37th Infantry Brigade Operation Order No 150 5 October 1917

SECRET                                                                                                          Copy No 6




Ref: MONCHY Trench Map

J Corps   T.S. 73.C.

October 5th 1917


  1. A Bombardment combined with a Raid will be carried out on “Z” day, about Octr. 12th , with a view to demolishing the enemy’s Front Trench System between CAMBRAI ROAD and the BOIS des AUBEPINES.


  1. (a) The bombardment will commence at Zero – 6 hours and will be continuous. The Artillery of the Corps is being reinforced – the total number of guns employed will be :-


Heavy Artillery


15” Howitzers………. 1

12” Howitzers………..3

9.2” Howitzers……   20

8”  Howitzers…   …..27

6”  Howitzers   ……..65

60 pdr. guns……    …17


Field Artillery


4.5” Howitzers……….28

18 pdrs……………… 74


  1. and R. Trench Mortars



6” Stokes Mortar………6

2” Trench Mortar……   12


(b) A practice barrage will be carried out by artillery covering this Bde. Front at 1 p.m. on “Z” day.

(c) Details of Artillery, M.G. and T.M. Barrages will be notified later.

(d) Three Sections of No. 3 Special Coy., R.E. are to place a Smoke and Thermite barrage on the enemy’s trenches for 500 yds on each flank of the raid.


  1. Immediately after the bombardment the 35th and 37th Bdes will carry out a Raid under a creeping barrage between BEETLE TRENCH inclusive and INFANTRY LANE.

The Raiding Parties will leave their trenches at ZERO and will form up under the barrage, ready to advance as soon as it lifts.


  1. At ZERO plus 4 minutes, under a barrage of Artillery, T.M.s and M.G.s, Raiding Parties consisting of 5 Officers and 200 O.R.s of the 6th Queen’s and 5 Officers and 200 O.R.s of the 6thW. Kent Regt., with Raiding Parties of the 35th Inf. Bde. on the left will enter the enemy’s trenches at selected points with a view to :-

(i)                 Killing the enemy

(ii)               Obtaining identification.

(iii)             Destroying dug-outs, M.G.’s and T.M. Emplacements etc.

and withdrawing to our own lines at a time which will be notified later.


  1. The Raid by 37th Bde. will be carried out with the 6th Queen’s on the Right, and 6th R.W. Kent Regt., on the Left.

Each Battalion will furnish 4 parties of 1 Officer and 50 O.R.s ; the four parties of each Battalion will be commanded by a Captain.


  1. In accordance with the above paragraphs , the following are shown on attached map marked “A”:-

(i)                 Brigade Boundaries.

(ii)               Boundary between Battalions.

(iii)             Forming up places of Raiding Parties.

(iv)             Areas to be raided by parties; parties are numbered one to eight, from right to left.

(v)               Gaps to be cut in enemy’s wire.


  1. Details as to action of Lewis Guns, to be found by Officer Commanding Front Line Battalion, and snipers, to be detailed by Officer Commanding 37th Sniping Coy., to cover the withdrawal of the Raiding Parties, will be issued later.
  2. (a) The Raiding Parties prior to the Raid, will be accommodated as follows:-

6th Queen’s Dug-out in KNIFE TRENCH. Three Southern Dug-outs in HOE SUPPORT TRENCH.

6th R.W. Kent Regt. Northern Dug-out in HOE SUPPORT. Three Dug-outs (1 unfinished) in SADDLE SUPPORT, S. of PICK AVENUE.

Raiding parties will occupy these Dug-outs before daylight on ”Z” day.


(b) On the occupation of the dug-outs in the SUPPORT LINE by the Raiding Parties, the following moves will take place;-

Front Line Bn.  will occupy dug-outs in SPADE TR., leaving a light garrison in the Front Line, and Sentry posts in SUPPORT LINE.

Support Line Bn. Will move 2 Companies from SPADE TRENCH to LES FOSSES FARM and SURREY CAVE.


(c) At ZERO -6 ½ hours

The O.C. Front Bn. will arrange to clear Saps and Front Line with the exception of sentries in armoured sentry posts.


(d) At ZERO minus three-quarters of an hour the Raiding Parties will begin to move up to their assembly positions as follows:-

(i) 6th Queen’s via GORDON AVENUE and POMMEL ALLEY.

(ii) 6th R.W. Kent Regt., via New C.T. to be constructed South of TITES COPSE, from O.8/3 to SADDLE SUPPORT.

(e) Raiding Parties on their return will occupy dug-outs in SUPPORT LINE, where they will remain until conditions are normal.

(f) The Front Line will be re-occupied by its permanent garrison as soon as possible after ZERO, the remainder of the original troops in the line returning to their normal positions as soon as the Raiders have vacated the Support Line.


  1. C., 87th Field Co., R.E. will detail parties of R.E. to accompany the raiders for demolition purposes. Numbers will be notified later.


  1. The O.C., Front Battalion will arrange to have gaps made in our own wire during the night previous to ”Z” day, at points opposite the assembly places of Raiding Parties.


  1. Raiding Parties will be equipped with rifle, bayonet, 50 rounds S.A.A. and 2 No. 23 Mills bombs. Any article likely to afford an identification will be removed. A strip of 4” x 2” flannel will be tied on both shoulder straps of the men taking part in the Raid.


  1. Prisoners will be handed over to O.C. Front Battalion, who will arrange to escort them direct to Bde. H.Q., from which place they will be forwarded to Water Point at MAISON ROUGE.


  1. Any special medical arrangements will be notified later.


  1. The signal between Units will be helmet raised on a bayonet.

The Divisional pass-word will be ”WHISKEY”.


  1. “Z” day, ZERO hour, and arrangements for synchronisation of watches will be notified later.



Signature unreadable


a/Brigade Major

37th Infantry Brigade

Issued thro’ Signals at   p.m.


Copy No 1 & 2 6th Queen’s.                          14 C.R.A/ 12th Div.

3      6th Buffs.                              15 36th Field Ambulance.

4 7th E. Surrey R.                      16 35th Inf. Bde.

5    6th R.W. Kent Regt.               17 36th Inf. Bde.

6    6th R.W. Kent Regt.               18 154th Inf. Bde.

7    37th M.G. Company.              19 Staff Captain.

8    37th T.M. Battery.                 20 Bde Signal Officer.

9    37th Sniping Coy.                  21 O.O. File.

10 62nd Bde. R.F.A.                   22 War Diary.

11 87th Field Coy. R.E.

12 5th Northants (Pioneers)

13 H.Q. 12th Division ”G”

Report 5 October 1917

B.M. 609.


1st E. York, R.

9th K.O.Y.L.I.

10th K.O.Y.L.I.

15th Durh L.I.

64th T.M. Bty.


The battle of yesterday was the greatest success gained by the British Army in the war. The German losses were enormous.  Our objectives were gained practically everywhere.  So that the success can be thoroughly exploited elsewhere it is absolutely vital that the flank the Division now holds should remain firm.  If we are forced back success elsewhere will be endangered.  All ranks must know this and must be prepared to hold on to the last, even though we may have to stay here several days.  No men of the Empire can do this better than the North Country men of this brigade and that they will withstand any attack the Germans may endeavour to make I am confident.



Brigadier General

Commanding 64th Inf. Bde.


F Springett letter 5 October 1917





Oct 5th 1917



My Dear Brother Sid,

Just a few lines in answer to your welcome letter I received today so pleased to hear that you were quite well as it leaves me still “Top Hole”.

Yes we have had an air-raid nearly every night since we have been down here and it makes us rather late at night.

They have come right over our camp mostly every time but luckily have not dropped any bombs, you see we are only sixteen miles from Dover.

Still we don’t take much notice of them we have had so many lately.

It as been showery here this last day or two and it makes the place very muddy.

Very sorry to hear that you haven’t got much work to get on with, hope you will soon be busy again.

We have been issued out with new Short Le Enfield Rifles and they are jolly particular about them too.  We are training a bit stiffer again now of course you know what for.  Still I suppose that’s what we are in the Army for. Ha Ha.

I am a Lewis Gunner now and I have been put in No 3 Platoon today they keep shifting us about.

Well Sid, I certainly hope you don’t have to do this sort of thing it’s alright at times but take my advice and dodge it.

Still you have done jolly good up till now.  “Three Years eh” Ha Ha.

Well, Sid I can’t get a week-end yet. I tried today but they won’t hear of it.

I tell you that if they won’t give me one shortly I shall take it and chance what I get. Ha Ha.

Well I must close as it’s getting dark, hoping this letter finds you quite well.

Well Goodbye

Best Love

I remain

Your Loving Brother

Frank William.

I have been thinking about poor old Walter today.

Still I will have my revenge.

56153 Pte FW Springett

A Company 3rd Platoon

284th Infantry Battn.

Bourne Park Camp


Nr. Canterbury


With cover to Mr S.K. Springett, 29 Bath Road Dartford Kent

Postmarked ARMY POST OFFICE 35. 5 OC 17

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 5 October 1917.

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 5 October 1917.




  1. X.17.




Tonight I am feeling very lonely. I have had time to settle down and think about you and realise what I miss by being out here.  It is very cold too – not a bit like those lovely nights at Eastbourne.  A gale is blowing, it is pouring with rain all mixed up with thunder and lightening.  I have been relieved at the gun line by the major so I am alone at the wagon line.  My abode is a tiny shanty, 10 feet by 6, and it possesses no door and of course the opening looks in the direction from which the wind is coming.  In spite of all I am feeling fairly cheerful.


I have got you to write to, and I have just received a delightful post. Thank you ever so much, darling, for your dear letter – and the photos which are very good in spite of the awful subject or object of one of them.  Send me as many snapshots as you can spare.  I do love to get them – also the delicious cake which arrived in perfect condition.  I had a tea party of five on the strength of it.  The Major, another captain, John Amour and a R.H.A. subaltern.  All of these have now gone their various ways, leaving me alone.  J. A. is not at the Wagon Line now and I don’t care for the fellow who is in charge of B’s lines so I am living alone with occasional intervals when I go over to see Capt. Gilbey – O.C. of our Brigade Ammunition Column.


He and I rode into a neighbouring town last night to do some shopping. He is an expensive fellow and bought some extraordinary note paper and I weakly followed suit – hence this atrocious stuff.  I am trying to get a stove for my hut but as everybody is doing the same are rather hard to find.


I was glad to see the mare again. She is in good condition in spite of standing out in the cold and rain.  I really must rig up some sort of shelter for her or she will be getting pneumonia.  She gave me a very exciting gallop across the sands this morning on exercise.


I am very glad you all enjoyed Clara Butt last Saturday. It was most good of you to take Evelyn.  What an exciting time you do seem to be having.  I hope they have not been too near you – I mean the Boche.  Lloyd George has been making an ass of himself again & talking about giving them hell.  Doesn’t he know that they have been doing that sort of thing to French towns since the war began?  I suppose an English woman is much more precious than a French one or a ‘man’ who votes for his beastly party than a fellow who fights out here.  If we have not been trying our best to give the Boche hell the last few years it is the fault of the politicians and ‘reprisals’ will not make it any better for us now.


Forgive this.


I am glad you like the Aldwych Hut. Don’t do too much though.  It must be very tiring work waiting.  What a long time you are getting well.  I am so sorry.  I do hope the spots got no worse.  I am much better thanks to my leave.


Please send me out ‘No-man’s-land’ by Sapper unless you want to keep it. Do you mind if I keep D. Hankey’s ‘Student in Arms’ a little while longer and lend it to another fellow to read.  I should not have brought it out as it was yours: it does not improve a book to be on active service.  I was very glad to be able to read it though.


I enclose a much crumpled tearing from the Continental ‘Daily Wail’. I should love to see Inspector Cross in a tin hat.  I will send him mine if he would like it.  The beastly thing gives me a headache which is worse than the possibility of being hit by shrapnel.  I generally carry mine over my arm like a baker’s boy.


Did you see those delightful photos of Horatio Nel – I mean Bottomley in one and a gas mask? He must have thought himself greater than his namesake.


How is Betsy? She does not get smoke blown at her now.  At least I hope not.


My servant will ruin my digestion altogether if he produces many more dinners similar to the one he gave me tonight. I am almost glad I have to dine at Headquarters tomorrow night.


I wonder what you thought of me when I was so obviously against your going to church my last Sunday evening. It was horrid of me wasn’t it?  of course I did not think you really wanted to go; but the real reason was I had heard that the lesson reader would be away and I had stupidly offered to read the lessons – however it was not necessary – and the vicarage pew contained others than the vicar’s family – for Evelyn did not go to church there and I sat in the choir.


Have you had any more riding lately? I shall get quite a lot now.  It is the only pleasure we can get out here.  How are your gees?  Have you got any oats for them yet?  Do you remember the priceless old man at Pevensey?


We have good news again from Ypres; but I am afraid this weather will put a stop to anything much more now.


Please give my love to all,

With all my fondest love, dearest

And many kisses

Always your own


FSPC from A Smith 5 October 1917


To T. Smith, 24 Palmerston Rd, Bowes Park, London N22 England.

Postmarked Field Post Office 20.  6 OC 17.


I am quite well

Letter follows at first opportunity

I have received no letter from you for a long time.


Signature only. A. Smith  Date Oct 5th 17