapture the wood continued until early September 1916.

 

British attacks began at High Wood on the 20th July 1916 which continued until the final capture on the 15th September 1916.

 

Battle for the woods took place south of the Albert-Bapaume Road and similar gains were made north of the road. On the 23rd July 1916 the Australian Expeditionary Force launched an offensive for Pozieres village and the mill at the top of the ridge. Allied communications hindered the attack, which, instead of being a co-ordinated effort, degenerated into a series of separate engagements. The ridge was finally captured on the 5th August 1916 at the expense of heavy Australian casualties.

 

By the 31st July 1916, the British and French forces had sustained 200,000 casualties. The German forces had sustained 160,000 casualties mainly because of German insistence of counter-attacking to retake the lost ground.

 

 

——————————————————————————————–

 

 

Verdun

 

 

The German preparatory bombardment on Fort Souville, using poison gas, began on the 9th July 1916 in attempt to incapacitate the French artillery. An attack by the Germans began on the 11th July 1916 in which the infantry was bunched onto the path leading to Fort Souville. French artillery and machine gun fire reduced the attack to a handful of German soldiers who reached the top of the fort.

 

Following an unsuccessful attempt to absorb Fort Souville, Chief of the German general staff, Erich von Falkenhayn, ordered his field commanders to hold their ground on the 11th July 1916. He had been forced to switch some artillery to the Somme region. After six months of attacking the French, the Germans were forced on the defensive.

 

On the 12th July 1916, a small French counter-attack forced the German survivors to retreat to their starting lines or to be captured.

 

The Germans were able to gain some additional ground over the next two days, but these were re-taken when the French counter-attacked on Bastille Day, the 14th July 1916.

Although a German victory appeared to be a possibility, but not a certainty owing to the enormous casualties sustained by both sides, the battle was to continue until December 1916

 

————————————————————————————————

 

The Eastern Front and the Balkans

 

 

In Armenia, the Turkish army launched a counter-offensive against the Russians on the 15th July 1916.

 

After being transported from Corfu to Salonica the Serbian Army was in a position to go into action alongside the allies on the 15th July 1916.

 

On the 25th July 1916, the Serbian army returns to action on the Salonica front.

 

The Brusilov Offensive was the direct result of the French request to take pressure off Verdun. The Battle for Kowel commenced on the 28th July 1916, and the southern front of the Russian army was to take Kowel, which was an important Austrian railway centre. Owing to General Alexei Ewart delaying his manoeuvre to attack the retreating Austrian/Hungarian forces, General Erich Ludendorff had organised  re-enforcements to assist the Austrian/Hungarian army. The strategy was for Ewart to take Kowel, but the initiative was lost as the Russian GHQ had transferred troops to Brusilov’s southwestern forces. The assumption was that the additional troops would assist in fully exploiting the success of the initial attack. The Germans became aware of the Russian troop movement, and prepared a counter attack to the south. The Battle continued and finally ground to a halt on the 10th August 1916 owing to the Austrian, German and Russian armies becoming exhausted. Russian casualties numbered more than half a million, whilst the Austrians had 375,000 men taken prisoner of war, excluding their dead and wounded.

Strategically the Central Powers were weakened on the Italian front and at Verdun. The Austrians withdrew troops from the Italian front to fight the Russian Brusilov Offensive. The Germans were forced to transfer forces from Verdun, allowing the French to maintain their successful defence. The offensive ruined Austria/Hungary were diminished as a major military force.

Although the offensive assisted the Allies on the Western Front, morale of the Russian nation was low, both military and civilian. This eventually led to the Russian revolution and Russia seeking an armistice in 1917.

 

On the 29th July 1916, the axis powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria agree to military action against Romania.

 

 

————————————————————————————————-

 

The Caucasus and Middle East Campaign

 

 

The second Turkish advance on the Suez Canal began on the 19th July 1916 and culminated in the battle of Romani. The Battle of Romani was the last ground attack of the Central Powers on the Suez Canal.

 

The city of Erzincan was taken during the Caucasus Campaign by the Russian Army on the 25th July 1916. Erzincan was the headquarters of Turkish 3rd Army commanded by Kerim Pasha. The Russian General Nikolai Yudenich led the Russian Caucasus Army capturing Mama Hatun on the 12th July 1916. Advancing through the heights of Naglika and the Duram Durasi River they approached Erzincan on the 25th July 1916. The city was taken in two days and was relatively undamaged with Yudenich seizing large quantities of supplies. Yudenich made no more significant advances, other than the strategic advantages gained from this victory. Due to Russian reverses further north, Yudenich had his forces gradually reduced to replace losses sustained elsewhere.

 

——————————————————————————————-

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                

 

 

 

Other Fronts

 

On the 7th July 1916, David Lloyd George inherited the late Lord Kitchener’s position as British Secretary of state for War. Kitchener was drowned at sea in June 1916 whilst on a diplomatic mission to Russia.

.

The German submarine U-35, commanded by Captain Lothar Arnauld de la Periere, embarked on her fourteenth patrol in the Western Mediterranean on 26th July 1916.

Whilst on her twenty day mission, U-35 stands as the most successful submarine patrol of all time. During that period, 54 merchant ships totalling 90,000 tons were sunk.

Captain de la Periere undertook a total of fifteen missions, sinking 189 ships totalling 440,000 tons.

Famous for his scrupulous adherence to naval warfare, de la Periere sank the merchant ships after allowing their crews board their lifeboats and giving directions to the nearest port.

 

On the 30th July 1916, German agents, in America, sabotaged the Johnson Barge No 17 which was tied up to the pier at “Black Tom” Island. The barge was loaded with munitions destined for the Allies in Europe. “Black Tom” Island is situated in New York harbour next to Liberty Island, which houses the Statue of Liberty.

“Black Tom” Island was a major munition depot, which until 1915 could sell to any buyer, only Allied powers were able to purchase munitions from 1915, and since the Royal Navy had blockaded Germany, agents were sent across to America to obstruct production and delivery of war munitions to the Allies.

After midnight a series of small fires were discovered on the jetty and the explosion took place just after 2.0am The explosion was the equivalent of an earthquake measuring between 5.0 and 5.5 on the Richter Scale, causing extensive damage to property with fragments being scattered over a mile away. To this day the death toll is unknown

 

British forces continue their advance through German East Africa with the capture of Kilimatinde on 31st July 1916.

 

Zeppelin raids against England’s East Coast targets had been part of German strategy since the beginning of the war. On two successive nights in July 1916, two Zeppelins dropped bombs on London, which resulted in the loss of 40 civilian lives including women and children

 

————————————————————————————————–

 

JULY 1916

 

JULY 1916

The Somme

1st July                      The first day of the Battle of the Somme

1st July                       Anglo-French air supremacy over the Somme

2nd July                       British capture Fricourt

3rd July                       Bernafay wood captured

4th July                       British capture La Boiselle

5th July                       Professional footballer Donald Bell won the Victoria Cross

7th July                       Unsuccessful allied attack on Mametz Wood

10th July                    British capture Contalmaison

14th July                     Battle of Bazentin Ridge

15th July                     South Africans attack Delville Wood

17th July                     Allied attack threaten Ovillers

17th July                   Allied advance threatens Thiepval

20th July                     British begin attack on High Wood

23rd July                     Battle of Pozieres Ridge

28th July                     Delville Wood captured

———————————————————————-

Verdun

9th July                        Germans bombard Fort Souville using poison gas

11th July                      Germans attack Fort Souville

11th July                      Falkenhayn orders ground to be held

12th July                    French counter-attack at Fort Souville

14th July                      The Germans forced onto the defensive on France’s Bastille Day

———————————————————————-

 

 

 

 

The Eastern Front and the Balkans

15th July                      Turkish counter-offensive against the Russians in Armenia

15th July                      Serbian army in readiness for action alongside allies

25th July                      Serbian army returns to action

28th July                      Battle of Kowel during Brusilov Offensive

29th July                      Axis powers agree to military action against Romania

————————————————————————

The Caucasus and Middle East Campaign

19th July                       Turks attack Suez Canal

25th July                       Battle of Erzincan

————————————————————————

Other Fronts

7th July                         Lloyd-George replaces Kitchener as British Secretary of state for War

26th July                       German submarine U35 began patrol sinking 54 ships

30th July                       Sabotage of USA munition ships in New York

31st July                       Allies capture Kilimatinde in German East Africa

July                              Bombing of London

————————————————————————–