2in Trench Mortar Ammo being moved to the front, 28 June 1916

2in Trench Mortar Ammo being moved to the front, 28 June 1916



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2in Trench Mortar Ammo being moved to the front, 28 June 1916

Here we see 2in Trench Mortar ammo (or 'Toffee Apples') being carried to the Front at Acheux on the Somme on 28 June 1916. The 2in Trench Mortar was one of the most effective British trench weapons of the war. Here we see the round warheads being carred - long metal tails were added just before the weapon was fired. This work was part of the preparation for the First Battle of the Somme, which began three days later on 1 July 1916.

Many thanks to Osprey for allowing us to use this picture, which comes from:


Charles George Dixon 1895-1917

Charles was born in Barnes, Surrey, England, on the 23rd of November 1895, the eldest son of Charles and Lizzie Kate Elton Dixon (nee Codd) .In the 1901 census Charles aged 5 years, and his family were living in Archway Street, Barnes, and by the 1911 census Charles was an Errand boy for a baker, living at No.1 Morwenham Cottage, High Street, Barnes, with his parents and younger siblings, Ellen, 11, Edward, 5 and Mary aged 3.

Charles enlisted into Army on 28th of January 1913 at Kingston on Thames, Surrey, England, joining the 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment. He gave his age as 18 years and 3 months but was 17 years old. He was 5ft 7in tall and weighed 124 lbs, and his chest was measured at 32 inches. His complexion was fresh, with Hazel coloured eyes, Brown hair and moles on his body.

His occupation was given as Town Porter, although the Surrey Recruitment Registers show Charles to be working at: RN Stapleton, Baker, High Street,Barnes,Surrey.

Rank: Private. Regimental No. 10631.

East Surrey Regiment Cap Badge

Service In Ireland

On 20th of June 1913 he was posted to Dublin, Ireland with the 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment. Private Charles Dixon was based here, whilst the events of June and July 1914 leading up to the Great War begun. Charles was declared Fit for Foreign Service on the 3rd of August 1914 and the following day at 6pm, the 1st Battalion was mobilized before the Declaration of War on Germany at 11pm.

The British Expeditionary Force 1914

On the 13th of August the 1st Battalion left Dublin on the S.S Botanist, where many Dublin friends turned out both on the streets and at the dock to give the Battalion a send off, and placed on board a packet of fruit, cake and cigarettes for each man.

The battalion arrived at Le Havre, France on the 15th of August 1914 at 12 noon and commenced disembarking at once. After some rest and coffee the Battalion were marched off to Camp No.1 at 4.15pm in the pouring rain. The next day was spent cleaning and drying, before being ordered to La Cateau by rail on the 17th of August, arriving at 4am on the 18th.

At 6am the Battalion marched about 8 miles through Pommereuil to Laundrecies where they billeted in a small French Infantry barracks. It was here at Laundrecies that the East Surrey's suffered their first casualty of the war when a Private, drowned whilst bathing in the canal.

The Battalion stayed at Laundrecies for the next two days, before marching 15 miles to Bermeries on the 21st.

The Mons Canal

The 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment with Private Charles Dixon in "D" Company, crossed the Belgian Frontier about 9am on the 22nd of August and reached the Mons-Conde canal about 3pm after a hot march of some 18 miles made trying by the cobbled roads of Belgium. It was here at the Mons Canal that Charles and the East Surrey's faced the German army for the first time on the 23rd.

Positions of the 1st Btn. East Surrey Regt. on the 23rd of August

The German advance at 1pm caused all work strengthening the position to cease and 'A' Company and 'C' Company were drawn into the fire trenches, and casualties soon began to be taken. By 3pm the attack by the Germans was being pressed all along the line and eventually at about 7pm the railway bridge which was prepared for destruction, was blown up. This was the prearranged signal to also destroy the road bridge held by 'B' Company.

The Battalion began the 'Retreat from Mons' by withdrawing to the South of the River Haime, using alternate positions of the line, and finally being covered by a Company from the Suffolk Regiment. After reporting to the Brigade Headquarters at Thulin, the East Surrey's marched to Bois De Boussu arriving about 2am and bivouacked in a factory.

The fighting on the 23rd of August caused 5 Officers and 134 Other ranks to be killed, wounded or missing.

Battle of Le Cateau

Charles and the 1st Battalion were involved in the fighting during the Battle of Le Cateau throughout the day on the 26th August, and subsequent retirement overnight, not stopping until reaching St. Quentin 25 miles away at daybreak. The East Surrey's continued the retreat throughout the rest of August and into September.

On the 3rd of September the Battalion was bivouacked at a Chateau in Montgé-en-Goële,where they could see the outskirts of Paris.The retreat continued until finally on the 6th of September orders were received to continue the offensive. The 14th Brigade of which the 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment was apart of, moved in an Easterly direction where on the 8th firing could soon be heard to the front.

Chateau St. Ouen

The Division attacked Chateau St.Ouen and the Battalion Commanding Officer learnt the positions of the enemy trenches on the ridge opposite and moved the attack to the right to get at the enemies flank expecting to get at them with bayonets. The 1st Battalion advanced, cheered by the Commanding officers promise that today they would have the chance to get at their opponents with the bayonet. The attack continued until artillery from the 2nd and 3rd division fired all along the ridge and forced the East Surrey's to retire beyond the line of artillery fire, disappointed that they didn't get the anticipated fruits of the days operation, although some prisoners were taken.

Some good news was received when a Sergeant Major and 110 Other Ranks missing since the 26th of August were reunited with the 1st Battalion, after fighting with with the 1st Division. These men comprised mostly of the 1st Line transport, and retained much to the disgust of the 1st division, the horses and vehicles. All were heartily glad to meet again.

Aisne River

The 1st Battalion kept on the move, fighting, taking casualties eventually crossing the Aisne River on the 13th. Here they had to move in the open valley of St. Marguerite under shrapnel fire.

On the 14th the East Surrey's advanced on Missy in the open and across the front of the German line and soon took casualties.

The next few days were spent on various attacks on and around Missy. From the 18th September, Charles and the Battalion were under heavy shelling on Missy and the surrounding areas until the 23rd when they were relieved by the Dorset Regiment and were bivouacked at St. Marguerite.

On the 24th September, 2 Officers and 201 Other Ranks joined the Battalion and at 4am the East Surrey's moved along the railway, crossing back over the Aisne to Dury for a well earned rest.

Sir Charles Ferguson rode round to Battalion Headquarters, to tell the Commanding Officer how splendid he thought the Battalion had done and that this was the thought of everyone. The Battalion began to refit and a general cleanup. On the 26th September Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, Commanding Officer of 2nd Army Corps, passing by 'B' Company's billets went in and talked to the men about all the good work the 1st Battalion had done and how proud they should ought to be to belong to such a Regiment. Refitting continued and orders received to furnish Outposts on alternate days. Charles and the East Surrey's stayed in Dury until the end of September resting and refitting.

On The March

On the 1st of October orders were received to move out and the 7th Battalion spent the next 4 days marching from village to village, when on the 5th they were rested for the day in Gollicourt. The following day orders were received to go by train to Crecy and then on to Abbeville arriving on the 7th, billeting here on the 8th of October until 6.30pm when orders were received to march to Vaulx, 17 miles away arriving at 4am. From here the 1st Battalion were ordered to Dieval arriving there on the 10th.

At 7am on the 11th October orders were received to march via, Bours - Camblain - Chatlain - Choques, taking up position on the West Bank of the La Bassee canal at about 4pm with the Devonshire Regiment. During the day the Battalion met numerous French troops, which comprised mostly of Cavalry units, this being the First meeting with the Army of their Allies. The men were all struck with the swarm of refugees streaming from the North of France and the Belgium Frontier.

Battle of La Bassee

On the 12th October the East Surrey's were 1 mile West of Richebourg L'Avoue and crossed the canal about 8.45am, where they marched via winding roads passing by several French Dragoon Regiments followed by 2 Regiments of Alpine Chasseurs. An Officer of the latter Regiment warned to be careful as 2 Companies of German troops were close ahead, as the Battalion soon found out.

Map of the area of the Battle of La Bassee 1914

The leading line of the 1st Battalion, especially the right of it, Charles in 'D' company and the Machine Gun Section, soon checked the Germans advance. The Machine Gun Section knocked out 3 enemy Machine Guns and every effort made by the Germans to recover them was thwarted by the East Surrey's accurate fire, although the distance was too great to recover them also. 'D' Company and the Machine Gun Section held an orchard and a farm building, whilst the Battalion's left extended in open country. The left of the line made good ground, but was soon checked in its advance by enfilade fire on the Brigade next to the East Surrey's. The Battalion entrenched and strengthened its position, and except for a German dash at the barricade shortly after dark, the night passed quietly. The 1st Battalion lost 1 Officer and 21 Other Ranks in the fighting on the 12th.

Wounded in Action

The 13th October 1914 begun at 5.45am for Charles and the 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment, advancing 2 miles North of Richebourg L'Avoue, pushing the Germans back very rapidly through farm enclosures and open fields. An unfordable and muddy dyke held the the Battalion's advance up until 2 temporary foot bridges were thrown across. The left of the line swung to the right which further delayed the advance but towards the evening the East Surrey's had gained nearly a mile and were facing in a more Easterly direction. The Germans had left much ammunition and equipment behind them and many fresh graves were passed, signs of the effective work of the pass 2 days, with the Battalion burying over 20 enemy dead themselves.

Still casualties for the East Surrey's stood at 4 Officers and 42 other ranks including, Private Charles Dixon who was wounded at some point during the days fighting whilst advancing across farmland and is mentioned by name, rank and number, in the Official 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiments War Diary Casualty List, for the month of October.

Charles received a gunshot wound to the right hand, hitting his middle finger. Charles was sent to the 14th Field Ambulance and then transferred to the Hospital Militare Bethune . On the 15th of October Charles arrived in England for treatment to his hand. Charles was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth Common where X-rays showed that Charles had a fracture to his 1st and 2nd phalange and was injected 5cc of Antihistamine serum.

The Surrey Advertiser reported on the 28th of October 1914

Also in the 3rd London General Hospital:-

10631 Pte. C. Dixon, 3, Lime Avenue, Barnes, gun shot wound right hand."

On the 18th of October Charles's finger became infected and on the 30th he had it amputated. Charles was in Hospital until the 12th of November 1914, and his hand had healed quite well. Charles was then posted to the 3rd Battalion East Surrey Regiment, which was a training regiment based at the East Surrey's Depot in Kingston on Thames, Surrey.

Christmas Card sent from Charles to his father Charles 1914

Private Charles Dixon was still serving with the 3rd Battalion going into 1915, then on the 26th of May, Charles was admonished and had to forfeit 3 days pay for being absent, from the 22nd until 8.30am the 25th of May. He continued to serve at the Depot when on the 6th of December Charles was again admitted to Hospital due to an infection in his right hand caused by his old gunshot wound. His was discharged on the 13th to light duty.

In 1916 Charles received orders to again go back to the front in France. He arrived in Etaples, on the 3rd of February at the 12th Infantry Base Depot. He was posted to 'C' company, 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment, 37th Brigade attached to the 12th Division, rejoining in the field at the village of Ham on the 14th. The next day the Battalion marched to Bethune, staying here until the 20th and were billeted in a Tobacco factory.

Hohenzollern Redoubt 1916

On the 21st the 7th Battalion relieved the 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and 2 Companies of Royal Irish, and occupied the front line trenches in front of the Hohenzollern Redoubt, an area where underground mine warfare was very active. It was here that Private Charles Dixon faced the enemy again, this time in the trench warfare of the Great War. That first night passed quietly but the next day enemy snipers and trench mortars were very active. A particular German sniper who had been troublesome to the 8th Royal Fusiliers was reported by a Sniping Officer to have been, first shot by a Corporal, then blown up with his small 'fort' by trench mortars. That night there was an alert period for an Incoming Gas attack, due to favourable wind conditions for the enemy but again the night passed quietly.

The 23rd was spent on work and carrying parties for the Royal Engineers, and general trench maintenance. German snipers were relatively quiet perhaps because their star performer had been killed the day before. The 24th was again spent working with the Royal Engineers as was the following days, and the front was fairly quiet with little shelling. On the 29th February the East Surrey's were relieved by the 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, and marched back to Bethune. The Drums accompanied the Battalion from the village of Sailly Labourse. With the end of February the 7th battalion had suffered 3 sick Officers, with 2 Other ranks being killed, 7 wounded and 18 becoming sick and their strength stood at 33 Officers and 1003 Other Ranks.

The first days of March 1916 were spent resting at Bethune, until the 4th when the East Surrey's were hurriedly moved to Sailly Labourse in preparation to relieve the 6th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, owing to German attacks and resultant heavy casualties, but did not reoccupy the trenches until the following day. The 7th Battalion found the landscape had changed due to heavy bombardment in front of and in the enemy line.

The 6th of March was spent being heavily bombarded and a mine was exploded to the right of the East Surrey's line at 12.50am on the 7th. The Germans attacked the East Surrey's position 3 times that night, one at 8pm, another at 9.22pm and the final one at 10.35pm each time being repulsed. The Battalion was relieved on the 8th and moved to the support trench where they were tasked on the 9th of March to bring supplies of bombs and rations up to the front line positions.

No.4 Stationary Hospital, Arques

The 10th of March saw Private Charles Dixon admitted to the 38th Field Ambulance due to his old gunshot wound on his right hand again becoming infected. From here he went to the 9th Casualty Clearing Station based at Lillers, and was then sent to No.4 Stationary Hospital in Arques, by train on the 15th. Charles was discharged and returned to duty with the 7th Battalion on the 29th in the village of Vermelles.

Mine Warfare

On the 30th of March 1916 Charles and the East Surrey's relieved the 6th Royal West Kent Regiment, holding the front line trenches from Riflemans Alley to South of Swinburn Loop. A few heavy trench mortar's fell and the Battalion retaliated. The next day passed quietly until 7.15pm when the Germans exploded a mine followed by 2 more at 7.32pm. All 3 mines were at the Hairpin and the Germans attempted to bomb from the craters but were bombed back. The 7th Battalions trenches in the vicinity of the mine explosions were blown and shaken in and work commenced all night clearing and consolidating and this was completed before daylight when the trenches looked much the same as before.The following day the East Surrey's continued repairing the damage done and learnt that the previous evenings mine explosions caused about 30 casualties.

The Battalion was relieved on the 3rd of April, moving back into the support trenches until the 6th when they again went back to the front line occupying the same trenches as before. The 7th of April passed quietly until 7.30pm when the Germans again exploded a mine this time on the Hohenzollern with no follow up activity. On the 8th, the 7th Battalion were shelled for a considerable period, and a new form of hate was introduced by the Germans in the form of a shell shaped like a cannister containing a virulent form of acid which was forwarded to the Brigade. The next day again the Battalion was shelled considerably with trench mortar's and whizz-bangs and effective retaliation was given.

On the 10th of April the 7th Battalion moved to Brigade Reserve at Annequin, getting to bath and clean up. They stayed here until the 14th when they again moved, this time to Bethune reoccupying the old tobacco factory. Except for a period on reserve duty on the 17th, the 7th East Surrey Regiment rested in Bethune until they relieved the Royal West Kent Regiment on the 21st again on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, with 'A' Coy on the right, 'D' Coy in centre, and 'C' Coy including Charles, on the left. 'B' Coy was held in reserve but the day passed quietly. There was considerable work to be done, due to the incessant rain causing the trenches to be a bad state and falling in.

At 7.30am on the 22nd of April 1916 the British exploded a mine near Russian Sap and 'C' Crater which was deemed successful as it blew in the enemy Galleries undermining Russian Sap. No casualties were taken by the East Surrey's and very little damage was done to their trenches and all the debris rained over the German line. Again it rained continuously causing the trenches to be in a fearful state, consequently the men were tired as they worked hard repairing the damage caused by the weather as well as the shells.

The Brigadier offered a weeks leave to any man capturing a prisoner, or a weekend for a dead one. It was thought the Germans had carried out a big relief, and it was of up most importance to finding out who the Battalion was facing.

At 1.30pm the 23rd, the Germans exploded a mine but no casualties were taken and the days passed quietly enabling the Battalion to get a great deal of work done until the 25th when they were relieved by the Highland Light Infantry Regiment, and marched to Noeux Les Mines where they entrained to Lillers, arriving at 3.20pm and then marched 3 miles to Allouagne. The Battalion was extremely tired having little sleep for the last 4 days and being wet through.

They rested for the next day but were Stood To, on the 27th at 6.30am due to the Germans releasing gas and attacking in the areas around Loos, Chalk Pits and Hohenzollern Redoubt, with heavy bombardments being heard for the previous 40 hours.

Gas was smelt at Allouagne about 9.30am and this was 12 miles from the front, with the Battalion Stood Down at 11.30am.

Rest continued on the 28th and on the 29th of April a draft of 34 men arrived, half were wounded men arriving back, with the other half being casualty replacements from the 3rd Battalion in England.

Resting and Training

The East Surrey's were Stood To at 9.30pm to be ready to move in 3 hours but were Stood Down again at 9.00am the following morning. The day was spent for Charles and the 7th Battalion with a Brigade Parade for Church Services and the Divisional Band played, and after Church the Brigade marched past the General and the Band played the Regimental marches. In the afternoon the Divisional Band played in the village square.

April 1916 had been a strenuous month for The East Surrey Regiment with the weather being bad and a great deal of work to be done to the trenches. Casualties for the month were 9 Other Ranks killed with 26 wounded and 1 missing. 4 Officers and 36 Other ranks were also sent to hospital because of illness and the 7th Battalions strength on the 30th was 57 Officers and 998 Other Ranks.

From the 1st until the 7th of May 1916 the 7th Battalion East Surrey regiment were still resting in Allouagne. The Battalion carried out training and generally working all morning with the afternoons free except for classes for N.C.O's and marked men. On the 4th of May the Battalion participated in the 37th Brigade sports day. The East Surrey's held their own winning, The Mule Race, Officers Charger, Bicycle Orderlies finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd, The Veterans Race, Best Cooker and finishing 2nd in the Nile Race. Company Quarter Master Sergeant Barker and Others proved to be a great attraction as they set up a Bookies and carried it through with great reality.

On the 8th of May the Battalion marched 14 miles to Flechin leaving at 5am with breakfast taken on the way. The following day training began in the new 1st Army training area which was hilly with a good sized Wood which was ideal landscape for the Divisional training.

Company training continued until the 13th, with Brigade and Divisional training from the 14th to the 21st.

The East Surrey's were inspected training by Lieutenant General Cavanagh who was pleased with the men's spirits. From the 21st until the 27th the men spent time digging trenches for a practice attack. Their was between 2000-3000 men digging at a time, with the trenches dug a replica of the English and German line near Festubert on front of about 2 miles. The evening of the 27th the Battalion received orders at 9.pm to move out 10.40pm leaving for Allouagne and arriving at 4.am. The men had had a hard day marching 7 miles there and back to the digging grounds plus 5 hours spent digging before the 14 mile march to Allouagne.

The Battalion Commanding Officer with several other Officers began reconnaissance between the 28th and 30th of May first inspecting the line because of Aeroplane reports that the enemy were concentrating behind Loos and also a German Deserter recently caught, stated that the Germans were going to make a strong attack with 3 Corps and a feint attack at Festubert.

The 7th Battalion began June 1916 on Army Reserve with the 37th Brigade which continued until the 16th. On the 13th of June the East Surrey's were inspected by Brigadier General A.B.E Cator commander of the 37th Brigade and he expressed delight in the appearance of the Battalion.

Orders were received that the 7th Battalion was to move by train at 12.51pm on the 16th with nobody knowing the final destination.

The Somme 1916

The Battalion entrained on time and arrived near Amiens at 9.30pm where they had an hours rest and then marched through Amiens, 12 miles to Flesselles arriving at 4.am having made tea on the road. The C.O's Adjutant and Company Commanders went by bus to inspect the trenches at Albert on the 17th and the men rested until the 19th when they participated in practice attacks with the 37th Brigade on trenches taped out to represent the German Lines, in a plan to capture Martinpuich which never materialised. Training continued until the 23rd and preparations were everywhere for the coming offensive. Rumour's were circulating and growing but nobody seemed in the least to know what was going to happen.

The East Surrey's preparations continued, refitting and discarding all heavy kit that the Battalion had accumulated over the year they had been on active service.

The Bombardment of the German lines began on the 25th of June, known as 'U' day, which continued on the 26th. Orders were received to move to Flechincourt but when nearing their destination the 7th Battalion were told to stop at St. Gratian. They stayed here on the 28th of June and the attack was supposed to commence on the 29th but was delayed for 48 hours owing to the bad weather. The Battalion marched to Bresle on the 30th arriving at 3.am on the 1st of July and then on to Millencourt arriving at 9.am where the men stayed in the fields in case Millencourt was shelled.

The Infamous 1st of July 1916

The opening day of the Somme Offensive begun at 'Z' hour or 7.30am for the British Army, after 7 days of intense artillery bombardment on the German lines. By the end of that first day the British Army had suffered the worst day in its history with 60,000 dead, wounded or missing which had a profound social effect on the British as a whole, due to the composition of the British Army which was mainly a volunteer force, but also the Pal's Battalions with many men serving together from the same localities back home.

Private Charles Dixon and the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment were held in reserve after arriving in Millencourt on that first day of the offensive. At about 5pm news began to filter into the Reserve that the French everywhere had reached all their objective's and so had the British up to the 3rd Corps sector. This sector was probably the worst as it contained places like La Boiselle and Ovillers with miles of underground passages.

The 8th division entered both areas and suffered enormous casualties and were soon bombed back to their old front lines. La Boiselle and Ovillers trenches were constructed by the German Army to be one trench above another, so the Germans could let the British into one trench and fire upon them from another. The Germans had heavily garrisoned La Boiselle and Ovillers, dug very deep cutouts and cellars which meant they were practically immune from the artillery barrage, with the area being a hive of machine guns.

At 6.30pm the 7th Battalion received orders to relieve the 8th division and this was completed by 3.30am on the 2nd with the Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment on the right and the Royal West Kent Regiment on the left in the firing line with the East Surrey's again held in reserve. Orders were received that pulled the men back to Crucifix Corner as a bombardment was to start at 3.30pm on La Boiselle and Ovillers and by 5pm the Battalion was told that the 19th Division was to attack La Boiselle, and that if they were successful then the 12th division including the 7th East Surrey's would attack Ovillers.

The order was received at 2am and the 7th Battalion in Reserve again, was in position at 3.15am when the Queens Royal West Surrey and Royal West Kent Regiments went over the top. The attacks failed as the men were cut up by machine gun fire and bombed back to their own lines and the 19th Division only took the Southern portion of La Boiselle. The 7th East Surrey's never went over the top, still being reserve the men were in a communication trench and experienced some nasty shelling. At 1pm on the 3rd of July, all idea of attack was given up and it was decided to hold the current position as a defensive flank, but the 19th Division managed to take La Boiselle by the evening.

Into the Fray

At 3pm on the 3rd of July 1916 the 7th Battalion were once again back in the firing line, taking over the whole of the front line from the Queens and West Kent Regiments. This was a big task as they had to defend a battlefield, in which the trenches were in a very bad state, full of the dead and wounded. However the men worked splendidly and by the 6th, when the East surrey's moved out, the trenches were clear of the dead, and almost 250 wounded men including many Officers, had been brought in from No Man's Land. The men from the 7th Battalion went over the top to get them, sometimes even during the day. The men suffered with bad feet during this period owing to the trenches being full of water and mud at a higher level than their boots. During the 3 days of fighting the Battalion lost 3 Officers wounded, with 10 Other Ranks killed and another 80 wounded.

The men were very tired and grateful for a nights rest, the first in about 7 days.

On the 7th of July, the East Surrey Regiment were in Ovillers where they rested all morning and had their feet attended too, which had become very sore and swollen after standing in water for the last 4 days. At 6.30pm the 7th Battalion were in the intermediary line West of Albert, near to the Divisional Advance Report Centre, when they received orders stating they were being lent to the 36th Infantry Brigade as reinforcements and consolidation of positions gained. The East Surrey's moved out at 7.45pm, with the men drawing 2 bags of bombs each from the Crucifix Corner stores.

The 7th East Surrey's about 350 men strong, arrived at Ovillers post at 11pm carrying 2 boxes of bombs each due to no bags being available at the stores. Here they were told that Point 42 was heavily occupied by the Germans and it was to be taken at all costs, depending on an advance by the Division on the right at 1.am, and that they were to occupy Points 54-57 and 33 to the road and consolidate the position. At midnight on the 7/8th of July the Battalion moved up the Ovillers Road and found the going tough crossing ditches and trenches, when about 2.30am they found themselves behind the Essex Regiment who were just entering the German trenches. At 3am Point 42 was taken without opposition and the Battalion used torches to flash light down Mash Valley to show the right of their position. The objectives had been taken but the men could not advance due to their own artillery and by 6.15am a message was sent to 36th Brigade Headquarters saying the Battalion has established contact with the South Lancashire Regiment on the right.

The East Surrey's were ordered to push on through to the village at 8.45am and the barrage holding them up, was lifted at 9.am and the men moved out 10 minutes after. The advance was in stages, taking trenches and consolidating the positions before moving to the next. At 10am communications was established by telephone line, to Brigade Headquarters and by 12.45pm the Battalion was occupying trenches X.8.C.77 - 67 - 68, with Essex Regiment to the left and the South Lancashire Regiment on the right.

The East Surrey and the South Lancashire advance was held up by machine gun fire, although attempts to bomb up the trench were beaten back. The advance was brought to a halt at 4.pm as the Essex Regiment was some distance to the rear of the 7th Battalion and the left flank was exposed and the South Lancashire Regiment had started to consolidate their positions. The men of the East Surrey's were exhausted owing to the heavy equipment and the boxes of bombs the men had been carrying all night and to the deep mud they had been moving through all day.

At 4.45pm a Vickers machine gun was brought to help with the defence of the line and by 7pm telephone lines had been established with all the companies in the 7th Battalion although some were broken by shell fire. When it got dark the Germans sent up Very Lights from the trenches in front although the night passed quietly except for the shelling and the East Surrey's were finally relieved by the 13th Battalion Highland Light Infantry Regiment at 5.30am on the 9th of July. Thanks to the excellent way the men, including Private Charles Dixon performed in carrying 2 boxes of bombs each which weighed 48lbs, plus extra ammunition, tools etc, the 7th Battalion was able to hand over to the Highland Light Infantry Regiment over 8000 bombs, 4 boxes of Very lights and the telephone lines that had been established.

Out of the Line

The 7th Battalion now moved out to firstly Warloy where they rested on the 11th and now marched to Vauchelle les Authie where they were billeted in huts with the Brigade Headquarters and the Royal West Kent Regiment on the 12th.

On the 14th of July 1916, 1000 men from the 37th Brigade of which 6 Officers and 324 Other Ranks were from the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment, were attached to the 29th Division and went to Mailet Mailly as a working party, as the 29th Division had suffered 5000 casualties in the recent fighting and were pulled out of the line until reinforcements arrived.

The East Surrey's were now resting and every available man in the Battalion had to do training on the Lewis Gun. On the 18th July a training accident reminded the men that even away from the front line they could be injured or killed. A No.5 Mills bomb prematurely exploded, killing the Battalion Bombing Officer and a Private, whilst injuring 2 Sergeants and a Lance Corporal. The next day a funeral service was held for the 2 victims, and some of the men attached to 29th Division returned to the East Surrey's. Training courses in Bombing and the Lewis gun continued until the 21st when orders were given to relieve the 4th Division at Beaumont Hamel.

Private Charles Dixon and the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment were again in the reserve and moved to Bertrancourt and they were here until the 24th when they moved back to Vauchelle.

On the 25th of July 1916 the East Surrey's were moved to Martinsart Wood still in the reserve. They provided 200 men each day to help consolidate and strengthen the positions around Ovillers, and 150 men each night with the same orders. On the 29th 'C' Company which was the Coy, Private Charles Dixon was serving with, suffered 32 casualties when an 8" shell landed in the Brigade's Bomb, Very Light and Rocket stores although not many of the bombs exploded, several men were badly burnt by the Very lights and Rockets.

The 7th Battalion moved back into the trenches on the front line near the North of Ovillers on the 31st, relieving the 6th battalion Royal West Kent Regiment. The next day 'C' Coy was holding the left of the Battalion's line and the day passed quietly except for the whizz-bangs.

Ovillers August 1916

Just after midnight on the 2nd of August Point 88, was bombed by a German patrol and an Officer was severely wounded. The enemy had moved down an old communication trench and bombed the East Surrey's post with a new type of bomb whilst still out of range of the Battalions Mills bombs. After about 5 minutes of lively bombing the German Patrol was driven off and for the remainder of the day the 7th Battalion advanced the post at Point 88 about 25 yards until it was within 15 yards of the Germans barricades.

That night the men could hear a terrific bombardment near Poziere and the Lewis guns on 2 occasions fired at enemy patrols. The 3rd was spent moving the barricade at Point 28 to a higher position. At 7.30am on the 4th, 'A' Coy reported a man killed and 2 wounded holding ration trench and a Lieutenant returning with his working party had his work cut out keeping the men out of the fight as they had also had 2 wounded. By 9am the line was quiet and the Companies were all back in their original positions until 4pm when they were relieved by 6th Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment. During the relief the Germans shelled the line with a heavy and accurate bombardment and the East Surrey's took another 5 casualties. The Battalion arrived back at Ovillers post and were settled down by 7.15pm.

At about 8pm a Captain Scott improved the 'shining hour' when he decided to take a bath. On looking for his sponge he discovered it had been buried by a whizz-bang. Thinking discretion the better part of valour, he leapt out of the bath and made a hurried entrance in the mess, naked, wearing only a pair of slippers. More sponges arrived on the next transport.

On the 5th 'B' Coy had to go back into the line to act as support to the 6th Queen's. The day was quiet for the rest of the battalion with the men on working parties and resting and this continued until the 9th.

'B' Coy had returned to the 7th Battalion having had a bad time helping the Queens Regiment. They had 2 men killed, 6 wounded and at one point 11 men were buried in a dugout which took 2 hours hard work to dig them out.

On the 10th of August the 7th Battalion were back in the front line trenches North of Ovillers. The day was quiet and in the evening the East Surrey's sent a patrol out to the right of the front line and gained precious information on enemy dispositions and also brought back a helmet cover to help identify the Regiment they were facing. The next day was quiet and Private Charles Dixon with 'C' Coy were relieved and sent back to the dugouts in Ovillers.

The 12th again the day was quiet and the Battalion spent the day preparing for an assault that evening. Zero Hour was at 10.30pm when an intense artillery bombardment opened fire on the German lines. At 10.33pm the 7th Battalion commenced the attack with the forward Companies advancing under the cover of the artillery fire working as close to the barrage as possible.

'B' Coy attacking to the left, met with heavy enemy machine gun fire and the Germans put up a barrage all along their trench, rendering it impossible to get near to them and the men had to find cover in bomb craters and remain where they were. 2 more attacks were made by 'C' and 'B' companies but neither made, met with success owing the enemy barrage. 'A' Coy was then brought up and organised the survivors of the 3 assaults, numbering about 120 men who had crawled back to the British Line. A bombing attack was then carried out on Point 90 trying to breech the enemy post their but again this was unsuccessful.

'D' Coy attacking on the left with 2 platoons from 'C' Coy went over to attack Points 74, 4.4 and 5.5. The attack strayed to far to the left and no more information was heard. The support troops didn't find any trace of the front platoons except a few wounded men. All the men who had seen into the German trenches agreed the line was held in great strength, with many Germans wearing overcoats and packs, suggesting that that perhaps a relief was in progress. The 7th Battalion suffered 5 wounded Officers with a further 5 missing with 10 Other Ranks killed, 60 missing and 90 wounded.

The men were relieved on the 13th and moved back to Albert where they met with Busses which took them on to Forceville. The East Surrey's remained out of the line resting and training until the 21st of August when they relieved the 5th Dorset Regiment in Riviere and were held on in the Brigade Reserve.

Quiet Sector- Riviere, Arras Front

The line appeared quiet and the men found it strange to walk along a communication trench from Beaumetz-Les-Loges to Riviere as the village was untouched by the war and still inhabited. The men enjoyed good billets here, the best they had seen in a long while. The chief feature of the village was the Brigade tea garden.

On the 24th the 7th Battalion moved into the front line trenches relieving the 6th Royal West Kent Regiment. The placed seemed in good condition with good dugouts for the men and the next few days saw practically no artillery barrages by either side with only occasional sniper and rifle grenade fire. The men worked hard on the wire, communication lines and while the trenches were in a good condition they needed improving before any bad weather.

The 27th of August was extremely quiet and a British band could be heard playing in either Beaumetz or Riviere, which pleased the Germans as they sung lustily and beat time on some corrugated iron until they were finally disturbed by a rifle grenade. The days passed fairly quietly for the East Surrey's with little activity by either side until the 6th of September when the 7th Battalion moved back to Riviere. The men spent the next 4 days training, going out on working parties and resting when they could, before they again moved back to the front line.

On the 11th of September 1916 'B' Coy could hear the sounds of hostile mining and they informed the Royal Engineers. That night the Germans could be heard whistling and singing. The 12th was quiet with some enemy shelling on Wailly and the next day the men and the front line was inspected by General Allenby the Army Commander and the next couple of days passed with hardly any shelling.

The 16th of September was extremely quiet with scarcely a shot being fired by either side. At about 2pm several men of the East Surrey's reported seeing a hostile kite balloon erupt into flames and that it was completely destroyed, apparently the handiwork of an aeroplane.

The fighting in this sector of the front continued for the 7th Battalion in the same fashion with a little shelling by both sides, working parties being sent out to repair the wire, improve the trenches and bring supplies up to the front.

The evening of the 21st of September the Germans were very active with a Trench Mortar which caused a trench on Flood Street to be blown in and 2 dugouts badly damaged, 1 man was wounded and the men repaired the damage trench during the night and the next morning the 7th Battalion were relieved by the 6th Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment and moved back to Ovillers being held in the Reserve.

Usual routine life in the billets commenced and all the men were used on working parties and bathing and cleaning their clothes. On the 26th September the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment received a draft of 199 men from the base depot, and this gave the 7th Battalion a strength of about 600 men ready to go into the trenches.

The 12th division which included the 7th Battalion East Surrey's Regiment were relieved from the front line on the 27th by the 14th Division, with the 8th Rifle Brigade taking over the 7th Battalion's trenches. The men of the East Surrey's moved to Beaumetz arriving that evening and staying for the night before moving by motor bus to Lucheux the next day, where a draft of 10 men who had been previously wounded rejoined the Battalion. Captain Marshall who had been the only Officer lucky to receive some leave, also rejoined.

The 29th of September saw the men again moving by motor bus arriving at Albert about 10.30pm and set up camp on the Albert-Amiens road. The men including Private Charles Dixon stayed in camp the next day performing steady drill and arm drill parades.

October 1916 Back on The Somme

Early morning on the 1st of October 1916, the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment left the Camp on the Albert-Amiens road and moved by bus to Montauban where they were met by guides who took the men to Longueval Valley and here they stayed in dugouts for the day.

That evening again following guides the 7th Battalion moved through Delville Wood along the Ginchy-Geudecourt road to the front line trenches just in front of the village Geudecourt.

Here the men took over from the 7th Leicestershire Regiment and the relief was successfully carried out considering there was no communication trenches and a intensive hostile artillery barrage with only 1 Officer and 4 Other ranks wounded.

The German continued the heavy and incessant artillery barrage on the 2nd with most of the shell passing over the single but very deep trench the East Surrey's occupied, and the Battalion Headquarters received a considerable share of the shells landing. 2nd Lieutenant Hollingsworth was buried by a shell and sustained severe injuries to his head and later died of his wounds.

Heavy shelling on the village and Battalion H.Q continued on the 3rd of October especially between 9am and 3pm when the barrage developed in an organised bombardment. That evening immediately after dusk the 7th Battalion were relieved by the 6th Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment. The period between the 1st-3rd of October saw the 7th Battalion suffer between 50-60 casualties all from enemy shell fire.

On the night of the 3rd/4th of October the Battalion moved back into the support occupying Grid trench and Bull Road trench which were badly damaged but had several old German dugouts still intact. All the men at some stage managed to get some shelter. Just after midnight on the 5th the East Surrey's were relieved and moved back to the billets at Longueval Valley arriving about 9am. Everyone was very tired and the whole Battalion settled down to sleep.

The 6th of October saw the 7th Battalion preparing for an attack that was to commence the next day. The East Surrey's were to be held in Brigade Reserve, with the Royal West Kent regiment on the left and the 6th Royal East Kent regiment known as the 6th Buffs, on the right attacking the high ground to the north east of Geudecourt. That evening the 7th Battalion moved to its position in reserve, taking over Switch trench from the 6th Buffs who had moved up the line for their part in the attack.

During the morning of the 7th, the British artillery bombardment steadily increased when at Zero Hour 2.50pm an intense shrapnel barrage was positioned on the German lines. From the position in Switch trench the East Surrey's watched as the first men went over the top but the view was obscured by smoke from the bursting shells. The Buffs on the right managed to get into Garden trench but the remainder of the 37th Brigade's attacks were held up by heavy machine gun fire. The attack to the right succeeded and several German prisoners were passed back down the line where the 7th Battalion supplied men as escorts to take them back to be processed. That evening the East Surrey's supplied several working parties of men who helped to carry the wounded men of the 6th Buffs and Royal West Kent Regiment down to the casualty clearing stations. The 8th of October was a quiet day and the 7th Battalion continued to supply men to help carry the wounded.

The East Surrey's relieved the 6th Battalion Queens Royal West Surrey regiment on the 9th which was completed without any casualties being taken although shortly after 2nd Lieutenant Paul M.C. was killed by a 5.9 inch shell.

'C' Coy with Private Charles Dixon in the ranks appeared to receive all the German shelling that night with 'A' and 'D' Coy on the left and right respectively getting off lightly.

On the night of the 10-11th of October the East Surrey's were relieved by the 1st Battalion Newfoundland regiment with the relief completed successfully without any casualties being taken. The 7th Battalion moved back to Longueval Valley and were billeted in bivouac and bell tents and all the men got shelter and everybody was quite comfortable as the weather was dry.

The 35th and 88th Brigades attacked the same positions as the attack on the 7th, but although the 88th Brigade's attack on the left was successful the 35th Brigade's attack was held up by a thick uncut barbed wire entanglement and they had to return to their original positions. The East Surrey's played no part in this attack although they were stood to with 30 minutes notice to mive up.

Between the 13-16th of October 1916 the 7th Battalion East Surrey regiment remianed in billets at Longueval Valley. Drill, cleaning and working parties took up most of the men's time, with several of the carrying parties sent up to the front line but all were lucky as they took no casualties. The Germans occasionally shelled the surrounding camps and transport lines but again the 7th Battalion were lucky that none fell where the men were camped, to be considered dangerous. Training time was spent on consolidating shell holes and various plans and suggestions were tried. The weather turned to rain on the 15th which made any digging work almost impossible but although the weather made conditions uncomfortable all the men were able to keep dry in their bivouacs and bell tents.

On the 17th the Battalion learnt that the 35th and 88th Brigades were going to attack again and the men spent the day preparing in case they had to be moved up as reinforcements. The East Surrey's were attached to the 36th Brigade as they had lent a Battalion to the 35th Brigade.

The attack started at 3.40am on the 18th and the 7th Battalion were held in Divisional reserve with the 36th Brigade under orders to move at a 30 minute notice. The 88th Brigade was successful in its attack but again the 35th Brigade was held up by more barbed wire that hadn't been cut by the artillery.

At 5pm the 7th Battalion which did not move during the attack, was stood down as the 30 minute notice to move was over. A draft of 50 Other Ranks arrived in the afternoon with the transport and it had rained all day.

Orders were received to the effect that the 7th Battalion was no longer under the command of the 36th Brigade and expected to soon move back behind the lines and the order to this effect were given at midday with the East Surrey's marching off at 2pm to Ribemont. The men marched cross country owing to the bad state of the roads and the amount of traffic on them. Marching via Fricourt the Battalion arrived at Ribemont about 9pm after a long march in very muddy conditions although only about 4 men fell out, which was good considering the state of the ground. The men were soon in billets and out of the rain which had been falling heavily since 1pm.

The 20th of October was spent cleaning up and throughout the day transports arrived bringing supplies from the camp at Montban. As much winter clothing that was surplus was issued to the men during the day and the final transport in the evening arrived with the Battalion Quartermaster and Transport Officer.

The next morning the 7th Battalion was supposed to move out first thing in the morning but this was put off until 1.30pm. The East Surrey's boarded busses and leaving at 2.30pm left for Wanquetin. They arrived at 9.30pm after travelling via Amiens and Doullens and were soon all in billets.

On the 21st the East Surrey's again spent the day cleaning their kit and equipment and preparing for the Battalion's Commanding Officers inspection the next day. The C.O inspected the men during the morning of the 22nd and Major Nicholls arrived at lunchtime with the Brigade transport. In the evening a draft of 90 Other Ranks arrived and the Battalion was fairly strong once again.

The 24th of October saw the 7th Battalion move to Monchiet in preparation for taking over the Divisional Reserve at Beaumetz.

On the 25th the 37th Brigade which included the 7th East Surrey Regiment took over 'F' sector of the trenches at Monchiet and the 7th Battalion's move to Divisional Reserve at Beaumetz was cancelled owing to a lack of accommodation, due to the 14th Division still coming out of the line. During the evening word was received that 2 German prisoner's had escaped from the camp at Fusseux. The battalion posted men on examining posts all night and at first light on the 26th a thorough search of the area around Simoncourt, Beaumetz, Monchiet, Guoy and Bac du Sud although no prisoner's were found. At 1pm the 7th Battalion completed it's move to Divisional Reserve at Beaumetz and the billets were good all except 'B' Coy's which had seen better days. In the evening a draft of 10 Other Ranks arrived.

The 27th was spent on parades and courses and the Battalion Commanding Officer handed out Divisional Green Cards for Gallantry to several N.C.O's and Other Ranks in the afternoon of the 28th. The 29th drill parades continued and the C.O went to a conference at Brigade H.Q. In the afternoon a party of Officers and N.C.O's went to a demonstration on the new small box respirator at Berneville.

It rained almost continuously on the 30th whilst the C.O gave lectures to all the Officers in the afternoon and to all the N.C.O's in the evening. Usual courses and parades were held for the Other Ranks including Private Charles Dixon. On the morning of the 31st of October the 7th Battalion relieved the 6th Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment in the trenches near Wailly. 'C' Coy was kept in reserve and a tremendous amount of work as required to bring the trenches up to standard with special attention paid on wiring and the boards supporting the trenches.

November 1916 Trenches Near Wailly, Arras Front

The early hours of the 1st of November passed quietly with a large quantity of wire laid out. All 4 companies were settled into their positions and the all men were devoted to work on the trenches. The Germans were extremely quiet with the exception of occasional sniping there was hardly any hostile activity.

The front line trenches were in a terrible condition and needed constant work which was proving difficult on the 2nd, as the Royal Engineers were installing their Gas cyclinders.

The Germans continued to be quiet on the 3rd although there was more shelling and the weather was very bad causing the trenches to collapse owing to the rain, with all available men working on building them up. At 11pm on the 4th, 2nd Lieutenant Piggott was patrolling the front line on the right when he spotted 3 figures approaching the wire. Faggotts were place on the wire and the men climbed over. 2nd Lieutenant Piggott challenged the men and receiving no reply opened fire with his revolver hitting 1 man in the arm. The 3 men immediately dropped their weapons and surrendered. They turned out to be deserters and quite well behaved. 2 were from Lorraine and 1 was Prussian and they provided the East Surrey's with some interesting local intelligence.

The rest of the night passed without incident. The weather continued to be bad on the 5th and the men continued to work on the trenches and during the night a large quantity of wire was put out as per previous nights.

On the 6th the 7th East Surrey Regiment were relieved in the morning and moved back to billets at Riviere which were good. The few days the 7th Battalion were in the trenches they lost 1 man killed and 3 wounded all from artillery or trench mortar fire. On the 7th of November 'A' coy were sent on working parties in the trenches and 'B' and 'C' Coy including Private Charles Dixon spent the day bathing and cleaning up.

All available men were sent up to the trenches on the morning of the 8th to help clear the damage caused by the rain, which was heavy all day and this continued on the 9th and 10th. The men rested on the 11th with no working parties and stayed in their billets.

The 12th saw the 7th Battalion back in the trenches relieving the 6th Royal West Kent Regiment. The relief was completed by 11am and it was proposed to let off Gas during the night but eventually decided to save the Gas for another day as the wind wasn't very favourable. The night passed quietly as did the day of the 13th with a few trench mortar's exchanged.

The 14th was again quiet and at 5.30pm with the wind now being favourable it was decided to send the Gas over. A Special Company of the Royal Engineers released the Gas from the right and centre of the 7th Battalion's line. The Germans sent up plenty of coloured rockets and Very lights, and a German in 'C' Sap which was only 35 yards from the East Surrey's line shouted out ''You Dirty Buggers''. He may have been too late in putting his mask on. The Battalion reoccupied the front line which had been cleared of all men except the Lewis gunners. Gas still hung in places but was generally clear. German retaliation was small. The next passed quietly and work continued on the trenches.

The morning of the 16th saw the Germans retaliate heavily for the Gas attack. They targeted the right and centre of the front line Companies which damaged the trenches quite badly. The Germans used trench mortar's on the front and support lines and 4.2 inch and 5.9 inch shells on the reserve line. the remainder of the day was spent clearing the damage. The men continued to clear up on the 17th of November and the day again passed quietly.

The 7th Battalion were relieved on the 18th by the 6th Royal West Kent Regiment and moved back to billets at Beaumetz. The East Surrey's stayed here for the next few days with courses on the Lewis gun and bombing. The Battalion C.O inspected the troops in marching order on the 21st with several of the new respirators issued and tested on the 22nd. The 23rd was spent again testing the new respirator and in the evening a Divisional concert party visited the East Surrey Regiment giving the men a very good show.

The 7th Battalion moved back into the front line trenches near Wailly on the 24th and the relief was completed by 2pm. The next day was quiet and the German Infantry made no show of themselves although two 90 pound trench mortars landed in the trenches on the left of the line.

The 26th saw Major Nicholls go on leave and the day was once again quiet but did see more trench mortar activity than had become usual. Again 2 more 90 pound trench mortar's landed in the left trenches completely destroying 2 firing bays. The Battalion's artillery retaliated quite strongly although a large percentage of the shells fired were dud.

The German's were very active on the 27th with large trench mortar's blowing in the front line in several places. During the night an Officer was killed by a stray bullet and Company Headquarters on the right had to be moved as the German's seemed to have line on their dugout. The day was bright and the men could see several large flights of British aeroplane's probably going to and from bombing raids.

During the morning of the 28th the German's again trench mortared the front line heavily, badly damaging the trenches in several places. The rest of the day passed quietly with very little sniping or hostile artillery being directed against the East Surrey's sector of the line. At 7pm and at intervals throughout the night the German front line and routes leading up to it were subjected to heavy fire from the Brigade Field guns and 4.5 inch Howitzers in order to try and catch enemy working parties suspected of bringing up Gas cylinders to the trenches and installing them there. The 29th passed quietly with little trench mortar or artillery fire by either side. On the 30th just after 'Stand To' British artillery fire appeared to disperse a large German working. The 7th Battalion were relieved during the morning and returned to Riviere where usual billets routine commenced.

December 1916 Riviere

On the 1st of December the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment was spent on the usual routine work in billets although most of the Battalion were employed on working parties however a Gas Alert was still on.For the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of December all the men were in large working parties bringing up supplies of 2 inch trench mortar bombs. The weather had turned very cold and there had been a heavy frost for the previous 3 nights.

It was thought that the German's were putting in Gas cylinders, based on a conversation that was overheard by a patrol in No Man's Land. The night of the 4th-5th the Battalion was expecting activity by the German's, as for the previous 3 nights the words ''Tonight is Peace'' were tapped from the German wire, whereas it had changed that night to ''Tonight You Understand'' although the night passed quietly. The 5th was spent mainly on routine billet work although all the men were on working parties for the greater part of the day.

On the 6th of December the 7th Battalion moved back into the front line trenches with the relief completed by 11am and everybody was settled into position by 3pm. The Junction of Friary Street and the front line trenches had been badly knocked about and required a lot of work to them. On the morning of the 7th, the German's trench mortared 'C' Coy and Private Charles Dixon position on the right of the line quite heavily and obliterated 3 firing bays. Luckily the sentry on duty was a good man and no casualties occurred. During the night a party of 20 men came up from the support Battalion and managed to dig a passage through the blown in part of 'C' Coy's line.

The day passed quietly on the 8th with Major Nicholls returning from leave and Colonel Baldwin left for a month's leave. The 9th passed as quietly as the day before and a lot of work was done on the damaged and collapsed parts of the trenches, which considering the time of year were in an excellent condition. The German's commenced trench mortar fire at 9am on the 10th lasting until 10.30am with 40 large bombs in all. Private Charles Dixon and 'C' Coy's section of the line was hit badly again but once again were lucky that they took no casualties. That night and the early hours of the 11th saw the men repair the damage done to 'C' Coy's line and again dig a passage through.

On the 12th of December the 7th Battalion were relieved by the 6th Royal West Kent Regiment and the East Surrey's moved back to Beaumetz into billets and the remainder of the day was devoted to cleaning up. The cleaning continued on the 13th and 2 working parties were made up from the men during the day. The Divisional Gas Officer paid a visit in the morning and inspected Private Charles Dixon and the rest of the men from 'C' Coy's box respirators and pronounced himself to be pleased with their condition and the way the men wore them, thus giving the men extreme confidence in them.

On the 14th of December 2 working parties of 50 and 30 man were out while the rest of the Battalion were employed in cleaning up, in preparation for the move back the next day. In the morning of the 15th the 7th Battalion were relieved from Divisional Reserve by the King's Royal Rifles Regiment. Dinners were served to the men on the road between Moncheit and Gouy and afterwards the East Surrey's marched to Grande Rullecourt arriving about 4.30pm. Billets for the Officers were not very good but the Other Ranks had good quarters and were all soon settled down.

Grande Rullecourt Christmas 1916

The 12th Divisional which included the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment were now behind the front lines and the men could enjoy a proper rest, the first since June. The 16th and 17th of December was spent cleaning equipment and the men's clothing and generally smartening up the Battalion. On the morning of the 18th the C.O inspected the men of the East Surrey Regiment. All the Ranks were quite clean and there was a good turnout. Major Nicholls and several Officers went to Amiens to attend a Court Martial, leaving Captain Cook M.C in command of the Battalion.

The cleaning continued on the 19th as Blanco was now available from the Battalion canteen. The C.O inspected the billets which were quite clean although the new men hadn't quite got in the way of putting things out correctly and had hung items up. The 20th was spent conducting drill for 4 hours during the morning, mainly consisting of handling arms and squad drill.

The Divisional Commander Major General A.B. Scott inspected the 7th Battalion's billets on the 21st and seemed quite pleased with them and the general cleanliness of the men he met. He watched Private Charles Dixon and 'C' Coy on parade for a short time and was favourably pleased. The usual routine of training continued on the 22nd with the day's programme made up of, 8.30am until 9.30am phyiscal training and bayonet fighting, 9.45am until 10.45am close order drill, 11am until 12 noon Guards, duties of sentries, and saluting with and without arms, with each Company to march past the Company Commander at the end of the parade, 12 noon until 1pm Specialist classes on the Lewis Gun, Bombing and rifle grenades under Company arrangements. During the afternoon a draft of 106 Other Ranks arrived from the Base Depot and most of the men were from the 4th Battalion and a large majority had nearly 2 years service and were of good physique. On Christmas Eve Church services were held and another draft of 80 Other Ranks arrived in the afternoon, and they also appeared to be good men with a certain amount of training.

Christmas Day 1916 saw the men of the 7th East Surrey Regiment attend a parade Church service after which the Officer's played the Sergeant's at football. The ground was very bad but the Officer's won 2 goals to 1. At midday Private Charles Dixon and the rest of the Battalion's men sat down to their Christmas dinner with all the Companies arranging extra food and beer for the men and they turned out a good show. 1 barn per Company was fitted with tables by the Pioneers and the men had quite a comfortable meal. Pigs had been bought from the various farms in the district and extra vegetables etc were supplied. At 1 o'clock the Battalion C.O went round all the companies and found the men to all be in good spirits. The Sergeant's had there Christmas dinner in the Battalion Canteen and in the evening all the Officers had there meal together in the mess at Battalion H.Q. Unfortunately 2 representatives of the 4th Otago Regiment, who were from New Zealand, were unable to attend due to a lack of Officers in their unit.

On the 26th Major Nicholls went to a Gas conference not returning until 5pm having sample about 100 different gases during the day. A draft of 90 men arrived at the Battalion in the afternoon and for the rest of the men the morning was spent on more drill parades and in the afternoon trial games of football were played with a view to selecting the 7th Battalion team. The morning of the 27th saw the Commanding Officer inspect the 3 drafts that had arrived recently. The first two were very clean and had appeared to make most of their time, whilst the last draft had not had much opportunity to clean up and did not seem to composed of such good material as the other two. In the afternoon the 7th Battalion's football team played the Divisional Field ambulance team with the East Surrey's losing 8 goals to nil. The team looked as though it would improve tremendously with more practise.

The last 3 drafts were sent on an hours route march on the morning of the 28th in full kit marching order having done very little in training before being posted to the 7th battalion, whilst the usual parades continued for the rest of the men. The weather turned bad on the 29th raining heavily all day so work as done in billets. Lewis gun drill, smoke helmet drill and lectures the order of the day. Major General A.B Scott C.B D.S.O presented medals to several N.C.O's and Other Ranks on the 30th.

On New Year's Eve 1916 there was voluntary Church services held and in the evening there was an Officers dinner held at Battalion Headquarters mess. At midnight the band played all the Regimental scores. At some point during the evening's activities it was heard that 2 Privates had both been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for conspicuous gallantry whilst out in No Man's Land wiring which was cause for celebration.

January 1917 New Year In Grande Rullecourt

The 1st of January saw the 7th Battalion East surrey Regiment still behind the front lines resting at Grande Rullecourt. The men continued with the parades and training course that was usual billet routine in the morning whilst the afternoon saw the Battalion given a lecture by Brigadier General Cator D.S.O, on minimising casualties and wastage both in the attack and when holding the line. The lecture was very interesting and instructive as the Brigadier had been working on the subject for some time. In the afternoon the East Surrey's sent a football team over to Ambrines to play the Suffolk Regiment the game resulted in a draw finishing 1 all.

On the 2nd news was received that Major Nicholls, Captain Wilkes and 2nd Lieutenant Beadle had all been awarded the Military Cross. The Battalion Quartermaster was also in the New Year's Honours List as being awarded a higher rate of pay under Article No. 241 of the Royal Warrant. The first fortnight of rest was complete the Battalion now changed the programme of work the men did each day. The East Surrey's now completed an hour's physical training each morning between 8.30am and 9.30am, then route marches in full marching order between 9.45am and 10.45am and then 2 hour's of courses on the Lewis gun and rifle grenades between 11am and 1pm.

The Battalion continued it's training and courses on the 4th and the Battalion C.O inspected the platoon which was to form the nucleus of the East Surrey platoon of the Divisional Depot. In the latter part of the morning the Battalion went on a route march and practised rapid forming into artillery formation, the movements being performed quickly. A Battalion inspection was performed in the morning with all the men well turned out and the equipment was well put on and fairly clean although it was not yet up to the standard obtained at Allouagne in May 1916. A Battalion rugby team was being formed which promised to be quite good. Arrangements were also being made for a boxing match and the East Surrey's football team was knocked out in the 2nd round of the Divisional Cup by the 6th Queens although the Battalion's cross country stood a good chance of winning.

The 6th of January was a Sunday and the usual Church services were held with the usual routine continuing on the 7th. Additional Musketry courses were also held for an hour. On the 8th all Officers N.C.O's and Other Ranks who had not yet had their box respirator's tested in gas attended the Divisional Gas School at Liencourt and had them tested with tear gas.

The 9th saw the men performing Musketry courses and the shooting was good. The 1st practise the men had to do Bull's Eye Grouping from 25 yards hitting the 1", 2", 3" ring's with 5 rounds. The 2nd practise they had to lie prone firing over cover with 5 rounds and the 3rd practise was rapid fire 5 rounds then unbutton their pouch, load and fire 5 rounds all within 30 seconds.

The Musketry courses continued on the 10th and Lieutenant Colonel Baldwin returned from his months leave and was looking very well. The Lewis gunners held short courses firing their guns. The 7th Battalion was inspected in mass on the parade ground by the C.O on the morning of the 11th of January. The men turned out quite well considering the short notice given. It snowed hard during the entire inspection.

The 12th saw the Battalion C.O, the Adjutant and all Company and Platoon Commanders go to Arras by motor bus to inspect the trenches shortly to be taken over by the East surrey Regiment. The trenches to be taken over was the left subsector of 'I' sector. The line here extended from the River Scarpe through the village of Blangy to Infantry Road just South of Arras cemetery. The line here was extremely interesting in that the left of the line was in ruined houses very close to the enemy, the centre was still amongst the ruins of the village and the right was quite an open piece of trench about 250 yards from the German trenches. Whilst the Officers were away, Major Nicholls took the rest of the Battalion on a route march and also tried out the East Surrey's Band with consisted of 13 instruments bought with the profits from the Battalion canteen. The next day the 7th Battalion were taken on a cross country run and spent the rest of the day preparing for the move the next day.

On the 13th no parades were held and at 12.30pm Private Charles Dixon and the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment begun the move back into the front line. The men moved firstly to Agnes-les-Duisans and leaving by motor bus at 8.30pm for Arras, arriving at 3am having lost their way. The men got into billets and were shortly asleep. The 12th Division including the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment moved back into the front line on the 14th January 1917 and remained here other than periods of rest until towards the end of 1917. 'D' Coy moved out at 6am relieving the 7th Seaforth Highlanders with the rest of the companies moving out between 8am and 8.30am. The relief went well and was completed by 12.30pm and the rest of the day was extremely quiet.

Arras Trenches In And Near Blangy

The morning of the 15th passed quietly and a lot of work commenced on the trenches. During the afternoon the German's begun a heavy trench mortar attack against the centre and left of the line and the British artillery retaliated which stopped the enemy barrage. At about 8.30pm the Germans started to shell the reserve line and the reserve Coy billets causing no damage. The rest of the night passed quietly although 1 casualty was taken. The German's were quiet on the morning of the 16th and trench mortared a little in the afternoon. 2nd Lieutenant Cator and 2 men were buried by a trench mortar and once dug out were found to be only shaken.

There was a heavy snowfall on the 17th and usual trench mortar and artillery exchanges. The 7th Battalion were relieved by the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment in the morning of the 18th and went back to Arras. The Battalion H.Q was at No.8 Rue Gambetta and rest of the men were in the College Des Jeunes Filles. The 19th and 20th saw a large number of men out on working parties all night. The 21st the East Surrey's supplied 200 men to carry Gas cylinders up to the railway embankment where there was to be an experimental release of gas by a new method.

The 7th Battalion moved back into the trenches on the 22nd of January completing the move by 11am. During the afternoon there was the usual heavy trench mortar attack against the centre and right of the line causing a certain amount of damage to the trenches with 1 casualty. Major Nicholls took Command of the Battalion as the C.O had left for a Conference. The night passed quietly but just after morning 'Stand To' the German's begun a trench mortar barrage and the British artillery almost immediately retaliated. At 2pm the Germans trench mortared again but was successfully retaliated. During the night the damaged parts of the line which had received direct hits were repaired and dugout.

At 3am and 7am on the 24th of January the German's sent over a few heavy trench mortars which slightly damaged the trenches on the Battalion's right. During the afternoon the German's 'Minnies' begun again and the British artillery retaliated and succeeded in stopping them. A carrier pigeon flew over the line from Arras and landed in the German line, apparently there were spies in Arras. The Battalion Commanding Officer returned in the evening from the conference he had attended.

Early in the morning on the 25th Major Nicholls made a reconnaisance of the River Scarpe having an interesting walk round finding some suspicious tracks in the rather close up behind the front line. At 10.30am the German's fired a barrage of 4.5 inch Howitzer shells near Battalion H.Q and everybody there had to take to the cellars for about 20 minutes, the houses on the opposite side of the road taking most of the damage. In the afternoon 4 Batteries of 9.2 inch Howitzers bombarded the German's heavy trench mortars, whilst accidentally dropping 2 shells into the East Surrey's line luckily causing no casualties.

The 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment were relieved early morning on the 26th and the men moved back to Brigade reserve with 2 Companies at Cemetery Post and St. Sauveur respectively and 2 Companies in reserve at the Grand Place. Battalion H.Q was located in Rue de la Paix and the men spent the remainder of the day checking the Battalion's stores and sorting themselves and their equipment out. The next 3 days were spent in the 37th Brigade's reserve with the men working on the defences of the keeps occupied by the 7th Battalion. Working parties were also sent to help out with the Royal Engineers and the C.O and the other Officers spent the day visiting the Companies various billets and keeps which were quite spread around. On the 29th a Lance Corporal from the East Surrey's was tried by Field General Court Martial at Battalion H.Q. 1 man from 'D' Coy was wounded by flying shrapnel in cemetery but beyond this there had been no casualties.

The 7th Battalion relieved the Royal West Kent Regiment early in the morning whilst a heavy barrage of trench mortars was fired by the German's however the East Surrey's didn't take any casualties. The 31st continued to be quiet and the German trench mortar was inactive.

The 1st of February 1917 was a very quiet day with German activity increasing towards the evening. The day was very cold and the ground was frozen hard with not much progress done to the trenches by the working parties. During the early hours of the 2nd the German trench mortar was spotted and was then silenced by the East Surrey's own 2" mortar trench. The German trench mortar became active again at about 11am and managed to this time knockout the 7th Battalion's own 2" trench mortar although the men were confident they would have it back in service for the next day. The 7th Battalion were relived on the 3rd which was completed by 11am whilst the afternoon saw several parties of men working for the Royal Engineers.

February 1917 Preparation And Practise Arras Sector

On the 4th all the men were out on working parties for the Royal Engineers again in very cold conditions with the Battalion recording a temperature of -6 degrees celsius overnight. The 5th saw the men on ammunition fatigue and digging the Boulevard Bouvey and a lateral communication trench around Arras from the Citadel to the Basin and to about 200 yards to the East of the Town. The morning of the 6th of February was spent preparing to move back and in the evening the 7th Battalion were relieved from the Divisional reserve by the 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. The East Surrey's moved back to Duisans arriving at midnight, and quickly settled into huts on what was another bitterly cold night.

The men of the 7th Battalion East surrey Regiment including Private Charles Dixon spent the 7th and 8th of February 1917 on working under for the Royal Engineers, 278th Railway Company. The men had to level the ground for the track to be laid upon for a new line which was to run from Saulty through Wanquetin up to the village of Mont St. Eloi. The ground was fearfully hard and not much progress could be made. At 4pm on the 8th the 7th Battalion marched to Manin, a distance of about 10 miles. The march was very cold but the East Surrey's arrived at 7.30pm with only 4 men falling out.

The morning of the 9th all the men were allowed a rest with a kit inspection for each of the Companies under their respective Commanders. In the evening the men were allowed to go into Avenses-Le-Compte which was the local metropolis. An inspection of the billets the Battalion were staying was performed by the C.O in the morning of the 10th, with them found to be in good condition but draughty for the time of year. On the 11th there was a meeting for the Company Commanders at Battalion H.Q, to discuss a proposed reorganisation of the Battalion's companies. In the afternoon the Company Commanders planned out lines of trenches in the snow which were to be dug the next day. That evening the men enjoyed the 1st performance of the Battalion cinema which was a great success, made more enjoyable by the music provided by Private Camnock who played the Padre's organ.

The next morning the men dug of the snow from the trenches laid down the day before and it was thought the trenches would be a great success as they showed up so clearly in the snow. On the 13th the men practised a trench to trench attack with all the companies engaged in steady arms drill and handling of arms in the afternoon. 100 men were sent to Ambrines to work on the practise trenches, during the day of the 14th whilst the usual routine of drill assault, physical and musketry training with a period of bayonet fighting for the rest of the men.

The 15th and 16th the men continued their program of training and on the 17th 400 men were sent to Ambrines to dig the practise trenches there with the remainder of the men on parades at Manin. The same 400 men went back to Ambrines to continue the digging there on the 18th. The practise trenches being dug at Ambrines were an exact copy of the British and German lines at a certain point that the East Surry's soon hoped to attack. The rest of the Battalion spent the day training on the Lewis gun with the same work done on the 19th.

The 20th and 21st of February saw 600 men go to Ambrines to work on the trenches there whilst on the 22nd the Company Commanders organised their sections in the morning with the 7th Battalion going to the practise trenches in the afternoon and walking over the ground in attack formation with features and various points etc, pointed out to the men. On the morning of the 23rd some of the men were again sent to the practise trenches this time to mark in dugouts and special points of interest. The rest of the men had instruction on the Lewis gun, bombing and rifle grenades and again in the afternoon the Battalion had another practise attack at Ambrines.

The East Surrey's continued training for the forthcoming attack on the 24th and several Officers, Company Commanders with the Battalion C.O all went to Blangy to watch the tanks at work. They were shown the tanks moving over trenches, wire entanglements and shell holes although they were a bit over enthusiastic when it came to demonstrating the tanks climbing up and down banks with 2 left stuck in the mud.

Training continued on the 26th with a lecture given to all the Officers of 37th Brigade in the evening. On the 27th and 28th of February the 7th Battalion were again at the practise trenches in Ambrines where they participated in a Brigade practise attack.

March 1917 The Training Continues

Private Charles Dixon and the men of the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment continued training in preparation for the forthcoming attacks in the Arras sector of the Western front. The 1st of March saw the men again practising a Brigade attack at the practise trenches at Ambrines. Stokes mortars put up a barrage and cooperation with an aeroplane was tried although this was not a great success as the cloud's were quite low. The next day's practise saw all the Officers taken out and the N.C.O's had to continue the attacks.

Musketry, bombing and Lewis gun training was practised on the 3rd and the 7th Battalion moved a lot of its store to Montenescourt which the East Surrey's moved to at 2pm on the 4th. The Battalion marched via Noyelle-Vion, Noyelette and Habarcq passing Brigadier General Matheson who remarked that he thought the East Surrey Regiment the smartest Battalion he had seen in France. On arrival at Montenescourt the man soon got into billets which in bad state.

On the 5th of March the Battalion Headquarters and many of the Companies found better billets and the Brigade H.Q moved to Lattre St.Quentin. Training resumed on the 6th with the usual classes in musketry, physical and Lewis gun training. The men considered Montenescourt to be the muddiest in France. The next day Battalion baths were opened having been made by the Pioneers. 1 double and single baths were made with 1 Company per day using them. The weather had changed and it was again snowing.

It snowed hard on the morning of the 8th so training classes were held in billets and in the afternoon 1 Officer per Company and 1 N.C.O per platoon attended a class on firing the Vickers and German machine guns. The usual routine now continued on the 9th and 10th and Sunday Church service held on the 11th. The 12th saw the men on a Battalion parade and training in the new Brigade training area. The next morning the men were inspected by the Battalion C.O and all found to be fairly clean which was good considering the amount if mud in the village. The Company Commanders went and heard about the listening sets that were now being used but came back unimpressed.

On the 14th the men of the East Surrey Regiment carried out a practise attack in conjunction with the 36th Infantry Brigade. The 7th Battalion left Montenescourt at 6.30am in the pouring rain and returned at 5pm having marched about 20 miles and carrying out the practise attack over heavy ground as well. Only 3 men fell out throughout the whole day. The next the East Surrey's spent preparing for a move to Arras in the evening and the Battalion set of at 5pm and arrived at 1.15am. The men relieved the 6th Queens working on dugouts in the line, with working parties starting at 5.30am and continuing throughout the day.

During the day on the 17th of the whole Battalion was sent on working parties.

There were 24 casualties taken at one point during the day all from 1 shell which fell into a platoon killing 6 and wounded about 14. An Officer was hit badly in the head and legs and died later in the day at Habarcq. All the men were again employed on working parties on the 18th. Some of the working parties again received some shelling but this time there was practically no casualties.

The Officers at Battalion H.Q were annoyed on the morning of the 19th, as they all had to retire into the cellars owing to the persistent shelling of 1 German gun. All the men of the Battalion were excited by the German withdrawal. Communiques were coming in every 15 minutes, with everybody having a different theory. The German withdrawal from the Somme back to the Hindenburg Line did not affect the British Line at Arras and the East Surrey's continued preparations for their next attack.

The 7th Battalion spent the next 2 days on working parties and on the evening of the 21st the Battalion were relieved by the 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers from the 36th Brigade who had moved up from the Brigade training area with the East Surrey's and the 37th Brigade. Over night on the 22nd the Battalion marched about 15 miles to Manin with none of the falling out and the last Company arriving about 9am.

The man spent the day sleeping and cleaning with Brigade training on the 23rd and 24th on the practise trenches and then a move to Agnez on the evening of the 25th arriving at 9pm with the men going straight into billets. A working party of men moved to Arras in the afternoon and the rest of the Battalion left in the evening taking over from the 7th Battalion Suffolk Regiment and their billets in the museum.

Tunneling and working parties continued and the German's were shelling Arras almost constantly. Civilians were still living in Arras which was fraught with danger. The 29th of March was somewhat quieter but the shelling continued and on the 30th a shell fell in the main street killing an Officer in his Billets. The German's shelled Arras heavily all day on the 31st, using shell of a large calibre.

April 1917 The Tunnels and Caves In Arras

The preparations for the forthcoming attack continued on the 1st and 2nd of April with the all the men on working on the tunnels and caves which extended under the trenches to the German line. Originally the only underground passages known to the British Army authorities was the town's sewer system, which in the East Surrey's sector of the line, ran around the outside of the town.

Tunnels cut into the chalk around Arras was then found and in numerous places they broke into caves some about 20 feet high and large enough to hold about 100 men. The sewer, caves and tunnels were then put to good use. The tunnels were cut through to the sewer with entrances made in the town and the trenches. The caves and tunnels were then shored up and boarded. A tram line was then laid and some places there was branch lines and double lines and a miniature railway was started. Electric lighting was put in place with cables festooning the walls to the trenches. An oil engine for the lighting was installed with bunks in the caves for the men.

Headquarters and report centre were placed at the end of the tunnel which was just about under the German wire. Attention then turned to the excellent cellars in the town and a general linking up was begun and soon it was possible to get from the crypt of the Cathedral to under the German wire without having to brave the shell fire out in the open. The end of the tunnel was arranged so that a opening could be made, at a moments notice.

The 7th Battalion East Surrey with Private Charles Dixon in the ranks moved back into the front line trenches overnight on the 2nd of April taking over the whole Divisional front. The British bombardment was becoming very heavy on the 3rd with weak retaliation from the German's. The 7th Sussex and 11th Middlesex Regiment's took over the left of the Brigade front line relieving 'A' coy who went back to the cellars at Rue de Saumont. On the 4th the 6th Queens Regiment took over the right of the Brigade front line, leaving the East Surrey's in the Battalion's section of the front for the attack. Stores for the Battalion were being collected and given out to the men.

The 5th of April saw Private Charles Dixon with 'C' Coy alongside 'D' Coy having a miserable and very wet time in the trenches, digging a new assembly line and trying to keep the trenches passable. The British artillery barrage on the German lines was getting heavier and particularly intense at times And the Battalion's casualties were light only about 4 slight ones. This was due to the East Surrey's holding the line sand the good dugouts, cellars and caves in and around Arras.

On the 8th which was Easter Day, preparations in regard to equipment, ammunition etc was completed by the Companies. At 6pm 'C' Coy including Private Charles Dixon and 'D' Coy left the cellars while 'A' and 'B' Coy's took up their battle positions in dugouts. During the night all wire was cut with ladders and bridge's put into positions.

Arras The First Battle Of The Scarpe

The attack started at 5.30am in a heavy snowfall, with the British artillery barrage intensely bombarding the German lines, and by this time the men of the East Surrey's were in or near to the front trench ready to go over. The German counter barrage did not descend for 3 minutes and it was thought the 7th Battalion got away without one casualty. All the lines assigned to the 7th Battalion were taken in excellent style the whole attack being carried off like a parade. Messages, prisoners and the wounded started to arrive back at the British lines about 6.15am and from these it was learnt that the German 3rd line had been attacked. At 6.23am it was reported that the Black Line which was the German 6th trench had been captured. 7th Battalion's headquarters moved into the report centre in the tunnels and a message from an Officer confirming that the 4th and 6th lines had been captured.

At 8am Lieutenant Colonel Baldwin, Captain Anns and Lieutenant Ward moved up and found that the 3rd wave was consolidating in shell holes in front of the Black line and that all the attacking Battalions had drifted to the right and this was adjusted. Enemy machine guns were firing from the Blue line as well as German snipers. The Royal West Kent Regiment was pressing over the captured ground to take the Blue line.

It was about this time that Sergeant Cator with a Lewis gun worked his way up to the Blue line, in the open, under heavy rifle and machine gun fire. He then moved along the blue line which was a strong and carefully prepared line of defence, killing many of the enemy he came across until reaching a German machine gun which was threatening to hold up the attack of the Royal West Kent's. The machine gun and it's crew was put out of action by Sergeant Cator and he was instrumental in sending back so many prisoners and he dealt with the snipers who were firing on those moving in and in front of the captured line. For this action Sergeant Harry Cator was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for valor and the French Croix de Guerre.

By the afternoon all the objectives in the Blue line had been captured by the Buffs and West Kent's and the battle had passed further on.The Brown line with the exception of Feuchy Chapel redoubt was captured by the evening and the redoubt fell early next morning. The 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment's casualties during the attack was the loss of 3 Officers killed, 2 wounded and 1 missing. 36 Other ranks were also killed, 136 wounded with 4 missing.The 7th Battalion's losses of it's Non Commissioned Officers was heavy and they had sent 674 Other Ranks into the battle.

The attack at Arras, and the use of practise attacks over trenches dug to resemble the German lines and the complete preparation of the attacking Battalions proved that lessons had been learned from the Battle of The Somme the previous year. The attack also proved the necessity of good N.C.O's especially Section Commanders as during the battle command was basically in their hands. Command was rarely exercised by Officers or N.C.O's over groups of 20 men during the attack. The importance of rifle fire and fire orders was noticeable as many enemy casualties was caused by the men firing as they were getting into the German trenches. Consolidation of the captured trenches was well carried out and showed that the Officers and N.C.O's had studied this very important part of the attack. And it was on this day the 9th of April, that Private Charles Dixon was promoted to unpaid Lance Corporal.

Battalion H.Q moved to the dugout in the Blue line an the Battalion remained in the same position on the 10th. On the 11th the 37th Brigade moved to the Brown line in artillery formation which was about a mile and half from Monchy, in preparation for taking over from the Brigades of the 37th Division. Snow was still thick on the ground and the night very dark and cold with sleet and snow.

General Cator, the East Surrey's Brigadier decided that the 7th Battalion, and the Buffs could not relieve that night. The men spent a terrible night in shell holes and it rained or snowed continually. The Battalion H.Q was located in a shell hole the whole time until the East Surrey's were relieved on the night of the 12th by the 29th Division and they then moved back to their original positions in the old British line. The men stayed in the dugouts on the 13th and then marching 8 miles to Gouves on the 14th although all Ranks were tired nobody fell out. The 15th saw the Battalion march to Humbercourt in the morning. The day was very wet but again nobody fell out although some men with bad feet came down by lorry.

Resting And Refitting

Lance Corporal Charles Dixon and the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment spent the period between the 16th to the 22nd of April 1917 at Humbercourt where they begun cleaning and bathing after the recent fighting and begun training courses on the Lewis gun. Inspections of the men and their kit was held and the refitting continued. On the 20th the Battalion were thanked for their good work, whilst on parade by the General of the 37th Infantry Brigade.

On the 23rd the 7th Battalion moved to Lattre St.Quentin in the morning and then moved to Duisins on the 24th where they were billeted in huts and then moving back to Arras on the 25th. The men continued to clean their equipment, have physical training and courses on the Lewis gun ehich continued until the 29th of April. On the 30th of April the 7th Battalion left Arras and relieved the 7th Suffolk Regiment in the trenches known as 'Gun Pit Valley' which was to the North of Monchy. The relief was complete in the early hours of the 1st of May and it was fairly quiet.

The 3rd Battle Of The Scarpe May 1917

The 36th Brigade attacked Rifle Trench in the dark of the early hours on the 2nd of May with the East Surrey's in cooperation. The 7th Battalion had relieved half of the 6th Battalion The Buffs in Bayonet trench and the part of Rifle trench that had been captured previously. The attack was unsuccessful and the ground was in a poor state and the trenches little more than shell holes that been conslidated. No communications trench existed. The rest of the day the men spent preparing for the attack to be launched in the early hours of the night.

The attack on the 3rd of May 1917 was another bleak day in the history of the British Army with over 5900 men killed. The role of the 12th Division which included the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment was to advance 2500 yards on the left flank in the overall capture of Roeux. A larger effort by the British 1st, 3rd and 5th Armies commenced at the same time on a front of 12 miles, and an artillery bombardment had begun 2 day's before.

The 7th Battalion with the 6th Buffs on the right and the 11th Middlesex Regiment on the left, attacked at 3.45am and had 2 objectives. The Brown line named Gun trench and the Yellow line named Cartridge trench. The attack failed disastrously and casualties to the East Surrey Regiment were heavy. No messages were received by the 7th Battalion's Officers at Headquarters until the afternoon and that was from an Officer to say he was back in the British front line with 2 Officers and about 40 men.


Valentine Hitchcock – Part 4

On arrival in England the 67th Battalion (The Western Scots) were stationed at Camp Borden in Hampshire where on May 15th they learned that “because of its unusually diversified training and adaptability” they had been re-designated the 67th Canadian (Pioneer) Battalion. As a Pioneer battalion in the 4th Canadian Division the 67th would soon find itself in the front lines, consolidating positions, digging trenches, laying wire, and building light railways. It was from nearby Bramshott Camp that the 67th departed on August 13th for France, disembarking in Havre the following day.

Within a week of arriving in France the 67th found themselves in the trenches near Busseboom (Google Maps), just east of Poperinge in Belgium. According to the War Diary (14mb PDF) “Active M.G. fire greeted first appearance of the “Western Scots’. No casualties”. Their clean sheet lasted only one day as two men were reported wounded on August 21st. This “wastage” continued for the next five weeks while the Battalion repaired trenches, filled sandbags and installed duckboards in the Flanders mud. In September the 67th Battalion was officially redesignated the 4th Canadian Pioneer Battalion although in the War Diary, and in the hearts of the men, they remained the 67th Battalion. When they marched back to St. Omer near the end of September they had lost 44 men (9 killed, 35 wounded) and 3 officers (2 killed, 1 wounded). Word of the fatal wounding of Lieut. Peter MacKintosh during a heavy bombardment near Voormezele on Sept. 9th was reported in the Sept. 12th edition of the Daily Colonist (note: although the article claims he was the first officer to die but he was in fact the second).

In early October the Battalion marched to Aveluy (Google Maps) near Albert where they spent the next two months working in the Somme, specifically in Kenora, Vancouver and Sudbury trenches and along stretches of the Albert-Bapaume Road. An excellent account of their 3-day march written by Captain George Nicholson appeared in the December 3, 1916 Daily Colonist.

In early December the 67th marched north to Chelers for two weeks training before marching east to Villers-au-Bois where they would spend the next four months preparing for the Arras offensive. The battalion toiled endlessly constructing and maintaining trenches, dugouts and the Kings Cross Light Railway. On February 13th one officer and 33 men participated in a trench raid with the 10th Brigade against the 5th Bavarian Reserve Division in which “a number of enemy entanglements, emplacements, strongpoints and dugouts were destroyed” and more than 50 prisoners were captured.

Preparation continued throughout March and early April for the assault on Vimy Ridge. On the evening of April 8 four officers and 111 men from the 67th gathered inside the Gobron tunnel along with the 72nd Battalion, The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. On the morning of the attack one officer and 30 men spent the morning clearing wounded from the battlefield “throughout an intense retaliatory bombardment” before being relieved by another party from the 67th Battalion. While Pte Valentine Hitchcock is not mentioned in the war diary it is safe to assume he played his part in one of Canada’s most famous battles of the First World War.

Valentine’s letter from May 5, 1917

On May 1st 1917, after having spent the remainder of April rebuilding roads and constructing railways, the 67th Battalion was disbanded and the men reallocated to the 54th and 102nd Battalions, both from British Columbia. This was disappointing news for Valentine and in a letter to his mother on May 4th he wrote:

“The 67 Batt is no more. It was broken up on the first of this month and divided between two other Western Batt, the 54th & the 102 Batt. My Co was first in the 54, a Kootenay Batt, the reason it was broken up is that their was not enough recruits coming from the West to keep them up to strength. Both are infantry Batt and both have done all what was expected of them, and I hope the 67 will keep the name of them up. The only part I don’t like is the walking their is so much of it, but it can’t be helped. We are present at a rest camp learning the drill which is different from Pioneers. The last few days several thousands of Germans have been taken they are a mixed crowd both old and young but look as if they are not starved. There has just been finished a 24 hours bombardment then the Inf must have gone over and taken them easy although we had a number of casualties it was very light for what was taken. The weather here is very hot at present. I will send you my old badges. V Hitchcock, 102047 C Co. 54 Batt, CEF France”

Read Valentine’s original letter: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4

Valentine attached his 67th Battalion collar and cap badges to his 3-page letter and sent it home by Registered Letter to Victoria. Note: although the letter was dated 4/4/17 this was a simple mistake. The date on the registered letter cover confirms it was sent in May and Valentine’s description of his location, the weather and the disbanding of the Battalion also fit with a letter written on May 5, 1917.

Now a member of the 54th “Kootenay” Battalion he spent the remainder of May in reserve but in early June the battalion relieved parts of the 47th and 44th Battalions in the front line trenches. Their 72 hour stay was described as “quiet” although they still reported 𔄙 killed, 5 wounded and 28 gassed”. On June 14 Valentine began a two-week Trench Mortar Battery course, training which would greatly influence his experience for the remainder of the war. After an eventful week spent “pushing out” battalion outposts in the front line trenches the 54th were relieved at the end of July and moved to the Brigade Support area.


February 1917

  • 15 Apr 1917 U 93 Edgar von Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim Fram 105 da
  • 18 Apr 1917 U 93 Edgar von Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim Troldfos 1,459 nw
  • 18 Apr 1917 U 93 Edgar von Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim West Lothian 1,887 nw
  • 22 Apr 1917 U 93 Edgar von Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim Vestelv 1,729 nw
  • 28 Apr 1917 U 93 Edgar von Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim Diana (damaged) 207 da
  • 29 Apr 1917 U 93 Edgar von Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim Comedian 4,889 br
  • 29 Apr 1917 U 93 Edgar von Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim Ikbal 5,434 br
  • 30 Apr 1917 U 93 Edgar von Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim Ascaro 3,245 it
  • 30 Apr 1917 U 93 Edgar von Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim Horsa 2,949 br
  • 30 Apr 1917 U 93 Edgar von Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim Parthenon 2,934 gr
  • 30 Apr 1917 U 93 Prize (damaged) 199 br
  • 19 Jun 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Louise 645 nw
  • 27 Jun 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Baron Ogilvy 4,570 br
  • 4 Jul 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Kodan 308 da
  • 12 Aug 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Bestum 3,520 nw
  • 14 Aug 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Asti 5,300 it
  • 20 Aug 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Elswick Lodge 3,558 br
  • 21 Aug 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Volodia 5,689 br
  • 23 Aug 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Carl F. Cressy 898 am
  • 25 Aug 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Heatherside 2,767 br
  • 25 Aug 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Ovar 1,650 pt
  • 26 Aug 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Marmion 4,066 br
  • 26 Aug 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Minas Queen 492 ca
  • 29 Aug 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Treloske 3,071 br
  • 18 Oct 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Macao 3,557 bz
  • 27 Oct 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach D. N. Luckenbach 2,929 am
  • 28 Oct 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Finland (damaged) 12,222 am
  • 29 Oct 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach La Epoca 2,432 ur
  • 30 Oct 1917 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Liff 2,521 nw
  • 2 Jan 1918 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Veda 25 br
  • 4 Jan 1918 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Goeland I 235 fr
  • 6 Jan 1918 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Kanaris 3,793 gr
  • 6 Jan 1918 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Harry Luckenbach 2,798 am
  • 6 Jan 1918 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Henri Lecour 2,488 fr
  • 6 Jan 1918 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Dagny 1,220 da
  • 14 Jan 1918 U 93 Helmut Gerlach Babin Chevaye 2,174 fr
  • 15 Jan 1918 U 93 Helmut Gerlach War Song 2,535 br

SM U-155 (Deutschland Merchant Submarine)


World War I: Life in the trenches

An individual unit's time in the front-line trench was usually brief from as little as one day to as much as two weeks at a time before being relieved. The 31st Australian Battalion once spent 53 days in the line at Villers-Bretonneux, but such a duration was a rare exception. The 10th Battalion, CEF, averaged front line tours of six days in 1915 and 1916. [29] The units who manned the front line trenches the longest were the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps from Portugal stationed in Northern France unlike the other allies the Portuguese couldn't rotate units from the front lines due to lack of reinforcements sent from Portugal, nor could they replace the depleted units that lost manpower due to the war of attrition. With this rate of casualties and no reinforcements forthcoming most of the men were denied leave and had to serve long periods in the trenches with some units spending up to six consecutive months in the front line with little to no leave during that time. [30]

On an individual level, a typical British soldier's year could be divided as follows:

  • 15% front line
  • 10% support line
  • 30% reserve line
  • 20% rest
  • 25% other (hospital, travelling, leave, training courses, etc.)

Even when in the front line, the typical battalion would only be called upon to engage in fighting a handful of times a year—making an attack, defending against an attack or participating in a raid. The frequency of combat would increase for the units of the "elite" fighting divisions—on the Allied side the British regular divisions, the Canadian Corps, the French XX Corps and the Anzacs.

Some sectors of the front saw little activity throughout the war, making life in the trenches comparatively easy. When the I Anzac Corps first arrived in France in April 1916 after the evacuation of Gallipoli, they were sent to a relatively peaceful sector south of Armentières to "acclimatise". Other sectors were in a perpetual state of violent activity. On the Western Front, Ypres was invariably hellish, especially for the British in the exposed, overlooked salient. However, quiet sectors still amassed daily casualties through sniper fire, artillery, disease, and poison gas. In the first six months of 1916, before the launch of the Somme Offensive, the British did not engage in any significant battles on their sector of the Western Front and yet suffered 107,776 casualties. Only 1 in 2 men would return alive and unwounded from the trenches. [31]

A sector of the front would be allocated to an army corps, usually comprising three divisions. Two divisions would occupy adjacent sections of the front and the third would be in rest to the rear. This breakdown of duty would continue down through the army structure, so that within each front-line division, typically comprising three infantry brigades (regiments for the Germans), two brigades would occupy the front and the third would be in reserve. Within each front-line brigade, typically comprising four battalions, two battalions would occupy the front with two in reserve. And so on for companies and platoons. The lower down the structure this division of duty proceeded, the more frequently the units would rotate from front-line duty to support or reserve.

During the day, snipers and artillery observers in balloons made movement perilous, so the trenches were mostly quiet. Consequently, trenches were busiest at night, when cover of darkness allowed the movement of troops and supplies, the maintenance and expansion of the barbed wire and trench system, and reconnaissance of the enemy's defences. Sentries in listening posts out in no man's land would try to detect enemy patrols and working parties or indications that an attack was being prepared.

Pioneered by the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in February 1915, [32] trench raids were carried out in order to capture prisoners and "booty"—letters and other documents to provide intelligence about the unit occupying the opposing trenches. As the war progressed, raiding became part of the general British policy, the intention being to maintain the fighting spirit of the troops and to deny no man's land to the Germans. As well, they were intended to compel the enemy to reinforce, which exposed his troops to artillery fire. [32]

Such dominance was achieved at a high cost when the enemy replied with his own artillery, [32] and a post-war British analysis concluded the benefits were probably not worth the cost. Early in the war, surprise raids would be mounted, particularly by the Canadians, but increased vigilance made achieving surprise difficult as the war progressed. By 1916, raids were carefully planned exercises in combined arms and involved close co-operation of infantry and artillery.

A raid would begin with an intense artillery bombardment designed to drive off or kill the front-trench garrison and cut the barbed wire. Then the bombardment would shift to form a "box barrage", or cordon, around a section of the front line to prevent a counter-attack intercepting the raid. However, the bombardment also had the effect of notifying the enemy of the location of the planned attack, thus allowing reinforcements to be called in from wider sectors.


Saul, William Jackson. Died 6th Aug 1916

William was born in Leamington, Warwickshire, in the summer of 1881 [1] and was christened there on 6 th July.[2]

His parents were Joseph (24) a gardener, and Georgiana (28), both from Norfolk. In 1881 they lived at Launton Cottage, Leamington and William was their first child [3]. They went on to have 4 more children, 2 boys and 2 girls.

In the 1891 census the family are living in Draycott Hill farm, Bourton on Dunsmore [Recorded as Joseph Sane and family on Ancestry]. Joseph is now a farmer and he appears to have moved around, as his first 3 children were born in Leamington, daughter Ethel (4) was born in Birdingbury and his son Frank(1) was born in Bourton. William (9) is recorded as a scholar.

In the 1901 census, Joseph and family are living at 23 Cambridge Street, Rugby. His 17 year old son Ernest is working as a butcher’s assistant, as is his lodger, Major G Gibbs. [5]

William is absent from the census. He had moved to Norfolk where he was a lodger in Bacton Rd, North Walsham, working as a butcher.[5] In the third quarter of 1902 he married Lottie Worts (18) who was a draper’s assistant also living in North Walsham. [6]

The Rugby Almanack gives us more information about the period before the next census.

In the 1901-1903 Directory, J W Saul, fruiterer, is living at 49 Railway Terrace Rugby

In the 1904-1906 Directory Mrs Saul is living at 163 Cambridge Street.

In the 1906-1908 & the 1909-1911 Directories, William is recorded as living at 163 Cambridge Street as a shop manager [7]

The 1911 Census confirms that William and Lottie are living at 163 Cambridge St. He is a Butcher’s Manager, while his mother, father, brother’s Ernest and Frank and sister Lucy are living at 95 Bath Street. Joseph is a farmer and dealer and Ernest and Frank are both Home and Colonial Butchers. All three are employers. We don’t know if William worked in the family shop.[8]

William joined the 1 st 1 st Warwickshire Yeomanry. He was Private 2919.

In August 1914 they moved on mobilisation to Bury St Edmunds and the brigade came under command of 1st Mounted Division.

On 31 August 1914 they moved with the brigade to Newbury and transferred to 2nd Mounted Division.

In November 1914 they moved with the brigade to Norfolk, and the regiment moved to Sheringham and then on 17 December to Norwich.

The Warwickshire Yeomanry, a cavalry regiment containing over 20 Rugby men, sailed for the Middle East in April 1915. Off the Scilly Isles, their horse transport ship Wayfarer was torpedoed by a German U-boat, and limped back to Bristol. Five men were lost but 763 horses on board were saved. In August 1915 the Yeomanry eventually arrived at Gallipoli, suffering heavy losses fighting as dismounted infantry. [9]

William died on 6 th August and is buried at Kantara Cemetery, Egypt.
[For details of the action in which he died see the Biography of Harold George Loverock, died 5th August.]

His medal rolls Index Card states that he entered the theatre of war on the 6th November 1915. He was awarded the Victory, British and Star medals [10]

A payment of £5 3s and 3 pence was made to his widow Lottie on 23/11/16 and a War Gratuity of £4 10s was also paid to Lottie on 16/09/19, by which time she had remarried and is recorded as Lottie Oakes [11], Lottie was then living in Coventry.

Williams parents had also moved to Coventry by the time of his death and were living at 87 Highfield Sr, Foleshill, Coventry. [12] In fact the City of Coventry Roll of the Fallen: The Great War 1914-1918 records him as living at this address [13]

[1] Ancestry England & Wales Free BMD Birth Index

[2] Ancestry England & Wales Christening index 1530-1980

[4] Family Search 1891 census Ancestry 1891 census

[6] Ancestry England & Wales, Free BMD Marriage Index, 1837-1915

[7] Rugby Alamanack, Rugby Library

[9] www.1914-1918.net/ The Long Long Trail: The British Army in the First World War

[10] British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index cards, 1914-1920

[11] Ancestry UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929

[12] Ancestry, UK, Commonwealth War Graves, 1914-1921

[13] City of Coventry Roll of the Fallen: The Great War 1914-1918 by Charles Nowell


Index by Family Group

Thomas Blencowe, C1475, Marston St Lawrence

John Blinko d.1694 Marston St Lawrence

Rev Samuel Jackson Blencowe 1709 Marston St Lawrence

Edward Blencowe, C1774, Northants

James Blencowe 1781 Northampton

Francis Blencowe, 1655, Helmdon
William Blincko 1635 Hedgereley
James Blincoe C1646 England

Albert T Blincoe 1804 Prince William County VA
Joseph Blincoe M. 1835 Jefferson WV
Benjamin Philip Blinco C1834 Missouri?
James Blincoe 1875 Kentucky
Benjamin Philip Blinco C1834 Missouri?

John Blinco 1660 Whilton
Richard Blincow, C1660, Bicester
William Blincow 1702 Bicester
Joseph Blencowe 1769 Bicester
Huett Blencowe, C1720, Wolverton
Thomas Blincow, 1729(d), Oxford
Henry Blinker 1738 Barrow
Francis Blincoe C1751
Samuel Blinks 1753 Kent

Albert Blinks 1846 Maidstone

Thomas Blencoe d.1755 Kings Sutton

John Blencowe, 1807, Kings Sutton

Henry Blincow abt 1764 Radstone Brackley
John Blencow, C1778, Brackley
Benjamin Ward Blencowe 1776 Long Buckby
William Blencowe C1780 Stony Stratford
James Blencowe 1781 Upper Heyford
Robert Blincoe 1792 London
James Blinco, C1795, Warwicks
John Blinco 1798 England
William Blencowe 1788 Buckingham

John Blinco 1798 Buckingham ?

Thomas Blencowe 1803 Bishops Itchington
William Blencowe, C1811, Culworth

John Blencowe C1828 died Leamington Priors

John Blencoe 1824 England
Charles Blencoe 1833 Northampton
William James Blencowe, 1852, Romford
Alfred Edward Blencowe 1856 Hanwell
Frank Blinco 1866 Walsall

Want to know more about 23rd Division?

during the Great War 1914-1918.

  • Adams Frederick. L/Cpl. 8th Btn. (d.30th Sep 1917)
  • Cooling Albert Ernest. 2nd Lt. 14th Btn.
  • Daglish Robert. Pte 12th Btn
  • Melvin Robert. Spr. 102nd Field Coy. (d.31st Oct 1918)
  • Platts James. Pte 10th Btn. (d.20th September 1917)
  • Smith Herbert. Pte. 10th Battalion
  • Sparham William Albert Ward. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.6th Oct 1916)

All names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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LXXV Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, initially made up of 235, 236 and 237 Batteries RFA and the Brigade Ammunition Column, served with 16th (Irish) Division. The 16th Irish Division was established by the Irish Command in September 1914, as part of Kitchener's Second New Army. They moved to England and into barracks in Aldershot by the end of the month. On 23 January 1915 the three six-gun batteries were reorganised to become four four-gun batteries and were titled as A, B, C and D. In July 1915 they left the 16th (Irish) Division and underwent training on Salisbury Plain. They landed at Le Havre on the 3rd of September 1915 and joined the Guards Division. In Autumn 1915 they were in action in The Battle of Loos.

The Brigade Ammunition Column left the brigade on the 13th of May 1916 merging with the other columns of the divisional artillery to form the Guards Divisional Ammunition Column.

In 1916 they fought on the Somme at the The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and The Battle of Morval, in which the Division captured Lesboeufs. The batteries were reorganised on 14th of November 1916 becoming six-gun units. Two guns of B Battery joined A and C Batteries. B Battery, 61 Brigade RFA joined, merging with half of D Battery 76 (Howitzer) Brigade to become D (Howitzer) Battery, 75 Brigade.

In 1917 they saw action during The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line and Third Battle of Ypres including The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of the Menin Road, The Battle of Poelkapelle and The First Battle of Passchendale. In 1918 They fought on the Somme during The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Albert and The Second Battle of Bapaume. Also The 1918 First Battle of Arras, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to The Selle, The Battle of the Selle and The Battle of the Sambre

15th November 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery. formerly 6th County of London Brigade RFA. Territorial Force.

All Batteries tested timing switches by actually firing and carried on registering of Division Zone. Day was generally quiet. Bombardment of Snout provoked a little retaliation. At 1430 hostile aeroplanes were unusually daring and nonplussed observers which let one machine fly almost unmolested 1500 feet over I.26, 27 and Valley Cottages. New enemy work at I.19.c.1.4 and I.30.b.8.0 has progressed. Activity round a camouflet near hilly place suggests offensive Sapping operations, ultimate intention probably being to jump our front line and command reverse slope of ridge. (Note: sapping is constructing trenches forward from the front line towards enemy positions,usually as listening posts or, as suggested here, jumping off points for attacking troops, getting them nearer to enemy lines under cover). (Further note: a camouflet is a chamber created by explosives underground without breaking the surface (which would be a crater)).

  • 15th Battery = A236
  • 16th Battery = B236
  • 17th Battery = C236
  • 22nd Battery = D236

19th May 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery formerly 6th County of London Brigade RFA. Territorial Force report from Frevillers. Capt. Love OC. 6th London Brigade Ammunition Column is transferred to C236 Battery 2Lt J.C Carter, 6th London B.A.C. is transferred to A236 Battery. 2Lt Green is transferred from C236 Battery to 6th London B.A.C.

20th May 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Frevillers: 2/Lt Mason is transferred from 6th London Brigade Ammunition Column to B236 Battery but is attached to C236 Battery for one week.

21st May 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Carency. Col. Lowe took over command of Right Group at 1300. Right Group now consists of A/236 B/236 C/236 D/236 and D/113 Batteries.

German Attack on Vimy Ridge. From 0530 to 1230 hostile artillery were very active on our front and support lines. A balloon was reporting on the Cabaret communication trench and main roads in Carency and Ablain. At 1730 the enemy started a heavy barrage of the Zouave Valley, shelling communication trenches, front and support lines of the Right Battalion of Left Brigade and also the Right Brigade. At about 2000 the enemy used Lachrymatory shells(see note below) on our Batteries as well as 5.9 inch shells. The 16th London Battery had a direct hit on it's No.1 gun wounding five men. At about 2130 the enemy attacked taking the front line and support lines of the Right Brigade (140th ) and the front line of the Right Company of the Right Battalion of the Left Brigade. A bombing attack was organised. Looz, Momber Crater and part of the front lines of the Right Battalion were retaken. Fire slackened off at about 0330. Lt Barnard B236 Battery was promoted Captain. (Note-Lachrymatory shells were filled with tear gas)

(Lt James Henry Van den Bergh from Commonwealth War Graves Commission died aged 23 on 21/05/1916 and is buried at Arras Memorial. He was the son of Henry and Henriette Van Den Bergh of 8 Kensington Palace Gardens.) He was reported as missing on 22nd May 1916.

22nd May 1916 Enemy Barrage 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Carency report Lt Van den Bergh C236 Battery liaison officer to the Left Battalion of the Right Brigade was reported as missing. Activity not great on front support line trenches till 2350 when the enemy sent up green flares and their artillery laid a heavy barrage on Zouave Valley. Ablain, Carency and Lorette heights were heavily shelled with 4.9 and 8 inch guns during the whole of the day. Our artillery kept up a steady fire on enemy front and support line trenches. The 34th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, 2nd Division is attached to Right Group.

23rd May 1916 Intermittent shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Carency: Intermittent shelling during the day of the Batteries in Carency, Ablain and Lorette. At 1900 our artillery opened a slow bombardment of the enemy new front line which gradually increased until about 2025, when they lifted onto the old German front line. The enemy replied by barraging Zouave Valley. Artillery was very active all night and only stopped at about 0330 24th May 1916.

24th May 1916 Artillery Very Active 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Carency: Our artillery was very active throughout the day carrying out a slow bombardment of the enemy front and support lines. Enemy artillery replied with 5.9 inch rounds about battery positions. There was no infantry attack at all. The C236 Battery received a direct hit on the Sergeants Dug out, killing three Sergeants and wounding 2/Lt Green and one other Sergeant. Details of the three sergeants killed are unrecorded.

25th May 1916 Shelling Reduced 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Carency report shelling on both sides was much reduced. During the afternoon Divisional Headquarters in Chateau de la Haie was shelled by 4.2 inch guns. During the night of 25th-26th May, the 47th Div Infantry was relieved by 2nd Div Infantry.

26th May 1916 236 Brigade HQ Moves 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Carency: Lt Col Lowe DSO commanding Right Group handed over command to Lt Col Parry OC. 34th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, 2nd Division. 236th Brigade HQ moved to new billets at Valhuon.

27th May 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery move to Valhuon. B236 and C236 Batteries were relieved by batteries of 34th Brigade Royal Field Artillery and went into new billets at Hucler and Antin. A236 remained at the Wagon line Maisnil, Bourohe to dig new gun pits at Ablain. D236 Battery remained in action.

28th May 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery are at Valhuon. D236 and C236 Batteries moved their wagon lines to Noyelles.

29th May 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery Brigade Headquarters with B236 and C236 Batteries moved to Barlin.

30th May 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Barlin: 2/Lt Masson C236 Battery and 2/Lt Corsan D236 Battery proceeded on 7 day leave of absence to England.

31st May 1916 Ready to Move 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Barlin report B236, C236 & D236 Batteries are in 1st Army reserve ready to move at one hours notice.

1st June 1916 Movements 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Barlin: Capt Gayman 3/1 East Anglian RFA reported and is attached to C236 Battery.

4th June 1916 Inspections 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Brigadier General,Royal Artillery, IV Corps, inspected the horses of the B236 and C236 Batteries.

5th June 1916 Inspections 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Barlin. B236 and C236 Batteries were inspected by the Brigadier General RA, 5 Corps. One Section of A236 Battery went into action at Ablain.

  • Lt Lucas 6th London Brigade RFA - Military Cross.
  • RSM. Hood - Distingushed Conduct Medal.
  • Cpl. Noel - Military Medal.
  • Cpl. Williams A236 London Battery - Military Cross.

7th June 1916 Inspections 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report OC. Batteries went to inspect gun positions.

8th June 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Barlin. B236 and C236 Batteries digging reserve gun positions near Verdrel.

9th June 1916 Inspections 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Barlin. OC. Brigade inspected D236 Battery.

11th June 1916 Church Parade 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery hold Church Parade at Barlin.

12th June 1916 Re-routing of Units 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Barlin. Battery Commanders went to reconnoitre positions of batteries of the 23rd Division. Capt Lindell D236 Battery proceeded on 7 days leave of absence to England. Col Lowe DSO appointed OC. Right Group. Right Group consists of the following Batteries, A,B and C,237 Brigade and A,B,C and D,236th Brigade.

13th June 1916 Movements 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report 2/Lt Burgis HQ Staff returned from leave.

14th June 1916 Relocations Sections of Batteries of 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery moved up into action. One section of A236 Battery on the forward slopes of Notre Dame de Lorette and B236 Battery with one section of A236 Battery to the western edge of Bois de Bethonval. C236 Battery to a small wood near Bois De Noulette and D236 Battery to Bois de Noulette. A237 and B237 Batteries in Aix-Noulette with C237 Battery in Bois de Bouvigny.

15th June 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery depart Barlin. The remainder of the Batteries moved up into action and Brigade HQ Staff moved to lines in Boyelles. All quiet on our front. Lt Pilditch, Adjutant, 237 Brigade RFA is attached to Right Group.

16th June 1916 Batteries Register 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Aix Noulette. OC. 236th Brigade took over command of Right Group from OC. 102 Brigade. Batteries commence registering. Except for a few 5.9 & 4.2 rounds into Souchez, all was quiet on our front. At 2230 a laye mine was exploded in the south followed by heavy artillery and machine gun fire.

17th June 1916 Road Shelled 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix Noulette. Lt Petro C236 Battery to England. Some shelling of road between Aix Noulette and Bully Grenay. A great amount of aerial activity at 1200 as 9 enemy planes passed over Aix Noulette in the direction of Hirsin.

17th July 1916 All Quiet 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery: Nothing to report all quiet.

18th June 1916 Poor Light 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix Noulette. The light was not good for observation. A236 Battery's roving gun fired 38 rounds.

19th June 1916 Batteries Retaliate 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Aix Noulette. Slight minewerfen (mortar) fire on our front. Our Batteries retaliated and stopped their fire. Enemy aeroplanes were more active. A236 Battery's roving gun fired 36 rounds and A237 Battery changed position.

20th June 1916 Trench Mortars Active 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report enemy trench mortars again very active in the morning and our Howitzer Battery shelled the suspected places with good result. Our own trench mortars registered the German wire. Major Cooper A236 and Major Clifton A237 Batteries are Mentioned in Despatches. 1417 Gunner Young A236 Battery is awarded the Military Medal by the Commander in Chief under authority from HM The King (IV GRO 943).

21st June 1916 Trench Mortar Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix Noulette report there was much trench mortar activity about 1200. The enemy trench mortars were also very active and scored two hits on our lines wounding 2/Lt Folingsby 237 Brigade, attached to Y236 Trench Mortar Battery, also wounding Lt Kimber 237 Brigade acting as Liason Officer to the Left Battalion. Our Battery did great damage the day before to wire at enemy's front line. Trench Mortars have had this strafe on retaliation. GOC’s Division HQ sent a message to Trench Mortar officers commending their work. There was again a lot of aerial activity. Lt Kimber and 2nd Lieut Folingsby both died of wounds the same night. (Thomas Grueber Folingsby, aged 20, is buried at Aix-Noulette Cemetery Extension and Henry Cyril Dixon Kimber, aged 22, is buried Barlin Communal Cemetery Extension. Both of 7th London Brigade RFA now 237th London Brigade.)

22nd June 1916 Very Little Shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Aix Noulette. Very little shelling today. Enemy put 6 rounds of 4.2 inch shells in A237 Battery's new position. The light for aerial observation was good and a party of enemy aeroplanes flew over Aix Noulette this afternoon. They came back about two hours later followed by our planes.

The following officers arrived from England. 2/Lt G.N. Gaburn - posted to C236 Battery. 2/Lt Wills - posted to C236 Batttery. 2/Lt E.H. de B West - posted to D236 Battery.

Other movements. 2/Lt Gordon Tombe attached to C236 Battery leaves to rejoin his unit 47th Divisional Ammunition Column. Lt Pilditch, Adjutant, 237th Brigade RFA, has left this Group HQ. Lt Tausley, Orderly Officer, 237th Brigade RFA, is attached to this HQ. One of the guns of Y236 Trench Mortar Battery had a premature(shell exploding early) resulting in one man killed and 2 men wounded.

23rd June 1916 All Quiet 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report All quiet. Hostile aeroplanes were very active. B223 Battery commanded by Major T----- joined Right Group and was positioned south of A237 Battery (south of the edge of Noulette Wood)

24th June 1916 Wire Shelled 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix Noulette (War Diary very faint) All batteries of this group shelled wire ---- to ---- zones. Y/47 Trench Mortar Battery (Lt Brown) fired 50 rounds wire registering and retaliation on enemy trench mortars. Much less aerial activity owing to bad weather. Lt Brown attached to Y047 Trench Mortar Battery. A gun of Y047 Trench Mortar Battery blew up killing the Bombardier in charge of the gun.

25th June 1916 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Aix Noulette: Divisional Artillery continued wire cutting in conjunction with the Trench Mortar Batteries. Enemy T.Ms also active at times during the day, but stopped firing when fired on by our Batteries. Aeroplane activity was much less owing to the weather. The sound of heavy bombardment came from just north of the Angres Sector at about 1230.

26th June 1916 Wire cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Aix Noulette. Wire cutting and fire on enemy mortars continued throughout the day. Enemy trench mortars were active on our front, but were silenced by our artillery. At 2330 2nd Division opened a heavy bombardment of enemy trenches on Vimy Ridge. The enemy barrage was fairly heavy for a time but by midnight had practically ceased while our fire carried on until about 0045. At 0445 an exactly similar state of affairs was observed opposite the Loos Salient, very little gun fire was heard and infantry confined themselves chiefly to bombs and machine gun fire.

27th June 1916 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix Noulette report 18 pounder Batteries and Y047 Trench Mortar Battery were wire cutting all day. At 2345 Divisional Artillery opened a bombardment along the whole of the Divisional Front. Under cover of this, gas was let off at 0120. Artillery fire became intense and at 0125 our infantry raided German lines. At present time ----- --- ----. The enemy retaliated very little with 5.9s and heavy minenwerfer (mortars) on our front line. Also a few shells on roads going up to Aix Noulette. All was quiet by 0230. The gas was discharged from the Angres Sector. The artillery barrage was excellent and very heavy.

28th June 1916 Bad Light 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix Noulette: Batteries engaged in wire cutting, but light very bad for observation during the morning. At about 2145 artillery was very active in Loos Sector. Capt Gayman C236 Battery reverts to the rank of Lieutenant.

29th June 1916 High Winds 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix Noulette. A very high wind made wire cutting very difficult especially by the Bois en Hach which, owing to the nature of the ground and undergrowth, is very difficult to see. C236 and B236 Batteries put forward a gun for wire cutting. Lt Yenken C236 Battery arrived from England, but went at once to the Field Ambulance Unit again.

At 2130 2nd Division opened a short but very intense bombardment of Vimy Ridge and the enemy replied with a short barrage.

30th June 1916 Wire Cutting Continues 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix Noulette report wire received from GHQ that 3rd & 4th Armies launched attacks at 0730 this morning in conjunction with the French and results so far are satisfactory. Batteries continue wire cutting and aeroplane activity is much greater than yesterday.

1st July 1916 Very Quiet Day 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix-Noulette report a very quiet day. Germans displayed slightly more aeroplane activity. A236 Battery and C236 Battery carried out wire cutting with single gun.

2nd July 1916 Quiet Day 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix-Noulette. 2/Lt Gunn C236 Battery moved from post and returned to his battery. A quiet day with enemy retaliation feeble in reply to bombarding their front line and Vimy Ridge.

3rd July 1916 Wire cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix-Noulette report Batteries wire cutting. B237 battery was shelled with 4.2s at about 0900 and one gun was damaged. The enemy shelled battery positions on the Aix-Noulette - Bully Grenay road all morning with 5.9 and 4.2 inch guns. Minewerfen (mortars) were active about 1600. At 2230 the enemy blew up a mine on Vimy Ridge but very little artillery fire followed. Another mine was exploded at 0030. At 0145 our artillery open a strong barrage in support of a raid by the 15th London Regiment on salient in Bois en Hache. The raid lasted twenty minutes with result at present not known. Enemy retaliation was much heavier than in the former raid. All was quiet again by 0230.

4th July 1916 All Quiet 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Aix-Noulette the enemy was active in the Angres Setor this morning with trench mortars, otherwise all quiet.

5th July 1916 Observation Impossible 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix-Noulette report Observation impossible so all quiet on this front.

6th July 1916 Trench Motors Active 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Aix-Noulette. 2/Lt Wildes C236 Battery proceeded on Trench Mortar Course. During the early morning enemy trench mortars were active on Gouchez II to which our own retaliated. Observation was again difficult owing to bad weather.

7th July 1916 All Quiet 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix-Noulette. All quiet. 2nd Lt Woollett transferred from D236 Battery to Y047 TM Battery.

8th July 1916 All Quiet 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Aix-Noulette: All quiet.

9th July 1916 Billets and Roads Shelled 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery. at Aix-Noulette. Col. Peel took over command of Right Group. Col Lowe and Adjutant along with HQ Staff moved to new billets in Helsin. All quiet on this front. During the night the enemy's billets and ration roads were shelled in conjunction with IV Corps heavy artillery.

10th July 1916 All Quiet 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report All quiet on this front.

11th July 1916 Enemy Active 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix-Noulette report enemy active about 1800 on Left Battalion HQ, our Howitzers retaliated on enemy support line. After a few rounds the enemy stopped firing.

12th July 1916 Weather Bad 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Aix-Noulette. Officers and men of 63rd Division attached to C236 Battery for instruction. Batteries carried out small strafes on enemy billets, field gun positions and dumps. Weather rather bad for aeroplane observation.

13th July 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigad 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery are at Aix-Noulette. Batteries carried out strafes on road, dump etc. B236 Battery fired 26 rounds on ---- de HIR---LLE obtaining several hits. Trench Mortars cut wire from 1430 to 1800 covered by fire from 18 pounders.

14th July 1916 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix-Noulette. Trench Mortars continue wire cutting covered by fire from 18 pounders. At 1600 enemy retaliated for our wire cutting on Straight - Huntrench and Boshwalk. Our artillery retaliated strongly and the enemy ceased firing.

15th July 1916 Wire cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix-Noulette. Wire cutting by Trench Mortars and 18 pounders during the afternoon. The enemy retaliated as yesterday on the Straight & Boshwalk, otherwise all quiet.

16th July 1916 Cutting Wire 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Aix-Noulette: Trench Mortars wire cutting in afternoon from 1500 to 1730. At 0100 on the night of 16-17th July, the 20th London Regiment carried out a raid on enemy lines at a small salient north of Bois en Hache. The raid was supported by intense artillery fire with 2" Mortars and Stokes Mortars. Enemy retaliation was slight consisting of a few Light High Velocity shells & trench mortars. Infantry report that German front line trench was entered, dugs outs were bombed and a machine gun was destroyed. Our casualties were light. All was quiet again by 0145.

18th July 1916 Slight Shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Aix-Noulette: Except for slight shelling of Boche Trench & the Straight everything was all quiet. 141st Infantry Brigade relieved by the 63rd Division.

19th July 1916 All Quiet 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report All quiet.

20th July 1916 Enemy Mine Blown 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: Quiet all day. Enemy blew up mine by Double Crassier at 2230.

21st July 1916 All Quiet 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery: All quiet. Nothing to report.

22nd July 1916 Batteries Fire 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Aix-Noulette: The Batteries fired on enemy trenches from 1400 to 1800. Retaliation was slight.

23rd July 1916 Straffing 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aix-Noulette: Our artillery carried out a strafe at 0100 of 20 rounds per battery. The enemy was quick to retaliate on our support line.

24th July 1916 Personnel 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Hersin report: 2/Lt Wildes returned from Trench Mortar Course. During the course he was sent to the Neuve Chapple front to take command of a Trench Mortar Battery during the operations there.

25th July 1916 Movements 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Hersin: Orders received for Brigade to proceed to Sains-les-Pernes.

26th July 1916 Relocations At Hersin and Sains-les-Pernes, 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery less Battery Commanders, one subaltern & one layer per battery to hand over to 316th Brigade RFA., Marched to Sains les Pernes via Barlin-Alldain-Devieu-Camblain-Chatelagn and Pernes. The Brigade was inspected by the Brigadier General R.A. at Barlin and arrived at Sains les Pernes by 1730.

27th July 1916 236th London Brigade Relocate 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery move to Sains les Pernes. Batteries at disposal of Battery Commanders.

28th July 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Sains les Pernes Batteries at disposal of Battery Commanders.

29th July 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Battery Commanders arrived at Sains les Pernes from action after handing over to 316th Brigade RFA. Officers and NCOs of Y047 Trench Mortar Battery reported at Sains les Pernes.

30th July 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade, Royal Field Artillery moved to Aubrometz. The start was made from Sains les Pernes at 0430 and arrived at Aubrometz at 1230, marching by way of Tangry-Hestrus-Waugans-Beauvars-Linzeux and Fillievries. A halt was made at Wavrans for water. The 47th Division is attached to 3rd Army from 30th July.

31st July 1916 Inspections 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Aubrometz. Batteries at disposal of Battery Commanders. OC. Brigade and Adjutant with representatives of each battery, inspected the guns of the 21st Division which have just withdrawn from action at the S.

1st August 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery leave Aubrometz. Brigade marched to Beauvoir Riviere. The Brigade started at 1545 and marched by way of Buire au Bois - Noeux and Waurans.The Brigade arrived at Beauvoir Rivierre by 1900. The Brigade was inspected by Brigadier General R.A. at Noeux.

2nd August 1916 Daily Battery Report 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Beauvoir Riviere. Batteries at disposal of Battery Commanders.

3rd August 1916 Sport and Concert 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery are at Beauvoir Riviere. Batteries at disposal of Battery Commanders. In the afternoon a Brigade swimming sports was held with great success and in the evening a camp fire concert was held. Col Kennedy 21st London Battalion sent the Battalion Band which was a great success and the concert ended at 2200.

4th August 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Batteries at the disposal of Battery Commanders.

5th August 1916 Moves 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery leave Beauvoir Riviere (now Beauvoir-Wavans). Brigade marched to Vitz Villeroy and Villeroy sur Authie. Brigade HQ being at the latter. Brigade marched off at 0445 and arrived at Vitz Villeroy at 0900 marching by Auxi le Chateau and Willencourt.

6th August 1916 Recce 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Vitz-Villeroy. The Brigade carried out a minor recce in conjunction with 235th Brigade RFA.

7th August 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Batteries at disposal of Battery Commanders.

8th August 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery: Batteries at disposal of Battery Commanders.

9th August 1916 Divisional Field Day 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery billeted at Vitz-Villeroy took part in Divisional Field Day. The Brigade massed at Divisional Artillery HQ near Roofles and, after going over a pontoon bridge constructed by Divisional Royal Engineers, proceeded to take up positions in the neighbourhood of Caumont. After batteries had been in action until 1430, retirement to billets was ordered.

10th August 1916 Movements 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery leave Vitz-Villeroy, Brigade moved to bivouac site near Lanches. A start was made from Vitz Villeroy at 0600 and it arrived at Lanches about 1230, marching by Willencourt-Bernatre-Argenville and Beau Metz - a halt being made at Argenville for water.

11th August 1916 Movements 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery depart Lanches and the Brigade moved to Havernas with a start being made at 0630 via Behcuil-Panaples. Arrived in Havernas at 0915.

12th August 1916 Movements 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery leave Havernas and the Brigade moved to Behencourt, marching off at 1200 and arriving at 1800. The route was via Flesselles, Villers Bocage, Molliens au Bois and Montigany. OC. Brigade and Battery Commanders proceeded to look at the new Gallery position near Mametz now occupied by 23 Divisional RFA.

13th August 1916 Action Positions 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Behencourt. C236 Battery and sections of A236, B236 and D236 Batteries move up to action positions at Bottom Wood. The remainder stay at Behencourt.

14th August 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report the remaining sections of A236, B236 and D236 Batteries move into action positions at Bottom Wood. Gunner Wood and Gunner Mason injured through GS Wagon overturning.

15th August 1916 Work Done 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Bottom Wood. 46th Infantry Brigade in trenches. Quiet day. Work done on positions. Quiet on the front

16th August 1916 Light Shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Quiet day except for German shelling at intervals of Welsh Alley and 70th Avenue where all our Observation Points are. There was a practice barrage at 1600. Our Batteries shelled Switch Line on right of tramway running to Martinpuich during the night.

17th August 1916 Registration 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Bottom Wood. Quiet day until 1500. The morning was spent in registration of targets. Lt Graburn C236 Battery was wounded in the trenches. Batteries formed an intense barrage 220 yards over the Switch Line and infantry made a bombing attack along the Switch Line towards Tramway. The Germans made feeble counter attack near the Tramway which was repulsed. There was no firing during the night by Batteries.

18th August 1916 Heavy Barrage 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: At 0855 a heavy barrage was put up by our batteries 200 yards over the Switch Line and formed with 47th Division Artillery a double barrage. At 1445 a further heavy barrage at Switch Line on the right of Tramway. Smoke was discharged on our front and the 1st Division attacked the intermediate line on our right. They got in but were driven out. From 2030 fire was kept up at odd intervals on tracks and trenches leading to Martinpuich.

19th August 1916 Fire Continued 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Bottom Wood From midnight 18/19th August fire was continued until 0730. Quiet morning and quiet afternoon. No firing during the night.

20th August 1916 Battery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report From 1200 batteries fired on Martinpuich and surroundings. At 2200 and at intervals during the night Batteries switched back from Martinpuich to a line 400 yards over Switch Line and West of Tramway.

21st August 1916 Gas Shells 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report during the night 20/21st B236 Battery was shelled with gas shell losing two men killed, two wounded and four gassed. Five German aeroplanes came over at about 0920 and dropped six bombs on the Wagon Lines. During the afternoon Major Pollard went up in a balloon but found the light too bad for clear observation.

22nd August 1916 Salvoes fired 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery: Very quiet day. At 1400, 1710 and 2025, four batteries bombarded new German trench in front of Martinpuich. At 1355, 1705 and 2020 D236 Battery fired salvoes into Martinpuich.

23rd August 1916 Casualties 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Bottom Wood. Quiet day. Very little firing by batteries. A236 Battery had nine casualties, one very bad and the remainder very slight. C236 Battery had one man wounded.

24th August 1916 Battery Active 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report it was quiet in the morning. B236 Battery went out of action yesterday leaving only sixteen men and one officer with A236 Battery to work their guns. This is in accordance with new system of reliefs. In the late afternoon greater activity prevailed. The Division on our right (E) attacked the intermediate line at 1745. The Germans shelled Welch Alley and localities adjoining very furiously with heavy shells. Later in the evening A236 was targeted with gas shells. The attack was a failure.

25th August 1916 Barrage 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery carried out barrage as ordered by Divisional Artillery. Fairly quiet day. Hostile aircraft rather more active. One of our aeroplanes was forced to descend in X29 through engine trouble, but was packed up in crates and carted away about evening. Hostile activity was somewhat below average.

26th August 1916 Hostile Artillery Active 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Bottom Wood Hostile artillery displayed greater activity today against our rearward positions, barraging valleys with heavy shells for short periods with no small intensity. The valley south of Mametz Wood, west of Bottom Wood and Shelter Wood were also heavily shelled. Otherwise the day was fairly uneventful, except that the Division on our right (1st Division) took another 200 yards of the Intermediate Line. Hostile aeroplanes to the number of five carried out a small reconnaissance over Death Valley and its environs at about 1700. The Batteries of 236th Brigade carried on a continuous bombardment on German front line.

27th August 1916 More Shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: Moderately quiet day. B236 Battery took over from A236 Battery in accordance with the programme of reliefs instituted by the GOCRA 47th Division. At about 1150 a heavy hostile bombardment was put on Villa Wood and the North West corner of Mametz Wood. At about 1415 the gun positions of B236, A236 Batteries and the 235th Brigade positions were violently shelled with heavy Howitzers. Three men of B236 Battery were buried but were got out again and found to be suffering from slight shell shock. The Brigade fired continuously throughout the day in barrages. Major W Cooper A236 Battery RFA proceeded to the Field Ambulance sick.

28th August 1916 Continuous Firing 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery fired continuously throughout the twenty four hours. Hostile artillery was moderately inactive compared to the previous day. Capt Egerton Warburton came to be attached to B236 Battery 2/Lt Pearson and 2/Lt Tabor from the 47th Divisional Ammunition Column were yesterday attached to the battery for instruction, while Lt C H De Wael was attached to C236 Battery from 47th Divisional Ammunition Column. Fairly quiet day.

29th August 1916 Continuous Barrage 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report a continuous barrage kept up all day on the trenches in front of Martinpuich. At midnight our infantry dug round the Intermediate Line.

30th August 1916 Heavy Rain 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report heavy rains interfered with work. Our batteries barraged as before. One hundred and thirty six prisoners were obtained from the Intermediate Line. Four officers, two NCOs and one hundred and thirty prisoners. They passed down Welch Alley between the hours of 1500 and 1800. The whole of Intermediate Trench is now occupied. Capt R A Corsan A236 Battery rejoined his unit after a stay in hospital.

31st August 1916 Exchange of Shells 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery kept up a continuous barrage all day and Hostile artillery was active, particularly with gas shells. Brigade Headquarters were shelled with gas shell from about 2200 until about 2300. No damage was done. Relatively quiet day. A236 and B236 Batteries were heavily shelled with Lachrymatory (tear gas) and poison shell.

1st September 1916 Continuous Barrage 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Bottom Wood. Continuous barrage kept up by Brigade all day except by B236 and A236 Batteries who dropped out about midday after being violently shelled by 8 inch guns. They had to abandon position. The barrage was taken on by C236 Battery until relieved by the 238th Brigade. One man was wounded and one or two others were rather badly shaken. Enemy artillery very active. It was decided to change position of one section of A236 Battery.

2nd September 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery record in their war diary: One Section of A236 Battery removed and placed alongside C236 Battery. Heavy artillery began their bombardment for the attack of the 3rd, 14th, and 15th Corps.

3rd September 1916 Assault Sucessful 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: In the morning the Australians captured Mouguet Farm also the 1st Division occupied their objectives in High Wood. At 1200 the 14th Corps captured Guillemont and 15th Corps captured Ginchy. The French took Clery and reached within 1000 yards of Combles. Batteries fired intense heavy bombardments prior to the attacks mentioned above.

4th September 1916 Misfire causes Injury 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Bottom Wood. Relatively quiet day on our front. One man of B236 Battery was wounded by a misfire from one of the 235th Brigade Batteries. The 7th Division attacked Ginchy. At 1510 the Batteries fired an intense bombardment on the front line for a few minutes.

5th September 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery fired on Martinpuich and it's neighbourhood during the day in accordance with the programme. A fairly quiet day. The French break through between Combles and Clery.

6th September 1916 Quiet Day 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report a quiet day and the Batteries carried out a programme of special shoots throughout the day. The French are reported to have captured 500 yards of enemy trench line near Combles. The Germans made strong counter attacks which were repulsed. Major Cooper returned to take command of A236 Battery.

7th September 1916 Special Shoots 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report a quiet day. The Batteries carried out a programme of special shoots. C236 Battery began to dig new position near Bazentin Le Petit Wood. The French attacked south of the Somme and took large part of Berny and the western half of Verman Dovillers.

8th September 1916 Special Shoots 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery. A quiet day and the Batteries carried out a programme of special shoots. At 1745 the 1st Division attacked enemy trenches in High Wood. 47th Divisional Artillery cooperated with an intense bombardment for 15 minutes and then fired on trenches to North West of High Wood. 1st Division at first took their objectives but later dropped back on account of their flanks being exposed. A few prisoners were taken.

9th September 1916 Infantry Attack 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report a quiet day until 1645 when the 1st Division attacked trenched in High Wood and to the East of High Wood. Canadian Division also attacked trenches to the North West of Munster Alley. 47th Divisional Artillery cooperated with an intense bombardment for 15 minutes on trenches in front of Martinpuich. 1st Division took the objectives to the East of High Wood and took some prisoners. The Canadians took all their objectives including sixty seven prisoners and one machine gun. The 15th Corps took Hop Alley and the 14th Corps took Ginchy.

10th September 1916 New Positions 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report 235th and 236th Brigades came under the command of CRA 15th Division. B,C and D Batteries moved sections into new positions. B236 Battery in Lower Wood, C236 Battery south of Bazentine le Petit Wood and D236 Battery in Bazentine le Petit. The Group Observation Point in 10th Avenue was heavily shelled by 5.9 inch guns during the afternoon.

11th September 1916 Batteries Move 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Bottom Wood. Batteries moved the remaining two sections into new positions. All fairly quiet on this front.

12th September 1916 Registration 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Bottom Wood. Brigade came under the command of Divisional Commander R.A. 47th Division Front, High Wood supporting 47th Divisional Infantry. Batteries registered points in High Wood.

13th September 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Bottom Wood. Batteries carried out barrages behind enemy lines in High Wood. Battle of Flers-Coucelette 15th September 1916 to 22nd September 1916 (sixth phase of the Battle of the Somme).

14th September 1916 Barrages Fired 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Bottom Wood: Fairly quiet day. Batteries fired in barrages all night (13-14th). Registration was carried out during the day. Bombardment was carried for 23 minutes beginning from 1900. There was a certain amount of shelling by the enemy. The heavy artillery bombarded High Wood.

  • 1. It could be an aircraft from the squadron, with an Artillery officer as passenger, in wireless or message communication reporting on enemy movements.
  • 2. Planes were used to drop spies behind enemy lines to carry out spotting work and report enemy movements.
  • 3. Balloons were also used for observations either tethered or towed.

16th September 1916 Moves 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery Brigade HQ. moved to Mametz Wood. All Wagon Lines moved to Bottom Wood. The day was occupied with digging in. The Artillery bombarded different points in the enemy's lines. Many targets were taken on by us as a result of observation by BAZ 7.0.0. The night passed fairly quietly and Wagon Lines moved up to Bottom Wood. (See notes and comment on 15th Sep. regarding location and BAZ 7.0.0.)

17th September 1916 Heavy Shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Mametz Wood. There was a certain amount of heavy shelling along our front line but no Infantry actions. Lt Whitten B236 Battery was wounded while up at the observation chateau. 2/Lt Davies B236 Battery was slightly wounded but is still at duty.

18th September 1916 Starfish Line Shelled 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Mametz Wood Our Artillery shelled certain parts of the enemy front, especially the strong point in 34.b.1.2 in the Starfish Line. Our Infantry made a small bombing attack about 2030 which partially succeeded. (Note-The Starfish Line was a German trench line to the left of High Wood)

19th September 1916 Bombardments 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Mametz Wood. Our Artillery carried out bombardments according to the programme and at different points at the request of infantry. At about 2000 the enemy made a counter attack against our infantry in Drop Alley and our Artillery opened fire after SOS from our line. At 2100 all was again reported quiet.

20th September 1916 Batteries Fire 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Mametz Wood. Batteries fired on Flers during the day and on fleeing targets. 1st Division Infantry relieved 47th Division Infantry during the night. The weather gradually improving and 7.0.0 continues reconnoitering the front trenches. Howitzers battery fired all night into Eaucourt L’Abbaye. (See note and comment on 7.0.0. from 15th Sep.)

21st September 1916 Continuous Fire 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Mametz Wood. At 0325 SOS signal but it was a false alarm. At 0355 Batteries ceased firing. At 1030 D236 fired at the rate of 50 rounds an hour on the Flers Line just South East of Eaucourt L’Abbaye and ceased at 1930. At 1130 and 1330 the 18 pounder Batteries fired 15 four gun salvoes into Eaucourt L’Abbaye. During the night 18 pounder Batteries fired continually on Flers Line at 100 rounds per hour.

22nd September 1916 No Resistance Met 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Mametz Wood. At 1030 Howitzer battery commenced firing 50 rounds an hour on Flers Line M.29.b.12 to M.23.c.70. (ceased firing at 1945). At 1300 transport was seen on Bapaume le Sarg road MEc and MHb heavy Batteries informed. Our Infantry (1st Division) the Welsh Regiment occupied Prue and Starfish trenches. Patrols sent out in front as far as 700 yards without meeting any resistance.

23rd September 1916 Little Firing 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Mametz Wood. Fairly quiet day and Batteries did very little firing. The enemy were singularly quiet throughout the afternoon, their artillery being almost entirely silent. At night Batteries fired a few rounds on a German working party digging a trench.

24th September 1916 Night Action 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: Fairly quiet day and Batteries did very little firing only registration. Hostile shelling very little. B236 Battery relieved A236 Battery who in turn relieved C236 Battery. At night 2020 the 1st Division launched a local attack on the Flers Line which proved abortive. Batteries fired for most of the night.

25th September 1916 Offensive Resumes 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Mametz Wood. At 1430 the Fourth Army resumed the offensive. The 1st Division attacked along the Flers Line and secured their objectives with very little trouble. They joined line with the New Zealanders in Goose Alley. The New Zealand Division on our right secured all its objectives our troops securing Grid Trench in front of Guedecourt, Les Boeufs to the north of Morval. The French secured Fregicourt and Rancourt. Batteries kept up continuous fire all day on the barrages ordered by 47th Divisional Artillery. At night D236 Battery was shelled with lachrymatory (tear gas) and other shells suffering two casualties.

26th September 1916 Uneventful Day 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Mametz Wood. More or less uneventful day on our front. The Canadian Corps on our left captured Thiepval and 1500 prisoners. Batteries assisted by an intense bombardment at 1235 for a few minutes on the hostile trenches. At about 1900 D236 Battery was again shelled. 2/Lt Stephenson being wounded with one man killed and five others wounded. Major Pollard was slightly wounded in the hand but remained at duty. At 2330 1st Division assaulted hostile trench in M29 but failed chiefly owing to losing their way.

27th September 1916 Little Firing 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: 47th Division relieved 1st Division in High Wood sector. Moderately quiet day. Batteries fired very little except for registration purposes, considerable defensive barrages. There were no infantry operations but artillery was fairly active.

28th September 1916 Fairly Quiet 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: Fairly quiet day. C236 Battery staff relieved A236 Battery staff. It was decided during the afternoon that D236 should change their position to that vacated by D275 Battery RFA. Batteries fired a defensive barrage.

29th September 1916 Infantry Assault 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report, Very quiet day until 1730 when the 141st Infantry Brigade assaulted the hostile trenches in M.23.c and d and M.29.a and b (Fricourt). They failed to capture their objective. Batteries fired an intense barrage on hostile trenches behind their objectives. D236 Battery moved in the early morning to site B.23.

30th September 1916 Hostile Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: Hostile artillery fairly active on our trenches in the morning & afternoon. Hostile anti-aircraft guns very active against our aeroplanes. Major General Sir Charles Barter relinquished command of 47th London Division. Batteries fired in barrages but there was no infantry action on our front.

1st October 1916 Hostile Trenches Bombarded 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Mametz Wood. At 0700 D236 began to bombard hostile trenches --- near Eaucourt L’Abbaye and other Batteries fired a short intense barrage from 1007 until 1015. At 1515 140 Infantry Brigade assaulted and took Eaucourt L’Abbaye in conjunction with the New Zealand Division on our right. They held firm on the left flank with the 20th Battalion holding firm on the right: another Battalion attacked, but the situation still remained obscure.

2nd October 1916 Infantry Attack 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report 2 more Battalions attacked and partly rectified the situation on the left flank. One section of A236 and one of B236 moved up to new positions, with A236 Battery being in the Starfish Valley, 200 yards east of the end of Sunken Road from the eastern corner of High Wood (M.35.c.5.4) and B236 Battery near Turk Trench (M.36.a.0.7). Several wagons of their batteries got stuck on the track running east of High Wood down to the Starfish Line. One gun of A236 Battery was sent back to it's old position as the track was not considered good enough for the gun to proceed, hence only 3 guns of the Brigade are in the new positions. A236 Battery Staff relieved B236 Battery.

3rd October 1916 New Positions 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: The position at the front was satisfactorily cleared up. Eaucourt L’Abbaye was definitely captured and all the Germans in the dug out silenced. The wagons that got stuck were cleared and 3 more guns proceeded down to the new positions between dawn and dusk. Otherwise a fairly quiet day.

4th October 1916 Bad Light 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Mametz Wood. Very quiet day on our front with no infantry action at all. C236 Battery has one gun in it's new position and B236 Battery has 4. The light is very bad, but some registration is done by the Batteries. It has rained for most of the day.

5th October 1916 236 Bde RFA HQ Moves 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report it was decided to move HQ. to a new position at S.10.c.4.6 on the road running from the Longueval - Contalmaison Road to the East Corner of High Wood. There was hostile artillery activity on the slope North East of High Wood. Nothing of any great importance.

6th October 1916 Gunners Buried 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Bazentin le Grand - High Wood(east)Road (S.10.c.4.6). Brigade HQ. moved to the new position on the road running from the Longueval-Contalmaison Road to the East side of High Wood (S.10.c.4.6). C236 Battery was shelled in their new position with 5.9 and 8 inch guns and had to evacuate it. Gunner Grove E.S.B. was killed and one wounded (Sgt. Irons). Two or three others were buried, but were successfully dug out and remained on duty. The Batteries fired some ordered barrages. A236 Battery relieved C236 Battery in their position while B236 Battery relieved A236 Battery in their position.

7th October 1916 Continuous Barrages 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report at 1345 47th Division attacked with a view to seizing the Grid Line and Butte de Warlencourt. The 15th Battalion on the right obtained their objectives and after several vicissitudes held it with a few parties and dug in behind it. On the left the attack was, as a whole, unsuccessful with very little ground being gained. The Batteries fired continuously on barrages ordered by Divisional Artillery. Lt J.F. Gayner proceeded to the Field Ambulance sick. 2/Lt B.B. Wallace was wounded by a bullet in his hand while reconnoitering the front.

8th October 1916 Reliefs 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Bazentin le Grand and High Wood Road. 236th Brigade RFA was relieved by 237th Brigade RFA. D236 battery remained in action under 237th Brigade RFA. D235 battery was taken over later by 236th Brigade RFA. All batteries held at their Wagon Lines in Bottom Wood except C236 Battery which took over C237 Battery gun position at Marlboro Wood and kept in charge of the depot guns of 47th Division Artillery. D235 Battery acts as depot Howitzer battery. Brigade Headquarters were moved to 237th Brigade Headquarters near Mametz.

9th October 1916 All Quiet 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Mametz. No events of any importance. Several guns and Howitzers passed through our hands.

10th October 1916 Ammunition Moved 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report No events of any importance. C236 Battery finally cleared its dump at it's old position at Bazentin le Petit Windmill and took the ammunition up to 237th Battery positions.

11th October 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: Nothing of any importance.

12th October 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery Billeting parties proceeded to Beaucourt, the 47th Division Artillery being relieved by the 9th Division Artillery. The 51st Brigade RFA (Col Cape) took over from the 236th Brigade RFA. Lt Col A S Lowe DSO proceeded on leave of absence to England.

13th October 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Mametz. Preparations began for relief. The Brigade left Wagon Lines at Bottom Wood at 1630 and was arriving in Beaucourt at 0130.

14th October 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery Spent the day at Beaucourt. Billeting parties proceeded to Talmas.

15th October 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery marched to Talmas. Billeting parties proceeded to Amplier.

16th October 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery marched to Amplier.

17th October 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery marched to Aubrometz with billeting parties proceeding ahead of the column. The Bedfordshire Yeomanry were in the town, but after a little trouble the Brigade got in very comfortably.

18th October 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery. marched to Borgoneuse with billeting parties proceeding ahead of the Column. The best village we have billeted in.

19th October 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery billeting parties again rode on ahead of the column. The Brigade marched to Crecques near Aire sur la Lys.

20th October 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery marched into billeting in Belgium about 5 miles West South West of Poperinghe about 1 mile south of Watou on the Watou - Abeele Road.

21st October 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery are south of Watou. One section of each battery moved up to relieve the 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th Batteries and 104th Howitzer Battery belonging to the 2nd Australian Division Artillery. One Battery of the 238th Brigade was lent to the 236th Brigade for this purpose.

22nd October 1916 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Zillebeeke Bund. Remaining sections moved up into action. 236 Brigade is detached from 47th Division and forms part of a composite Artillery Group covering the 23rd Division. Lt Col. A C Lowe DSO is in command of RA 23rd Division or rather the composite Group representing same. Lt G Lyon Smith also at RA 23rd Division. Major A C Gordon DSO is in command of the Right Brigade consisting of 236 Brigade and B238 Battery RFA with HQ. at Zillebeke Bund. RA HQ is at Reningherst and 47th Division RA HQ at Hoograaf.

23rd October 1916 Batteries Register 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Nothing of any importance. Batteries registered. Very little firing.

24th October 1916 Battery Zones 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report a certain amount of movement in our zone which extends from just south of Clonmel Copse to just north of Zwarteleen. The Battery zones being in order from the north A236, B236, C236 and D238.

25th October 1916 Minewerfen Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Very little activity. C180 Battery is added to Right Brigade. This Battery commanded Major Digby. Left Brigade of 23rd RA consists of remainder of 180 Brigade RFA under the command of Major Stebbing. Right Brigade HQ shifted to Lille Gate. Considerable minewerfen (mortar) activity by the enemy from about 1200 to 1500. Batteries fired in retaliation. Nothing else of much importance.

26th October 1916 Retaliation Fire 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Very quiet day. Batteries only fired in retaliation.

27th October 1916 Interpreter Joins Brigade 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report a Belgian interpreter was attached to the Brigade. The French interpreter M Chapaur returned after being away for some weeks with a French Corps Headquarters. Very quiet day.

28th October 1916 Minenwerfers Silenced 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Very quiet day until about 1400, when the hostile minenwerfers (mortars) showed some activity but were effectively silenced by our Howitzer Battery.

29th October 1916 Some hostile Minewerfens 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery.: Nothing of very great importance. Some hostile minewerfens (mortars).

30th October 1916 Considerable Minenwerfer Activity. 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report General Gorringe called at HQ in the morning. Nothing of any importance occurred. Very little activity with artillery, but considerable minenwerfer (mortar) activity.

31st October 1916 Quiet Day 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery record a Quiet day. Very little firing by Batteries except for a little retaliation by C/180 Battery. GOCRA Corps went round Batteries in afternoon.

1st November 1916 Registration 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery are at Ypres, Lille Gate. Quiet day on the whole. Considerable trench mortar activity on our left. Batteries fired in registration only.

2nd November 1916 Light Bad 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Light bad in the morning for registration. Some trench mortar and artillery activity displayed on our front about 1300. D236 Battery fired in retaliation for this.

3rd November 1916 Heavy Hostile Trench Mortar Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery record a Quiet day until about 1530 when there was heavy hostile trench mortar activity on the right portion of our front (Davison Street, Winnipeg St, Crab Crawl and Sanctuary Wood). Batteries fired in retaliation and ultimately stopped the enemy's fire.

4th November 1916 Trench Mortars Silenced 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report that at about 1620 the enemy fired some trench mortars on Crab Crawl but was stopped by the retaliation of C180 Battery.

5th November 1916 Retaliation Fire 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Fairly quiet day. Some minenwerfers (mortars) were fired and the Batteries only fired in retaliation.

6th November 1916 Reorganisation 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Nothing much in the morning. B236 spotted German's minenwerfer (mortars) in the afternoon. It was decided that 236th Brigade should be reorganised into two six gun batteries and two four gun Howitzer Batteries.

7th November 1916 Quiet Day 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Practically nothing happened all day.

8th November 1916 Slight Shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report A little shelling took place on the German side but very little happened otherwise.

9th November 1916 Battery Visit 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Major General Gorringe came round the Batteries in the afternoon. Very quiet day and only about five minenwerfers (mortars) were fired by the enemy, all of them coming from Clonmel Copse.

10th November 1916 Reorganisation Scheme Effected 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Reorganisation scheme came into effect tactically at noon, with engagement reallotment of zone. Day very quiet except for some light minenwerfer (mortars) fired by the enemy on the right.

11th November 1916 Firing at Intervals 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Morning quiet. At 1500 the enemy opened fire of Crab Crawl with Trench Mortars and rifle grenades. We retaliated but the enemy continued firing at intervals until 1730.

12th November 1916 Engineers Advise 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report OC. 128 Field Company went round all positions in the morning to advise on drainage and points in construction. Current Observation Point was also visited re continuation of Observation Point on the roof. The situation was normal until 1500 when Trench Mortar activity spread from the right onto our lines, but as before enemy did not give up until 1725 in spite of sharp retaliation.

13th November 1916 Visibility Good 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Ypres. Visibility good resulting as usual in comparative inactivity of hostile Trench Mortars. A236 Battery fired on and dispersed several working parties. A236 Battery carried out a registration of the zone sub group. Our aeroplanes were active and one hostile machine came over at 1400 but soon veered off. Major P F Clifton went to B235 Battery on order of Commander RA.

14th November 1916 Intermittent Shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: During the morning intermittent shelling took place at Sanctuary Wood, Maple Copse, Lille Gate and Ypres with 77 mm and 4.2 inch guns. Batteries fired back at Clonmel and continued registration. At 1400 hostile Trench Mortars were active on the Right. Activity spread to our zone at 1605. We retaliated with fifty 4.5 inch and eighty 18 pounder guns in sharp bursts, until the enemy was silenced at 1700. Six men seen J.20.d.7.4 dressed in blue uniform dispersed. Six men in sap Jige 10.55 were Stokes Mortared and strafed with 18 pounders. They ran back along the sap. Considerable movement of men and vehicles on road J.21.a.1.7 to J.27.a.0.5. A squad of men were seen at Tower Hamlets, but disappeared quickly.

16th November 1916 Visibility Excellent 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: Visibility excellent bringing unusual district shelling. Hostile aeroplanes were again active and more daring. During the afternoon level crossing I.21.d 4.5, Shrapnel Corner, Hell Fire Corner and Zillebeke were shelled with 77 mm and 4.2 inch guns. Enemy artillery generally unusually active. Proposed bombardment of I.30.b.8.0 fell through owing to a failure of communication.

17th November 1916 A Very Satisfactory Shoot 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Several Trench Mortar emplacements were registered. At 1130 bombardment of I.30.b.8.0 trench was carried out by D236 Battery, our infantry being cleared. There were no duds and it was a very satisfactory shoot. Several hits were obtained with trench boards, pieces of wood and revetment being blown through the air. The enemy's work was wrecked. Fifty eight rounds were fired all being observed from the front line. (Note: Revetment is the general lining of trench floors and walls including fire stepping and duckboards).

18th November 1916 Poor Visibility 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Visibility was poor generally. 4.2 inch guns were active in the morning on usual spots. Some activity with Trench Mortars on both sides near Hill 60 and The Dump. Bombardment of the Snout at 1630 by 18 pounders provoked no retaliation. 40% of Heavy Artillery shells were duds.

19th November 1916 Battery Registration 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery. report from Ypres. Registration for a special operation was carried out in the morning. Our Trench Mortars and artillery were active all day. At 2210 enemy Trench Mortars retaliated but stopped at once on our firing salvoes into Clonmel Copse. At 1550 Trench Mortars were active again. Our retaliation at first was ineffective because it was too dispersed. A second retaliation of well grouped Howitzers and 18 pounders effectively silenced the enemy. Enemy Trench Mortars fired from about J.19.c.2.4 and I.30.b.6.0.

20th November 1916 New Works 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report B236 and D236 Batteries carried out a registration on new works. D236 reported new work at two points. Enemy shelled I.27.a.9.8 for first time for about three weeks but except for slight Trench Mortar activity at 1500, the enemy was quiet. D236 Battery report 3/29 blind.

21st November 1916 Reorganisation 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Visibility bad all day which was quiet. A raid attempted at 1130 from Cross Trench against J.19.c.45.55, failed owing to wire not being completely cut by the Bangalore Tube. Contradictory reports led Battalion Commander to stop Artillery Barrage and almost immediately to start it again. This was done very quickly in each case communications being excellent. A full programme was carried out by Artillery after abandonment of raid owing to call wire from Crab Crawl being broken. The semi circular barrage appeared to be very effective. Enemy retaliated with Trench Mortars only on trenches and 77 mm guns behind. Batteries engaged were A180, B236, D236, C188 and A236. Reorganisation of 18 pounder Batteries took place at noon 21st inst. Right Section C236 to B236. Left Section C236 to A236. BQMS continued to draw rations for C/236 men. GOC 47th Division made formal inspection of Wagon Lines. (Bangalore Torpedo-an explosive tube used to clear a path through a wire entanglement)

22nd November 1916 Visibility Bad 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery. report from Ypres. Visibility bad and day quiet. At 0530 a party of twelve Germans crawled over opposite Cross Trench and attempted to throw bombs. These all fell short and they retired hastily.

23rd November 1916 Exchange of Fire 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Enemy broke his custom and began Trench Mortar strafe in the morning. From 9am to 10.30am about thirty bombs were fired on our trenches I.21.d.5.3 and I.24.d.5.4. Group were informed and scheme two for bombardment of Trench Mortars was ordered at 1050. Left Brigade and Heavies did not fire but C180 Battery carried out the programme. Enemy became annoyed and at 1120 opened a heavy Trench Mortar fire on our trenches. Retaliation scheme two as ordered again at 1210. This time all batteries fired and at 1230 the enemy was silenced for the day. On Right of Group Zone the enemy's Trench Mortars were very active from 1345 to 1415 from Snout to Dump. This repeated from 1535 to 1615 with the addition of 4.2 inch and 77 mm guns. Reorganisation officially ordered but S.O. ASC still insists that C236 Battery should draw its own rations.

24th November 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Ypres. Hostile Trench Mortars became active at 1450. Scheme two was ordered and enemy silenced. He appeared to retaliate for scheme two further to the right. At 1550 scheme six was ordered and was effective, but almost immediately a heavy bombardment broke out from Knoll Road to the Dump with the enemy using Trench Mortars, 4.2 inch and 77 mm guns. The Division on our Right retaliated and all was quiet by 1645.

25th November 1916 Infantry Officers Instructed 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Infantry officers attached to A236 and B236 Batteries for instruction. Batteries did not fire with observation being bad.

26th November 1916 Fire on Sound Bearings 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery record Morning very quiet until 1100 when five 5.9 inch shells fell near Blaupoort Farm. This was fired repeated at 1030. The Heavy Artillery were given Sound Bearings and fired on the suspected Battery and the Howitzer ceased fire. Visibility sketch was made from I.28.d.5.8, a proposed Observation Point on the back of Verbrandenmolen Hill to the corner of Armagh Wood site and Yeomanry Port and Observatory Ridge. From 1000 to 1300 the Dump was shelled with single 5.9 inch shell at one round per minute.

29th November 1916 Low Cloud 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report C180 Battery dispersed a working party at J.19.b.7.1. between 1126 and 1215. D236 Battery registered by aeroplane. Usual trench mortar, 5.9 and 4.2 inch shelling. A fine day, but low cloud interfered with aeroplane observation.

1st December 1916 Covering 23rd Division 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Ypres record: All map references on Zillebeeke Bund.3.E 1/10,000 and sheet 28 1/40,000 236th Brigade RFA still covering the 23rd Division. A236 and B236 Batteries registered for special operations. Heavy mist made general observation impossible enemy artillery and trench mortars were very quiet. At 1230 a raid was attempted by the 11th Sherwood Foresters on sap at I.30.b.15.20, which was not successful.

2nd December 1916 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery. formerly 6th County of London Brigade RFA. Territorial Force.

No firing due to thick mist.

3rd December 1916 Visibility Bad 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery Batteries did not fire as visibility was bad. Our Trench Mortars were active, both heavy and medium. The enemy did not retaliate. At 0300 in the morning the observing officer reported Trench Mortars were active. At 0230 a successful raid was carried out at J.19.c.15.55. Our barrage silenced the enemy's fire.

4th December 1916 Visibility Good 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Visibility was good and all batteries carefully checked map and gun ranges. Considerable enemy movement was seen behind their lines and working parties were dispersed by A236 Battery with two salvoes falling amongst them, after which no further movement was observed. Barrage Z to help 47th Division was ordered at 1501 which was successful.

5th December 1916 Batteries in Action 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Ypres. Visibility was good in the morning. D236 Battery registered a single gun at I.20.b.95.95. Working party in J.19.b fired on and dispersed. A direct hit was obtained on a wheelbarrow they were using. Trench Mortars were active against our trenches from 1315 to 1330 and 1500 to 1555. Scheme four was ordered and silenced the enemy fire at 1540. There was increased hostile artillery activity behind our lines. L’Ecole, Zillebeke Village and Station were shelled with 4.2 inch guns. Ypres Square, Station Crossing and Menem Road were shelled with 4.2 inch guns at 1700. Direct hits by 5.9 inch guns were obtained on Zillebeke Lake duck boards, Hellblast Corner and the Bund.

6th December 1916 Hostile Trench Mortars 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Visibility was good and the morning was quiet. Hostile Trench Mortars opened moderate fire on Crab Crawl and Winnipeg Street at 1300. Scheme two fire successfully silenced them.

7th December 1916 Hostile Trench Mortars 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report the morning was quiet. At 1400 Trench Mortars were active on I.30.a and a scheme four was effective in silencing them. Visibility bad owing to the mist. At 1530 a stationary engine was heard working near Stirling Castle. A bugle was heard at 1600 behind Bodmin Copse.

8th December 1916 Visibility again Bad 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Ypres. Visibility was again bad. At 1320 hostile medium Trench Mortarss opened fire on Winnifred Street and a scheme two was ordered. Enemy ceased fire before the scheme (with Heavy Artillery) was put into force, but the enemy did not retaliate. Enemy artillery remained inactive.

9th December 1916 Considerable Enemy Movement 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report during the morning considerable enemy movement was seen near Stirling Castle at J.13.d.4.5 and at Tower Hamlets. These parties were fired on and dispersed. Engine noise again heard on bearing 134 degrees from I.24.d.7.4.

10th December 1916 Battery Registration 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery A236 Battery carried out careful registration of all guns. Flashes of a 5.9 inch Howitzer battery firing on Dickerbusch seen on bearing 140 degrees 5 minutes (true) from I.24.d.7.3. with time from flash to sound 13.5 seconds. 2/Lt Edds observed large Tower like edifice about forty feet high with construction of seven poles with three hooped bands round them. True bearing 39 degrees from I.24.d.70.35. It has no platform.

11th December 1916 Enemy Working Parties 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Working parties at I.13.d.30.15, were dispersed three times by A236 Battery, with casualties. Hostile balloon up from dawn to 0800. At 0900 a hostile aeroplane came over Blauwe Poort farm. A236 Battery fired but this drew attention and battery was shelled.

12th December 1916 Army Commader Visits 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Visibility as very poor and none of the batteries fired. Enemy was also very quiet. During the morning the 2nd Army Commander visited all batteries and was pleased with what he saw.

13th December 1916 Unusual Enemy Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report There was some unusual enemy activity. At 0900 the enemy's Trench Mortars opened fire and a Scheme two was commenced and continued intermittently until 1200. An enemy 77 mm Battery covered the fire. At 1340pm the enemy made a special bombardment of C Sap. At about 1400 hostile Trench Mortars were again active and spread down towards Hedge Street. A Scheme four was at once put into operation after which there was no further activity.

14th December 1916 Heavy Trench Mortar Silenced 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report the morning was normal. At 1500 the Division on our right bombarded Hill 60 and the Snout. We cooperated on our front. The enemy retaliated at 1525. D236 Battery silenced a Heavy Trench Mortar. A Scheme five was ordered twice and the second time was effective. Much movement was seen on Tower Hamlets Road.

15th December 1916 An eventful day 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery record an eventful day. From 0700 to 0940 the enemy bombardment the whole of our trench system, paying especial attention to the part from Hedge Street to Canada Trench. We retaliated vigorously. Considerable damage was done to our trenches. At 1600 the enemy commenced another bombardment this time accompanied by an artillery barrage. All batteries stood to (action stations). About forty Germans advanced against Sap B. An SOS flare was fired and our barrage opened whilst the rocket was still in the air. This barrage come down on the enemy in No Mans Land and inflicted casualties. The enemy at once left our trenches and returned to his own. No more Germans attempted to penetrate the barrage. Several dead Germans were left in our trench and on the parapets. Our casualties were very slight.

16th December 1916 Enemy Artillery Active 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report the enemy artillery was fairly active on our back area. Snipers were busy on both sides. D236 Battery fired one hundred and six rounds at 1530 in cooperation with Scheme of Division on our right (47th). Aeroplanes were active on both sides.

17th December 1916 Poor visibility. 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery record a very quiet day and poor visibility.

18th December 1916 Batteries Calibrated 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: Again a very quiet day and the Batteries calibrated.

19th December 1916 Much Work in Progress 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report at 0950 A236 Battery fired on and dispersed a working party. At 1515 A236 fired on a new machine gun emplacement near Observation Point at I.19.c.10.65, but without effect. A lot of work is being done here.

20th December 1916 Considerable Damage 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report From 1000 to 1130 the enemy bombarded our trenches with Trench Mortars and 4.2 inch guns, we retaliated with D236 Battery firing one hundred and forty rounds. Heavy and counter artillery Groups cooperated. GOC. 23rd Division asked for a further bombardment at 1530. This was carried out on the enemy support line opposite Stewart Street and considerable damage was done to the enemy's works.

21st December 1916 Slight Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: Day was normal. Slight artillery activity on usual places. B236 Battery dispersed a working party.

22nd December 1916 Hostile Battery in Action 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report front was very quiet all day. Considerable activity took place on our right. At 1430 a hostile 77 mm battery was seen in action from St Peters Street, 176.5 (true) from I.24.d.6.1. The battery shelled Yeomanry Port and Observatory Ridge.

23rd December 1916 Slight Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Day was quiet except for slight activity from enemy 77 mm battery on roads. Working parties were seen and dispersed by our fire.

24th December 1916 Enemy Artillery Active 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery. report Enemy artillery activity on Railway Dugouts and Duckboards. Counter batteries engaged the battery shelling these places and the enemy ceased fire at 1700.

25th December 1916 Christmas in ypres 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery are at Ypres on Xmas Day. All very quiet during the morning. A236 Battery fired at intervals throughout the day on working parties at J.20.d.7.7 firing eighty six rounds. After firing on two occasions stretcher parties were seen and finally a large horse ambulance drove up. In the afternoon the lines at Zillebeke and Ypres Square were shelled by enemy 77 mm and 4.2 inch batteries respectively.

26th December 1916 Mist 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Very quiet all day and observation was bad owing to mist. Battery Commanders of relieving Brigade - 103 Brigade RFA - came up early. At 1000 a German fighting aeroplane came over our lines and shot down one of our planes near Gordon House. The first sections of the 103 Brigade will relieve our sections as soon as it will be dark enough.

27th December 1916 Relief 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Ypres. Slight trench mortar activity in the morning. This was silenced by our Trench Mortars and 4.5 inch Howitzers. The remainder of the day was quiet. Completion of relief - the remaining two sections of each Battery moved in. Relief was completed by 2100 when command of Observatory Ridge Sector Artillery Group was handed over to OC. 103 Brigade RFA, 23rd Division Artillery. During the day the remaining section was moved to rest billets at Winnezeeze and Oudezeeze. Lt Col Lowe assumed command of the brigade. Lt G Lyon Smith returned to position of Adjutant after being Brigade Major of Lowe’s Group R.A.

28th December 1916 In Billets 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery now in billets at Winnezeeze and Oudezeeze. All horses were put under cover.

29th December 1916 Xmas Festivities 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Friday 29th December to 31st December 1916 Refitting and Section Commander's inspections Xmas festivities are held late, owing to the fact that relief was taking place on the 25th and the day after.

1st January 1917 Training and recreation 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery. formerly 6th County of London Brigade RFA. Territorial Force are at Winnezeele. Batteries, with exception of C236 Battery in action with Left Group 47th Divisional Artillery, continued training in Reserve Area. 2/Lt A Morton Cole posted to B236 Battery.

2nd January 1917 Training 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery from Tuesday 2nd January 1917 to Sunday 21st January Training continued.

11th January 1917 Movements 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report D236 Battery went up into action.

15th January 1917 Movements 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Lt Col A.C. Lowe DSO having returned from leave, assumed command of the Brigade.

  • Major P.J. Clifton (Now A235 Battery) DSO
  • 2/Lt J.C. Corsan Military Cross
  • Lt Col A.C. Lowe DSO (Commanding) Mentioned in despatches
  • Lt G. Lyon Smith (Adjutant) Mentioned in despatches

21st January 1917 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Ypres: 236th Brigade RFA relieved 238 Brigade RFA and is now known as Left Group 47th Divisional Artillery covering Hill 60 and the Snout from I.35.a.2.4. to I.29.d.00.50.

The Infantry in the line covered by Left Group was the 140th Brigade, Right Battalion 7th London Regiment (City of London Regiment) and the Left Battalion 8th London Regiment (Post Office Rifles), all part of 47th Division. On the Left Flank the 23rd Division with the 70th Brigade in the line and on the right Flank 142nd Brigade 47th Divisional Infantry. One section of the Batteries of the Brigade relieved 238 Brigade on the night of 20/21 January and the remaining sections relieved on the night of the 21/22nd. The relief was complete at 1925. At the same time as the relief was taking place a reorganisation of the 47th Divisional Artillery was taking place in which the 238 Brigade was split up. Some of the Batteries going to the 41st Division with others were used to bring the Howitzer Batteries of 235 and 236 Brigades to six Gun Batteries. C238 Battery (18pounders) was transferred in its entirety to make C236 Battery while the previous C236 (4.5 Howitzer) was sent to 41st Division less one section which was absorbed in D236.

Left Group now consists of: A,B,C and D236 Batteries, Y47 Trench Mortar Battery (Two inch) V47 Trench Mortar Battery (Heavy)

A J Roberts on leave of absence starting 18th January

22nd January 1917 Registration & Reliefs 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Ypres: The Brigade checked zero lines and registrations. A test SOS. was received by the Batteries of the Brigade and the times averaged two minutes. Lt G Lyon Smith left for England on Jan 21st 1917 to continue his medical studies. 2/Lt M O Haskell RFA(SR) becomes acting Adjutant. On the night of 22/23 January the 6th Battalion (City of London Rifles) relieved 7th Battalion and 15th Battalion (Civil Service Rifles) relieved 8th Battalion, (all units in 47th Division).

23rd January 1917 Bomardment of Enemy Front Line 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery undertake Bombardment of enemy front line system and communication trenches by the division in conjunction with the Heavy Artillery was carried out. The enemy’s retaliation to this Bombardment was slight. The effect of the Bombardment was good as his front and communication trenches were considerably knocked about.

Casualties: Lt Hellier, V47 Ttrench Mortar Battery, wounded and one other rank, Y47 Trench Mortar Battery, wounded.

24th January 1917 Tests Show Improvement 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Two test SOS messages were received by the Brigade. The times achieved showed improvement over the previous test SOS.

25th January 1917 Hostile Artillery 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Hostile artillery (77mm 4.2 inch and 5.9 inch) bombarded B236 Battery and D236 Battery at Woodcote House and vicinity with about three hundred rounds, causing four casualties (three in D236 and one in B236)- all slight. Three direct hits were obtained on pits but only one gun was put out of action. A four point two fuse( for 4.2 inch shell)was found after this bombardment set to explode at 4 or 75 metres.

26th January 1917 Registration and Calibration 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report registration and calibration continued. Two test SOS messages were received and the average time was about one minute. Casualties one other rank. 2/Lt L B Tausley RFA assumed the Adjutancy and 2/Lt M D Haskell became orderly officer.

27th January 1917 Bombardment of Enemy Trenches The four Batteries of 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery in conjunction with the Y and V Batteries of Trench mortar and the Batteries of Right Group and Corps Heavy Artillery carried out bombardment lasting from 1200 to 1330 onto hostile trenches on the Left Group front with special reference to enemy's Observation Points. 2/Lt Payne (Late --- ---- Battery) posted to D236 with effect from 26th Jan.1917. The Batteries of the Group took part in a Test SOS at 2009.

28th January 1917 Battery Shelled 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report C236 Battery at Langkhof Farm was shelled during the day.

29th January 1917 Batteries Shelled 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report 2/Lt P S Ayers was transferred from 235 Brigade RFA to C236 Battery with effect from today’s date. C236 Battery and vicinity was shelled during the afternoon with three hundred to four hundred rounds - no casualties.

30th January 1917 Test Calls 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Ypres. Two test SOS calls were fired on by the Group one at 0010 and one at 0312. Y47 Medium Trench Mortar Battery fired and much damaged a machine gun emplacement and surrounds. Working party of thirty eight men are now with the Group working on reserve reinforcement positions.

31st January 1917 All quiet 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report All quiet. Signed A.C. Lowe, Lt Col R.A Commander 236th Brigade RFA.

1st February 1917 Enemy Artillery very Active 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Ypres. Enemy artillery very active indeed on Back areas and Batteries. A test SOS call was received by Group at 2111 and all Batteries had full response within two minutes. 2/Lt D S Culterall was transferred from C236 Battery to the 47th Divisional Ammunition Column with effect from 31st January 1917.

2nd February 1917 GOC Visits 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report the GOC 47th Division visited B236, C236 and D236 Batteries at 1200.

3rd February 1917 Enemy Front Line Bombarded 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Y47 Trench Mortar Battery bombarded the enemy's front line across the Railway Cutting with sixty rounds and no retaliation of any importance.

4th February 1917 Bombardment 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery engaged in Bombardment of a small area of enemy's trenches East of the Snout from 1500 until 1600 by Corps Heavy Artillery and 4.5 Howitzers Batteries included D236 Battery which fired one hundred and eighty rounds. The Medium Trench Mortar Battery(Y47) with thirty six rounds and A236 Battery shelled enemy Observation Points during the bombardment. Much damage was done and the enemy retaliated with light guns only. Relief by X47 Trench Mortar Battery of Y47 Battery in the line took place. 2/Lt E A de B West (D236 Battery) evacuated sick.

5th February 1917 Daily Battery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report 2/Lt H V Ramsey admitted to Field Hospital on 3rd February 1917 while on 47th Divisional Artillery Course

6th February 1917 Batteries in Action 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery D236 Howitzer Battery from 1440 to 1540 fired one hundred rounds in combined bombardment with 23rd Divisional Artillery and Corps Heavy Artillery onto area of trenches immediately South of Stirling Castle on 23rd Division front. C236 Battery fired at intervals during the night onto area of bombardment the 4 lines, East of the Snout.

7th February 1917 Registration 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report All quiet, registration by batteries.

8th February 1917 Personnel changes 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery 2nd Lt H V Ramsey evacuated out of Divisional Area - sick.

9th February 1917 Hostile Fire 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Aeroplane registration carried out by D236 Battery for Counter Battery Work. Small crater with suspected enemy mine workings bombarded by X47 Medium Trench Mortar Battery with sixty rounds and many direct hits obtained. At 2030 the enemy opened heavy shrapnel fire on both Battalion fronts. Group Batteries replied as retaliation was asked for increasing to SOS fire at 2050 in answer to SOS call from Right Battalion. The hostile fire soon died down.

10th February 1917 Battery Activity 236th London Brigade, Royal Field Artillery report "The Field Marshall, Commander in Chief awarded the French decoration "Medale Militaire" to Corporal W. P Noel HQ Staff. At 1400 D236 4.5 Howitzer Battery took part in one hours bombardment by all 47th and 41st Division Field Howitzers of the area opposite trenches of left Battalion of Right Brigade 47th Division. A registration by aeroplane by D236 Battery was also attempted at 1530. 2/Lt T Ballantyne C236 Battery was evacuated to 2nd Casualty Clearing Station."

12th February 1917 Conference 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery record Conference of OC. Group and Battery Commanders. First section of C236 Battery went out of action.

13th February 1917 Batteries in Action 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery D236 Battery fired two hundred rounds in a combined bombardment on 23rd Division front by all available Howitzers. X47 Trench Mortar Battery commenced wire cutting on the Left Battalion's front and fired fifty four rounds. Remainder of C236 Battery went out of action and handed over position to B1014 Battery which is therefore part of Group. C246 took over Wagon Lines of B235 in rest at Winnizeele.

14th February 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery B236 Battery commenced wire cutting opposite Right Battalion's front. X47 Trench Mortar Battery continued on wire with fifty rounds.

15th February 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report A236 and B236 Batteries continued on the enemy wire with the usual allotment of two hundred rounds a day. D236 fired on an area Bombardment scheme at 1545 in conjunction with Howitzers of 23rd and 41st Division and Heavy Artillery on Area Hill 60. 2/Lt V Overton and 2/Lt H S Metcalfe attached to A236 and D236 Batteries respectively for 14 days instruction (From the DAC).

16th February 1917 Gaps made in Enemy Wire 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: All Batteries of the Group (except D236) and including X47 Trench Mortar Battery, which fired fifty rounds, bombarded the enemy's wire today. Many gaps were made.

17th February 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Wire cutting by A236 and B104 Batteries continued with an average of two hundred rounds a day being fired by each Battery. X47 Trench Mortar Battery fired one hundred rounds on cutting the wire.

18th February 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Wire cutting continued successfully by all Batteries. D236 took part in an area bombardment with all other Howitzer Batteries at 1430 and one hundred and eighty rounds were fired. X47 Trench Mortar Battery fired sixty rounds at enemy's trenches which were much damaged as a result of last few days bombardment.

19th February 1917 Batteries Cutting Wire 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report C236 Battery came into action in position immediately south of Left Infantry Brigade HQ as reserve Battery for raid operation. Wire cutting continued by A236, B236, B104 and D236 Battery with the other Howitzers firing again on right area National - one hundred and eighty rounds. X47 Trench Mortar Battery again fired sixty rounds at enemy wire.

20th February 1917 Daylight Raid 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report 18 pounder Batteries continued rigorous wire cutting in the morning as did Trench Mortar Battery. Much damage has been done and many gaps made in the enemy's defences. At 1700, Zero Time, a large daylight raid was carried out on the Right Brigade front of 47th Division. A dummy raid was made by explosion of mines and bombardment on the Hill 60 sub sector at the same time. All Batteries of Left Group barraged southern boundary of said area and cease fire took place at approx 1925. Raid highly successful with one hundred and thirteen prisoners and four machine guns being gained by 6th Battalion (City of London Rifles). 2/Lt M O Haskell A235 Battery (attached HQ) acted as liaison officer with raiding party. 6600 rounds of 18 pounder ammunition, 1100 rounds of 4.5 inch Howitzer and 450 rounds of 2" Trench Mortar ammunition were used by Left Group in the raid operations from 13th inst. onwards.

21st Feb 1917 No Retaliation 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report (A J Roberts due back from leave). All quiet - no immediate retaliation by the enemy for the raid. 2/Lt H Davies rejoined the Brigade from Hospital (B236 Battery).

22nd February 1917 Enemy Work Prevented 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Enemy was prevented from working on his lines by 18 pounder fire.

23rd February 1917 Movements 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report 2/Lt P F Oxley posted to C236 Battery from 47th Divisional Ammunition Column with effect from 21st inst. C236 Battery out of action in this Divisional area and in action temporarily under orders of St Eloi Group, 41st Divisional Artillery.

24th February 1917 Battery Rests 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: After very successful raid by 41st Division, C236 Battery goes back to rest during night to Winnezeele.

28th February 1917 Movements 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report 2/Lt Metcalfe and Overton return to 47th Divisional Ammunition Column after attachment. 2/Lt Hellies attached from 47th Divisional Ammunition Column to D236 Battery for a fortnight.

1st March 1917 Batteries Shelled 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Heavy shelling of A236 and B236 Batteries in the afternoon with direct hits on gunpits etc. but no casualties. Toll Gate and vicinity of Group HQ. were also shelled and one wounded in HQ. Visual signalling operated this morning, while telephones closed down from 1000 to 1400. Batteries fired on SOS message at 2200 but no attack.

2nd March 1917 Battery Shelled 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery, A236 Battery was again heavily shelled. Batteries are on small allotment.

3rd March 1917 Enemy Movements 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Probable enemy relief discovered to be taking place tonight so Batteries fired from 2100 until midnight, about one hundred and twenty rounds each. No retaliation was received.

4th March 1917 Enemy Shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Enemy actively shelled our back areas during the evenings.

5th March 1917 Positions Reinforced 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Working parties from 104 Brigade RFA and 47th Divisional Ammunition Column attached to Batteries of the Group to work on the reinforcement positions. 2/Lt T Ballantyne evacuated to England and struck off Brigade strength with effect from 3rd March 1917.

9th March 1917 Camoflets Blown 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report D236 Battery fired on Counter Battery targets with aeroplane observation. B236 Battery fired one hundred and fifty rounds on enemy wire. Several camouflets blown by the enemy. (note: camouflet is an underground cavity caused by explosives but without breaking surface which would form a crater)

11th March 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report A236 Battery fired about seventy rounds wire cutting. Great air activity with two British machines shot down over Ypres. Major Pollard OC. D236 Battery to Field Ambulance sick.

12th March 1917 Enemy Working party 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report A236 Battery successfully dispersed a large working party behind enemy lines. Major Pollard evacuated out of Divisional Area, also 2/Lt Davies.

13th March 1917 New Battery OC 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report T/Lt S Taylor appointed Captain whilst sent to Command D236 Battery.

14th March 1917 Change of Command 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Major A C Gordon DSO OC B236 Battery assumes command of 235th Brigade RFA and is struck off the strength of this Brigade from today’s date.

15th March 1917 Enemy Active 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report The enemy batteries were active today especially their eight inch guns and our Batteries retaliated at the request of infantry.

16th March 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report B104 Battery fired one hundred and forty rounds in wire cutting and there was much intermittent retaliation by the other Batteries.

17th March 1917 Change of Command 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Capt R A Corsan MC A236 Battery appointed to command B236 Battery with effect from 16th inst in place of Major Gordon DSO.

18th March 1917 Batteries Fire 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report D236 Battery fired on Counter Battery target. A236 and B236 Batteries fired at the request of infantry. D236 also fired all night on a German Battery suspected of moving.

19th March 1917 Retaliation 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery Batteries retaliated for enemy firings on Left Battalion during the morning. 2/Lt G Jacques posted to B236 Battery from 119th Brigade RFA.

20th March 1917 Reliefs 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report C236 Battery first section relieved one section of B104 Battery today from Corps Reserve and took over B235 Battery Wagon Line.

21st March 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Remaining sections of C236 Battery relieved remaining sections of B104 Battery. A236 Battery fired one hundred and ten rounds wire cutting and Other Batteries fired one hundred and twenty rounds in retaliation for enemy shelling.

22nd March 1917 New Craters Blown 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report X47 Trench Mortar Battery fired thirty rounds on Hill 60 and into new craters blown by the enemy. Work was heard during the night and X47 Battery again fired into craters.

23rd March 1917 Enemy Bombardment 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Enemy actively bombarded in retaliation for Trench Mortars early this morning. Our Batteries replied and X47 Trench Mortar Battery again fired on the crater.

24th March 1917 Battery Shelled From 0800 until 1130, C236 Battery 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery was heavily shelled. One gunner was killed and two others wounded. The shelling was repeated at intervals during the day and an ammunition dump was blown up. At 1800 after heavy Trench Mortar activity the SOS signal went up to the right of Group zone and an attack was reported on Group Zone. Batteries opened fire on the SOS, but the situation almost immediately cleared and the cease fire was given. A small mine had been sprung on Left Battalion front.

25th March 1917 Personnel Changes 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery reports Captain H Carey-Morgan C236 Battery posted to command B236 Battery with effect from this date and Captain R A Corsan MC B236 Battery posted to A236 Battery.

26th March 1917 Enemy Work Stopped 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery's X47 Trench Mortar Battery fired on the enemy crater to stop work.

27th March 1917 Special Shoot 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report 2/Lt H W Stevens and 2/Lt H J Glover attached from 47th Divisional Ammunition Column to A236 and B236 Batteries respectively for a fortnight's instruction. D236 Battery fired one hundred and eighty rounds in conjunction with Heavy Artillery and other 4.5 inch Howitzers Batteries on special area opposite the Right Front.

28th March 1917 Battery Shelled 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery's C236 Battery was heavily shelled again during the morning with two direct hits on a gun pit, but no casualties. Major Wood OC. C236 goes on leave of absence (special).

30th March 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery's B236 Battery fired one hundred and thirty rounds in wire cutting and also with A236 Battery fired on German officers inspecting the enemy front line. C236 Battery were again shelled this morning. Major Cooper OC. A236 Battery on special leave of absence.

31st March 1917 Retaliation 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery. report 2/Lt E A West rejoined from hospital to D236 Battery. Batteries retaliated during the day and X47 Trench Mortar Battery fired on crater.

1st April 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Wire cutting in preparation for raiding operation started by this Group A236 Battery fired one hundred and fifty rounds, B236 Battery one hundred and ten rounds, C236 Battery one hundred also twenty on the wire and D236 Battery fired one hundred and eighty rounds on area opposite Division on the left in collaboration with other Howitzers and Heavy Batteries. X47 Trench Mortar Battery fired in retaliation and moved guns south to cover more front. New Battery positions for offensive action started upon by Batteries of this Group with twelve positions to be completed.

2nd April 1917 High Wind 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Wire cutting was carried out in spite of high wind by 18 pounders and trench mortars. D236 Battery fired on an area bombardment, one hundred and sixty rounds and A236 Battery fired at intervals during the night on this area.

3rd April 1917 Batteries Fire 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report C236 Battery fired forty four rounds in wire cutting and X47 Trench Mortar Battery sixty rounds. A236 Battery fired during the night on the same area of bombardment as yesterday.

4th April 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report On wire cutting A236 Battery fired one hundred and seventy rounds, B236 Battery one hundred and four, C236 Battery one hundred and thirty three and X47 Battery twenty five with good results being obtained. D236 Battery fired on area bombardment.

5th April 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report wire cutting was continued today. A236 Battery firing one hundred and nineteen rounds, B236 Battery two hundred and twenty one, X47 Trench Mortar Battery one hundred and seven and C236 Battery one hundred and thirty six. A236 Battery after being registered in the morning was shelled at about 1830 and two gun pits were blown in by 5.9 inch guns. Two other ranks and one Sergeant were wounded.

6th April 1917 Wire Cutting and support 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery, C189 Battery (Army Field Brigade) came into action in position East of B236 Battery as reinforcement Battery for the Group. Wire cutting again today with A236 Battery firing one hundred rounds, B236 Battery seventy six rounds and C236 Battery one hundred and fifty two rounds. D236 Battery took part in an area bombardment on Group Zone. X47 Trench Mortar Battery also fired fifty four rounds. C189 Battery registered.

7th April 1917 Intense Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Batteries carried out intense wire cutting this morning, A236 Battery firing one hundred and thirty rounds, B236 Battery one hundred and fifty five rounds and C236 Battery two hundred and ten rounds. Zero time for Daylight Raid 2000. 18th Battalion (London Irish Rifles) carried out this raid, in the same place on the right Brigade Front as the raid in February, under a heavy barrage by two and half Divisional Artilleries, accompanied by dummy raid at German line on Hill 60 and St Eloi. Enemy fire was fairly heavy and caused a number of casualties. Nineteen prisoners were taken. OC. Left Group acted as liaison officer with GOC 141st Infantry Brigade, also Major Pollard OC. D236 Battery acted as liaison with OC. Raid. 2/Lt A M Cole B236 Battery posted to 66th Division.

8th April 1917 Relief Imminent 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report OC. 101 Brigade RFA arrived to take over Group but relief of Batteries not yet begun.

9th April 1917 Heavy Barrage 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Left Group now under tactical command of 23rd Divisional Artillery and covering 23rd Division Infantry, but still covering Hill 60 front. After trench mortaring of our lines all day the enemy at 1835 opened a heavy barrage along the Divisional Front particularly on the Centre Battalion. SOS went up at 1844 and the Batteries of 236 Brigade commenced barrage immediately. There was some Shelling of Group on right and Division on left, but both turned a Battery into mutual barrages on this Brigade front after ten minutes. Enemy found to have been completely held up by our barrage fire and dead found in 'no mans land'. Firing continued until about 2000 at a rapid rate with 3960 rounds being fired by the Group despite some Batteries being all shelled with 5.9 inch guns and gas shells. One 4.5 Howitzer was badly damaged, but no other damage or casualties except slight gas poisoning and shock.

10th April 1917 Quiet day for 6th London Batteries 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery record in their war diary: Lt A F Yencken (B236 Battery) struck off the Brigade strength on evacuation to England. All quiet today and all front trenches including Battery Observation Points have been demolished along with one trench mortar pit probably bombed by the enemy. First sections went out of action tonight and withdrew to the wagon lines.

11th April 1917 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report first sections marched to Winnezeeze and Ouderzeele rest billets. Remaining sections went out of action during the night and OC. Group handed over defence of front to OC. 102 Brigade RFA, 23rd Division. A, B, C, D Batteries 102 Brigade took over Battery positions in order A, B, C, D from Batteries of 236th Brigade. 104 Army Field Artillery Brigade took over all Wagon Lines.

12th April 917 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery A236 and B236 Batteries and HQ. Brigade in Winnezeeze rest billets with C236 and D236 Batteries at Ouderzeele.

15th April 1917 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Major W Cooper OC. A236 Battery returned from special leave.

16th April 1917 Inspections and Training 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery recordL Drill order Inspection of Batteries by BGRA (Brigadier General Royal Artillery). Each Battery inspected separately A236 and B236 at Winnezeeze with C236 and D236 at Ouderzeele. Major Wood OC. C236 Battery returned from leave. Classes in gunnery and signalling in each Battery is now being carried on.

18th April 1917 Appointments 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery reports OC. Brigade to HQ 47th Divisional Artillery as acting CRA in absence of CRA on leave. Major Pollard OC. D236 Battery to command Brigade in absence of OC.

19th April 1917 Court Martial 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery provide summaries of evidence in case of Bombardier Wiseman D236 Battery, remanded for Field General Court Martial on 15th inst., taken.

20th April 1917 Inspections 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report marching order parades of C236 and D236 Batteries were inspected by acting OC. Brigade (Major C A Pollard DSO).

23rd April 1917 Training 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Gas demonstration by chemical adviser X Corps held at 1415 near Ouderzeele. Four 18 pounder guns of C236 Battery and two 4.5 inch Howitzers of D236 Battery were bought into action in the gas cloud. Commander Royal Artillery and all available Officers and ORs of the Brigade attended.

25th April 1917 Inspections 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report: Marching order parade of HQ. Brigade, A236 and B236 Batteries at 0930 with an inspection by the acting Brigade Commander. A good turnout.

28th April 1917 Appointments 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Captain R A Corsan MC A236 Battery went to command C102 Battery in action vice Major Britten killed. (Major Charles Wells Britten aged 30 was killed on the 26th April 1917 and is buried at Bedford House Cemetery).

29th April 1917 appointments and recreation 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Lt Colonel A C Lowe resumed command of Brigade on return of BGRA from leave and Major C A Pollard relinquished command. Brigade officers jumping competition held at 1730 and won by 2/Lt G Jacques B236 Battery.

30th April 1917 Training and Recreation 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery attend Brigade Sergeants jumping competition and rides. During the period in rest, active training has been carried on daily with Battery Staff including, gun drill, range, fuse setting, signalling with flags sited in advance stations, riding schools and competitions in turnout.

1st May 1917 Recreation 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report from Winnezeeze and Oudezeeze. The Brigade subsections competition for general turnout was won by B236 Battery with A236 Battery in second place.

3rd May 1917 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report first section of each Battery left for it's position in the line. The rest billets are taken over by 104 Brigade RFA.

4th May 1917 Relocations The remaining sections of each Battery and Headquarters Staff of 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery await night action on the Bluff and Canal sectors immediately South of Ypres and with three Batteries of 235th Brigade remaining in newly formed Chateau Group, covering the whole of the 47th Divisional front. Lt Colonel W B Grandage OC. 235 Brigade RFA remained in command of the Group with HQ Staff 236th Brigade. Two, two inch Trench Mortars Batteries and one 9.45 Trench Mortar also form part of the Group.

5th May 1917 Movements 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Lt Colonel A C Lowe DSO went on leave to England. Major C H Pollard DSO assuming temporary command of Brigade. Lt V C Lucas MC posted to A236 Battery.

6th May 1917 Heavy Shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report there was heavy shelling of roads and back areas by the enemy and much counter battery work by him.

7th May 1917 Increased Shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report shelling of the whole area by the enemy increased. GOC. Division inspected the Brigade Wagon Louex. One NCO and the horses of D236 Battery were killed. Bombardment of enemy roads, railways and communications carried out by every gun in the Army. An intense fire for two periods of five minutes each at 2045 and 2315 carried out, the Group taking part in and firing an average of three hundred and fifty rounds per 18 pounder Battery and two hundred rounds per 4.5 inch Howitzer. The Enemy were quietened by this retaliation.

8th May 1917 Inspections 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report GOC. Division inspected the Brigade HQ and Batteries during the morning. Still much artillery activity and bombardment of dumps by the enemy.

9th May 1917 Enemy Active 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Enemy active with trench mortars and artillery on our trenches during the day, much retaliation by our batteries. Firing increased and heavy bombardment opened at 2110. SOS was given and Batteries opened up barrages on our Group front and of the Division on our right to 2200 with little success.

10th May 1917 Heavy Bombardment 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report another heavy bombardment, chiefly on the Divisional front in the North was opened at 0345 and Batteries barraged for half an hour. Much counter Battery work and many targets of guns in action fired on. 2nd Lt C B Payne struck off strength of the Brigade on transfer to RFC (Royal Flying Corps).

11th May 1917 Enemy Artillery Activity 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery received enemy artillery activity. Vicinity of Group HQ shelled all the morning and the HQ’s Chateau was registered, heavily bombarded from 1130 to 1430 and partly destroyed but no casualties. D236 Battery was also heavily shelled and one gun together with pit and ammunition blown up and completely destroyed. Another gun was buried from 1700 to 1750 but no casualties.

12th May 1917 Enemy Artillery Active 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Enemy artillery was active and Howitzer Batteries retaliated on counter-battery targets. C236 Battery was shelled.

14th May 1917 Group Commander Killed 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Lt Colonel W B Grandage commanding the Group died of his wounds this morning and 2nd Lt L J Helliar. Orderly officer 236th Brigade was killed, both at Swan Chateau. Major C A Pollard appointed as temporary Group commander. Large working parties joined from 104 Brigade RFA for work on offensive positions.

15th May 1917 Appointments 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Lt Colonel Nicholson 104th Army Field Artillery Brigade arrived to take over command of Group. Battery positions for offensive action definitely allotted to Brigade. Wire cutting started.

16th May 1917 Relocations Headquarters 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery went out of action to Wagon Louex.

17th May 1917 Appointments 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Command of Group definitely handed over and all HQ staff now at Wagon Louex.

18th May 1917 Relocations One section of A236 Battery 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery relieved by one section A104 Bty and went to Wagon Louex.

19th May 1917 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report remaining sections of A236 Battery relieved by A104 and one section put onto new offensive position.

20th May 1917 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report One section of B236 Battery to Wagon Louex on relief by one section B104 Brigade. Telephone exchange for HQ Brigade established in new Headquarters at Bedford House. Capt C Egerton-Warbutton posted to A236 Battery.

21st May 1917 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Remaining sections of B236 Battery relieved and one section went onto new position. Lt Lucas MC with Forward Operations Observation party to 142nd Infantry Brigade for practice in training area.

23rd May 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery confirm preliminary instructions for offensive action issued. Batteries all working on positions and wire cutting with Group. Lt Colonel A C Lowe arrived back from leave to England and took over command of the Brigade from Major C A Pollard temporarily holding it.

24th May 1917 Relocations First section of C236 Battery 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery in action in new position tonight.

25th May 1917 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report all Batteries 236 Brigade (less one section C236 Battery) in new positions tonight and completion of large ammunition dumps at guns now taking place.

27th May 1917 Heavy Enemy Shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report heavy shelling of all roads tonight by the enemy and much gas used. D236 shelled with one Bombardier killed and ten men wounded and ammunition dump blown up. Firing with gas shells continued until morning 28th May.

28th May 1917 Dumps Complete 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report all 18 pounder Batteries now have completed dumps on gun positions of 7800 rounds. Roads again shelled by the enemy. One driver from A236 Battery was killed, one wounded and two horses killed. Several other men were slightly wounded.

29th May 1917 Battery Shelled D236 Battery 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery completed dump of 6600 rounds. HQ. Staff went up into action station. D236 Battery was heavily shelled.

30th May 1917 Relocations 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report ‘C’ Group consisting of A,B,C and D/236 Batteries with D/119 Battery as counter battery formed under command of Lt Colonel A C Lowe DSO. 64th Army Field Artillery Brigade attached as a sub-group (D Group). Both Headquarters, under ruins of Bedford House, on Ypres-St Eloi Road. C Group's offensive zone is immediately North of Ypres-Comines canal. Batteries are all to the East of Headquarters and within close distance in new positions. Night firing commenced by the Group

31st May 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery Wire cutting by A236 and C236 Batteries. Night firing by B236 Battery and registration by all Batteries for raid, which is to take place immediately South of Canal. One driver C236 Battery was killed.

1st June 1917 Wire Cutting Batteries of 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery continued wire cutting. Practice barrage from 1530 to 1600 was fired at by all Batteries on Group offensive zone. Smoke shell being used. Night firing and neutralisation of wire by B236 Battery in addition.

2nd June 1917 Wire Cutting 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Wire cutting continued in cooperation with French Mortars and harassing fire carried out on tracks and communication trenches. D236 Battery bombarded five forward enemy front positions. In reply to all day bombardment by our heavy batteries the enemy retaliated with a few rounds on Batteries and Group HQ. Staff Sergeant Masters and one gunner were killed and two Sergeants wounded all in A236 Battery. Lieut A.F. Blackwell A236 Battery slightly wounded and missing in back area,believed killed. Later found to have been killed. Usual heavy firing on enemy roads and communications and wire.

3rd June 1917 Batteries in action 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery Batteries firing all day on roads etc. and counter Battery work with gas shells carried out during the whole night by howitzer batteries. HQ was bombarded by gas shells heavily for two hours during the night.

4th June 1917 Heavy Shelling 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report One gun of C236 knocked out and destroyed by a direct hit during heavy shelling of C236. D236 on harassing fire all day. A one round per minute bombardment at 2200 by all Batteries on enemy headquarters and much firing during the night. D236 had two howitzers destroyed.

Conference of BGRA (Brigadier General Royal Artillery) and Group commanders at ‘C’ Group headquarters.

5th June 1917 Patrol Raids 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery fired three searching barrages by 18 pounder Batteries during the day and a practice barrage carried out at 1500. Lt Colonel A.C. Love DSO OC ‘C’ Group went up as Senior Liaison Officer with 142 Infantry Brigade at the Bluff. Patrol raids were carried out during the night and Bedford House was again shelled.

6th June 1917 Batteries in Action At 0230 A236 and B236 Batteries, 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery fired on said barrage. Barrage creeping to final objective carried on. Very heavy shelling of all Batteries throughout day by the enemy with 8 inch and 5.9 inch shells. A236 had two guns destroyed, B236 had two badly damaged and ammunition blown up. C236 had also two guns put out of action and 1000 rounds of ammunition blown up. Only two gunners of C236 Battery were wounded. A and C Batteries were both obliged to relocate positions for some hours. Owing to loses in guns B Battery was taken off today’s imtended barrage and placed to reinforce creeping barrage. D236 again carried out counter battery work all night. 2nd Lt M.F. Allen posted to Brigade as signal officer.

7th June 1917 Attack Launched 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report Zero time for offensive by the II Army to take Hill 60, Wytschate and Messines Ridges at 0310. At that hour all artillery opened heavy barrage which continued to creep forward as infantry advanced for 10 hours until all objectives were joined and ridge remained in our hands. ‘C’ Group formed the centre of the six groups covering the Divisional front and the barrage crossed the canal south of which the final group protective barrage was placed.

A large number of Neutralise Fire calls were received and D236 did resulting neutralisation of Batteries including firing at enemy troops on the march. At about 1800 barrage was carried out on SOS line, but no infantry action by the enemy.

8th June 1917 Reorganisation Reorganisation of 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery Batteries on new zero lines took place. Otherwise the enemy was very quiet. 2nd Lt H.L. Burgis was reposted to the Brigade and to A236 Battery from England.

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U.S. Department of Education proposes big changes to distance learning

Posted On April 29, 2020 16:13:58

If you have ever run into a situation in which you asked yourself, “What rule? How could someone think that was a good idea? Why was I not told?” you can now offer your comments for an upcoming rule.

You may have experienced distance learning during your military service or know someone who has. As such, you can provide valuable insight into a proposed rule, Distance Education and Innovation, which will likely affect service members’ online schooling worldwide.

The U.S. Department of Education, led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, has published a proposed set of rules that will significantly affect distance learning for service members and their families enrolled in post-secondary educational programs. The public comment period for your valuable insight closes May 4, 2020, at 11:59 PM ET. If, after reading, you feel you would like to share your thoughts, you can do so here. Following the comment period, the Department will publish a final regulation before November 1, 2020.

In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Distance Education and Innovation, the Department has proffered many changes to current educational policies from how universities define their curricula to how regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors is defined. Most importantly, educational institutions with proven track records will benefit from a streamlined approval from the Secretary for the first direct assessment program offered by the school.

What this means for service members

In the coming months, service members will likely see a rapid expansion of new online schools and online programs — also, advertisements for newly G.I. Bill-approved schools will appear on social media platforms everywhere. Also, a more comprehensive array of applications will be made accessible to members of the military and veterans. This is excellent news for members of the military bouncing from state to state and country to country, where some traditional universities’ programs cannot follow due to their accreditors’ archaic and arguably avaricious policies.

For example, in response to one of its student’s military-related mobilization, a servicemember’s military friendly school may state, “You want us to record your classes? That’s too much of a burden. You volunteered to deploy, that is not the university’s problem.” Thus, the traditional university, under the guise of its federal and state regulations, may deny a student-soldier’s request for accommodation and defer to its accreditation standards in its defense.

Conversely, the non-traditional university, better equipped, may see a mobilization of a Reserve or National Guard soldier as a straightforward situation to accommodate because, fundamentally, the online university is best positioned to handle the unique circumstances that affect service members and civilians alike. As an example, the current COVID-19 pandemic, which is forcing traditional students to stay at home, has driven student-soldiers nationwide to temporarily drop their textbooks and, instead, get into their uniforms. Thus, student-soldiers’ statuses and VA-payments may be negatively affected.

Despite the proposed set of rules accommodations for non-traditional students, the rapid development of the rule itself – the process – may be cause for concern.

Criticism of the Rule

According to William J. Zee, partner and chair of the Education Law group at Barley Snyder, LLC., a strategically focused, full-service law firm representing businesses, organizations, and individuals in all major areas of civil law, “Critics believe it is worrisome that these regulations were proposed at the same time the biggest commentators – namely higher education institutions – are busy trying to institute distance learning in the face of COVID-19 and do not have enough time to fully digest and comment on the proposed regulations.”

Critics’ concerns about the rapidity of this Rule’s development are supported by a seemingly absent involvement of traditional universities within the Department’s “months-long negotiated rulemaking effort” that constituted public hearings and engagement from education-subject matter. See generally Notice, DoED, 2020 at 1.

Also, Sharon L. Dunn, PT, Ph.D., president, American Physical Therapy Association, stated publicly, “. . . changing the accreditation requirements, process, or standards for purely programmatic accreditors could cause lasting damaging effects.” See Public Comment, APTA, September 14, 2018.

Thus, the Department’s shift towards programmatic accreditation standards may mean damaging effects on educational institutions relying more on institutional accreditation, and an outcome possibly welcomed by some in the military community.

Support for the Rule

Mr. Zee, continued, “On the other hand, the proposed distance learning regulations could prove positive for current active military servicemen and women who have the possibility of being deployed while obtaining some sort of degree. These regulations propose to broaden the ability for institutions to better use technology and serve the classes of people who may not be in a traditional school setting. These regulations call for more use of technology, a broader acceptance of distance learning, and a recognition that the method of obtaining credentialing isn’t as important as the end result.”

In addition, Blake Johnson, a first-year law student, stated publicly, “This is a very important move toward protecting the student . . . First year itself is difficult and presents an educational challenge unlike any I’ve faced before. That being said, I was getting used to the in-person socratic lectures. That’s all gone. The ABA (American Bar Association) is stringent on their allowance of distance learning. This current situation has seen an unprecedented move in which the ABA allowed for students to not only go ‘online’ but also allowed for a trend towards Pass/Fail type grading. This proposed rule allows for a relaxed and more accommodative approach to education and factors in the issues associated with the current [COVID-19] pandemic.” See Public Comment, April 15, 2020.

Thus, more significant innovation in distance learning could prove beneficial to members of the military.

Author’s Public Comment and Concerns

This author will be specifically addressing administrative remedies in his public comment to the Federal Register.

Because of the extraordinary degree of speed by which the Department has rollbacked regulations in its Proposed Rule, student-soldiers could be at higher risk of exposure to misrepresentation and fraud.

Addressing this author’s concern, the Department generally states, “These proposed regulations attempt to limit risks to students and taxpayers resulting from innovation by delegating various oversight functions to the bodies best suited to conduct that oversight—States and accreditors. This delegation of authority through the higher education regulatory triad entrusts oversight of most consumer protections to States, assurance of academic quality to accrediting agencies, and protection of taxpayer funds to the Department.” See Proposed Rule, DoED.

In laymen’s terms, the Department is passing the buck to State regulators such as the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, for example, a state agency charged with the duty of assuring academic quality in Massachusetts.

The problem with such delegation is (1) many state regulators are hyper-focused on targeting for-profit institutions and politically incentivized to protect non-profits, and (2) there are very few remedies for student-soldiers facing disputes with their universities, regardless of the school’s tax status. Frequently, military commanders cite the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, USERRA, a federal employment law, in response to their student-soldiers’ concerns with missing classes due to drill or deployments.

Expect to see a Public Comment from this author very soon that will advocate for the inclusion of protective language to the Department’s Proposed Rule modifying eligibility to ensure student-soldiers are given big sticks to augment their respectful, soft voices in the classroom.

The metaphorical equivalent of a student-soldier’s attempt to resolve a dispute with their non-profit university would be like an attempt to sue God. The cards are stacked unfairly in favor of universities nationwide, and, in closing, for those who believe non-profit universities to be a fragile, delicate butterflies, worthy of extraordinary deference by state regulators, please research universities’ publicly available Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990(s).

Call to Action

After reviewing the Department’s Tips for Submitting Comments, submit your comments through the Department’s Rulemaking Portal or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. The Department will not accept comments submitted by fax or by email or those submitted after the comment period. To ensure that the Department does not receive duplicate copies, please submit your comments only once. In addition, please include the Docket ID [ED-2018-OPE-0076-0845] at the top of your comments. If you are submitting comments electronically, the Department strongly encourages you to submit any comments or attachments in Microsoft Word format.

If you must submit a comment in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), the Department strongly encourages you to convert the PDF to print-to-PDF format or to use some other commonly used searchable text format. Please do not submit the PDF in a scanned format. Using a print-to-PDF format allows the Department to electronically search and copy certain portions of your submissions.

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov to submit your comments electronically. Information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket is available on the site under ”Help.” See 18638 Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 64. Thursday, April 2, 2020, Proposed Rules. at 1.

Attending a Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Educational Institution

A common misconception about non-profit educational institutions is that they cannot, by definition, be predatory. In an online document concerning non-profits, last updated February 2018 by Pasadena City College (PCC), a non-profit educational institution, PCC states, “None are predatory, but have varying success rates – students should research institutions carefully applying.” See Document at 2. In its blanket immunity declaration, PCC also highlights the importance of carefully researching educational institutions’ successes, which can be intentionally elusive to some consumers.

A more in-depth article addressing the logical fallacy behind blanket immunity granted to non-profits is discussed further in These Colleges Say They’re Non-profit—But Are They?, written by Robert Shireman, Director of Higher Education Excellence and Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation. If further clarification is needed on what it means for an educational institution to be predatory, the Federal Trade Commission, in concert with many State Attorneys General, maintains publicly available reports and cases that define bad actors’ deceptions of consumers in areas ranging from aviation to wine and beer.

According to Mr. Zee, “For-profit institutions have been preying on the education of current soldiers and veterans because their GI Bill does not go toward the for-profit institutions’ 90/10 limit of federal funding. For-profit institutions have been caught deceiving prospects into believing they are actually non-profit institutions, and many soldiers have been negatively impacted, as they are seeking a non-traditional method of schooling.”

In deciding whether to attend a non-profit or for-profit educational institution consider this, enrolling at an institution of higher learning through an online portal provided by the bursar’s office may not feel the same as removing a wrinkled dollar bill from a tired, leather wallet, handing it to a cashier across a counter, and receiving a delicious chocolate candy bar unwrapped in return. Still, it is a financial transaction just the same. Students are consumers of educational services provided by companies, whether the U.S. Internal Revenue Service sees them as 501c3 or not.

Measure of a Post-Secondary Educational Institution’s Success

It is generally easy to discern the success of teaching a child to play catch, the child either catches the ball, or they do not catch the ball. However, some may take the view that the measure of success is instead the child reaching to catch it. The attempt itself is worthy of some admiration, an ideal not lost to many.

However, an attempt to catch the ball is categorically not a success, determined by many programmatic-accreditation bodies, an example of which would be the American Bar Association. One either passes the bar exam or does not pass. Likewise, one either passes their State’s medical board or they do not. The ramifications of either determine whether one will be permitted to practice law or medicine, an ideal we value for the professionals charged with the duties of either keeping us out of prison or alive on the operating table.

Conversely, to an institutional-accreditation body, a child may be the next Jason Varitek despite missing the ball and landing on his or her face. An institutional-accreditation authority is not so concerned whether the child catches the ball, it is concerned with what the ball is made of, how fast it was thrown, and whether the child was the intended recipient. In other words, institutional-accreditation bodies are more concerned with the educational process, the number of students per class, than the result, the number of students working in their desired field. An accredited university can retain its accreditation by solely focusing its business decision-making process on an extensive gamut of unique gradable metrics, rather than merely one: whether its graduates obtained jobs.

In its Notice, the Department “call[s] for institutions, educators, and policymakers to ‘rethink higher education’ and find new ways to expand educational opportunity, demonstrate the value of a post-secondary credential and lifelong learning, and reduce costs for students, schools, and taxpayers. See Factsheet (emphasis added).

What is a CFR?

CFR is short for a Code of Federal Regulation, more amicably known as administrative law by members of the legal community. Administrative law is unique because it is technologically complicated. For example, Lawyers and Judges typically do not enjoy defining what is or is not the correct way to fly an airplane.

Hence, a federal agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, filled to the seams with aviation experts, defines the technical means to fly an aircraft correctly. Likewise, other areas of specialization like immigration or education are governed by administrative rules, ultimately guided by the federal, executive branch of government.

In this instance, the Department’s change to the CFR will result in a cascading effect on how the education sector conducts its education-business – or for the FAA, flies a plane. However, unlike flying a plane, which arguably has a clear right and wrong way of doing it – up or down, education has its unique nuance. For example, a law student, activated for a combat military deployment – yet with access to computers, may

As a valued reader of We Are the Mighty, you may know or be a Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, Marine, or Coast Guardsman who balanced online, distance learning with their military service. Please, share your insight on what you think of the Department of Education’s proposed rules.


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