Report on Raid 27 February 1917

Report on Raid 27 February 1917


Between pages 40/41.


Report of attempted Raid by Enemy on night 25/26 February 1917 on right Company sector & action taken by left Coy.


At 12.35 a.m. my H.Q. sentry reported a succession of green very lights being fired from the front line.


I immediately investigated the matter & decided that the S.O.S. was required. I fired 3 rockets (green) which all failed to ascend the sticks being stuck in the mud.


I loosened the 4th which was quite satisfactory.


I then saw that the bombardment was more intense on my right than my left & accordingly wired S.O.S. Boyaux 6 (1.40 am)


I had previously in the evening discussed the question of a raid on the right coy & the factors pointing to it with 2/Lt Shury & I had thought that the bombardment at dawn 24/25 was directed in a line from Boyaux 6 to S of junction OLD BOOTS & MUNSTER PARADE which lead me to suppose that it was the N edge of a box barrage.


I sent accordingly a verbal message over the phone. The message sent arrived thus “From Mr GREEN he thinks C Coy are getting it”.


I then sent 2 orderlies to MUNSTER TUNNEL to ascertain the situation. They reported all clear.


I then went to O.C. A. Coy & obtained from him a squad 1 officer, 1 N.C.O. & 11 men issued them with Mills No 5 & ordered them to proceed up MUNSTER TUNNEL & establish connection with RAILWAY SAPS POSTS & left Right of Coy & if all clear to return & report to me.


I then ordered 2 Lt Shurry to go to O.C. A Coy & tell him to send a squad to my left post & if all clear to establish connection with Tunnel post & return via TUNNEL & report to me there.


I then proceeded to TUNNEL & found everything satisfactory except that one Lewis Gun was out of action. A message was sent to O.C. A Coy for another gun which arrived some hours afterwards.


All liaison patrols returned at 4 p.m. & garrisons replaced by 5 pm.


Casualties as far as known at present

1 Sergt.            Killed.

2 Pte                Missing believed killed (buried)

6 “                  Wounded

2 “                  *****

W.C. Green O.C. D Coy

8 a.m. 27.2.17

Message 27 February 1917

“A” Form



To        Camp Comdt (Adv)


Senders Number                     Day of Month             In reply to Number     AAA

G.B. 305                                             27


The Left Division attacked this morning at 5.30 am. enemy’s trenches from N.36D.4.2. to N.35.D.8.0. and ERSATZ point as ordered AAA From reports received from the air and other sources this attack appears to have been successful and all objectives have been taken except for that portion on the right of the attack from N.36.D.00.05. to N.36.D.4.2. where the situation still appears doubtful AAA Up to date 6 Officers 336 OR and 2 machine guns have been captured AAA Prisoners belong to 119 R, 121 R. and 11th Bavarian R.I.R. AAA Prisoners state attack came as complete surprise AAA Our casualties reported to be small AAA Regiments who took part in attack were RASHER and REALM AAA Addsd C.R.A., C.R.E., TUMULT, TRAWL, TONE, TUBE, SENIOR SCHOOL and Divl Troops




Time: 3 pm

  1. Durrant S/Sgt *** G.S.

Signature of Addressee



? 27 Feb 1917

Message form 27 February 1917

“A” Form



To                    Camp Cdt.


Senders Number                     Day of Month             In reply to Number     AAA

G.B.312                                              27


Situation now reported as quiet AAA All objectives have been captured and in addition posts have been pushed forward to N.36.C.6.95. and N.35.D.6.3.




Time: 7 pm.

  1. Durrant S/Sgt *** G.S

Signature of Addressee


? 27 Feb 1917.

Cambrin orders 26 February 1917

Cambrin orders 26 February 1917


CAMBRIN 1917 Some routine orders & reports.


2Lt Laurens No 13 Platoon.


  1. You will be relieved in trenches tonight by No 3 Platoon A Coy at 10 pm.
  2. You will send a guide to Dug outs in High Street at 9.45 p.m.
  3. Your Lewis Guns will hand over drums received from IRON.
  4. After relief you will take over SIMS KEEP.
  5. No person will leave their posts until properly relieved.
  6. Empty Water Tins must be carried out by you.
  7. Report to Coy H.Q. after relief.
  8. Rations will be drawn after relief.


  1. C. Green


O.C. D Coy



No 15 platoon.


  1. You will be relieved tonight at 10 p.m. by No 4 Platoon A Coy
  2. Your Lewis Guns will hand over drums received from IRON.
  3. After relief Lewis Guns team proceeds to Dug Out in OLD BOOT TRENCH where they will find equal number of Drums.
  4. After relief you will detail 4 men to report to Sergt Downs to make him up to nine men without N.C.O.s.
  5. The remainder of your platoon will after relief proceed to Dug out in OLD BOOT TRENCH between Lewis Alley & MAISON ROUGE.
  6. Bring out all petrol tins & dump them at Coy H.Q.
  7. No person will leave his post until properly relieved.
  8. Report to Coy H.Q. when relief complete.
  9. Rations will be drawn after relief.


W.C. Green

O.C. D Coy



No 16 Platoon. Sergt Downs.

  1. You will be relieved in Tunnel tonight at 10 p.m. by a part of Nos 1 & 2 Platoon A Coy.
  2. After relief you will form a bombing post of yourself & 9men and proceed to Dug outs in High Street between BOYAR 10 & 11.
  3. You will obtain the men to make up your strength from No 15 platoon.
  4. The remainder of your N.C.Os will proceed to Dug out in OLD BOOTS TRENCH between LEWIS ALLEY & MAISON ROUGE.
  5. N.C.Os will carry out petrol tins & dump them at Coy H.Q. They will report to me relief complete & will be responsible for drawing your rations & getting them up to you.
  6. You must bring out all Rifles & equipment of wounded etc. You may call on No 15 to assist in this.
  7. A guide will meet you in OLD BOOTS to conduct you to dug outs.
  8. Your orders on Dugouts are to support A Coy in front of you in case of emergency.


W.C. Green

Lt O.C. D Coy



2/Lt Desborough – No 14 Platoon.



  1. You will be relieved from trenches tonight at about 10 p.m. by 1 & 2 Platoons A Coy under 2 Lt WARD.
  2. You will send a guide to report to this Coy H.Q. by 8.30 p.m. tonight & I will instruct him in his duties.
  3. The relief will come down MAIN GUAGE RAILWAY in order of posts at 2 minutes intervals.
  4. Your Lewis Gun Team will hand over DRUMS received from IRON & will pick up equal number at Coy H.Q.
  5. After relief your men will file out by posts & you will arrange to collect them at Junction of OLD BOOTS & MAIN GUAGE RAILWAY. Thence proceed N along top of OLD BOOTS to Dug outs on OLD BOOTS.
  6. No man will leave his post until properly relieved.
  7. All petrol tins, – rifles & equipment of wounded will be carried out by you & brought to Coy H.Q.
  8. Report relief complete.
  9. Password tonight HOPS.


W.C. Green Lt

O.C. D. Coy.

5.30 p.m.




Herewith report on men recommended for mention in despatches.


No 31039 A/Cpl Trowell A. i/c Lewis Gun.  Has done continual good work in the trenches.  Is specially recommended by the Lewis Gun Officer.  Has been with the Battn since July 1916.


1038 A/Sergt Deyes G.  Has been with Bn since July 1916.  Has done continual good work always ready to help & *** an emergency.


31210 Cpl Spence J.  Has been with Bn since July 1916.  previously with Dardanelles Campaign.  Very reliable N.C.O.  Good patroller.


W.C. Green Lt.

O.C. D. Coy.





Work & Wire report.


SAPs & CRATERS    Nil.

FRONT LINE            Cleared trenches between Boyau 6 & 7 after bombardment.

Support LINE             Nil.

RESERVE LINE       LATRINES Old Boots & SIMS KEEP put in sanitary condition.


Lewis Alley from junction with Old BOOTS to SIMS KEEP cleaned of MUD.

WIRE                          4 coils of wire put out in front line at gap between BOYAUX 10 & 11. – Wire examined here & found satisfactory.

Wire in front Old BOOTS & round SIMS KEEP satisfactory.


W.C. Green Lt.

O.C. D Coy

1.3.17 3 p.m.




  1. Coy. BRASS. Ref Op Orders No 9 1.3.17


  1. The Coy will be relieved by a Coy of 9th K.O.Y.L.I. today at about 1 p.m.
  2. After relief the Coy will proceed by platoons to ANNEQUIN, the Platoon Commander marching in rear of his command & taking great care to prevent straggling. Platoon must proceed in formed bodies.
  3. All movements from CAMBRIN to ANNEQUIN must be at 200 yards distance between platoons.
  4. The whole Coy must go out by LEWIS ALLEY.
  5. Each platoon will report relief to Coy H.Q.
  6. No 16 Platoon will not wait to be relieved but will join up with No 13 in SIMS KEEP at 12.30 p.m. sending one man to report to O.C. A Coy at the same time.
  7. Lewis Gunners will leave drums as usual.
  8. All Dugouts will be left thoroughly clean likewise latrines. ***


W.C. Green Lt.

O.C. D Coy



Ref return re wire-cutters & breakers I have at present 10 wire cutters and 8 wire breakers (rifle)

Deficient – 6 wire cutters.

W.C. Green 2/Lt.

O.C. D. Coy





I certify that the rocket signals at my H.Q. are complete and correct. aaa.


2 more Port flares should be sent up in case of losses. aaa

W.C. Green Lt.

O.C. D. Coy.


7 p.m.



Maps herewith as follows:-

FRANCE        36 C                1/10,000                      1

“                 36 B                1/10,000                      1

“                 36 C. N.W.      1/20,000                      6

“                36 B. N.E.       1/10,000                      6

LOOS             36 C. N.W.      1/10,000                      6

LABASSEE   36 C N.W.       1/10,000                      7

Belgium           Sheet 27                                              1

W.C. Green Lt.

O.C. D. Coy



List of maps handed to Bn H.Q. Gives date of move from BETHUNE Area.



20 Light Division Instructions No 15 25 February 1917

SECRET.                                                                                            Copy No. —-

25th Feby 1917






The action of the Artillery on Zero Day will be as follows:-

  1. (a) Vigorous counter-battery work by specially detailed Groups of Heavy and Siege Artillery.

(b) Bombardment of selected points.

(c) Barrages.

As regards (a) and (b), their action requires no explanation, but as regards   Barrages all ranks must be fully cognisant of the methods which will be   employed.



This will operate according to the Barrage Map Attached.  Should our troops have pushed forward at such a distance beyond the STEENBEEK as to render it unsafe to open on first barrage line, then this will be omitted, and the barrage will open on the second line, remaining on this line until Zero plus 10 minutes.

Any line on which the barrage “piles up” so as to conform to its shape is called the “Piling up Line”.

The BROWN Line as shown on map, 200 yards from, and parallel to, each objective, are called the “Protective Barrage Lines”, as these are the lines on which the creeping barrage remains during the consolidation of the objective.


  1. Before the lifting of a “Protective Barrage”, the rate of fire increases from half a round per gun per minute to three rounds per gun per minute for 5 minutes immediately prior to the lift.       This would be an indication to the Infantry that it is time to advance close to the barrage for the next forward bound.



The role of the Standing Barrage is to engage more definite objectives        than the Creeping Barrage, and to catch any of the enemy that may be retiring.       This barrage moves on in front of the Creeping Barrage from target to target,     and is never overtaken by it.  In this case it consists of five 18-pounder       batteries and probably two 4.5 How, batteries.  Certain 4.5 Hows. will be      employed to block the roads by advancing along them 200 yards in front of the      first wave.

The 18-pounder Standing Barrage will search 150yards in front and in rear of        the RED Line, whilst the Infantry occupy the GREEN Line.



This consists of two 6” Howitzer batteries and probably two 4.5 How.        batteries.  These guns search the area from 300 yards to 1,200 yards in front of     the advancing Infantry to keep down enemy long-range machine gun fire.



Should the wind be favourable, the Artillery has been ordered to form the following smoke screens:-

  1. Along the GREEN Line at Zero plus 40 minutes to Zero plus 50 minutes. In this barrage no smoke will be fired South of LANGEMARK-WHITE HOUSE Road.
  2. From Zero plus 1 hour and 30 minutes to Zero plus 1 hour and 50 minutes, on the RED Line from the Right Divisional Boundary to a point outside the Left Divl. Boundary.
  3.       The smoke barrage on the GREEN Line is to cover the consolidation of the            BLUE Line, and on the RED Line to cover the consolidation of the GREEN      Line.
  1. In the event of our Infantry being seriously held up in the advance, the creeping barrage will be stopped in order to recommence under orders of the Divisional Commander.

Every 18 Pdr. creeping barrage which is stopped and brought back will       invariably fire 4 rounds per gun per minute for the four minutes immediately       prior to the recommencement of the creep forward.  This will give the Infantry   the necessary warning that the advance is to be resumed.

When the barrage starts again after being brought back there will be no fire            within 100 yards of the flank of any Infantry who have got forward.


  1. Troops detailed for any particular objective are not to be engaged in the capture of a previous objective without orders from Divisional Headquarters.

The B.G.C. concerned can, however, order up, on his own responsibility, one         Company (but not more) to reinforce any line held up, but this will only be done in case of urgent necessity.




  1. McD Haskard

Lieut. Colonel,

General Staff, 20th Division.

11th Aug 1917.

Issued to Signals at


Copies to –

No 1. 59th Inf Bde.                           14. XIV Corps.

  1. 60th Inf. Bde.                          15. 11th Division.
  2. 61st Inf. Bde.                           16. 29th Division.
  3. B.G. R.A.                                17. 38th Division.
  4. C.R.E.                                     18. XIV Corps R.A.
  5. Div. Signals.                            19. XIV Corps H.A.
  6. Div. Pioneers.                          20. No. 8 Heavy Arty. Group.
  7. Div. M.G. Coy.                       21. No 9 Sqdn. R.F.C.
  8. A.D.M.S.                                22. G.O.C.
  9. A.P.M.                                                23. G.S.O.1.
  10. A.A. & Q.M.G..                      24. G.S.O. 2.
  11. D.M.G.O., 20th Div.                25. War Diary
  12. D.M.G.O., 38th Div.                26. File.

20 Division Operation Order No 137 25 February 1917

SECRET.                                                                                            Copy No. 18

25th Feby 1917




Reference Maps: – 1/100,000 Sheets 11, 12, 17, 18.


  1. The Fifth Army last night gained considerable ground, and are reported to have already occupied MIRAUMONT, PYS and many German trenches between GUEUDECOURT and SERRE.

From the information of prisoners, they have heard   that the Germans         contemplate a general and gradual retirement in this area to the         HINDENBURG Line, which runs from the neighbourhood of LENS, in front       of CAMBRAI and DOUAI to ST. QUENTIN, which line they were to have         reached by March 25th.

The prisoners further report that all water supply is being destroyed, and     dugouts, where possible, mined.


  1. Strong Officer’s patrols will be sent out during the night to ascertain whether any of the German trenches in front of the MORVAL and LESBOEUFS Sector have been vacated and will gain all ground which may have been vacated by the enemy.


  1. The B.G.C. LESBEUFS Sector will get into touch with the B.G.C. 14th Australian Brigade (H.Qrs at T.13.c.1.1.) on his Left flank.

It is particularly important that touch be maintained with the 5th Australian             Division, and that any ground gained by them shall be linked up with our         Divisional front.


  1. The B.Gs.C. MORVAL and LESBOEUFS Sectors will inform Divisional Headquarters by wire at what hour these patrols are going out, and the route they are taking.

Artillery barrages can be arranged to cover their movements if necessary.





  1. McD Haskard

Lieut. Colonel,

General Staff, 20th Division.

Issued to Signals at 4.10 p.m.


Copies to –

No 1.  XIV Corps.                  8. 59th Inf. Bde.          16. A. A. & Q.M.G.

  1.    29th Division.               9. 60th Inf. Bde.          17. Divl. Train.
    1. 5th Australian Divn 61st Inf. Bde.         18. Camp Commdt.
    2. XIV Corps R.A. 11th Durham L.I.   19/23. Retained.
    3. XIV Corps H.A. Signals
    4. R.A. 13. A.D.M.S.
    5. R.E. 14.  A.D.V.S.

20 Division 22 February 1917

SECRET                                                                                             Copy No….21


22nd February 1917




Reference Operation Order No. 135, para. 2 (d), of 3rd instant.


The relief of the B.G.C. 59th Infantry Brigade, in command of LESBOEUFS Sector, by the B.G.C. 60th Infantry Brigade on the 24th instant, is postponed till further orders.


Similarly, the relief of the 59th M.G. Company and T.M. Battery by the 60th M.G. Company and T.M. Battery is also postponed.


R.A. Thornton Capt

for Lieut. Colonel

General Staff, 20th Division.

Issued to Signals at 3.45 pm


Copies to recipients of O.O. 135.

George Ryan’s letter home dated 7 Feb 1917

George Ryan’s letter home dated 7 Feb 1917


On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.


Nr Abbottabad


7 Feb 1917


Dear Mother,


Many thanks for your letters of Jan 3rd & 10th, the latter addressed to Hasan Abdal.  Shall be glad to hear from May & Edie again.  You have mentioned about them writing for two weeks in succession, so I ought to hear from them next mail.  May used to say, the third time is never like the rest.


I am very sorry to hear Cousin Ellen does not improve at all, & that she has had to go to the Infirmary. I’m sure she was too much for you to look after.


I also heard from Mr. Walker last week. He mentions about your letter to him & asks what he is to do, so I suppose he never received my letter.  I shall write to him next week, & will let you know what I tell him to do.  Well I don’t think there’s anything of interest to tell you this week.  The weather has been very fine the last week; just like it is in May at home.  I am still on the Pioneer Staff, keeping my hand in at paste dabbing, & paper-hanging, tell Dad.


I am sending the Jan No of our magazine. I don’t think it improves much.  I should think it’s rather hard for people outside the Battalion to understand some parts of it.  What’s your opinion?


Hoping you are all well; I’m in the pink.

Fondest love to all from

Yr affectionate son



P.S. In case last weeks mail goes to the bottom of the sea, I will repeat one thing that I said & that’s “In future please address letters to Rawal Pindi, until I alter it again”.


P.P.S. I meant to have told you the “latest” which is that we are going down to Lahore, very shortly, into the 3rd Div.

WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne February 1917

WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne February 1917


Extracted from


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



February 4, 1917.

The cold still continues. I have never felt it so much.  However I have escaped having a cold.  We had 30 degrees of frost last night.  Well I suppose when the thermometer is down to zero it is a bit cold.  The men are feeling it very much and they are having a bad time in the trenches.  I was down there yesterday.


The job I have now is very interesting, as I hear all that is going on, and a little more. For instance I can tell you that all leave has been stopped for the Boche on the Western Front.  Interesting isn’t it?  I wonder why?  I wonder also if the censor will pass that.  They generally stop all the Boche know already, better than we do.


Boche frightfulness seems to have reached the limit now. What else can they attempt?  I am longing for the day when we get to German soil; but we shall not be allowed to retaliate


Downstairs in the cellars two signallers are on duty with four switch boards under their charge. I can be put on to any battery, brigade, battalion or other headquarters, O.P. or company dug-out in our area in the line or behind.  So you see we have quite a large telephone system.  If the Boche makes a nuisance of himself I can get up information and then switch on any battery proper in retaliation.  This is how we wage modern warfare.


R.P. February 7, 1917.

The thermometer was down to zero the other night, that is registering 32 degrees of frost. Everything is frozen hard, even in our bedrooms.


We are extraordinarily busy here. Yesterday I was in the office all day working on plans.  This morning I was out round the batteries.  This afternoon I am in the office doing the Adjutant’s work, who is out.


This Brigade has now become an Army Field Brigade.

The Boche must be in a bad way to go to the lengths they do. I hope it is a good sign.  The idiotic Yankees appear extremely foolish from the way the Boche entirely ignore them as of no account.  I hope it will do them good, but I sincerely hope the Americans will not declare war.  We must finish this war off without their interference, or the position in the end will be made uncomfortable for us.


London is not very exciting, I suppose.  Can you get plenty of food?  I see you are asked to economise in rather a drastic way.  The unfortunate thing about a voluntary method is that the loyal and conscientious economise, but the others do not.  Do not our politicians yet realise that an appeal to the better sort only penalises them.  In a war like this it is folly.


It was just the same over enlistment, thanks to such men as Simon.


I paid a visit the other day to our old O.P. which we used when we first came out. It is much altered, and rather badly knocked about, but it still exists as an O.P.


The Boche have not been so noisy lately, but they may break out at any time.


The weather is beautifully fine but very cold. It will be a swamp of mud when it thaws, which I suppose it will do some day.


February 8, 1917.

Life is dependent on the moods of the Boche and the Colonel. We have had no letters for three days, and no newspapers for two days.  I can’t think what the matter is.  I hope England has not been submarined.


I was down in the front line the whole morning, and it was so cold.

At home you will all get very thin on food rations. One more month and then we shall expect spring and all that spring will bring with it.  It will be strange to have no war.  We have got so used to it that we shall miss it.


February 14, 1917.

The weather has changed a lot and it is much finer and warmer. We have been very busy here with one thing and another. I dare say you have seen in the papers, and that things are not exactly quiet in this neighbourhood.  It all serves to relieve the boredom and make the time go all the quicker.   I have got hold of a strange book “A Student In Arms” by Donald Hankey.  It is rather serious.


There is a horrid noise going on at the moment. The Boche is up to something, and we are not taking it all lying down.  The war will gradually get more exciting now I suppose.  The lying jade, Mistress Rumour, is busy.


It is a glorious day to day. I shall have to spend my afternoon visiting batteries, and the trenches.


R.P. February 15 1917.

We have been busy here lately as no doubt you have seen from the papers. The Boche has been making a noise, and we have not let them have it all their own way.  The work is interesting as we hear all that is going on round about us.


My servant has gone to hospital with blood poisoning, so I shall not see him for some time if ever.


The spring will mean another push, but I hope it will not prove as costly as the last. The papers seem to be expecting something, and no doubt the Boche knows all about it if anything has been decided upon by the Higher Command.  Anyway we are looking forward to it, buoyed up by the hope that it will be successful at last.  I must try and get my leave before it comes along.


It is a fine day here today. I was up in the trenches yesterday, and hope to be up there again tomorrow.


I am dining out tonight at another Brigade Headquarters not a great distance away. It is extraordinary the number of men you get to know from all over the world, especially when not always occupied in the line.


Really interesting news I am not allowed to relate, and there is nothing else to write about.


February 18, 1917.

We have become an Army Field Artillery Brigade.

I have just begun to read H.G. Wells “Mr Britling sees it through”. It seems a lot of rot.


I have an early lunch today as I have to make a long expedition. We shall be on the move again shortly, so there are a lot of arrangements to see to.  I hate moves.


February 22, 1917.

Last night we had a bad time. I was up to 6.20 a.m. on the telephone.  We had a little affair with the Boche, and it is my job to see that the liaison between infantry and artillery does not break down, and I had to keep in touch with an officer who was in the front line at the other end of the telephone.


All today I have been out visiting batteries, O.Ps and telephone stations on a on a tour of inspection, and I did not get back untill 8 p.m. very tired and covered in mud.


We are moving in a day or two.


February 27, 1917.

We are in the midst of handing over. Great confusion.  I am acting as adjutant, and trying to look after my other duties as well.


Last night we had a very lively time, and we hope we made the Boche uncomfortable. There may be a reference to it in the papers.


Yesterday I started work in the office at 9 a.m. and finished at 3 a.m. this morning. Now I am not in very good form. I should like to sleep for a month.


Alf Smith postcard 28 Feb 1917

Postcard to T. Smith Esq., 24, Palmerston Rd., Bowes Park, London N. Postmarked London *.15 AM FEB 28 17


Feb 28th 17


Dear Father

Just arrived in good old London 1030 P.M. en route for France.  Will write again soon.  Thank you for paper received this morning.

Glad to say I am quite well.

Au revoir for the present.