This page has already been transcribed. You can find new pages to transcribe here.


[Page 8]

On 20th May the Company relieved "B" Coy 4th Pioneers and remained in camp doing odd jobs until 23/5/18 when instructions were received to commence a large mined dug-out in the railway bank at Villers Bretonneux, but this was cancelled, and the Company received orders to carry on with the trench job. One Platoon moved out and lived in the railway bank and practically all became casualties in a severe gas shoot on the night of 26/5/18. It is to be feared that casualties were result of carelessness of individuals in gas precautions. On 27/5/18 Company was ordered to report for temporary duty with the 11th Brigade as Infantry. The Unit stood to for two nights, first in the railway bank, where much gas was again met with, and the next night in the Cachy Line. On 30/5/18 Company moved into Villers Bretonneux to act as garrison for the Keeps. The job was rather "Creepy" owing to the loneliness and isolation. The very heavy shell fire during the nights and our lack of sleep made it a rather rotten job. Orders were that in event of any pushing our Infantry back behind us we were to hang on to these "Keeps" trusting to hold them until we could be relieved by a counter attack. Enemy shell fire set fire to a block of buildings at a corner, and "B" Keep had a strenuous night and day in extinguishing and preventing the spread of the fire, it being occasionally necessary to climb to rather frail attics to cope with it.

[Comment on facing page] B Coy Diary (France) up to 22/5/18.

Relieved by Infantry on night of 3/4th June and went back to camp in Bois l'Abbe. Fairly good camp ground but not the most comfortable shelters. A very large bomb was dropped in centre of camp on night of 6/6/18, only wounding two men fortunately. Work carried on with, trench digging and wiring up forward.

Lt. Rowan and W.O. Fletcher mentioned in despatches 3rd June Honours.

Trench work was continued and the Company also took over two dug outs in the Villers line for accommodation for one platoon. The Company was detailed to go over with Infantry on a post capturing operation, but orders were received which cancelled the Company's participation. The normal work of dugouts and wiring was carried out until 29/6/18 when we were relieved by 2nd Pioneers and moved to shelters in bank at Bussy. Training & recreation was carried out. The whole battalion worked for three nights on cable burying in connection with the operation of advancing the line and capturing Hamel.

[Comment in margin] Col. [Cpl. ?] Sanday, M.C., now commander [indecipherable].]
On 12th July the Company took over from 5th Pioneers and moved forward to a camp in trench on top of a bank near Vaux Sur Somme. The position was rather uncomfortable owing to being under observation, and movement by day being restricted. Company first went on road maintenance, but on second night commenced digging a 'C.T.' over rather a bad piece of country between front and Support lines North of Somme and East of Sailly le Sec (a small party was on forestry work). The C.T. was completed on 19/7/18 and the Company moved up, (relieving 'C' Coy in front line) to do a tour as Infantry in line. The Platoons were well housed in the line in old German dug outs but connection between front line and rear was difficult and shelling at night was at times heavy. A good deal of deepening and connecting of posts by 'C.T's' and wiring was carried out. The Infantry experience was valuable to all ranks. Active patrolling was carried out nightly, but no offensive actions were undertaken.

The Company was relieved in the front line by 'A' Coy on night 30/31st July and went back into Supports. Sergt. Chamley was killed on the night of the relief – a very excellent N.C.O. who could ill be spared. Company while in Support carried out various digging work between Support and front line. During the period in support abnormally heavy shelling occurred several nights in form of area shoots, apparently a form of 'windiness' on the part of enemy. Pte. Seymour killed, and L/Cpl. Jackson injured.

Current Status: