2nd /bn lancashire fusiliers 1 july 1916

Discussion in 'War Diaries' started by tonyrod, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. tonyrod

    tonyrod New Member

    DAIRY OF LIEUT. V F.S. HAWKINS. 2ND/BN LANC. FUS . 12 INF BDE . 4TH DIV
    THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME 1ST JULY 1916 TO OCTOBER .
    THE ATTACK. copied as written

    at 6:30 a.m the artillery fire became rapid until 7: p.m. when it became intense. it was most extraordinary sight. the Bosch line could not be seen for smoke and bursting shells. Bosch still hardly answered at all .
    the first mistake was made at 7:25 a.m. when the BEAUMONT HAMEL line under the HAWTHORNE RIDGE
    REDOUBT went up. this gave the GERMANS 5 minutes to consolidate the crater which they made use of.
    zero hour was at 7:30 a.m.
    at 7:30 a.m the first waves went over and then things began to happen. in spite of 6 days bombardment
    GERMAN machine guns got going from every direction.
    BEAUMONT HAMIL opposite the the 29th division was a veritable fortress. the 29th division never got near
    the Hun front line.
    THE 93rd brigade of the division on our left never got more than half way over no mans land.
    although the left brigade of that division did get into SERRE that day.
    the 11th brigade got the first line fairly easy, GEN PROWSE left the headquarters too soon and was killed
    rushing a machine gun. he was shot in the stomach and died at MAUEUX. CORPS HEADQUARTERS that evening . the losses of the brigade were awful. the COS.of the HAMPSHIRES. THE RIFLE BRIGADE and the SOMMERSET LIGHT INFANTRY were killed and most of the officers were knocked out.
    they finally got held up somewhere in the 2nd line,
    meanwhile we were waiting in BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS for news, the ESSEX AND KING'S OWN were going over first with the LAN.FUS. and DUKES in support. the KINGS OWN AND ESSEX were wonderful.
    the KING'S OWN got very nearly to PENDANT COPSE and the ESSEX to MUNICH TRENCH
    MARTINEAU the brigade signalling officer went off to raise a forward signal station which he did somewhere on 63 over and over again we got a message back from him saying the ESSEX were bombing in MUNICH TRENCH and wanted more bombs. of the KING'S OWN we never heard a word. beyond from the ADJUTANT
    who came in to HEADQUARTERS with a cracked head. this was the first action in which the STEEL HELMETS
    were worn and they undoubtedly saved many lives.
    just before the BRIGADE went over the DIVISION wired us to stop the BATTALIONS and also stop the 10th BRIGADE. runners were immediately sent to the KING'S OWN and ESSEX,LAN.FUS ,DUKES.
    they were to late however. the KING'S OWN and ESSEX were right on . the LAN.FUS half were mostly in the
    QUADRILATERAL and one COY. of the DUKES was in the BOSCH line.

    more later.
     
  2. tonyrod

    tonyrod New Member

    the result of of all this was that the 93rd BRIGADE having failed on the left and the 29th DIVISION on the
    right , the GERMANS came down from either flank and the KINGS OWN AND ESSEX were practically missing.
    MAJOR BROMILOW has not been heard of since. [HIS BODY WAS FOUND AUGUST 1917 ]
    COL.STIRLING the C.O. ESSEX was wounded twice at the beginning and got away .
    CADIC the ADJUTANT of the ESSEX and the ADJUTANT of the KINGS OWN were both wounded.
    fighting went on all the afternoon. some of the SEAFORTHS of the 10TH BRIGADE got over and joined up with the LAN.FUS. in the quadrilateral. the C.O. of the SEAFORTHS, HODGE,BERTIE RAVENSCROFT, HALL WATKINS, MANSELL,AND ROUGIER in the quad with him and stayed there till 2 a.m. July 2nd. bombing the whole time. C.S.M.LAVERICK AND SGT .ALBON were there too. these to found a STOKES GUN and
    although they had never seen one before worked it till they ran dry of ammunition.
    B.FARROW was killed in no mans land on his way back having been with the others all the time.
    THE ROMAN ROAD on the afternoon of July 1st was ghastly, wounded in every place conceivable
    coming up all the time,
    MACDONALD with a bullet in his chest and a BOACH HELMIT was the only one of the officers i saw from the REGIMENT. HE WAS QUITE HAPPY.
    I HEAD NOTHING OF BRAIN or FRITH till well into the afternoon. they reported in writing that they were somewhere near the QUADRILATERAL and did we know where the others were they lost each other at the beginning of the show.
    the attack finally ended as far as the division was concerned at 2 a.m. July 2nd. when the last of our people came back from the QUADRILATERAL.
    the sum total of the attack was a bad hammering and no ground captured, but from all accounts
    BOSCH lost heavily too.
     
  3. tonyrod

    tonyrod New Member

    The following casualties and officers in the 2nd lan fus.

    Sayers,charlie robeten,farrow,nipper,kennion, gammon, and maciver killed.
    Bertie ravenscroft,rougier,williams,gregory,bowes collis-browne, macdonald,
    anderson,wounded.
    Daies missing reported [pow] firth,brain, hodge, mansell,watkins,rougier and hall
    came through.
    Of these sayers, roberton, bowes,and collis-brown were hit before reaching our own front line.
    The other battalions except the dukes had lost,worse than we had.
    The 110 brigade practically did not exist.
    While the 10th brigade except for the seaforths,had been stopped by the division and had not lost so badly.
    The bosch showed his fighting powers that day, and put up up a grand fight.
    It was however nearly all his officers.the machine guns in our vicinity were nearly all manned by bosch officers and all the prisoners told the same
     
  4. Andy Pay

    Andy Pay Member

    It's a shame that Tony did not finish this officers diary in its entirity as it goes through to the beginning of October 1916.

    Andy
     
  5. Hill 40

    Hill 40 New Member

    .............
     

    Attached Files:

    • 1.jpg
      1.jpg
      File size:
      34.3 KB
      Views:
      259
    • 2.jpg
      2.jpg
      File size:
      43.8 KB
      Views:
      272
    • 3.jpg
      3.jpg
      File size:
      83.2 KB
      Views:
      280
  6. tonyrod

    tonyrod New Member

    sorry good people for not getting back sooner just did not have the time ,i will carry on with this dairy some 6 pages more tomorrow, regards tonyrod
     
  7. tonyrod

    tonyrod New Member

    i first saw BRAIN about 5 p.m. the evening of the 12th. he seemed pretty broken up, but had not been hit.
    JOHN CARR,the c.o's orderly of course had'nt cared a hang for anything. CLEGG BRAINS orderly got
    wounded.
    the BOSCH had put up a very fine barrage of 5.9 h.e. and shrapnel. he put every gun in a glump on to one
    small bit of the front, using his machine guns elsewhere. after 10 mins.or so he would shift all his guns
    to another small portion of the front and so on always having a machine gun barrage where his guns were
    not firing. it was most affective. he also blew a couple of mines in no mans land under our first wave.
    AUGUST 20th 1916.
    the bluff terminatees on one of the biggest mine craters on the front,its about 200ft.long
    80 ft.broad and 60 ft.deep.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    HILL 60 was on the extreme left of our line. BOSCH
    was right up at the top of it, we were at the bottom.
    after all the fighting we had expected rathere a sizy hill. HILL 60 was scarcely more than a mound.
    behind our lines there were fir woods. not very deep or thick these were on the slope away from the BOSCH
    and it was quite possible to get anywhere by day. the 10TH BDE were on our left and the 12th CANADIAN
    BDE on our right. the character of this front line may be gauged from the fact that at point a notice was
    stuck up which read DO NOT FIRE AT THE TRENCH OPPOSITE, IT IS OUR'S.
    we were in this line from the 24th to 31st.
    OCTOBER 10th 1916.
    the dispositions in our neighbourhood at present are:-
    in front of GUENDSCOURT 6th div. from GUEDECOURT to LES BOEOFFS 4TH DIV. who are in
    touch with FRENCH in front of LES BOEOFFS.
    of the 4th div. 10th & 12th BRIGADE are in the line, with 11th BRIGADE in TRONES WOOD.
    of the 12th BRIGADE the bn and the DUKE OF WELLINGTONS were in the line with the KING'S
    OWN, and ESSEX in the FLERS LINE.
    it appears that we are in with LE TRANSLOY as our final objective and here we stay until we've got it.
    we've got to get our jumping off line first, however, so there's two snaps ahead of the BATTALION,anyway
    OCTOBER 11th 1916.
    having spent an extraordinary uncomfortable night in a very small scoop which
    JOHNY GREAVE and i shared i crept out in the morning rather stiff. the first thing i discovered was that
    a soup tablet which i had had in my pocket had melted and made a filthy mess of my coat.
    whilst scraping the remnants of the said soup tablet from off my person i got a message from H.Q. to say
    that co.comdrs had to meet the C.O. in the line on the right of " D" Co. in order to reconnoitre the trenches
    with an attack next day as the object of the reconnaissance. i left JOHNY in command and went up to
    BATTALION H,Q. -3 miles- for the conference, and found only BAKS and BRAIN at H,Q. BLENKS was
    coming up the line instead of the C.O. so we started off together. after a somewhat venturesome journey
    we eventually arrived with more or less whole skins and found DADDY MANSELL UNCLE SALT and
    ROBIN waiting for use. BLENCS told us the general idea and then as the other three had been in and knew
    the line, he and i went off along to "D" Co, the trench was simply a courtesy title for a very narrow ditch
    dug in a hurry like the trenches at YPRES in 1915. nothing exciting happened until we turned back and went
    the other way."C" Co. right we found was only separated from the HUN by a barricade over which they
    periodically lobbed stray bombs at each other, and evidently there is a pocket of HUN between us and the
    DUKES in the same trench
    ......................................................... hun
    ------------------------------------------++++++++++++++------------------

    +++++++++++++----------------------------------------+++++++++++++
    2nd lan fus ........................................................................ dukes
    cheerful sort of disposition
    having inspected everything ther was of any interest we wended our way back again. on the way we stopped
    to have a chat with SALT which same old gentleman produced a bottle of brandied cheme for our
    delectation. having allowed us one cherry each the gods stepped in and caused the HUN to drop a
    whizz-bang on our parados above us. when we had risen from our humble position we discovered the
    bottle of chemes to be full of earth.
    as there seemed nothing more to stop up in the line for we left SALT morning over the chemes and cursing
    the HUN at the same time, and having been held up by a strafe of 15 minutes eventually got back to BN H.Q.
    the C.o had not yet returned so i was bidden to remain to lunch, in case the C.o had orders when he returned.
    the C.o appeared in the dug-out at about 3 p.m. having raced a 5.9 to the door and only just won.
    he had orders for a show to-morrow and having sent for DADDY SALT and ROBIN gave us the following
    orders ;
    the 4th division in conjunction with the 6th division on the left and the French on the right will
    attack on OCTOBER 12th and capture the brown line

    BROWN LINE map sheets 57.c.
    n.28.b.s .l. n.29.c.3.3
    Bde. H.Q. will be at t.8.d.3.6.
    s.boundary between 10th and 12th bde =n.34.d.o.o. n.34.d.6.6. along LES BOENFFS-LE TRANSLOY ROAD.
    N.BOUNDARY/ 12th bde and 6th division . n.34.a.1.9- n.22.b.8.1.
    DIV.FRONT n.28.b.9.0.-n/35.a.8.7.- t.6.a.6.8.
    this his copied as written BLENCS HIS ALSO REFERED TO AS BAKS-AND BLAENKS
     
  8. tonyrod

    tonyrod New Member

    the 2nd lan,fus and 2 guns m.g.co.will be on the left of the bde.
    attack in 8 waves. 200 yards between 4th & 5th . 4 guns 12 m.g.co. and 4 guns t.m.b. will be on special mission.
    a & cos. have been digging saps out from the front line for assembly trenches which will be finished to-night
    11/12th oct and with spectrum trench will form bn.assembly position.
    A.CO. TO ASSEMBLE ON THE RIGHT
    B.CO.
    C.CO
    D.CO TO ASSEMBLED ON THE LEFT. BY 5;15 A.M. OCT.12th 1916.
    having had these orders i got back to the co. in cow trench as quickly as possible landing up there about 4 p.m.
    i had my platoon officers- Johhny Greaves-Fortescue-and Addison and my n.c.o's up and gave them orders.
    at 5 p.m. i got a chit from brain telling me to fetch the stores from d.dump at 10;45 p.m. this evening
    these stores consisted of yellow flares for signalling to aeroplanes and wire cutters for the attack.
    i had also to arrange to fetch rations to my C.H.Q. and issue them out to the other cos. each of whom sent a party
    back for them.
    rations and stores were fixed up and the co. ready to move by 12 midnight 11/12th.
    Robin who was at present in the support line, which was really the only communication trench arranged to be
    clear of this by 2;30 a.m. so as to enable me to get straight up to the line
    accordingly i had given orders to the platoon comdrs.to be ready to move off at 2;30 a.m. the men would wear fighting
    order packs and greatcoats being left in charge of the CO/Q.M.S. CLIFTON in cow trench.
    therefore everything being settled i turned in and slept till 1;30 a.m, 12 oct 1916.

    OCTOBER 12TH 1916.
    at 2;30 a.m i started off to the assembly position with my co.H.Q. which consisted of
    C.S.M. LAVERICK D.C.M/ my runner GINGER HODGKINSON my servant HARGREAVES and the
    co. signallers and orderlies.
    the platoon were to start off at 3;15 a.m. in the following order; 5.6.7.8.
    i reached ROBINS H.Q. at 3 a.m. to find "A" co. had not moved and were still sleeping the sleep of the just.
    this seemed to prophesy a bit of a muddle at dawn unless somebody hustled. so i chivied ROBIN up and
    with his 3rd platoon were just getting away as JOHNY rolled up with no.5. they sat down and rested until
    "A" co were well clear and then went on up the line, ADDISON commanding 7 platoon and SGT BOLTON
    commanding 8 platoon rolled up ok. and were sent on up the line but for FORTERQUE and no 6 platoon
    there wasn't a sign. by 4;30 a.m. as FORTESQUE and 6 were still absent i left GINGER and another orderly
    to show them the way up and with COTTEE went on up to see how the 3 platoons were getting on and after a
    little effort got them assembled with a certain amount of room and comfort and a space left for FORTESQUE
    at 5;30 a.m just as it was getting daylight . FORTESQUE with no.6 turned up. his guide had lost him
    completely and utterly and it had taken FORTESQUE some time to find his way back.
    after a short time 6 platoon got settled in. by 6 a.m we were assembled thus ;-
     
  9. tonyrod

    tonyrod New Member

    .....................................................HUN LINE hidden by crest

    .....................................................100 yds - 150 yds line to line
    ........................................................5.pl+----------------------------------.+
    ..........................................................+........7.pl .+.............."A" Co.+
    -..........-"D" Co------------- --"C Co. 8.pl --------------------
    ......................................................................+........"B" Co. H.Q.+

    AT about 6 a.m. the preliminary bombardment began and lasted all day until zero hour. it was slow
    and very regular. a few shots fell short into "D" Co.but nothing very exciting happened at first.
    [the rest of this diary is written by hour and minutes as the events of the day become somewhat crowded]
    8 a.m
    one C.O'S, 6 th div .came along our trench he thought zero hour was 2 p.m.
    12 noon
    WHATKINS came along from c.co. for a last conflab SALT the co. comdr. is being sent back to
    Brigade with BLENCOWE as 10% reinforcements.
    12; `15 p.m.
    several huns running and crawling about in no man's land, carrying a machine gun. had a few
    at them.
    12;30 p.m.
    12 huns came into our line and surrendered. some excitement. things assume a rosy aspect and
    point to a fairly easy show.
    1;0 p.m.
    watches sent to Bn.H.Q for synchronising.
    1.30.pm
    watch sent back and following additional orders received from BRAIN. zero hour 2.5. p.m.
    the DUKE to attack the length of trench occupied by the HUN between "A" Co. and then at.
    2.25. p.m. the rest of the division to attack, .accordingly we sat down and waited for zero hour.
    2. p.m.
    bombardment increased. bayonets fixed.
    2. 3 p.m.
    hun plane flew straight down our line at about 300 feet up. must have seen trenches crowded
    with men. none of our planes in sight.
    2.5 p.m.
    fiendish row. zero hour. heavy enemy barrage on. 10th brigade machine gun barrage. DUKES
    attacking on our right but can't see much.
    2;10.p.m.
    shrapnel shell on top of use. LAVERICK hit on steel helmet and stunned several other casualties
    2; 15 p.m.
    awful noise impossible to make oneself heard several men got excited and went over the top on
    their own. keen as hell to go.
    2;20.p.m
    shell landed on Co.H.Q. all co. signallers and runners knocked out except GINGER HARGREAVES
    badly knocked.
    2;25. p.m.
    JOHNY GREAVES and 5 platoon off followed by the rest of the Co. JOHNY shot through the
    lung 5 yards in front of our parapet. enemy machine gun barrage pretty unhealthy our own barrage
    which should have waited for us has gone on with the DUKES and 25 mins. in front of us.
    GINGER and i follow the co. over.run like hares and find ourselves well in front of the Co.
    2;50 p.m.
    50% Co.already down. whole Bde appears to be held up L/cpl FENTON and one of my
    lewis gunners has got his gun going in a shell hole on my left. awful din can hardly hear it yelled at
    SGT. MANIN to take the 1st wave on. he's lying just behind me . GINGER says he's dead
    SGT MANN on my right of 7 platoon also dead. most of the men appear to be dead. shout at the
    rest and get up to take them on. find myself sitting on the ground facing our own line with a
    great hole in my thigh, does'nt hurt much but bleeding like hell. GINGER also hit in the wrist.
    awful din still. most of the Co, now out . GINGER ties my leg up i put my tie round my leg as a torniquet
    FORTESQUE about 5 yds on my right still alive. he had had a bullet through his steel hat and had
    broken the skin on his nose. funny how one noticed these things.
    yell at him to come over to me. show him my leg and tell him to carry on. he gets into a shell hole to
    listen while i tell what to do. shot through the heart while i'm talking to him. ADDISON also
    wounded and crawling back to our lines. that all the officers and most of the N.C.O's. cant see
    anything of BOLTON and 8 pl. start crawling on back, back to our lines. bump. "whats that GINGER"
    dead man sir, dam;; turns over and drag along on my stomach. GINGER helps me along. about 75 yds.
    to go. leg still bleeding fast, and my trousers have been cut off me. feel rather naked. beastly
    uncomfortable also rather faint. bloody row still. make another effort and roll over our parpet on to
    LAVERICK who has recovered and is just coming up. GINGER dives off for stretcher bearers.
    awful shindy still. feeling rotten. stretcher bearer arrives. take my field dressing off. hole in my thigh.
    i can put my fist into it. full of mud to. they tie me up and cart me off to a small hole somewhere near
    in original assembly trench. LAVERICK goes off to collect the Co. only about 12 men out of a 100.
    2;40 p.m
    JOHNY GREAVES carried along and put in another small hole. badly hit in lung. can't get away
    till dark.
    3.PM
    got an awful pain. LAVERICK has collected the remnants of the Co. in the front line. himself
    SGT BOLTON and a dozen men . attack an absolute failure.
    5.pm
    feeling rotten. keeping loosing consciousness. BEARD a subaltern in the DUKES passes. asks him
    how they did. he says he he is the only officer left. 9 officers killed, 6 wounded. ask him if he is going
    to Bn.H.Q. he is. will you tell BRAIN how things are, and that JOHNY and i are here. he will. must have
    fainted again.
    6.p,m
    still in this beastly hole. JOHNY very quiet. 10% RESERVES come up.
    11.P.M.
    stretcher bearers come up and JOHNY carried off.

    AND THAT ENDS THIS DIARY OF , LIEUT.V.F.S. HAWKINS. 2BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS
    BRAVE MEN EVERY ONE.
     

Share This Page