War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 15 January 1919

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 15 January 1919




Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda




January 15, 1919


Everything here is in chaos. I have 1200 men in the wing which I have to look after.  The returns are enough to frighten a whole division.  My best sergeant-major has gone to England which is annoying.  The demobilisation question is a hard nut.  You can imagine the conditions in a base camp like this.  We shall be broken up soon I hope.  Then I may get up the line.


Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 14 January 1919

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 14 January 1919



S.O. 9th Div of Drifters

D “Northesk” II

Cape Helles.

Jan 14 1919

Commanding Officer.

H.M.S. “Europa”




I have the honour to report the following mines sunk by vessels in my Division during passage from Mudros to Chanak.


H.M.D. “Northesk II” No. 2022. (local No 91).

Date: – Dec 22nd 1918.

Position: – 390 49’ 00” N.  250 28’ 00” E.

Depth of Water: – 51 fthms.

Description: – Floating mine (French) bottoms upward, spherical with lever             running down one side.

Name of Mine: – French Mine “B” (Fig 61. Book of Mines).

How sunk Rifle Fire (Mark VII).


H.M.D. “Ten” No 1052. (local No 94).

Date: – Dec 28th 1918.

Position: – 390 57’ 00” N 250 31’ 00” E.

Depth of Water: – 12 fthms.

Description: – Floating mine, (British) spherical bottom upwards with bar    across.

Name of Mine: – British Elia (Fig 36 Book of Mines).

How sunk: – Rifle Fire (Mark VII).



I have the honour to be


Your obedient servant


Reginald H. Palmer

Lt. R.N.V.R.

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 14 January 1919

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 14 January 1919


S.O. 9th Div of Drifters

D “Northesk” II

Cape Helles.

Jan 14 1919

Staff Paymr (V)

H.M.S. “Europa”




Enclosed I send receipts for slops supplied to vessels in my Division.

* The receipt from M.L. 508 has not been returned to me but possibly the C.O. is sending it direct.*


Regarding the slops for my vessels everything was correct with the exception of 1 Razor, 1 Hat ribbon & 1 pair of braces short.


The shortage of the braces I have discovered, as on checking your “Summary” sheet I find the pair for H.M.D. “Prime” was not included, although it was on Prime’s sheet.


The other two items I cannot trace.


Your obedient servant


R.H. Palmer

Lieut R.N.V.R.

*Receipt from M.L. 508 just to hand so is enclosed.

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 14 January 1919

Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 14 January 1919


S.O. 9th Div of Drifters

D “Northesk” II No 2022

Cape Helles.

Jan 14th 1919

Commanding Officer

H.M.S. “Caesar”




I have the honour to report the following changes in the personnel of the crews in vessels under my command.


H.M.D. “Hopeful” No. 2386.

Stephen Bryan, Deck Hand, Off No.21753.

James H. Mears, Trimmer, Off No. TS.6615

reported for duty A.M. Dec 29th 1918.


H.M.D. “Ebenezer” No. 2294.

William Woods, 2nd Hand, Off No. 1679

reported for duty A.M. Dec 29th 1918.


H.M.D. “Northern Scot” No 2425.

  1. Thomas, Trimmer,

reported for duty A.M. Dec 29th 1918.


I have the honour to be


Your Obedient Servant

R.H. Palmer

Lieut. R.N.V.R.

George Ryan’s letter home dated 14 Jan 15

Victoria Barracks




14 Jan 1915


Dear May,


Just a few words to let you know I received no letter this week. I suppose mother didn’t get my letter from Aden, or I should have had an answer to it this week.


However, they expect the mail boat in a bit earlier this week; it’s supposed to reach Bombay some time to-day, so we might get our letters Sat night.  It will be quite a change, as it’s been Mon or Tues the last 3 or 4 weeks, before we’ve got any letters.


I fired ball-cartridge for the first time yesterday. I got on very well; it was only on the 30 yards range though.  It was only to get us used to our rifles – those that had not fired ball before.  We shall start firing our “course”, next week I expect.  It takes two or three weeks, as we have various kinds of targets, at different ranges, both rapid & deliberate (take your time) firing.  We can earn extra pay for firing, I think.  A first-class shot gets 6d a day extra a second class gets 3d & a 3rd class shot gets nothing extra.  Of course, you have to be very good at it to get anything extra.  The Army doesn’t give anything away.  These payments are what the Regulars get, but we don’t know yet whether we shall get them.  Of course, we are acting as Regulars out here, but when it comes to a matter of pay we are only Territorials.


Well the rumour that we should leave here in March has been buried. We’ve had another one since then & that was that we were here for 3 years but that’s also been buried.  The one alive at present is that the war will be over by October & that we shall spend next Christmas at home.  I hope this last one is right.  After all “there’s no place like London”.


Hoping you are all well & jogging along alright.


Love to all,

Yr loving brother


XIII CORPS “I” 9 January 1917

Norman Richardson

2nd Lieut.

18th D.L.I.

Attached XIII Corps I.



9th January 1917.





Command Posts.

Telephone centres.


Routes and approaches.

Observation Posts.


Field Kitchens.

Machine Guns.

Trench Mortars.




Army H.Q. (First Army).                               —–      HAVRINCOURT.

Group H.Q. (‘A’ Group)                               ——     VAULX-VRAUCOURT (?)

Divisional H.Q. at :-                                      ——-   VAULX-VRAUCOURT




Regimental & Brigade H.Q.:-                     ——     GREVILLERS


PYS (M.2.c.64.05.and 55.20.) or (M.2.a.1.1.)

IRLES (G.31.a.7.4.) or (G.31.b.6.4.)



ACHIET-le-PETIT (G.13.a.)



R.9.b.                          —          Eastern end of GRANDCOURT, S. of Road –

Regimental Command Post.

R.5.a.00.20.               —          PETIT MIRAUMONT. – Regimental Command Post.

R.5.a.45.20.               —               “            “               –       “                   “              “

R.4.a.2.1.                   —          In Ravine                      – Bn. H.Q. and Aid Post.

R.4.b.4.3.                   —          House in MIRAUMONT – Regimental Headquarters.

R.4.b.80.25.               —          MIRAUMONT                        – Regimental Command Post.

L.35.c.4.1.                  —          Farm in  MIRAUMONT        – Artillery Headquarters.

L.32.b.5.7.                  —                                                          – Brigade Battle H.Q.

L.32.c.9.2.                  —          PUISIEUX Trench               – Battalion H.Q.

L.26.a.3.1.                  —          Dugout in  PUISIEUX Trench       – Telephone Post.

L.25.a.8.2.                  —          in POM POM ALLey            – Regimental Command Post.

L.25.a.0.6.                  —          SERRE.                                 – Telephone Centre.

L.20.a.65.65.             —          PUISIEUX House East Regimental Command Post.

L.20.a.0.3.                  —          Dugouts W. of PUISIEUX  -Regimental Battle H.Q.

L.20.a.40.98.             —          PUISIEUX; large corner House in Market Street –

Battalion H.Q.

L.19.a.05.60.             —          Dugouts in HOCK Trench  – Regimental Command Post.

L.14.c.1.2.                  —          W. of PUISIEUX                   – Battalion Command and

Telephone Post.

L.7.c.8.1.                    —          S.E. of ROSIGNOL WOOD – Regimental Command Post.

L.7.c.3.5.                    —                 do                       do                 do              do

E.30.d.8.1.                 —          RETTEMOY FARM              –  Battalion Command Post.

E.28.d.9.9.                 —          GOMMECOURT WOOD     –  Battalion H.Q.

K.36.a.8.6.                 —          S. of  SERRE                        – Battalion H.Q.

K.36.c.12.30.             —          Dugouts in Support Line    – Regimental Command Post.

K.30.a.2.3.                 —          W. of SERRE                        – Battalion Command Post.

K.30 (unlocated)      —          SERRE                                  – Battalion H.Q.


K.24.c.8.6.                 —          N. of Trench junction          –  Battalion Command Post.

K.24.b.4.9.                 —          E. end of STAR WOOD      – Battalion H.Q.

K.18.d.0.7.                 —          W. of LA LOUVIERE FARM – Battalion Command and

Telephone Post.

K.12.b.31.22.             —          ROSSIGNOL WOOD           –     do             do

K.12.d.32.02.             —          Dugout in Support Line      – Battalion H.Q.

K.6.c.25.70.               —          Trench N. of ALTER

GARDE STELLUNG           –   do

K.4.b.6.4.                   —          GOMMECOURT.                  –    do

K.4.b.35.92.               —                 do                                    –    do





ACHIET-le-GRAND (G.10.a.6.1.) E. of Cross Roads.

DIERVILLE FARM (just N. of F.28.a.8.8.)

GOMMECOURT   (K.4.b.3.3.) Artillery Telephone Exchange.









ACHIET-LE-GRAND.                                                          Railhead.

Large ammunition dump at Station, both sides of railway.

Ammunition dump at G.4.c.58.40. W. side of bridge.

Ammunition dump at G.10.c.22.60., in dugouts West embankment.

Supply and Pioneer dumps on both sides of railway in G.10.a.



G.13.d.9.5. N. side of railway.

G.13.d.6.8. approx ammunition dump.



Ammunition dump at crossing, H.26.d.5.3.

H.26.b.55.05. W. of village.



H.21.d.8.3. and 9** E. side of branch line.

Ammunition dump at ST. AUBIN, H.28.a.



Dumps at R.1.b.5.0. and along valley at L.31.c.0.3.



G.17.b.2.1. in Sugar Factory, Ammunition Dump.



Pioneer Park at F.28.a.3.1.

Dumps of material at L.3.d.0.3. and N. of Railway junction at L.9.c.2.8.

Dump at L.9.b.7.8.


COURCELLES-le-COMTE.                                                           Railhead.

Ammunition dump East end of village.

Pioneer dump near Railway at A.16.d.4.9.



Dump on side of road in B.26.a.



Dump in L.8.d. central, near road.

Supply dump at L.8.d.2.9.


GOMIECOURT.                                                                    Central Ration Depot.


Dumps al level crossing G.6.b.10.95. and on railway at B.25.c.2.6.



Ammunition dump at E.28.d.55.50

Pioneer dump at E.28.d.9.9.



Timber dump at R.8.d.5.4.

Timber and wire along railway at R.9.b.7.5.

S.A.A. dump in dug-out at R.9.b.63.28.



Ration dumps at G.32.c.1.9. and near Church.

Grenade dump at G.26.c.6.1. S. of Cemetery.

Dumps at G.26.c.20.65. and at G.32.a.4.6.

Central depot for frames and timber at G.26.c.20.65. and G.32.a.4.6.



Large munition dump along S. edge of Wood (G.1.b.62. G.2.a.10).



Ammunition dump in dugouts near road junction K.18.d.38.85.

Pioneer dump at K.18.d.4.8.



Large ammunition dump in brickfields, L.35.a.

Pioneer, supply and grenade dumps near sidings at L.35.b.2.1.

Supply dumps at L.35.c.4.6. and in yard of large farm at L.35.c.4.1.

Ration dump in chalk quarry L.35.d.1.8.

Large dumps at L.30.a.5.3., Goods Stations.

Dumps at L.30.c.4.0., S of Goods Station, and in dug-outs in bank at


MORY (N.E.).

Dumps by the railway sidings.  Supply depot for 2 Divisions.



Ammunition dumps at L.20.a.4.6., W. side of road and at L.26.a.7.2.

Pioneer dumps at L.21.d.9.0. and L.15.c.3.3. in loop of tramway.

Dumps at L.14.d.4.3. and W. side of tramway at L.15.d.1.9.



Ammunition dump in S. corner at K.12.d.45.90. and in dugouts about


Pioneer dumps at K.12.b.1.8. and K.12.b.7.2.



Dump of wire and timber at L.25.b.5.3.

Dump at L.25.a.3.7.



Ammunition and Pioneer dumps in K.6.b.



Dumps at K.24.b.2.9., in N. of wood, and at K.18.d.5.1. N.E. of wood.



Ration dump in farm buildings at I.1.b.6.6.





The following routes and approaches have been more or less confirmed by recent photographs and prisoners statements:-


  1. Track, leaving road from BUCQUOY at F.26.d.10.25. to N. corner of BIEZ WOOD following N. edge of Wood, leaving N.W. corner and meeting light railway at about K.6.b.20.95. which it follows to K.4.b.80.25.
  2. Road, from L.3.a.8.4., BUCQUOY, to S. corner of BIEZ WOOD, cutting across N corner of SQUARE WOOD. Then by tracks and trenches beside the dividing line between K.6.a. and c., and thence alongside road through K.5.b. and a., cutting off about K.5.a.65.35. to K.4.b.95.10.
  3. Same as (2) up to L.1.d.2.5. where road branches off, passing N. corner of ROSSIGNOL WOOD. Tracks lead off this road to the WOOD and BERG GRABEN.
  4. Road running through L.8. and 14 to L.14.a.65.10., thence by track to L.14.c.1.9. and then alongside railway past S. edge of BOX WOOD to K.18.d.95.40. whence tracks run to LA LOUVIERE FARM and ROSSIGNOL WOOD.
  1. By road to PUISIEUX, through PUISIEUX by MARKET STREET, down SERRE ROAD to L.25.a.3.9. then:
  1. Through SERRE village to K.30. central, and into communication trenches which cross SERRE trench, (L.30.a. and c.: TUEBINGER STELLUNG) or
  2. Down lane S.E. of SERRE past L.25.a.45.65. to K.30.d.25.10., where PENDANT ALLEY WEST (LANGER GRABEN) is entered, or
  3. Down SERRE ROAD to L.25.a.0.7., then through communication trench past K.30.b.6.8. and K.30.a.3.7.
  1. By road, through PUISIEUX into PUISIEUX VALLEY ROAD, into PUISIEUX Trench and C.T’s running off Westwards.
  2. By tracks, leaving ACHIET-le-PETIT – PUISIEUX ROAD at about L.16.c.7.0., crossing through L.21.b. and c., following close to road and converging at L.20.c.8.2. leading into PUISIEUX VALLEY ROAD. Thence, by tracks, running through L.25.d. and c. converging just S. of cross-roads in K.36.a.
  1. Leaving ACHIET-le-PETIT – PUSIEUX Road at
  1. About L.16.c.7.0. by track to railway junction in L.22.c.
  2. About L.18.c.2.8. and meeting railway at L.23.a.25.25. and then to railway junction in L.22.c.
  3. From L.22.c. route diverges:-
  1. By railway, running through L.27.b. and a., L.26.b., into PUISIEUX VALLEY ROAD, into PUSH ALLEY, TEN TREE ALLEY and GLORY LANE.
  2. By track, through L.27.a. and c. to PUISIEUX ALLEY and PUISIEUX Trench.
  1. By road through G.19 to GOODS STATION, than along railway.R.3.b.4.5. – R.3.a.2.5. – R.2.b.9.8.L.33.c.7.2. – L.33.c.1.7. – L.32.d.7.6.  ***************************************** K.30.c.65.13.             (S. of SERRE).K.30.b.45.40.             (House in SERRE).K.4.d.85.75.               (S. of GOMMECOURT).L.32.a.9.2.                 (PUISIEUX TRENCH).L.28.c.central            (     do                     do         ) O.P. on ridge.L.24.b.95.80.            (E of STAR WOOD).L.14.c.2.2.                  (Red house in PUISIEUX).  R.2.b.90.15.               (Behind PUISIEUX Trench) – Conspicuous artificial mound, slit  SUSPECTED.K.30.a.6.2.                 (W of SERRE).K.30.c.2.9.                 (covered with chalk).K.12.d.65.05.             (FARM Trench, S. of SUNKEN ROAD).K.11.b.3.6.                 (S.E. of NAMELESS FARM).K.5.c.25.33.               (Junction of LEHMANN GRABEN with 3rd Line).K.4.d.2.5.                   (Front line, W of SUD GRABEN).                                     TRENCH).L.14.a.3.0.                  (PUISIEUX). R.2.d.8.5.                   (S. end of RIVER Trench).*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*BILLETS AND DUGOUTS*****************************************PUISIEUX:                Dugouts and cellars.Dugouts, 2½ Kilos S. of village. Road.LOGEAST WOOD:   Chiefly in S.E. corner.                                    areas.?COURCELLES-le-COMTE: Dugouts, 8 or more, each connected, and each holding GOMIECOURT:        In Church (?)IRLES:                       Dugouts and cellars.BEHAGNIES:           Houses and barns.ERVILLERS:   K.12.b.27.60 – ROSSIGNOL WOOD.K.18.b.35 or 39- Permanent.(K.24.b.15.95 – near STAR WOOD.ACHIET-le-PETIT, brought up once in every 24 hours, either day or night into main street about G.13.b.84  ************************************R.1.a.5.5.                                                                                           R.1.d.2½.3.R.1.d.½.5.                                                                                          R.1.d.7.4.R.1.d.2.5.                                                                                           L.20.a.1.4.R.2.b.20.15.                                                                                       L.32.a.89.38.Q.6.a.50.60                                                                                        K.35.a.4.1.Q.6.c.6.5.                                                                                           K.35.a.8.7.L.20.a.0.2.                                                                                          K.30.c.2.9.K.35.a.8.7.                                                                                         K.29.b.4.1.K.35.c.92.75.                                                                                     K.29.b.62.89.K.30.c.75.50.                                                                                     K.23.b.7.0.K.29.b.4.6.                                                                                         K.4.d.2.5. (O.P.?).K.29.b.7.1.K.29.d.1.3.K.24.c.45.15.K.24.c.75.90.K.23.d.7.9.K.4.a.22.49.K.4.c.79.47.K.4.d.05.50.  ————————————————–K.35.a.8.3.                             K.35.c.30.10.                                     K.35.c.8.3.K.30.a.10.85.                         K.30.a.2.2.                                         K.29.b.75.25.K.29.d.2.3.                             K.23.b.8.3.                                         K.23.b.9.2.K.17.d.35.10.                         K.11.a.25.75.                                     K.11.d.80.30.K.4.a.9.3.                               K.4.b.03.38.                                       K.4.b.10.03.R.1.d.5.5.SUSPECTED.K.30.b.2.9.                             K.29.d.39.45.                                     K.29.d.41.31.  ————————K.35.d.0.7.                             K.29.d.4.5.                                         K.35.c.6.8.*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*************************
  3. K.36.c.1.2.                             K.35.c.8.8.
  5. *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
  6. K.29.d.3.8.
  7. K.4.b.08.08.                           K.4.b.1.1.                                           K.4.b.05.18.
  8. K.4.a.68.45.                           K.4.a.7.5.                                           K.4.a.99.31.
  9. K.24.a.0.1.                             K.24.a.1.0.                                         K.17.d.2.1.
  10. K.29.d.4.4.                             K.29.d.6.1.                                         K.29.d.6.2.
  11. K.35.c.35.30.                         K.30.a.00.75.                                     K.30.a.45.03.
  14. *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
  15. K.4.d.3.4.
  16. K.4.c.85.45.
  17. K.4.c.32.88.
  18. K.4.a.43.95.
  19. K.24.c.8.6.
  20. K.24.c.6.4.
  21. K.24.a.5.3.
  22. K.29.b.40.55.
  23. K.29.b.5.7.                                                                                         K.4.d.68.22.
  24. K.29.b.2.1.                                                                                         K.23.d.8.7.
  25. K.30.c.2.1.                                                                                         K.29.b.8.9.
  26. K.35.c.8.8.                                                                                         K.29.b.53.69.
  27. K.36.c.0.1. (in front of front line)                                                    K.29.b.47.13.
  28. Q.6.c.63.34.                                                                                       K.35.a.7.3.
  29. Q.6.a.60.40.                                                                                       K.35.a.6.5.
  30. R.2.d.4.2.                                                                                           L.32.a.90.45.
  31. R.1.d.4.7.                                                                                           L.22.a.9.3.
  32. R.1.d.0.4. (2 guns and very strong point).                                   Q.6.c.50.30.
  33. R.1.c.3.1.                                                                                           R.1.d.3.5.
  34. CONFIRMED.                                                                                   SUSPECTED.
  36. *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
  37. R.5.c.44 – Crucifix in MIRAUMONT.
  38. 200 yards W. of road in L.13.a. (Drives up every night and goes away again at once).
  39. (K.18.d.5.1. – STAR ALLEY, or
  40. K.12.c.9.2. – In SUNKEN ROAD.
  41. E.28.d.84.80 – GOMMECOURT WOOD.
  43. *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
  44. EPINOY.
  45. SAPIGNIES:             3 Regiments and 2 F.A. regiments.
  46. PYS:                           Cellars and dugouts.
  47. MIRAUMONT:           Cellars and dug-outs, (N. end only).
  48.                                     30 – 40 men (A.10.c.5.0).
  49. ABLAINZEVILLE:    Houses and barns.
  50. BIHUCOURT:           rest billets (for 1day) for troops moving up to line from back
  51. BUCQUOY:               Cellars and dugouts (L.3.b.2½.2½.).
  52. ACHIET-le-GRAND: Also in hut barracks W. of Station and N. of ABLAINZEVILLE
  53. ACHIET-le-PETIT:    Dugouts and cellars (G.13.b.65 and G.13.d.97)
  54. SERRE:                     Dugouts and cellars.
  55. R.2.b.9.2.                   (Ridge W. of BAILLESCOURT FARM).
  56. L.7.c.4.1.                    (S.E. ROSSIGNOL WOOD)
  57. L.20.a.30.95              (PUISIEUX).
  58. L.26.c.25.25.             (series of O.P’s) (Junction of PUSH ALLEY with PUISIEUX
  59. K.4.d.68.22.               (Front line, W of LEHMANN GRABEN).
  60. K.5.b.29.05.               (behind GOMMECOURT).
  61. K.5.c.50.05.               (Junction of BECKER GRABEN with 3rd line).
  62. K.11.b.3.0.                 (Slit in Bank).
  63. K.18.c.90.35.             (STAR WOOD).
  64. K.30.b.30.35.             (SERRE).
  65. K.35.b.8.2.                 (SERRE TRENCH).
  66. ——————————————-
  67.                                     visible.
  68. R.3.a.2.5.                   (Ridge N.E. of BAILLESCOURT FARM).
  69. Q.6.a.43.70.               (MUNICH Trench).
  70. L.13.b.7.8.                  (N. of PUISIEUX).
  71. L.19.d.20.36.             (Camouflaged tree on SERRE Road, about 15 ft. high).
  72. L.25.a.30.85.             (junction of roads).
  73. L.28.c.95.00.             (BEAUREGARD DOVECOTE) Platform in most Southerly tree.)
  74. K.18.c.35.50.             (W. of LA LOUVIERE FARM) Battalion O.P.
  75. K.24.c.8.6.                 (WALTER TRENCH) – Battalion O.P.
  76. K.30.d.18.06             (S. of SERRE).
  77. K.35.d.1.7.                 (Mound near SERRE Trench).
  80. *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
  81. L.33.b.1.3. – L.32.b.5.0.
  82. L.34.c.9.1. – L.33.c.7.2. – R.2.b.9.8.
  83. The following tracks are in area W. of MIRAUMONT
  2. At a dugout in GOMMECOURT E.28.d.8.8.
  1. In W. corner of BEITZ WOOD at K.6.b.63.72. there are several very deep quarries.
  2. Four large quarries at PUISIEUX used by the enemy:-
  1. VAQUETTE QUARRY L.20c..63
  2. DESSENNE QUARRY (L.20.c.65.63.)
  3. Quarries of the Rue de la Chappelle (L.20.a.52.42.)
  4. Quarries of the lime maker hauel (L.20.a.2.9.)
  1. K.11.a.60.23. (HEBUTERNE – CRUCIFIX Road) (photo: 5 AE 327)
  2. K.11.b.95.25. (The CRUCIFIX) (photo: 5 AE 324)
  3. K.17.b.41.92 (SUNKEN ROAD) (Photo 5 AE 190)
  4. K.17.b.32.52. (HEBUTERNE – LA LOUVIERRE FARM) (Photo 5 AE 190)
  5. K.18.a.65.10 and 82.01 (HEBUTERNE – LA LOUVIERRIE FARM)
  6. (Photo 5 AE 149)
  7. K.13.a.55.65 (SUNKEN ROAD, N. of BOX WOOD)
  8. K.29.d.41.07 ( ***** from SERRE)
  1. WATER SUPPLY.Well in STAR WOODThe Sugar Factory at G.17 (BIHUCOURT) was used by 52nd Division as a mineral water factory.*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
  2. PUISIEUX: has good supply; SERRE: not good. Mineral waters are much used.
  3. About K.4.b.69.07, K.18..20.85.

1 East York’s R Report 4 January 1916

1 East York’s R Report 4 January 1916


This Reconnaissance was made with the object of finding a way into the enemy’s line with a view to a “silent” raid.


1st E. York R.


Report of Reconnaissance in front of trenches 81 – 83.


Monday 31st Jan[Dec] 1916[?15].      Lt Huntriss left trench 83 No M.G. emplacement at 10 p.m. with two Corporals and followed the line of Willows & on reaching the last one proceeded towards the Salient C.23.c.8.7. a ditch was crossed which could easily be jumped and then a dry ditch.  The patrol then passed through a wire fence some distance from the enemy’s trenches & then proceeded directly for the enemy’s trenches about C.23.c.8½.6½.  Here, when lights were sent up, knife rests could be seen in front of enemy’s parapet but no weak point was noticed.  On returning the patrol crossed a sap which appeared to be grown over & disused & knowing this was not the way they came by they re-crossed it & proceeded towards what they thought to be their starting point.  This was found to be a mistake on shots being fired at them which at first was thought to come from trench 84.  This was discovered to be wrong on the TREES in front of LE HALLOTS FARM being noticed.  A left handed direction was taken which brought the party into the L’AVENTURE – FRELINGHIEN RD &then they returned still being fired at.  Even if a weak point had been discovered it would not be a possible to guarantee leaving a party there owing to its great distance from our lines.


Another party consisting of 2Lt Green & Sergt Barnes left trench 81 bay 15 & crossed the stream in front by bridge C.29.a.3½.5½. & proceeded Northwards for about 30X & then S.E. to enemy’s wire about C.29.A.6¼.5¼.  There they discovered what was thought to be a very suitable gap for the enterprise, the wire being badly damaged & very low as far as it was possible to see.  Two sentries were heard talking just to the left & somebody was walking up & down the footboards.  The party then returned.


Another party went out from Trench 82 under L.Cpl Kelly & proceeded to enemy’s wire C.29.A.8.7. but failed to find any suitable place.


Tuesday 1st Jan 1916.  A party went out under Lt Huntriss to confirm the information gained by Lt. Green on the previous night & proceeded by the same route.  The wire was reached & a weak spot noticed.  Many “Crows feet” were parked which were intended to stick in one’s knees.  A gap was found & apparently the same sentry post was noticed but on this occasion the sentries fired into the wire.  This was again thought to be a suitable place.  The position was kept under observation by listening posts of 1 N.C.O. & 5 men until 5 a.m. but no movement was seen.


A party under Lt. Green set out from M.G. emplacement in Trench 83 with a view of reconnoitring the ground about C.23.c.9.4. but owing to the great distance & the dense mist the party lost their bearings & after great difficulty returned. The ground is very unsuitable for night operations owing to the lack of landmarks.


Wed 2nd Jan 1916.  The enemy’s wire was observed through glasses throughout the day & the conclusion arrived at was that the wire about C.29.A.6 ¼.5 ¼. was the weakest.

A party under Lt. Huntriss left trench 81 with a view to making sure of the former & also of penetrating the wire if possible. On getting about 50X from the enemy’s wire it was discovered that [a] wiring parties were working on a frontage of about 150X. At the same time sniping was very brisk about the gap & on to the ground in front.  A covering party in front of wire was suspected & it was hoped to take a prisoner but on closer investigation the firing was found to be coming from the trench.


The party returned about 11 p.m. & a M.G. was turned on the wiring party.


It was then ordered that a party should go an hour later in order to investigate the gap & see if possible whether it had been closed. When the party arrived within about 50X of the enemy’s wire a great deal of sniping took place the bullets hitting the ground in front of the wire.  The party however continued to within what was thought to be 5X of the gap.  The sentry fired into the gap & the *** & a piece of the wire pierced the forehead of Sergt Baines who was slightly wounded.  Not being able to ascertain the nature of the wound the party returned.


In addition the party heard a great deal of movement in this sector & sniping on the ground in front from all sections. Men were running about & a lot of extra talking took place.  The sentry posts were about 4 times as numerous as previously.  The conclusion is that the enemy are suddenly very much alert or else a relief has taken place.


3rd Jan 1916.  A patrol consisting of Lts Huntress, Green & 2 Corpls & 6 men went out from Bay 30 of trench 82 & proceeded to bridge in willows at & from thence towards the German trenches at ?

The wire was found to be strong & formed of large Knife rests. The patrol then returned & proceeded to work along to the right about 100X & then again to within about 20X of the German wire.  Here again large Knife rests were noticed but a gap was seen between 2 of them which was subsequently found to be *** up.  The patrol was out from 10.30 p.m. to 1.40 a.m.


A strong patrol consisting of 2 N.C.O.s & 10 men went out from trench 81 in search of a white flag with orders to watch it carefully & to attack any party they saw. The flag was not discovered.


Wed 4th Jan 1916.   During the day the German lines were carefully observed through glasses & a position located at — where the knife rests appeared either to cease or to be hidden by a rise in the ground.  The ground behind this appeared to be free from wire except some trip wires on the parapet.  Some distance behind the German front line could clearly be seen a large earthwork which is supposed to be a M.G. emplacement & which commands the front of the German parapet.


It was decided to investigate this position & at the same time to search the willows for a German Listening post.


The patrol consisted of Lt. Huntress, 2 N.C.O.s & 2men & supported in rear about 20X by Lt Green, 1 N.C.O. & 6 men.  The party left trench 82 bay 30 at 10.30 p.m. & proceeded to bridge at —- & thence to 6 ft along the whole line of willows but no listening post was discovered.  They then worked towards the German lines at —– & a working party was heard putting out wire.


Lt Huntriss’ party crawled as near as possible without detection, followed by support at 20X distance.  Both parties could hear the working party talking & one man was thought to be working towards the party with a coil of wire & it was hoped that he would get close enough to the patrol to be captured.  As this did not occur Lt. Huntriss sent to supports for 3 men & decided to approach near enough to rush the party.  When three men arrived delay was caused through one of our men coughing & he had to be sent back & replaced.  When this was done the word was given to go forward but they rather suddenly seeing three men walk along the wire from the left from the working & the whole disappeared over their parapet.


Suspicions that the party would be relieved & also that the party of 3 might be a listening post relieving, the patrol waited about ½ hour on hearing or seeing nothing returned.


The patrol was out from 10.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. The patrol had some difficulty in getting back & although carefully warned the 15th D.L.I fired on them.