War diary transcript Oct 1917- enemy planes & "Regina Day"

War diary transcript Oct 1917- enemy planes & "Regina Day"

Postby plbramham » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:17 pm

8th battalion THE BORDER REGIMENT war diaries

Hi, I’ve set myself a colossal task of transcribing the whole 8th Border Regt war diaries from when they went overseas in 1915 until they were disbanded in 1918. It will be a very long job as it consists of almost 200 A4 pages of copperplate scrawl written in faded pencil on tissue-type paper, with archaic English and obscure military abbreviations! I’ll get through it, but I’m estimating an average of about 45 minutes per page then checking on place name spellings etc, before typing it up. I received the diary pages as “raw” documents” from Mike Deacon and I have photoshopped them all individually to enhance the writing as best I can. Some are clear, but others are very pale grey pencil written on grey paper so I’ve had to introduce weird colours to tweak the contrast and show up the writing! Bear with me as I’ll post the transcription in stages – Watch this space!

Grammar, spelling mistakes (e.g. Ploegstreet/Ploegsteert), missed punctuation etc. left as on original documents
(words in round brackets) are as such on original
Illegible or guessed words in [square brackets?] with? question marks.
Transcription notes in [square brackets and italics]

October 1917

1st- Weather excellent. Usual working parties ( 2 coys 100men each 7pm, 2 coys 100 men 7am ) Casualties 2 killed, [ WALSH, J. Private.23786 01/10/1917 . BULLY-GRENAY COMMUNAL CEMETERY, BRITISH EXTENSION. COHEN, H. Private.34137 01/10/1917 Age: 26. LOOS BRITISH CEMETERY. Son of Margaret Cohen, of 54, Elizabeth Avenue, Ann St., Collyhurst, Manchester, and the late Goodman Cohen] 5 wounded.
2nd- Weather continued very fine. Usual working parties supplied – Aeroplane activity –nil.
3rd- Fine Btn moved out into NOUEX LES MINES – working parties supplied during day.
4th- Day spent cleaning up & resting – Cold & windy.
CUINCHY support
5th- Bn left at 4pm to march to Le Preol – on arriving at BOURY guides ainformed CO the Bn was to go into trenches CUINCHY sector in Bde support. A coy in front line. C,C,& D supports. Day cold- no activity.
6th- Wet & cold.
7th- Morning fine – Afternoon wet – G.O.C. Bde also [Col Legge? ] GOC discussed readjustment of Bn – arrangement taking out two coys in front line – this to be filled by another Bn ( 2nd S.L.)
8th- Fine Col Maxwell ( 2nd S L) discussed with CCO – taking over sector occupied by A Coy 8th Borders – Arranged to move with effect tomorrow 9th .
9th- Wet in morning - GOC & Brigadier round front line in morning A Coy relieved by a coy 2nd S Lancs – Quiet. 2nd Comd – 2 S Lancs staying at Bn HQrs.
10th- Wet in morning – Fine afternoon – Major MOTT 2nd Comd – 2 S Lans shown round line taken over by his Bn from A Coy – quiet.
11th- Wet. Major Denny 19th Hussars attached to Bn. 4 Officers- Lts Dowdell, [ Dowdell, Ernest, George M.C.2/Lt Killed at VAULX WOOD - 22.3.18. Arras Memorial ] Gibson, Watts, Conley - reported for duty & posted – Quiet.
12th- Wet. Bn was relieved by 2nd S. Lancs& took over right sector of Brigade front from 11th Cheshires. Relief complete 21m 13th.
13th- Wet. Line reconnoitred for organising working parties- day quiet.
LA BASSEE Canal sector trenches
14th- Fine in morning- Wet in afternoon. News received of death of Sgt Cuthbertson [ Cuthbertson , John Wilson Lance Serjeant 13190. attached. XI Corps School. Age 30. Merville Communal Cemetery Extension Also commemorated on Lamplugh memorial ] drowned whilst on a course at Corps School at Merville . Quiet. A coy supplied working parties 15 to B , 15 to C, 10 to D Coy.
15th- Fine – usual working parties supplied by A Coy – word received of death of Lt Davidson [ Davidson, John. Lieut Age 32. Buried Neufchatel churchyard Son of the late William and Annabella Davidson, of Colmonell, Ayrshire. M.A. (Hons.) Edinburgh.] found shot while on a course at Army school. Quiet at night.
16th- Fine- Slight Enemy activity – Retaliation by our Stokes. Enemy registered on his own line. Our wiring party & reconnoitring patrol prevented by MG fire on R sector.
17th-Slight enemy activity – fine – Enemy aeroplane active.
18th-Our artillery bombarded enemy front & support trench – Enemy retaliated – Bn relieved by 11th Cheshires & moved into reserve at Le Preol.
19th- Cleaning up & baths.
20th - Baths Working parties carrying Stokes bombs to trenches. Inter platoon football.
21st - REGINA DAY (21.10.16) [Sounds like a celebration of the attack on Regina trench a year earlier- sort of an updated “Arroyo Day”?] Church Parade. Poirot concert by [local?] troupe followed by History of Border Regiment by Capt Stewart MC – working parties supplied.
22nd- Demonstration of wiring by B coy – coy training – inter platoon football in afternoon. Unsettled weather – Sgts dinner. Lt Col Birt went on leave.
23rd- Lecture by Major Wilkinson on Trench discipline – Demonstration of sandbagging by A coy. Wiring parties practised new GHQ method of Apron wire – coy training. Unsettled weather.
Trenches CANAL sector – LA BASSEE
24th- Batt relieved 11 Cheshires in front line trenches relief completed by 10 am. B, A, D, Companies in front line C Coy in support. Considerable enemy activity during morning. Morning fine turned wet in afternoon.
25th- Fine morning but wet afternoon. Wire cutting shots by our artillery and trench mortars from 11.05 to 12.05. Gas sent over to enemy’s support line from projectors and Stokes mortars at 8.30 pm – patrols reported little damage done to enemy wire on Batt front.
26th- A wet day- poor visibility – very quiet – usual working parties.
27th Fine day- some enemy artillery and aeroplane activity.
28th- Fine day – our front very quiet – some trench mortar & artillery activity N of canal.
29th- Fine cold day. Artillery activity on both sides above normal – moon too bright for night patrols.
In support PONT FIXE
30th- Some rain. Battn moved into support, being relieved by 11th Cheshire – relief completed 12.10 pm. B coy Maryleborne Line ( support to 11th Cheshire) A Coy Gunner siding and Hun View. D Coy Keeps. C Coy Pont Fixe.
31st- Very fine day. Considerable artillery activity. Much aerial work on both sides. One British aeroplane brought down on fire behind enemy line near canal. Kite balloon brought down near GIVENCHY in flames by enemy planes. Gas alarm sounded about 5.45 pm

F.S. Wilkinson Major.
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