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[Page 6]

The Billet at Nieppe was the most comfortable the company had occupied since arrival in France and each man was supplied with a bunk. Mess rooms had tables and forms, and added to the comfort of the men whilst at meals. The Company on about 1/12/17 took over the whole of the Corps drainage system in the Divisional area. Working patrols were put on each system cleaning and revetting where necessary – chiefly two main systems – Warnave River and Ralique. A party of 20 men under Sergt Lee were sent to Caestre to erect huts for a Divisional wing. Details were scattered over a large area on various minor works, carpentering, plumbing and bricklaying. On 15/12/17 the battalion moved out into Corps reserve. The whole battalion was allotted to the maintenance of Light and Heavy Railways and this Company was attached to the 4th Coy, 8th C.R.T. and was being broken into small parties to repair and maintain the lines between Douvre and Wytschaete. The work was for the most part in a quiet area – little shelling being met with. The Company was allotted a Nissen hut camp at De Kennebek Dump.

Sergt. Fletcher promoted C.S.M. and W.O. Class 2, on 20-12-17. Lieut. Allen joined the Company on 18/12/17. Lieut. Finch left the Company, sick.

A Christmas dinner was held on Christmas Day, 1917, and the whole Company attended as in 1916. C.S.M. Heard appointed R.S.M. on 25/12/17. Capt. Toone transferred to 'D' Coy. and Capt. Cleland came to 'B'Coy on 12/1/18.

Lieut. Brecht joined the Company on 7/1/18.

'B' Coy was transferred with Battalion from the Light Railway work to line work on 28/1/18. The Coy was allotted the maintenance and repair of 4 roads, Ash Av., Motor Car Corner Rd., Gunners Farm Road, Ploegstreert-Le Gheer Rd., also the maintenance of old St. Yves trench. Relieved 2nd Pioneers. Took over billets previously occupied in Nieppe in November-December.

Lieut. MacDougal joined the Coy. R.S.M. Heard promoted Lieut. and rejoined Coy.

On 1/2/18 the Company took over certain additional work including the extension of St. Yves or Ultimo trench for about 1000 yards, and also upkeep of several duck board tracks overland through Ploegstreert Wood to line. This work was satisfactorily completed on 18th instant.

On the 19th the Company commenced the construction of shelters for Infantry in Ploegsteert Wood and Hill 63. A total of 105 shelters were built giving accommodation for 650 men. Company was relieved by 2nd Pioneers on the 9th March and proceeded to Belle Houllefort, near Boulogne. Training was taken up and after 10 days there Company moved out. Entrained at Lottinghem and detrained at Caestre, then by route march to Steenvoorde. Rested there one night and embussed for Ebblinghem, then by route march to Racquinhem [Racquinghem], then St. Omer. Entrained there and detrained at Mondicourt on March 27, then route marched to La Houssoye. Rested there 36 hours, and marched to Heilly.

Following Officers had joined the Coy., Lieuts. Pyke, Finch and Couper. Lt. MacDougal had left the Coy. to return to Australia for munitions work. O.C. Coy, Sergts. Hughes and Manning employed for 6 weeks on construction of G.H.Q. line. In charge of 7 mile sector. Work completed and returned to Coy. on 11/5/18. New type of obstacle designed and adopted throughout the line and inspected by F.M., C-in-C. O.C. had charge of certain advanced line work near Albert, Sailly-le-Sec, etc. during the retreat of the 5th Army, 25th to 28th March 1918.

Capt. Clelland commanded the Company during the absence of the O.C. from 3rd March to May 11th 1918, and during operations on the Somme and Ancre up to that date. Capt. Horne at Training Battalion found permanently unfit and appointed R.T.O. at Codford [Wiltshire].

On arrival in Somme area the Battalion acted as a Divisional Reserve. At Heilly the Company stood to during a Boche attach [attack] on the Divisional front about April 1st. However it was repulsed by our Infantry in the line with big enemy loss and our services were not required.

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