War diary transcript Jan 1918 - late Xmas, RFC, & tunnellers

War diary transcript Jan 1918 - late Xmas, RFC, & tunnellers

Postby plbramham » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:27 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]

January 1918

January events - late Xmas festivities, RFC, & tunnelling.

1st- Bn still in line occupying right subsection - Day fine - quiet
2nd - Bn relieved by 4th South Staffs – relief completed by midday.
3rd- Cleaning up & coy inspections – Col Birt went on 3 days course to R.F.C.
4th- Cleaning up billets – Xmas Day festivities held today – Day quiet.
5th- Heavy gunfire between 5.30 and 6.30 am.
6th- Church parade – Special Intercession Service – Quiet – fine.
7th- Practice attack by A Coy on pillboxes. Other coys range & coy training.
8th- Practice attack by A & C coys on pill box- Brigadier & A/B Major present. Operation done in blizzard – other coys - coy training & Baths.
9th- B coy practice attack on pill boxes – wild weather – Aeroplane from [ blank space] squadron compelled to land owing to blown out cylinder – 2 officers [S/????] & [??] [holiday?]
10th- Working party on [long blank space on diary entry] of men – New Chaplain for 2 S Lancs & 8 Border Rev Capt Scott came to lunch.
11th- Usual coy parades – Wild & unsettled weather.
12th- Divl Staff Officer of Staff Corps visited camp & promised 2 extra huts for men, 2 for officers, & 3 cookhouses.
13th- Church Parade. Coys 1 hour ceremonial – cold & wet in morning.
14th- Bn relieved 4th South Staffs in line. Relief complete 7.30 am. Cold & dry. Lecture by CO to officers & NCOs – A coy left. B coy R. C left support. D right support.
15th- work continued on new cookhouses for 2 front line coys (under REs) Also sinking of well. Day fine & sunny to rain later.
16th- Trenches in shocking condition – much falling in during night. – Day wet & misty – frost in evening turning to rain about midnight.
17th- Work on cookhouse temporarily abandoned – torrential rain.
18th- Unsettled weather in morning poor visibility.
19th- Unsettled weather. Enemy artillery active on A coys sector & around Bn HQrs on sunken road. 3 men wounded by shell at Bn Hdqrs.
20th- Fine morning unsettled in afternoon. Quiet. Vicinity of Bn Hdqrs occasionally shelled. Bn relieved by 2nd Bn South Lancs and moved into support.
21st - One coy (D) in support to right Bn. one coy (C ) in support to left Bn. Both coys at tactical disposal of our front line Bn. No casualties during relief. Remaining two coys employed in clearing trenches of left Bn and carrying timber from RE dump for tunnelling coy.
22nd & 23rd- Employed clearing trenches.
24th- One company working with tunnelling coy. One coy carrying for Res. Remaining two companies employed cleaning & clearing up communication support trenches
25th do. [ ditto]
26th-Relieved in support by 4th Bn South Staff Regt and moved back into reserve.Quiet relief.Enemy sent some tear shells into vicinity of LARNICOURT.
27th- Bn found working parties amounting to 332 men digging & wiring. Church service in camp in afternoon.
28th-31st – 332 men on digging, wiring, remainder on improvements to camp

CWH Birt Lt Col 1/2/18 Cdg 8th Bn Border Regt.
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