Below is the transcription of the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment May to July 1917 covering their arrival in France up to the time that Arthur Slater was wounded and evacuated to England. At this time, the 1/9th Manchesters were part of the 126th Infantry Brigade in the 42nd Division.
Mar 1, MOASCAR
Battalion entrains 22:00 departing for ALEXANDRIA 22:50. Capt. D. HOW leaves to rejoin his unit in EGYPT.
Mar 2, ALEXANDRIA
Arrive ALEXANDRIA 06:00. Embark on H.M.T. ARCADIAN with 1/5th EAST LANCS REGT and details amounting to 106 Officers, 14 WOs, 2,237 OR. Col. D. H. WADE appointed O.C. troops.
Mar 3, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Remain alongside Quay at ALEXANDRIA.
Mar 4, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Sail from ALEXANDRIA with escort.
Mar 5, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Inspection by commander and O.C. Troops, and Boat Deck parade.
Mar 6, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Customary inspection by Commander and O.C. Troops. Test alarms 09:30. Medical Inspection.
Mar 7, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Arrive MALTA and anchor in ST PAUL’S BAY. Depart with escort of one Destroyer & one sloop.
Mar 8, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Boat deck parade cancelled on account of rough weather.
Mar 9, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Boat deck parade cancelled on account of rough weather. Anchor off CORSICA (PORTO VECCHIO).
Mar 10, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
14:00 Depart PORTO VECCHIO. 17:00 Practice alarm given by escort. Stand to dismissed 17:45. 21:00 The escort sloop “CYCLAMBEN” moves off to starboard and tackles two submarines. 14 shots fired to starboard about 2 miles distant. Believed one submarine sunk.
Mar 11, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
09:30 H.M.S. CYCLAMEN rejoins. Three cheers given by troops for H.M.S. CYCLAMEN. 14:00 Arrive MARSEILLES. Extra blanket issued to each man. 18:30 1/9th Manchesters disembark and entrain. 22:00 Depart MARSEILLES.
Mar 12, ORANGE
04:00 Halte Repas 1 hour ORANGE. Rations issued for the day also hot water for tea.
09:30 Halte Repas 1 hour MACON. Hot water issued at each “Halte”
18:30 Halte Repas 1 hour LES LAUMES
Mar 13, MONTEGREAU
04:00 Halte Repas 1 hour MONTEGREAU. Rations issued for the day. Owing to the darkness this was found to be a difficult process. A “Halte” assayed for later, after daybreak, would have been more satisfactory.
11:00 Halte Repas JUVISY, near PARIS. Fresh orders were not issued. See Appendix.
17:06 Halte, 1706-1815 EPLUCHES. Hot water provided.
Mar 14, PONT REMY
10:30 Arrive PONT REMY (Sq K.6, Ref Map 1/100,000 ABBEVILLE 14). Tea provided to the A, B & C Companies by Y.M.C.A. 07:30 Arrive Billeting Area. Roads in muddy condition. March with halt of 15 minutes at the hour, as different from short halts at the hour and the half hour, customary with the Division when in EGYPT. Guides meet the Battalion. At station to take Companies to their areas.
A, B, C & HQ billet in DOUDELAINVILLE (Sq J.6). D Company billet in WARCHEVILLE (Sq J.6). Transport at POULTERE (Sq J.6). Brigade. HQ at LIMERCOURT VALMA (Sq J.6). Men billeted in barns & outhouses. Warned that inhabitant not “over friendly” but find them obliging. 2/Lieut. G. E. HAYWARD from 3rd reserve unit & 2/Lieut. E. JAMES posted to battalion.
Mar 15, DOUDELAINVILLE
Battalion. Marches to PONT REMY by companies to draw rifles. Many men done up after this march of 18 miles. 2/Lieut. M. J. DUNLOP & 5 NCOs proceed for course of instruction in rifle grenades.
Mar 16, DOUDELAINVILLE
Training commences. Preparation of dummy & live training pits for bombing commences on Battalion. Training Ground (Sq J.6 ¼ mile S. E. of “S” in POULTIERES). Lectures to Officers and NCOs. Steel helmets issued to Officers & OR. 10 O. R. proceed on leave to ENGLAND.
Mar 17, DOUDELAINVILLE
Training continued. C Company commence digging a “Cruciform” trench. Rolls of specialists for training prepared for 100% over establishment.
2/Lieut. J. CARREY appointed 126 Brigade. Salvage Officer.
2/Lieut. J. R. TOMMIS attached to 42 Division Sig. Company for instruction.
COL. D. H. WADE, Capt. F. W. KERSHAW, C.S.M. NEWTON & 2 ORs attached 1st Div. for instruction in Trench Warfare.
MAJOR R. B. NOWELL and remainder of Advance Party who left Battalion at EL ARISH 31.1.17 rejoin Battalion from 1st Division.
Mar 18, DOUDELAINVILLE
Divine Service volountary. Conference of Company Commanders on New Formation (W.O. pamphlet SS 144)
Mar 19, DOUDELAINVILLE
Route march by Companies. Dress fighting order. Training under Company arrangements.
Mar 20, DOUDELAINVILLE
Companies and specialists engaged in Training. Message from MAJOR GEN DOUGLAS received.
Mar 21, DOUDELAINVILLE
Lecture to Battalion on Bayonet Fighting by Capt. BROWN superintendent of gymnasia, III Corps followed by demonstration of Bayonet Fighting. C & D Companies. Proceed to hot water baths at HUPPY. Lt J. CARREY admitted Hospital. Salvage Officer vice 2nd Lt. J. G. E. HAYWARD appointed acting 126 Brigade. Salvage Officer vice 2nd Lt. J. CARREY.
Mar 22, DOUDELAINVILLE
COL. D. H. WADE, Capt. F. W. KERSHAW, C.S.M. NEWTON & 2 ORs due to return from 1st Division and another party to proceed but these arrangements cancelled owing to advance made on III Corps front. A & B Companies. proceed to baths at HUPPY. Lectures on gas to Companies. during morning. Practice bomb throwing for C & D Companies. Visit of MAJOR GENERAL MITFORD to Battalion. Orders received for reorganization of Battalion in New Formation.
Mar 23, DOUDELAINVILLE
Battalion engaged in training and in reorganizing platoons. To be Temp Cpts., Lt. T.G. HYDE 22 Aug, 1916, LT W. H. LILLIE Dec 4th, Lt. O. J. SUTTON, Dec 4th (London Gazette March 1, 1917). Lt. Col. WADE & Capt. KERSHAW arrive from 1st Division.
Mar 24, DOUDELAINVILLE
Route march through OISEMENT. Inspection by Brigade. GEN TUFFNELL of Battalion in New Formation. 11pm Summer Time adopted throughout France.
Mar 25, DOUDELAINVILLE
10am Parade Divine Service.
Mar 26, DOUDELAINVILLE
Training in Billet Area.
Mar 27, DOUDELAINVILLE
Battalion proceeds by Companies. to HUPPY for bathing. A & D Company practice attack in New Formation. Squads of 10 practice rapid wiring.
Mar 28, DOUDELAINVILLE
2/Lt. QUINNEY and 104 O.R. proceed to Musketry School PONT REMY (Sq K.6). B Company fill in bombing pits and trenches near ST. MAXENT. Other Companies. engaged in training. Billeting parties proceed to BELLEFONTAINE (Sq K.6) and BAILLEUL (Sq K.6) to arrange billets for Battalion for 30th inst.
Mar 29, DOUDELAINVILLE
9am Lecture to Battalion on Gas by Divisional Gas Officer. 10am Fitting of Box Respirators. 10am to 3pm Bombing Pit and Trenches.
Mar 30, DOUDELAINVILLE
Move to new billeting area. A Company BELLEFONTAINE (Sq K.6). C, D & HQ at BAILLEUL (Sq K.6). B Company and Transport at Chateau, 1 kilo S of BAILLEUL. OR billeted in barns and outhouses. Capt. D. B. STEPHENSON, Lt. ROBINSON, 2 Lt. B. FREEDMAN rejoin from leave.
Mar 31, BAILLEUL
9:15 am Battalion route march through HUPPY (J.6). Specialists train under Specialist Officers. Capt. D. B. STEPHENSON takes over command of D Company, vice Capt. W.H. LILLIE reported to A Company (see entry 19.2.17).
April 1, BAILLEUL
Divine Service, voluntary. Major T. E. HOWORTH proceed to Course of Instruction for Company Commanders at MONTIGNY.
C & D Companies proceed to musketry range at PONT REMY (Sq K6) for musketry practice. A Company proceed for musketry training afternoon but turned back on account of heavy rains. A & B Companies engaged in training & lectures.
All Companies proceed to Range for musketry practice. S.A.A. drawn on Range. Lieut. Col. WADE & 7 O.R.s proceed on leave to UK Major R.B. NOWELL takes over command of Battalion in absence of Lt. Col. WADE.
All Companies proceed to Range for musketry practice. Orders received to proceed to mess area by march route, 42 to 45 miles. These orders cancelled & orders received for Battalion to proceed by rail on the 7th inst. Transport to proceed by road.
Companies engaged in training. 5 O.R.s proceed on leave to UK. 2/Lt. QUINNEY & 102 O.R. return from Musketry Camp PONT REMY.
Battalion engaged in training. Capt. F. W. KERSHAW proceed to Course of Instruction for Company Commanders at MONTIGNY. Major T.E. HOWORTH returns from course & is ordered to remain in PONT REMY & rejoin Battalion at station on the 7th inst. Lt. R. J. N. DALE & 2 NCOs proceed in advance of Battalion as billeting party. 5 ORs proceed on leave to UK.
6:30am. Transports proceed by road to MORCOURT (Sq H2) by following route. Depart BAILLEUL 6:30am. Rendezvous LONGPRE proceed first day to SAINT SUAVIER (Sq C1), 7th inst. to HAMEL (Sq G2) via AMIENS (Sq D2), 8th inst. to MORCOURT (Sq H2).
6:30am. 2/Lieut. W. G. GREENWOOD departs in charge of 126 Brigade Motor Convoy to MORCOURT. Major T.E. HOWORTH rejoined Battalion.
10:00am. Battalion entrains at PONT REMY station & proceeds to LA FLAQUET (Sq I2) for MORCOURT.
5:30pm. Battalion billeted in “French” huts. Orderly room in house at MORCOURT. Allotment of leave to UK 7th inst. to 12th inst. 2 Officers & 42 OR (7 per diem).
April 8, MORCOURT
2/Lieut. R.J.N. DALE and Sgt. CHORLTON (Sgt. in charge of scouts & snipers) proceed to Course of Instruction at ARMY TELESCOPIC SIGHTS SCHOOL.
3pm Divine Service (EASTER Sunday). Orderly room moved from village to small wooden hut near the Battalion billets. 11am Transport arrives.
10:00am. All Officers & NCOs & 1 platoon per Company witness demonstration by a platoon from the 4th East Lancs Regiment of the Normal Formation. Remainder of Battalion route march during morning & proceed to Baths at MORCOURT during afternoon. S.A.A. rifle issued 120 rounds per man.
2/Lt. E. K. P. FUGE proceeds on leave to UK. 9:30am. Battalion practice attack in Normal Formation by Companies and Half Battalion. Orders received to move on 11th inst. Party proceeds to draw establishment of MILLS grenades for Battalion & to wait at ECLUSIER (Sq J1) till Brigade arrives.
April 11, MORCOURT
Move to FEUILLERES (Sq H1) by march route in open formation – 100 yards between platoons – via CAPPY and ECLUSIER (Sq J1).
2/Lieut. L.W. PICKFORD joins Battalion at CAPPY from 3rd/8th Reserve Battalion Manchester Regiment. Battalion billeted in village in cellars and dugouts. Billets poor owing to battered condition of village. Many billets wet first night on account of heavy fall of snow and rain. Blankets arrive by Motor Transport2am 12th inst. owing to bad roads.
April 12, FEUILLERES
Battalion engaged in training. Capt. F.W. KERSHAW rejoins. Lt. B. F. ROBINSON rejoins from Dive School which is broken up & where he had been appointed instructor (March 31st). 2/Lt. T. AINSWORTH proceeds to Trench Mortar School. Capt. G.W. HANDFORTH proceeds to Course of Instruction for Company Commanders at MONTIGNY. Fall of snow during afternoon: many dugouts unfit to use on account of water leaking in.
Companies engaged in training rapid loading attack by platoon from trenches. Specialist training including live throwing for bombers. Orders received to be ready to move forward to CARTIGNY (Sheet 18 Sq A2) 17th inst. in trenches 18th inst.
2/Lt. J.H. CLARKE proceeds on leave to UK.
April 14, FEUILLERES
Companies engaged in training practice in Normal Formation. Bombers practice live throwing. Stores overhauled in order to reduce amount of baggage. 11am Transport inspected by Divisional Train at HERBECOURT (Sq K1).
9:30am. Lieut. Col. WADE rejoins from leave to UK. Companies engaged in training during morning. Divine Service cancelled on account of inclement weather.
Training during morning. Preparations made for early move following morning. Baggage to be sent by Motor Transport dumped at HERBECOURT (Sq K1).
Battalion moves to CARTIGNY (Sheet 18 Sq A2). Rendezvous 7:30am Cross Roads HERBECOURT. Order of March 9th Manchester Regiment, Brigade HQ, Machine Gun Company, Trench Mortar Battery, 5th E. Lancs. Col. WADE commanded column on the march owing to absence of Brigadier in the line. Route HERBECOURT, BIACHES, crossing the SOMME by the FAUBERG de PARIS bridge to PERONNE. After leaving PERONNE the Battalion marched independently to CARTIGNY via DOINGT. Every village devastated accommodation very poor accordingly. Billets at CARTIGNY where Battalion stayed the night fairly good compared with billets of previous nights.
2/Lt. RUTTENAU proceed on leave to UK. 2/Lt. DALE returns from Courses. Capt. STEPHENSON proceeds to Course of Instruction for Company Commanders at MARTIENY. D Company supply working party of 100 OR to work at CATELET (sq A2).
April 18. CARTIGNY
9:30am. Battalion, less D Company, move to MARQUAIX (Sq A1) & go into billets. Accommodation very poor. All ranks again warned of danger from traps laid in billets, serious accidents having occurred with the last few days in neighbouring villages with bombs and timed explosions.
D Company remains in billets at CARTIGNY to provide working parties for CATELET. Owing to there being only 2 Officers in D Company, 2/Lt. QUINNEY and 2/Lt. KNIGHT are attached.
April 19, MARQUAIX
A & B Companies provide 110 ORs each to work under 5th Royal Sussex Regiment at VILLERS FAUCON (Sq B1) reporting 8am. C Company provide 130 OR for work on roads under 5th Royal Sussex Regiment at ROISEL (Sq B1). Orders received for working parties on roads for 20th inst.
April 20, MARQUAIX
Orders for working parties cancelled & orders for move received.
10:30am. A & B Companies (Major HOWORTH & Capt. KERSHAW) proceed to EPEHY (Sheet 62 C F 1)
11:00am. C Company (Capt. HANDFORTH) & HQ proceed to VILLIERS-FAUCON (E22 28)
A Company occupy BROWN reserve line along railway embankment (F1 d). B Company n billets & huts in village (F1 c) under 143rd Brigade.
Capt. STEPEHENSON rejoins at CARTIENY.
April 21, VILLERS-FAUCON
D Company proceeds from CARTIGNY to VILLERS-FAUCON. A Company manned reserve line at dawn. B Company in Support to them. Working parties provided from all Companies. C Company in afternoon repairing Coon Road (F 8 a). This party shelled at 3pm. D Company at night repairing level crossing (F 1 b). Party under Major NOWELL marking out tasks at (F 1 b) shelled 3pm.
All Officers ordered not to occupy houses or cellars on account of danger from mines. Search made for traces of mines or traps.
Battalion remains under orders of G.O.C. 143rd Brigade until relief completed on 22nd inst. C.O. ordered to prepare scheme for capture of Spur at (X29 d) & (X30 c) by one Battalion at dawn in near future.
April 22, EPEHY
Battalion takes over the line from 4th East Lancs Regiment during night 22/23.
Battalion Boundaries, Right: E 23 d 57 to F8 c 83 – MAYE COPSE (incl. to Brigade on right) – about 200 NW of TOMBOIS FARM – canal at A3 a 08.
Left: Level Crossing at F1 b 53 along the track to X 27 b 99 thence in a straight line through X 24 central. Boundary adjusted 25th inst. 10pm.
Piquet Line runs from TOMBOIS FARM (F11) – junction of dotted lines at F4 d 99 – LITTLE PRIEL FARM. CATELET COPSE – thence along the old German wire following approximately the dotted line through “O” of TANGELLO RAVINE (X 15 d). This line to be held as a line of resistance.
Support Line. Through SART FARM (F 17 a) – No 13 COPSE (at F4 a 26) – X 27 Central. The second line of resistance, known as BROWN LINE, runs through LEMPIRE (F 15 b) – MAY COPSE (F q c) in front of MALASSES FARM (F 8 b) continuing just in front of railway line to X 25 Central.
Posts taken over from 4th East Lancs as follows:
F4 b 8.7 LITTLE PRIEL FARM No 2 A Coy HQ & 2 platoons. Major HOWORTH
F5 c 36 SUNKEN ROAD TRNCH No 1 A Coy 3 Sections. Lt. K KNIGHT
F5 c 91 A Coy 1 section
X29 d 24 QUARRY No 3 A Coy 1 platoon. Lt. COOKE
X28 c 96 CATELET COPSE B Coy HQ. Capt. KERSHAW
X28 a 74 No 5 B Coy 1 platoon. Capt. MAKIN
X29 b 33 OSSUS WOOD POST No 4 B Coy 1 platoon. Lt. QUINNEY
X22 d 75 No 7 B Coy 1 platoon.
X23 c 97 GRAYS POST No 6 B Coy 1 platoon. Lt. GRAY
F3 b 72 12 COPSE S2 C Company 1 platoon. 2/Lt. BURY
F4 a 28 13 COPSE S3 C Company 1 platoon. 2/Lt. BUTTERWORTH
X27 c 66 14 COPSE S5 C Company 1 platoon
X27 a 28 REDRUIN C Company 1 platoon. 2/Lt. RODMELL
BROWN LINE. HQ (F7 b 79). Posts at (F8 d 18), (F8 a 86), (F2 c 45). D Company Capt. STEPHENSON. 1 platoon billets at MALASSLES FARM (F8 b 19). 3 platoons in Railway Embankment. Battalion HQ at EPEHY (F1 c 55). Major R.B. NOWELL’S HQ at 13 COPSE (F3 a 99).
All reliefs carried out during early part of night without incident except relief of GRAYS POST (X23 c 97) which was not found until 3:30am. 23rd inst. while searching for trench, party was observed by enemy, machine guns fired on it causing 3 casualties & the loss of a Lewis Gun.
1/10th Manchesters on Left. Gloucester Regiment on Right. Patrols enter OSSOS WOOD. Wiring done in BROWN LINE.
Night 23/24, EPEHY
At dawn the 4th East Lancs Regiment attacked the Spur at X 2 d & X 30 c and gained their objectives, capturing trenches at both positions. Operations were assisted by attacks on the KNOLL (A 1 d) & GILLEMONT FARM by troops on our right. Divisional Cavalry cooperated with our troops, advancing between LITTLE PRIEL FARM & CATELET COPSE.
9:30am. HOSPICE CAMUS, EPEHY (F1 a b5) blown up probably by enemy delayed mine.
Lt E.K.P. FUGE returns from leave to UK.
Operations of the morning to be continued, the 1/5th East Lancs to attack he KNOLL from the NW and W.
8:45pm. 4th East Lancs driven out of trench (F 6 a) by German counter attack& retire on LITTLE PRIEL FARM. The 4th East Lancs ordered to withdraw to No 13 COPSE. The attack of the 5th East Lancs timed for 11pm delayed till situation cleared up. 5th East Lancs attack about 2am but are not successful. Reported that KNOLL was taken by Brigade on Right. C Company provide artillery scout of 2 sections at F 3 d 88. Patrols penetrated OSSUS WOOD to about 300 yards & were digging in but were forced to retire. Sniping post established 50 yards from West end of WOOD & on Southern edge of WOOD. Enemy Machine Guns known to be in OSSUS WOOD but not located.
April 25/26, EPEHY
126 Brigade Operation Order No 8 received. Inter Brigade Boundary adjusted & posts at X 28 a 74 2 & 75 taken over by 1/10th Manchester Regiment. Attempt to relieve 2/Lt. GRAY at GRAYS POST (X 23 c 97) unsuccessful owing to difficulty in finding post. REDRUIN and 14 COPSE.
Capt. STEPEHENSON & 2 platoons, D Company relieve 4th East Lancs in SPUR POST dug by 4th East Lancs on morning of 24th inst. and held by 3 Officers & 60 O.R. when 4th East Lancs fell back on evening of 24th. Relief takes place without incident.
Lt. SHATWELL & 2 platoons, D Company, attack Old GERMAN TRENCH about (F 6 a 56) find trench strongly manned by enemy & are forced to withdraw. Heavy barrage shell fire causes casualties including 2/Lt. E.K.P. FUGE wounded.
R.E.s assist in wiring and consolidating trenches.
Hostile shelling continues intermittently during night & following day on LITTLE PRIEL FARM and CATALET COPSE and No 12 COPSE.
Capt. KERSHAW moves B Company HQ to sunken road just N. of CATALET COPSE because of heavy shelling. SUPPORT Trench S1 established at (F 4 a 88) on sunken road. New Battalion boundary to the N. is as follows. Level Crossing in F 1 b b3 – through X 28 Central – and X 24 c Central.
2/Lt. B.F. ROBINSON proceeds to CORPS SCHOOL as Instructor.
3pm. QUINNEY’S POST (OSSUS WOOD POST X 29 b 33) shelled.
4pm. House in EPEHY (F 1 a 65) near site of explosion of 24th inst. blown up probably by enemy delayed mine. This house was suspected & men had been warned to keep away from it.
2/Lt. GREENWOOD proceeds on leave to UK.
April 26/27 Night, EPEHY
Battalion relived in Front Line and Supports by 1/4th East Lancs Regiment; completed about midnight. GRAY’S POST (x 23 c 97) relived at 2am by 1/5th East Lancs Regiment. After preparations for relief had been made by Capt. KERSHAW, a tape being laid from the trench to sunken road at X 22 c Central.
A & D Companies occupy BROWN LINE under Major HOWORTH.
B & C Companies occupy billets in EPEHY.
Lt. Col. D. H. WADE to hospital sick. Major R. B. NOWELL takes over command of Battalion.
Battalion relieved by 1/5th Manchester Regiment and proceeds to camp at BUIRE (62 c J 27)
Battalion moves to MARQUAIX & occupies billets vacated on April 20th. As cellars are not to be occupied many fresh billets have to be improvised.
10pm. Village shelled, one shell falling in billet near HQ & killing three police. Billets inspected by Brigade Gen TUFNELL. Battalion resting & constructing billets.
May 1, MARQUAIX
A Company work on roads near TINCOURT (J24). Remaining Companies training during morning and afternoon. Lt. Col. D. H. WADE invalided home.
May 2, MARQUAIX
Companies engaged in fatigues and Training. 2/Lt. H. H. KNIGHT proceeded to hospital sick.
May 3, MARQUAIX
8am – 4pm. B Company works on roads near TINCOURT. Other Companies proceed with training under programmes compiled by O.C. Companies. Rifle grenadiers practice “live” firing under 2/Lt. RODMELL. Lieut. J. H. RAWLINGS, Adjutant, proceed to hospital sick. Capt. O. J. SUTTON appointed Adjutant.
9am. Major R. B. NOWELL and party of Officers inspect front line held by 1/5 Lancs Fusiliers to be taken over by 1/9th Manchester Regiment (F18 center). Orders received that 1/9th Manchester Regiment will relieve 1/5 Lancs Fusiliers in right sector of Brigade Front on night of 5th / 6th.
5pm. Capt. D. B. STEPHENSON and party of Officers & signalers proceed to 1/5 Lancs Fusiliers for attachment in Front Line for night of 3rd / 4th.
May 4, MARQUAIX
9am – 4:30pm. A Company working party under orders of ? MAJOR VILLERS FAULON (E23).
8am – 4pm. B Company provide small fatigues & guards & remainder continue training.
8am – 4pm. C Company working party on roads – RONSSOY – EMILIE
8am – 4pm. D Company working party on roads – LONGAVESNES – EMILIE
May 5/6, MARQUAIX
Battalion relieves 1/5 Lancs Fusiliers in front line in the Right Sub Sector of the Right Sector commencing at dusk. C Company ordered to sit at MARQUAIX till next day.
Right North of MALAKOFF FARM
Left Southern Point of CONSSOY WOOD to the BROWN LINE at F22 b 3.
Thence in a straight line through figure 13 of A13.
May 5, MARQUAIX
Battalion on right 6th North Staffs. Battalion on Left 1/10th Manchester Regiment.
Capt. HANDFORTH returns from leave UK. 2/Lt. FREEDMAN returns from Course of Bombing.
May 6/7, (F23 c 0.7)
10pm. C Company (Capt. HANDFORTH) relieves right Company of 1/5 Lancs Fusiliers in Front Line. 2/Lt. W.N.B. BURY proceeds to Course of Instruction at FOUCAUCOURT.
Boundaries adjusted as follows. Left through (F17 c 1.0) in a straight line through A13 central. GILLEMONT FARM and trenches handed over to 1/10th Manchester Regiment.
Tasks mentioned in Special Instructions (Appendix 2) carried out.
Para 1 by “C” Company (Capt. HANDFORTH) with 3 platoons “D” Company. This RIFLE PIT TRENCH consolidated as far as (F29 b 8.5) without hostile interference.
Para 2 by Lieut. R.J.N. DALE. No snipers or machine guns seen.
Para 3 by B Company (MAJOR HOWORTH). This task met with opposition from hostile machine guns & a number of casualties occurred including Lt. C.E. COOKE wounded. Small posts for 3 men each established on each side of QUENNEMONT FARM ROAD about 80 yards out. Many acts of gallantry performed during the night in bringing in wounded notably by Pte. H. HOLDEN 350077 and 350149 Pte. KINSELLA and others. Lt. C. E. COOKE to hospital wounded.
Para 6 by A Company party under Lt. CLARKE & almost completed.
May 8/9, (F23 c 0.7)
Battalion on right (6th N. Staffs) to attack trenches on our direct right. 1/9th Manchester Regiment to cooperate by advancing along RIFLE PIT TRENCH & linking up. The Battalion on right fails to reach its objective and patrols sent out by us fail to obtain information for that reason. Lt. T. AINSWORTH in charge of patrol along RIFLE PIT TRENCH discovers it occupied by the enemy decides to withdraw. Lt. H.G. SHATWELL as Liaison Officer with the 6th North Staffs finds difficulty in obtaining information, (see Appendix H).
May 9/10, (F23 c 0.7)
Battalion relieved by 1/4 East Lancs Regiment & takes over from 1/4 East Lancs in reserve at TEMPLEUX QUARRY (62c F27c). B Company tactical reserve Company.
May 10, TEMPLEUX QUARRY
Battalion in Support. Night working parties amounting to 300 O.R. found by Battalion.
May 11, TEMPLEUX QUARRY
Battalion in Support. Night working parties amounting to 300 O.R. found by Battalion.
May 12, TEMPLEUX QUARRY
Battalion in Support. Night working parties amounting to 300 provided. B Company sent to reinforce 1/4 East Lancs 10:30pm. Ordered to return 1:30 am not having been required. Lt. P. S. MARSDEN returns from hospital. Lt. GREENWOOD returns from leave UK.
May 13, TEMPLEUX QUARRY
Battalion in Support. Lt. SHATWELL proceeds to Course at Divisional Gas School. 2/Lt. CLARKE to course of Bombing. 2/Lt. KNIGHT returns from hospital. Capt. LILLIE proceeds on leave to UK. 2/Lt. K. FUGL invalided home.
May 13/14, TEMPLEUX QUARRY
Battalion relieves 1/4 East Lancs Regiment in Right Sub Sector of the Right Sector commencing at dusk. Situation unchanged on this front since the Battalion was relieved there by the 1/4 East Lancs Regiment on night of 9/10th.
Heavy downpour of rain about 3:30am making communication very difficult along roads and trenches. Much work done in clearing trenches of mud & in draining.
Disposition of Companies as in Appendix 5. 4 platoons on outpost line. 3 platoons in each strong post. 3 platoons in intermediate posts.
May 14/15, (F23 c 0.7)
Patrols sent out by all Companies. Work carried on with communication trench to RIFLE PIT TRENCH, improving RIFLE PIT TRENCH & strong points A, B & C also sap head from C Strong Point.
May 15/16, (F23 c 0.7)
Patrols sent out. 2 dead Germans buried, identification of one reported. Work of previous night continued.
May 16/17, (F23 c 0.7)
Large hostile working party strength about one company discovered by patrol in dead ground in front of B Strong Point. Other attempts to disburse this party not being successful artillery was brought to bear on it about 3am.
May 17/18, (F23 c 0.7)
Battalion relieved by 1/6th D.G. (Carbineers) & marches to billets in VILLERS FAUCON after a hot meal at TEMPLEUX QUARRY. Relief completed about 11:30pm on return of patrols which had been sent out by each Company.
May 18, VILLERS FAUCON
Billets inspected by Brigade. GEN TUFNELL.
May 19, VILLERS FAUCON
4:50pm Depart VILLERS FAUCON. Arrive EQUANCOURT (57C SE V 10a 3-8). 21 tents and 85 tarpaulins put up by 1/4 East Lancs for the use of 1/9 Manchester Regiment.
May 20, EQUANCOURT
4pm Depart EQUANCOURT. Arrive BERTINCOURT (57c SE P.7) and go into billets chiefly ruined buildings made habitable with tarpaulins & repairs done by troops previous to our arrival.
May 21, BERTINCOURT
Lt. H. SHATWELL returns from Divisional Gas course.
May 21/22, BERTINCOURT
7pm Depart BERTINCOURT. Billets to be taken over by 11th Rifle Brigade. Battalion Relieves 11th Rifle Brigade. in Reserve S. end of HAVRINCOURT WOOD. Battalion HQ at (57c SE P18 d q.6). B & C Company HQ in METZ (57c SE Q20). A & D Company HQ (57c SE P19 c).
May 23, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P 18 d q.6)
Lt. QUINNEY returns from leave U.K.
May 23/24, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P 18 d q.6)
Companies. working from dusk to dawn on new Reserve Trenches between BEAUCAMP (q 12 c) and TRESCAULT (Sq Q 4) and at A Companies new position in Q 17 a & c.
A Company’s trenches are now at Q 17 a & c
B Company’s trenches are now at Q 21 c & Q 20 c to METZ – TRESCAULT Rd
C Company’s trenches are now at Q 20 c from METZ – TRESCAULT Rd to Q 14c 3.4
D Company’s trenches are temporarily at Q 13 d, c & a
9:30pm – 10:15pm Gas alarm
Q 20 c to METZ – TRESCAULT Rd
May 24, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P 18 d q.6)
Lt. T. G. HYDE proceeds on leave to UK. Lt. H. SHATWELL takes over duties of A/Quartermaster during his absence. Lt. C. E. COOKE dies of wounds. 2/Lt. RUTTENAU to Lewis Gin Course, ETAPLES.
May 24/25, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P 18 d q.6)
Night. Companies. working on trenches between BEAUCAMP and TRESCAULT and in Q 11 c and d. Trenches dug in sections of 20 yards.
May 25/26, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P 18 d q.6)
Work continued from previous night. 350077 Pte. A. HOLDEN awarded Military Medal for gallantry on night of April 25/26 in bringing in wounded (D.R.O. 24/5/17).
May 26/27, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P 18 d q.6)
Battalion relieves 1/5 east Lancs Regt. In left Sub Sector.
Boundaries Right: TRESCAULT – RIBECOURT Road Q 4 & Q 5
Boundaries Left: Stream Q 4 a 49 to Q4 a 40 thence to Q4 b 0.0 – Q4 central
HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
B Company (Capt. KERSHAW) & D Company (LT MARSDEN) In front line. Work to be concentrated on front line & support line, both of which require much deepening.
May 27, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Lt. Col. E. C. LLOYD 1st R.I.R. reports to take over command of Battalion.
May 27/28, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Situation quiet. Work concentrated in front line. A Company & B Company primarily working parties from Reserve.
7am. HAVRINCOURT CHATEAU (K 27 d) blown up by enemy. This has been used as a German O.P.
May 28/29, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Work continued on front line & Supports & good progress made. Patrols sent out. One with orders to reach German wire. This patrol is stopped by M.G. fire 600 or 700 yards from our line.
May 28, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Capt. W.H. LILLIE returns from leave UK. & takes over command of right Company subsector.
May 29/30, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Work on front line & Supports.
1:00am. Patrol composed of Lt. P.S. MARSDEN and 3 privates is fired on & Lt. P. S. MARSDEN and one of the men hit, both in the abdomen. The two remaining privates drag back the wounded Officer & man some distance & then obtain a stretcher & some assistance. Lt. P.S. MARSDSEN dies an hour after he is brought in and the private some hours later.
May 30, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Lt. RODMELL proceeds on leave to UK. Construction of new Battalion. HQ proceeds with at Q14 5.9. 2/Lt. A. S. NEEDHAM to course of instruction in bombing.
May 30/31, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
New work commenced in front by 1/9 Manchester Regiment & 1/5 E Lancs Regiment with the final instruction of making a front line moving forward from the right of the Left Battalion sector through FEMY WOOD (57 c NE K34 central).
- Firing Trench facing East q5 a 4.0 to Q5 a 4.2 with T. head & wired. A Company under Major HOWORTH.
- head about 150 yards out with communication Trench Q 4 b 5.1 Dug by 1/5 East Lancs Regt.
- head at Q4 a 6.4 about 200 x out with ammunition trench. Dug by 1/5 East Lancs Regt.
The three “T” heads were garrisoned & held during the day 31st No 1 under O.C. D Company, Nos 2 & 3 under O.C. B Company.
One platoon of C Company under 2/Lt. GREENWOOD relieves platoon of 1/10 Manchester Regiment in small trench in Reserve Line, Q 10 a 5.4 to Q10 a 7.3.
May 31/1 June, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Work continues on the three T. heads commenced previous evening. Artillery & MG fire brought to bear to prevent enemy digging in FEMY WOOD. Officers patrol sent out to establish control of ground in FEMY WOOD believed to be in occupation by enemy & to keep his patrols back. 2/Lt. FREEDMAN and 12 OR with Lewis Gun go out along line running North from Q4 central, they enter FEMY WOOD & discover large working party about Q4 b 0.9 to Q4 b 5.9. 2Lt. FREEDMAN extended his patrol & fired on the party, returning when all ammunition expended.
TRESCAULT heavily shelled, 7.7s from 1:30am to 2:30am.
June 1/2, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Work continued on three trenches in front of our line. In the outer trench a new T head dug & garrisoned about 70 yards further out. 2/Lt. CLARKE goes out to Eastern edge of FEMY WOOD & attempts to dig in but was prevented by enemy fire.
June 2, (Q 15 a 0.7)
10:00am. Battalion. HQ transferred to new position about Q15 a 0.7
June 2/3, (Q 15 a 0.7)
6:00pm. Scouts attempt to reach FEMY WOOD from left but are seen & fired on. They succeed by crawling from old German Sap about 200 yards. Scout Cpl. Returns and reports scouts in position. Platoon ?, B Company under 2/Lt. GRAY, goes out at about 9:30 & occupy pit 80 yards from FEMY WOOD. They remain (2Lt. GRAY & 16 O.R.) during the day.
Work continued on left Sap.
June 3, (Q 15 a 0.7)
2/Lt. H. E. BUTTERWORTH returns from leave in the UK.
June 4, (Q 15 a 0.7)
Work continues on Saps. 2/Lt. WILLIS reports for duty from 8th Reserve Battalion.
June 5, (Q 15 a 0.7)
Battalion relieved by 1/7 Lancs Fusiliers and go into billets at RUYAULCOURT. Capt. O.J. SUTTON goes on leave to UK.
June 6, RUYAULCOURT
Arrive RUYAULCOURT at 2:00am. Go into tents & billets. Battalion resting.
June 7, RUYAULCOURT (P15 b 9.8)
Whole Battalion on working parties.
June 8, RUYAULCOURT (P15 b 9.8)
B, C & D on working parties. A Company dig in second line HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P11 b).
June 9, RUYAULCOURT (P15 b 9.8)
A Company dig in second line HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P11 b). Father BULLOCK reports as R.C. Chaplain.
June 10, RUYAULCOURT (P15 b 9.8)
B, C & D on working parties. A Company move into second line, left sector. Capt. F. W. KERSHAW proceeds on Lewis Gun Course to LE TOUQUET. 2/Lt. PICKFORD proceeds on Lewis Gun Course to LE TOUQUET.
June 11, RUYAULCOURT (P15 b 9.8)
B, C & D on working parties. Capt. LILLIE attached to 126 Brigade Head Quarters.
June 12, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P18 d 7.3)
B, C & D move into intermediate line, right sector A move into second line, right sector.
Battalion HQ at Q18 d 7.3
A Company HQ at Q18 d 4.5
B Company HQ at Q15 a 4.5
C Company HQ at Q14 a 9.5
D Company HQ at Q8 d 6.2
June 12/13, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P18 d 7.3)
Lt. SHATWELL proceeded to 42 Divisional Gas School as Instructor.
80 men permanent working party.
100 men digging ammunition trench METZ – TRESCAULT road Q9 d – Q10a
2/Lt. A. GRAY proceeds on 3 days leave to PARIS.
June 13/14, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P18 d 7.3)
Working parties on communication trench METZ – TRESCAULT Road.
June 14, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P18 d 7.3)
2/Lt. W.N.B. BURY rejoins from course. 2/Lt. G.E. RODMELL rejoins from course.
June 15, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P18 d 7.3)
Capt. REDMOND proceeds UK on 10 days leave.
June 16, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P18 d 7.3)
Relieved by 1/4 E.L. Regt. Into billets at YTRES
June 17, YTRES (P26 a)
Church parade. Presentation of Military Medal to Cpl. EASTWOOD by MAJOR GENERAL MITFORD. 2/Lt. GREENWOOD proceeds 42nd Division Bombing school BVS. 2/Lt. D. NEEDHAM rejoins from course.
June 18, YTRES (P26 a)
Battalion in training. 2/Lt. CAREY rejoins from hospital.
June 19, YTRES (P26 a)
Capt. O.J. SUTTON rejoins from leave to UK. 2/Lt. A. GRAY rejoins from leave to PARIS. A & B on rifle range YTRES (P19 b). C & D training.
June 20, YTRES (P26 a)
Battalion training area billets.
June 21, YTRES (P26 a)
2/Lt. E. TOWLER proceeds on short leave to UK.
June 21/22, YTRES (P26 a)
Battalion relieves 1 / 4 E. Lancs Regt. As Right Reserve Battalion in HAVRINCOURT WOOD.
Battalion Headquarters Q18 d 7.3. A Company & C Company Q14 a 9.5 in camp. B & D Companies in INTERMEDIATE LINE, Q6 d. All Companies on working parties at night. B & D Companies constructing trench for burying cable. C Company digging on FRITH ALLEY, Q4 d 4.3. A Company digging communication trench Q2 d.
June 22, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Capt. F. W. KERSHAW and 2/Lt. PICKFORD return from courses of instruction. Lt. H. BUTTERWORTH reports for course of instruction.
June 22/23, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
3 Companies working on construction of BAZOOZA AVENUE, Q4 c 4.7 to Q3 d 4.3 from 9:30pm to 3am.
June 23/24, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Working parties comprising the whole Battalion less 2 platoons garrison INTERMEDIATE line work on FRITH ALLEY and communication trench Q2 d.
June 24/25, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Same working parties as previous night. Advance party sent to line.
June 25/26, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Battalion relieves 1/5 East Lancs Regiment on Right Battalion sector (TRESAULT) in position of line taken over by Battalion May 26/27.
Disposition of Companies. C, A & D in front line, B Company in support. Battalion on Left, 1/10th Manchester Regiment.
Major T. E. HOWORTH wounded slightly remains on duty. 2/Lt. W.N.B. BURY sick to hospital (June 25).
June 26, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Capt. HANDFORTH proceeds to Course of Instruction III Army School.
June 26/27, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Work concentrated on deepening new line (see sketch map Appendix 5) on joining up rifle pits between parts A & B, B & C, & deepening Saps B & C. Front patrolled; Enemy reported in Southern part of FEMY WOOD. Battle HQ situated Q10 d 4.4 in dugout.
June 27/28, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Work continued on same trenches, & front patrolled. Lt. H. BUTTERWORTH rejoins from Course of Instruction.
June 28/29, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Work of deepening trenches joining rifle pits, wiring & draining continued. Front patrolled. Draining & Clearing of Trenches employs large proportion of garrison.
June 30/1, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Clearing trenches, widening & deepening of Saps and front line & joining up rifle pits in front line carried on. 2/Lt. RUTTENAU and patrol proceed to FEMY WOOD with orders to assist raiding party of 1/10th Manchester Regiment raiding chalk pits (K34 c 5.3). Night passed quietly all parties returning without casualties.
Note on Map Coordinates:
Upon a close examination of map reference points it is obvious that some of the coordinates listed in the Battalion war diary for June 1917 are incorrect. The 42nd Division war diary includes a map (Sheet 57C SW) with brigade and divisional boundaries drawn for early June 1917. The 1/9th Manchesters were part of the 126th Bde. which occupied the right (Trescault) sector of the division (along with the 125th Bde.), while the 127th Bde. occupied the Left sector.
On June 12, 1917 the Battalion occupied a position in Brigade reserve with Battalion HQ located at “P 18 d 7.3” according to the note in the LH margin. But in the body of the war diary it notes that Battalion HQ was located at “Q 18 d 7.3” and A Company was located at “Q 18 d 4.5”. In the RH margin, the entry that day refers to Divisional Order 14, Appendix IV. Plotting the position of “P 18 d 7.3” puts Battalion HQ in the reserve area of the 126th Brigade Sector whereas plotting a position of “Q 18 d 7.3” puts the Battalion HQ several kilometers outside and to the west of the Divisional boundary; a location that makes no operational sense. A review of Divisional Order 14 clearly shows that Battalion HQ would be located at “P 18 d 7.3”.
The Battalion moved to billets in Ytres on June 16 , being relieved by the 1/4th East Lancs, and subsequently moved back to the line on the evening of June 21st relieving the 1/4th East Lancs but the war diary now references Battalion HQ at “Q 18 d 7.3” once again. There is nothing to indicate that the 1/4th East Lancs moved during these 5 days. The war diary entry also references Order Number 15A. These orders do not provide any map references but they do indicate that the Battalion would be located close to Metz and provides a schedule for bathing. “P 18 d 7.3” is ¼ mile from Metz, whereas “Q 18 d 7.3” is around 3 miles away.