War diary transcript Nov 1917- gas, & more aerial awareness

War diary transcript Nov 1917- gas, & more aerial awareness

Postby plbramham » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:14 am

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]

November 1917

November events:, gas, snipers, increased awareness of aircraft

In support PONT FIXE
1st- Dull Day- Normal artillery activity – Conference of Company Commanders 10 am.
2nd- Dull day. Great artillery and trench mortar activity throughout day – Normal MG fire during night. No aerial activity.
3rd- Dull day. Normal artillery activity. No aerial activity. MGs active during evening.
4th- Fine but dull. Very slight artillery activity . No EA’s [ enemy aircraft ] seen. Slight MG activity
5th- Fine, but dull. Very quiet. Usual working parties found. The batt relieved the 11th Cheshires in the front line (right sector) 2 patrols sent out with a view to future operations.
6th- Fine. Fair observation. 1 of our planes playing low fired MG into enemy positions. Enemys aeroplanes inactive, also artillery inactive. At 10.30 pm Cloud gas was discharged from our right, with a gas shell bombardment. Usual patrols sent out.
7th- Fine weather, observation fair. A large number of gas shells were fired into our supports behind the centre company between 2.0 and 3.0 am . Normal artillery activity during day.
8th- Fine day with good visibility. 3 EAs came over the lines. Hostile artillery very quiet. Our snipers fired 5 shots at working parties. Usual working parties employed.
9th- Fine day, Cloudy, fair visibility. Our artillery active on enemy front & support line. Enemy artillery inactive until 11.0 from when he shelled our supports. Normal EA activity. Usual patrols & working parties.
10th- Very wet day until afternoon. At 2.20 am GAS was projected on AUCHY at the same time 2 fighting patrols went over under cover of smoke, they found no enemy in the front line. Enemy artillery was very active about noon on the support line behind the right company.
11th- Battalion relieved by 11th Cheshires proceeded to LE PREOL in reserve. Fine day.
12th- Fine day. Cleaning up & Baths. 5 days RE course started for officers & NCOs..
13th- Fine day. Coy training lectures to platoons by officers. Lecture to NCOs in canteen.
14th- Fine day. Coy training lectures to platoons, Lectures to officers. Night compass march for officers.
15th- Fine day. Battalion parade. Brigadier, Brig Major, MG officer & Coy Commanders to dinner.
16th- Divine Service. Company Commanders conference at HQ. Football match with RE at Noeux cancelled owing to casualties in RE team.
17th- Fine day fog In morning. Relieved 11th Cheshires in front line by 11am. Mill tunnel and LANE generously treated with Minnies. Both artilleries quiet. Usual patrols & working parties.
18th- Fine day, overcast, no rain. Fairly quiet. Our snipers hit 4 Germans. Usual working parties. Patrols found 2 enemy post and saw 12 Germans.
19th- Fine day, very cloudy. Artillery fairly active. 2 EAs seen. A patrol of 2nd Lt Kamester, 2nd Lt Robson, a Sergeant, and a Corporal went out. 2nd Lt Robson and the Sergeant did not return, it is believed they were captured. [Probably correct assumption as not listed as casualties on that date by CWGC]
20th- Very dull day, rain commenced about 11.0pm. Our artillery & T.Ms carried out a programme from 3.0 to 3.45. Enemy artillery above normal. 5 casualties caused t medium T.M. crews 1 being killed
21st- Rainy day, bad observation, our artillery very quiet. Enemy artillery quiet. T.Ms very active near Burbure post. Usual working parties. Above normal activity was observed in the enemy lines.
22nd- Fine day, but dull. Low heavy clouds. Our artillery carried out a wire cutting programme astride the BETHUNE- LA BASSEE RD from 12.30 pm to 3.45 pm. Enemy artillery very active. 1 EA flew low over our lines firing with his MG, but doing no damage
23rd – Fine day. 11th Cheshire relieved us in front line, while the 8th Borders went into support. Very quiet day.
24th- Fine day. Our artillery carried out a programme with the TMs.
25th- Fine Day. Fairly quiet, warned to expect a raid on the 7th Brigade front. Did not materialise, expected early in the morning.
26th- Fine day until 11.0pm when it started snowing with turned into rain. Our artillery carried out an organised shoot. Gas was projected at 8/0pm on the 74th Bde front. Fairly sharp artillery retaliation by the enemy.
27th- Still raining, colder.
28th- Bn relieved in support lined by 6th Lanc Fusiliers (42nd Div) & moved to ANNEZIN Nr. BETHUNE- Fine.
29th- Bn moved to BURBURE – (Brigade march) & marched past G.O.C. DIVISION & Brigadier – fine.
30th- Bn marched in Brigade to ERNT ST JULIEN – Inadequate accommodation – Capt Darwell [ note several “Darwells” from Appleby area served with Regt, I suspect this was George – later a Major. He was at Gallipoli with 6th Bn where his younger brother 2/Lt Claude Randal Darwell, was killed ] reported from Bde for temporary duty with Bn during training- Showery

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