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Title: War Services of the 62nd West Riding Divisional Artillery

Author: Austin Thomas Anderson

Release date: September 27, 2015 [eBook #50066]

Language: English

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Colonel A. T. ANDERSON, C.M.G.
(C.R.H. 62nd Division, 1916-1919),
Author of "The Field Gunner's Catechism," "A Short History
of Lucknow,"

With a Preface by
Lieut.-General Sir W. P. BRAITHWAITE, K.C.B.




"As fighters with unequal lance we met,
Broken I lie,
And yet,
O Death, art thou the victor or am I?

Mary Byron.



The First Advance1
June to October 1917. Trench Warfare20
The Battle of Cambrai40
The Great German Offensive56
With the 5th French Army80
The Final Triumph92
The Last Phase114
Subsequent Services of the 311th Brigade120
Alphabetical List of Officers123
List of Officers and Men awarded Decorations    
or Mentioned in Despatches127



By Lieut.-General Sir WALTER BRAITHWAITE, K.C.B.

Colonel Anderson has commenced his interesting record of the war services of the 62nd Divisional Artillery in January, 1917. He has, therefore, no word to say as to how the instrument he commanded so ably and with such distinction during two strenuous years of war came to attain the standard of excellence which the following pages attest.

It was in February, 1916, that Brig.-General Anderson and Capt. Lindsell, then serving at the Front, were selected to take over the Command and Brigade-Majorship respectively of the 62nd Divisional Artillery.

The Division was then at Salisbury Plain, and, without going into details, I would like to tender my tribute to the untiring devoted work accomplished by these two officers in training and fitting for war the Artillery of the Division I had the honour to command.

They had their reward when the time came that the instrument they had created was put to the test of war. It never failed to respond to their touch. The proud record it established is the best testimony to their teaching and training.

In the early part of 1917 I was asked to write a foreword for the Divisional Magazine, and in it I wrote that, given grit and discipline, there was nothing the Division could not accomplish. Grit the Yorkshireman[viii] has always possessed, discipline he learnt. I might have added a third desideratum—co-operation.

The event proved, however, that this virtue was not lacking. It is to these three great qualities I attribute the success of the Division. The Divisional Artillery knew that they existed for the purpose of helping the Infantry. The Infantry knew that they could depend on the Artillery in all circumstances and under all conditions.

There are many glorious episodes described in the following pages, many plain unvarnished tales of heroism, and much record of what, to the casual reader unacquainted with the conditions of life "out there," may appear to be commonplace drudgery.

All had their place in building up the reputation of the 62nd Divisional Artillery, and none were more important than others, or less.

The strain on the horses, the toil of the men in the never-ceasing "packing" of the ammunition to Miraumont, up the shell-swept road, past Shrapnel Corner, to the fire-desolated village, had its result and compensation in the advance to Bapaume and the capture of Achiet-le-Petit and Achiet-le-Grand.

The daily digging, the unceasing work on dug-outs and gun-positions in Ecoust, and in the Noreuil Valley, saved many a life and rendered possible the accurate service of the guns in the Battle of Bullecourt, and in the subsequent period of holding that much-strafed line.

The practice in driving and the training in open warfare found their consummation in that glorious advance of the batteries to Graincourt.

And then, after a year's hard work, came the first[ix] rest. In December, 1917, the gunners came out of the line for the first time, and hardly knew themselves!

January, 1918, saw the Division back in the line again in a comparatively peaceful sector with, however, as always, one bad spot—Bailleul, through which one never loitered.

But peaceful bits of the line were not the lot of the 62nd Divisional Artillery for long, and in March we were hurried down to Bucquoy. Here was no line, peaceful or otherwise, no prepared positions to take over, but the hurly-burly of battle, and positions to be chosen where they could be found. But what splendid targets!

After the battle came a period of holding the line again, in, I think, the most unpleasant sector we occupied, of which Essarts was the most unhealthy spot.

Then came a change. A quick train journey to the South and a rush into battle without time for proper reconnaissance, but with the willing and ready help of French and Italian comrades.

A quick change also to open warfare, and fighting in dense woods! But these variations affected not at all the Divisional Artillery except in so far as it stimulated the interest of officers and men.

The fighting in the Ardre Valley was indeed an experience we shall all look back upon with pride and with pleasure.

It was in the thick woods bordering the main road from Epernay to Rheims that the D.A.C. lost their show team of roans who fell victims to a bomb in that much bombed area. I can see now the distress on Fraser's face when he told me of the casualty. There were many other gallant four-footed friends who paid the[x] toll of war there. If "the men both good and wise" are right we may yet hope "to give them joyous greeting when we pass the Golden Gate."

And so we come to the return journey, back again to the 4th Army Corps. I am glad to say my own especial pets, a very handsome pair of blacks in "A" Battery 310 Brigade, survived the bombs, and before long another battle and the beginning of the glorious end.

Indeed, had we but realised it at the time, the beginning had come, and we had participated in it, one of the only four British Divisions which had had the luck of that honour.

It was shortly after our return from Rheims that I left the 62nd Division for the 9th Army Corps, so I cannot speak from actual experience of the thrilling excitement and glorious successes which the Division achieved in the 2nd taking of Havrincourt, and in the other great battles which brought this long war to a triumphant conclusion. (I left just after the York and Lancasters made that thrilling bayonet charge in company with the King's Company of the Grenadier Guards on the heights near Mory.)

But the story of these culminating triumphs is told in the pages of this book, and it only remains for me to offer one or two remarks.

Three things, among others, seem to me to be especially worthy of note: the endurance of the personnel, the youth of the officers in command of batteries, the efficiency of the Territorial gunner and driver.

How often do we see the phrase, "The Infantry were withdrawn for a rest, the Artillery remaining, as usual, in the line covering the —th Division."

The periodical reliefs of Divisions hardly affected the[xi] gunner at all. It was a marvel to me how the various Divisional Artilleries managed to "stick it out." A day or two in the wagon lines now and then seemed all that was necessary to restore officers and men to full vigour and activity again. It was a triumph of endurance.

As the war progressed battery commanders became younger and younger. I remember once congratulating an officer on gaining command of a six-gun battery—he had just "put up" his crowns—and making some remark on his age, to be met with the retort, "I'm not so very young, Sir, I'm nearly 21."

I wonder what would have been thought of the prophet who, in 1913, had predicted that batteries would be commanded in the greatest of all wars by men of "nearly 21"!

I well remember, some years before the war, when the Territorial Force was first evolved, the utter scepticism expressed of the Territorial ever being able to be made into a gunner. Infantry yes, but gunners—! And a distinguished Colonel Commandant R.A., of the old school, told me, during 1916, that Territorial Force gunners might be all right during trench warfare, but that it was absurd to think that Territorial Force drivers would ever be able to bring the guns into position in a war of movement. The advance of the batteries to Graincourt at the Battle of Cambrai, the changes of position on the Ardre, and 100 other instances prove the fallacy of such gloomy prognostications.

Properly trained and instructed—and the 62nd Divisional Artillery was that—Territorial Force gunners and drivers proved themselves equal to all tasks set them. Higher praise it is impossible to bestow.


In the concluding paragraph of his book, Colonel Anderson writes of "the brotherhood of officers and men" and of "steadfast and loyal comradeship."

It was these virtues fostered and encouraged by men like the writer of this book, David Sherlock, Bedwell, Gadie, Woodcock, Lindsell, FitzGibbon, and many others, which enabled the 62nd Divisional Artillery to triumph over all obstacles, to achieve its deeds of valour, and to gain its brilliant successes for the glory of England and to the eternal honour of Yorkshiremen.


(A former Commander of the
62nd (West Riding) Division, T.F.)

February 7th, 1920.


Chapter I

"Come, join in the only battle
Wherein no man can fail,
Where whoso fadeth and dieth
Yet his deed shall still prevail."
William Morris.
Jan. 1917.

On the 23rd December, 1916, the 62nd Division received orders to embark for France. The artillery, which was billeted in Northampton, was conveyed from Southampton to Havre on the 6th and 7th January, 1917, and thence railed to the concentration area at and around Wavans, near Auxi-le-Chateau. The weather was of the worst type that January can give, alternate frost and thaw and bitterly cold, and we began to experience at once the distressing conditions of mud and slush, which were to be so normal a feature in this and the two following winters in France and Belgium.

On the 17th January the 310th and 312th Brigades sent off one section per battery by motor lorry to be attached to the 19th Division, then in the firing line, for training preliminary to taking over finally their part of the line. It was a snowy, uncomfortable sort of day, and the lorries were, as so often happened, late in arriving, with the result that the detachments did not get started on their journey till about 3 p.m., and[2] arrived at their destination after dark. Sections from the 311th Brigade followed the next day.

On the 23rd the Divisional Artillery marched to Auteuil and Amplieu, and remained in billets there for the next few days, the headquarters being at Bus-les-Artois. The first gunner casualty took place on the 24th, a gunner of the 312th Brigade being wounded on that day while attached to the 19th Division.

The next few days were spent by the Staffs of Headquarters and Brigades in inspecting the positions to be occupied by batteries in the neighbourhood of Courcelles, Mailly-mailly, Colincamps, and Engelbelmer, and in reconnoitring the observation posts on the high ground north of Beaumont Hamel. This village, like so many that we were now to become acquainted with, had been so thoroughly destroyed by shell fire, our own and that of the enemy, that one might easily have passed through it without realising that there had ever been a village there. All the ground in its neighbourhood was so deeply pitted with shell craters that it was almost impossible for a foot passenger even to find a pathway through them, there being rarely more than an inch or two of the original ground between each. The mud was, moreover, indescribable, and there was not only a risk of being badly bogged, but cases even occurred of men being engulphed and drowned in the viscous mud of a shell crater, and two of our artillery horses lost their lives in this way.

Feb. 1917.

On the night of the 1st February the 310th Brigade, and one battery of the 311th, went into action near Auchonvillers and Engelbelmer, and a few days later helped to support an attack by the 63rd Division, when the enemy[3] was driven out of a part of the Pusieux trench and thereby forced to evacuate Grandcourt.

On the 10th the same batteries supported the 32nd Division in a successful assault on Ten Tree Alley; on this occasion we had the first casualty among our officers, Capt. H. C. Lasbrey being severely wounded.

The remainder of the batteries took over their positions in action from the 7th Division on the 11th and 12th February, as did our infantry during the following two days; and on the 15th I took over the artillery command. After a period of intense cold, during which the temperature fell below zero one night, a thaw set in this day, and the mud difficulty again became acute. Early on the 17th the 63rd Division on our immediate right attacked and captured the Swan trench north of Grandcourt, taking about 100 prisoners. The 311th Brigade did good work in this successful little operation, and I got a special message of thanks for their help from the G.O.C. 2nd Corps.

Arrangements were now in progress for a fresh attack, and, new positions having being selected on the western outskirts of Beaumont Hamel, the first sections of all the batteries moved into them on the 21st. The remainder was preparing to follow when, on the morning of Saturday, the 24th February, our patrols discovered that the enemy had vacated his line. The 5th Corps, to which we belonged, at once began a cautious advance, and on the 25th had occupied Serre and Miraumont, while the Division on our right pressed on into Pys. Strenuous efforts, which none who took part in them are likely to forget, were now made to push forward the guns, although the one road through Beaucourt to[4] Miraumont was all but impassable. Officers and men worked with a will, and by the 28th all batteries were in action at the Bois d'Hollande and Baillescourt, while one section of the Ammunition Column was advanced to the neighbourhood of Hamel. Major R. C. Williams was wounded on this date, and had to leave us, a great loss to the Divisional Artillery.

March 1917.

It was now established that the Boche was holding the line Bucquoy—Achiet-le-Petit—Loupart, and it became necessary to advance the guns to closer range. Positions were accordingly reconnoitred in and around Miraumont, and every endeavour was made to occupy them as quickly as possible. By the 3rd of March most of the batteries were in their new positions, and the front infantry line on that date ran along the dry ditch from the East of Pusieux to the railway line about a mile N.E. of Miraumont. During the next week the forward move was completed in the face of indescribable difficulties. On the 3rd March, Lieut. H. A. Sabelli, and on the 5th Lieut. E. W. Jephson, were wounded, and two more officers were hit on the 6th, Lieuts. R. Holburn and J. MacIlroy. Major Swain had a fortunate escape; when his battery got into Miraumont he took up his quarters in a German dug-out, which boasted the luxury of a fireplace. His servant was about to light a fire, when Swain told him that he needn't bother about it that night. Next morning the man was laying the fire when he noticed a bit of wire; closer investigation showed a length of quick-match fastened to the wire and leading to a hole under the dug-out, in which was packed sufficient explosive to have blown the whole place sky-high. On the 5th, Divisional Headquarters moved to[5] Engelsart, a hutted camp between Engelbelmer and Martinsart.

Miraumont was a particularly dangerous and unpleasant spot; the Bosche kept it continually under shell-fire, and also bespattered freely the one road which formed our communication with it. This road ran for over half-a-mile in full view of the enemy, and was in such a shocking state of disrepair that all ammunition had to be brought up on pack saddles, each horse or mule carrying eight rounds. The country on each side was such a slough of despond that it was generally impossible for pack animals to leave the road, and as all movements had to take place at night, the ammunition supply was a very serious problem. At least 4000 rounds were required for daily consumption, and I find in my diary that 1600 horse loads were sent up on the night of the 4th, in batches of 25 animals at ten minutes interval, and that only one man was hit in the process, although the road was constantly under fire. There was very little rest for any of the drivers, whether of the D.A.C. or of the batteries, and their zeal, endurance, and good temper were beyond all praise.

Just before the road enters Miraumont a sunken road runs to the left, honeycombed with dug-outs and occupied by one of our Infantry Brigade Headquarters; and on the right a steep path leads down into the valley. Here the three Colonels have their precarious shelters; sometimes things may be quiet for a short breathing space—more often they are just the reverse. On the 11th, all through the afternoon, and right on through the night, shells were exploding in this part of the valley on an average of one every two minutes. Not much damage was done, but the strain of it may be imagined on the nerves of those who have to live there without any adequate cover. The village is utterly destroyed, but has not disappeared. Walls and ruins still stand,[6] sometimes as high as ten feet or so, and the streets are distinguishable. But it is not good to linger in them. Almost unceasingly in one part or another of the skeleton village shells scream and crash, raking the streets with bullets and splinters, and hurling bricks and beams in every direction. Here are to be found Swain's, Foot's, Bigg's, Arnold Forster's, Hudson's, and Robinson's batteries, the others being outside in the scarcely less dangerous outskirts of the village.

During the fighting in Miraumont, the losses in the Artillery amounted to 6 officers (Capt. F. H. Seeman gassed, in addition to those already mentioned) and about 70 other ranks, while a great many horses and mules were killed; nine guns were knocked out by Artillery fire. The strain on officers and men was very great; and although the latter were able to get some slight respite from danger, though not from hard work, by taking an occasional spell at the wagon lines, it was difficult to give any relief to the officers. I therefore started an experiment which was a great success for the short time in which it was possible for it to remain in operation. One of the less ruined houses in Mailly-mailly was commandeered and roughly fitted up as a rest house in charge of one of the trench mortar officers, the mortars not yet having been brought into action. It was arranged that three officers at a time should be accommodated here for a clear three days and nights, during which they would have nothing to do but take it easy and recoup themselves, away from the noise and stress of battle. The change was greatly appreciated by the few officers who were able to avail themselves of it before a further advance put an end to the scheme.

Irles was captured by the 18th Division, supported by our artillery, on the 10th March, and on the 14th the enemy was driven out of Grevillers and Loupart[7] Wood. A plan of attack on Achiet-le-Petit was now drawn up, to take place at dawn on the 18th. Our preliminary bombardment, however, which began on the 16th and went on through the night, was too much for the Boche, and on the morning of Saturday the 17th March our infantry patrols entered the village and found it unoccupied. News came through the day of further successes. Bapaume had fallen, and Bucquoy, Biefvillers and Bihucourt were all in our possession. Hopes ran high, and there was general excitement and delight. Once more the batteries were ordered to push on as quickly as possible, and they moved forward into positions close to Achiet-le-Petit. The 7th Division now passed through us, and for a short time the 62nd Division ceased to take an active part in the fighting, though still continuing to advance. Advanced guards occupied Courcelles and Gomiecourt on the 18th, and the Lucknow Cavalry Brigade pressed on further and hung on to the heels of the retreating enemy. On the 21st, D/312 advanced at dawn and joined the 7th Division advanced guard at Ervillers, to help them in an attack on Croisilles, which the Boche was still holding. On this occasion we had our first officer killed, Lieut. C. W. Pullan; a shell burst in the observation post near St. Leger, from which he was gallantly directing the fire of his battery. A/312 and C/312 went into action the same day between Ervillers and St. Leger, also with the 7th Division, while the 310th Brigade remained in positions of readiness near Logeast Wood.

The 311th Brigade was withdrawn from the line on the 22nd March, on being converted into an Army Brigade, and marched from Engelbelmer on the 24th, en route for an area in the North. It was with great[8] regret that I said farewell to this most efficient brigade, which, under the able command of Lieut.-Colonel A. Gadie, had done consistently good service, and had always given evidence of the finest fighting spirit under the most trying conditions.

On the 27th March the 310th Brigade moved up into action in support of the 7th Division before Croisilles, and were followed four days later by B/312, so that all batteries were then again active.

April 1917.

On the 1st April, Divisional Headquarters moved to Achiet-le-Grand, and next day, to the accompaniment of a blizzard of snow, the 7th Division captured the villages of Croisilles and Ecoust, supported by the 62nd Divisional Artillery in addition to their own guns. In this fight Lieut. E. W. F. Jephson was awarded the Military Cross for the following act of gallantry:—

"On the 2nd April, 1917, during an attack on Ecoust, this officer was sent forward with an orderly to reconnoitre for an O.P. On his way forward two runners of the Gordon Highlanders were fired at by a German sniper in a post. One was shot dead. The other runner, Lieut. Jephson, and orderly procured bombs from some wounded men, and crept up to the post from behind some fallen trees, and bombed the sniper, severely wounding him. Lieut. Jephson then went on through Ecoust with the orderly, when he discovered sniping from his right rear. He then returned another way and saw three Germans running into a cellar, which he approached. After he had fired some revolver shots into the cellar, they came out when ordered. One of these prisoners was taken off as a guide to the infantry, the other two being brought back by Lieut. Jephson.[9] He did good work at the O.P. previous to moving forward out of Ecoust."

The enemy was now firmly posted in his much advertised Hindenburg Line, and as he showed every intention of holding on to it after his long retreat, it became necessary to get all batteries forward to within about 2500 yards range, in order to start wire cutting. The Ecoust valley area was apportioned to my artillery, and the batteries began to occupy positions there on the 3rd April. This was a work of great difficulty and danger as the approaches were in view of the enemy, and the positions themselves were barely concealed. As the first section of B/312 were coming into action a shell completely knocked out one of the detachments, killing five men and wounding three.

On the 5th our infantry again went into the line, and I took over command of the artillery, which included, in addition to my own brigades, the 7th D.A., the 16th R.H.A. Brigade, and an Anzac Brigade. That afternoon a mine exploded in Mory, killing one and wounding two of my men, and also wounding some artillery mules. In the evening a similar mine went off in Ervillers with disastrous effect, killing five and wounding seven men of D/312. These mines, which we often met with later, were worked by a corrosive acid, acting on a wire holding a spring hammer; when the acid had eaten through the wire, which might be within a period ranging from a few hours to several weeks, according to the relative strengths of the acid and the wire, the hammer struck a detonator, and the mine exploded; a typically Hunnish method of warfare.

For the next few days guns were actively employed in wire cutting, and the enemy responded by a vigorous[10] shelling of the valley. Capt. J. Willey and 14 men of B/310 were wounded on the 7th, and between the 6th and the 9th three other officers were hit, Major F. A. Arnold Forster, and Lieuts. P. K. B. Reynolds and H. C. Ashby. Five Military Medals were awarded for gallant work on these days.

On the 9th April the Third and First Armies on our left began a big forward movement, to be known as the Battle of Arras, and by the evening of the 13th they were in possession of the Vimy Ridge and the whole of the Wancourt branch of the Hindenburg Line, and had taken about 16,000 prisoners, together with a large number of guns and mortars. Our share in the operations was to make holding attacks and to keep as many of the enemy as possible glued to our front. One of the trench mortar batteries, V/62, was lent to the 51st Division, and took part in the capture of the Vimy Ridge. On the last day of the battle C/312 suffered heavily, losing the Sergeant-Major, three Sergeants, and four other ranks killed, eight men wounded and four guns knocked out.

Capt. G. L. C. Hudson was wounded on the 13th, and Lieut. K. B. Nicholson on the 14th; the latter officer was awarded the Military Cross for the following services:

"On the 13th April, 1917, Lieut. K. B. Nicholson entered a dug-out in which both a gas shell and a high explosive shell had burst, and bravely attempted to save the men inside. Later on in the day, though suffering from the effects of the gas, he went to the O.P. with the Battery Commander, and while under heavy shell fire volunteered to go back over the wire, thereby keeping up communication with the battery. The[11] following day, while still suffering from the gas, he again repaired to the O.P. under heavy gas fire, remaining there until he was finally wounded in the head by a fragment of high explosive shell. By his actions on the days under review this gallant officer showed a fine example of devotion to duty."

Our casualties in the artillery up to this date amounted to 14 officers and about 150 other ranks.

My command was now largely increased, with a view to further operations, by the addition of the 11th and the 58th Divisional Artilleries, which went into action near St. Leger and Ecoust respectively. This brought the artillery with the 62nd Division to a strength of 180 18-pounder guns and 48 howitzers.

Early on the 15th the Huns made a determined counter-attack against the Australian Division on our right. At first it was completely successful; the enemy broke through as far as Noreuil and Lagnicourt, and for a short time was actually in possession of two brigades of the Australian artillery. At about 8 a.m., however, the Anzacs made a magnificent recovery, and hurled the enemy back to his original line, retaking their guns and capturing about 400 prisoners. Over a thousand German corpses were left on the field. While all this was going on my batteries were subjected to heavy shell fire, and suffered many casualties. In one of the batteries of the 58th Division the losses were particularly severe, three officers being killed and one wounded. I sent one of the brigades of the 11th Division to reinforce the Anzacs directly the attack commenced, and this was retained after the battle, and therefore left my command.

On the 16th Lieut.-Colonel F. A. Woodcock arrived[12] to command the D.A.C. vice Lieut.-Colonel F. Mitchell, who had gone to England.

For some time past the weather had been very inclement, and the unvarying cold and damp, added to the strain of heavy work and constant danger night and day, was having its inevitable effect on the physical powers, though not on the fighting spirit, of the officers and men behind the guns; and, it should be added, of the officers and men of the D.A.C., whose work in these operations had been of a most strenuous and perilous nature.

The men fall asleep while working at the guns. For nine or ten weeks now they have worked without a rest, and it is a question whether human endurance can go much further. They fire day and night, and when not firing they are staggering through the mud carrying up ammunition; they have no shelter except what they can dig in the ground, and no sooner have they dug a resting place than the batteries have to move to a fresh position. And the weather is beyond words abominable. If it isn't raining it's snowing, and it's impossible to keep anything dry; nothing but cold, squalor, and hideous discomfort. And yet they stick it out with the utmost courage and cheerfulness, and fight splendidly.

It was impossible to relieve the artillery as a whole, but as it was now decided to make no serious attack for at least a fortnight, I obtained authority to keep 50 per cent. of my command at rest in the wagon lines during this period, and this measure did something to relieve the strain. The horses, too, had suffered severely; about five per cent. had been killed, and ten per cent. had died of over work and debility, twenty per cent. having been sent away for the same reason. As the Veterinary authorities, who naturally knew more of the condition of the animals than of the circumstances[13] which had brought them into so low a state, showed a disposition to attribute the state of affairs to indifferent horsemastership, I was glad when the Army Commander, Sir H. de la P. Gough, inspected my wagon lines on the 21st April. He expressed himself as perfectly satisfied with all he saw, and was most cordial and pleasant. It was a great relief to Brigade and Battery Commanders, who had been much harassed during a time of great anxiety by the criticisms referred to above, to know that the Army Commander had now seen for himself that everything possible was being done.

For the rest of the month little occurred of special interest; preparations were being made for a further attack against the Hindenburg Line, and meanwhile the now familiar form of trench warfare was carried on from trenches about 200 yards apart. The Ecoust Valley was still a far from healthy spot, though batteries improved their cover day by day by incessant building and digging; and at times the Boche turned his attention to the wagon lines as well. On the 18th the 310th lines were badly shelled, when two men were killed and seven wounded, and several horses were lost. Lieut. G. P. Senior was wounded (gassed) on the 24th, and on the 28th four more officers were hit, Lieuts. C. T. Lutyens, S. C. Ball, R. Forrest, and J. W. Proctor. Five Military Medals were awarded during this period, and the Military Cross was gained by Lieut. J. C. F. Nowill.

"On the evening of the 26th April, 1917, near Ecoust, the camouflage covering a large ammunition dump at the battery position was set ablaze by hostile shell fire. Lieut. Nowill, single-handed, removed the burning mass from the dump and extinguished it, at very great[14] personal danger from the burning ammunition which was exploding in large quantities. By his gallantry and prompt action he undoubtedly stopped the explosions from spreading through the whole dump."

On the 25th, Lieut.-Colonel G. R. V. Kinsman, D.S.O., left, much to the regret of us all, to take up the duty of Artillery Instructor at Shoeburyness; he was succeeded by Lieut.-Colonel D. J. C. Sherlock, D.S.O.

Now, and afterwards, efforts were constantly being made by which to vary the monotony of trench warfare, and to make things more lively for the Huns; as an example, I select the following instance. On the 27th April, at a given time, two howitzer batteries put "stops" on selected portions of the enemy's support line about 200 yards apart. Then on the trench thus enclosed three batteries opened a rapid fire of gas and smoke shell, the object being to smoke the occupants out of their dug-outs. After five minutes of this treatment two more batteries opened with shrapnel on the only trench which could be used by the enemy if he tried to escape to the rear—this, of course, in the hope of getting some of them as they retired. The whole thing went off like clockwork, and the fire was most accurate. As to the amount of damage done, that must remain a matter of conjecture, as it was impossible to see into the trenches. In this case, as always in such experiments, one could but hope for the best.

May 1917.

All arrangements having been made for an attack on Bullecourt under an artillery barrage, Divisional Headquarters moved up on the 2nd May to an advanced position north of Ervillers. The attack was launched early on the 3rd as part of a big operation in which altogether fourteen[15] divisions took part. Our infantry advanced under a barrage at 3.45 a.m., and broke through the Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt. The enemy was, however, in great strength, and his position was an extraordinarily formidable one. Although our men managed to get through and beyond the village, they were then checked by numerous machine guns firing from concrete emplacements, and were finally forced back again through Bullecourt by a strong counter-attack. The Division suffered very heavy losses, and the results of the battle did not come up to our high expectations; but, none the less, substantial progress had been made, and at the end of the action we were able to hold on to and consolidate a good slice of the village of Bullecourt, together with about 2000 yards of the Hindenburg front line to the east of it. It was hard that our first battle should have been so costly in life and so apparently unfruitful in results, but our sorely tried infantry had proved their mettle, and had shown that magnificent spirit in the face of appalling odds which, in the Homeric battles which were still to come, was so often to spur them on to victory.

Lieut. C. Punchard was wounded (gas) on the 7th, and Lieuts. G. H. Kitson and C. V. Montgomery were wounded on the 12th and 13th respectively.

On the 14th May there was a readjustment of the line, the 7th Division taking over the Bullecourt front and the Hindenburg trench to the South-East, while the 62nd Division became responsible for the sector from Bullecourt for about 2400 yards to the North-West. This entailed a general shuffle of the artillery, my own brigades coming under the 7th Division, while the guns of the 7th remained under my command. On this same[16] night the 310th Brigade was subjected to a more than usually heavy bombardment; over two thousand gas shells fell among the batteries, and we lost five gunners killed, and about 12 wounded. On the 15th, Lieuts. A. J. Edwards and E. W. Jephson were wounded, the latter for the second time.

On the 16th May, Lieut.-Colonel E. P. Bedwell left the Division, invalided home. His services had been invaluable, and I fully shared the sorrow which all ranks of his brigade felt at his departure. He had trained and commanded this brigade, the 312th, from the earliest days of its formation, and might fairly claim to have made it; it must have been a great satisfaction to him to see how well its performances in France had repaid his care. I am glad to say that he recovered his health and was able to take his place again in the fighting line later on, though not in the 62nd Division. Major F. H. Lister took over the command of the brigade, with the acting rank of Lieut.-Colonel.

Both sides now settled down to deliberate trench warfare, a state of things which entailed constant work of a dangerous and harassing nature, but which furnished few outstanding incidents of sufficient interest to be chronicled. On the 26th May a sad disaster occurred in D/312 Howitzer Battery. The camouflage over one of the howitzers caught fire and blazed up. It was merely a question of a few moments when the flames should reach the ammunition and cause a terrible explosion, but there was a slight chance of the fire being put out in time, and Capt. H. B. Gallimore, who was temporarily commanding the battery, with Lieut. G. Hardy and a party of N.C.O.'s and men, made a gallant attempt to extinguish the flames. Unfortunately their[17] efforts were vain, and there was a tremendous explosion. Poor Gallimore was killed, and also ten others (including all the six "Numbers One" of the battery), while Hardy was dangerously wounded, and also five gunners more or less severely. The loss of two such officers and six of the most valuable N.C.O.'s was a very serious blow to D/312, but the splendid act of devotion, in which they sacrificed their brave young lives, conferred a lustre not only on their own battery, but on the whole of the Divisional Artillery, and will not soon be forgotten. Hardy, unhappily, died of his wounds on the 28th.

The casualties in the artillery up to this date had been:

3 officers and 72 other ranks killed.
23 officers and 256 other ranks wounded.

On the 29th May our infantry was withdrawn from the line for a rest, and I therefore ceased to command the artillery tactically; it remained in the line in support of the 58th Division.

It was a great disappointment to me that the artillery could not be withdrawn for a rest after all its strenuous work since coming into action. The promise of rest in the near future had long been dangled before our eyes, but the plain fact was that guns could not be spared from the firing line, and although the Commander-in-Chief, in a confidential circular issued about this time, showed that he "fully realised the untiring energy of the artillery during the first half of the year," still he was unable to hold out any hopes of relaxation, and could only "rely upon all ranks to continue their good work ungrudgingly." His reliance was well founded, for all ranks accepted the situation loyally, and learned now,[18] and I may add for the rest of the war, to do without rest, and to "stick it" somehow or other even when it might have been truly said that

"there was nothing in them
"Except the will that said to them, Hold on."

I think that all realised the impossibility of reducing the number of guns in front of the enemy, and one scarcely ever heard a word of grumbling, but it is well that the fact should be placed on record that the artillery practically never got a rest. Their work was not perhaps so much in the public eye as that of their gallant comrades in the infantry, nor did they experience as a rule the same extremes of danger, but it should be remembered that, while the latter were periodically withdrawn from the danger zone after about eight days in the trenches to rest billets miles behind the firing line, the men behind the guns endured the dirt and discomfort of the trenches for months at a time, were never safe day or night from hostile shell fire, and were constantly hard at work. Only perhaps those who have actually served in a battery in war-time can realise the amount of hard work and nerve strain involved in keeping up even the normal programme of day and night firing, the map readings and calculations to be worked out by the officers in a damp dug-out by the light of a guttering candle, the long spells of duty to be endured by the weak gun detachments always under strength through sickness and casualties, the heart-breaking and back-breaking labours of keeping up the ammunition supply, and with it all the constant sense of an ever-brooding danger. That all sorts and conditions of men should have endured this kind of existence for several years,[19] cheerfully and without a murmur, seems to me a more wonderful phenomenon than even the most dramatic act of individual gallantry.

The following honours were announced on the 30th May:—

Major G. Fleming, Legion of Honour.
Major G. A. Swain, Croix de Guerre.


Chapter II

"The thundering line of battle stands,
And in the air Death moans and sings."

Julian Grenfell.
June 1917.

In the next few weeks trench warfare pursued its monotonous course—long periods, as it has been aptly said, of unutterable boredom varied by moments of inexpressible terror—but June was, on the whole, the quietest month the Division had in France. On the 15th the Divisional Headquarters at Achiet-le-Grand was shelled by a 15-inch gun firing from a range of about 20 miles. Two or three shells burst within 50 yards of our mess, but the only casualties were one of my clerks and my Reconnaissance Officer Anderson's servant, both slightly wounded. On the 19th orders came for the Division to go into the line again, relieving the 20th Division on the front opposite Riencourt and Quéant, a side slip of a mile or two to the right of our old position. The artillery were all in their new positions by the 22nd, on which date I reassumed command, moving my headquarters to the Monument Camp on the Sapignies-Bapaume road.


I received the following letter from the G.O.C.R.A. 58th Division:—

"The B.G.R.A. 58th Division wishes to express his gratitude and appreciation to all ranks of the 62nd Divisional Artillery, whom he has had the honour to have under his command during the past month.

"Despite heavy shelling of their positions and continual firing night and day, they have never failed to respond quickly and efficiently to every call which he has made upon them, and it has been largely due to their excellent and energetic shooting that the operations which have just concluded have attained the measure of success which has come their way.

"All ranks of the 58th Divisional Artillery unite in thanking the 62nd Divisional Artillery for all their help, and wish them the best of luck.

"E. J. R. PEEL,

The 310th Brigade were now in positions in the Noreuil Valley, which had been given not inaptly the name of the Valley of Death, and the 312th in the neighbourhood of Lagnicourt. Early in the morning of the 25th they supported a successful little raid made by our infantry on the Boche front line south of Riencourt. No prisoners were taken unfortunately, but the infantry found several dead bodies, killed by our artillery fire.

We now began to get the trench mortars into action. Up till this time they had not had much chance of proving their value, although the personnel had done much useful work in helping the D.A.C. with the ammunition supply. They were now to take up their legitimate rôle in the front trenches.


On the 26th D/312 underwent a severe shelling, but although two howitzers were badly hit, no men were hurt.

About this time I used often to go round the O.P.'s in my spare time, and to test the quickness of the different batteries in getting off a round on a trial call of S.O.S. I considered it distinctly good if a battery opened fire within 40 seconds of getting the call, but as time went on most of them became extraordinarily quick to answer, and I well remember my satisfaction when, during a walk round the O.P.'s in company with General Benson, Commanding the 5th Corps Artillery, we tried a few S.O.S. tests, and one of my batteries got off the answering round in 17 seconds. I think that the record time was nine seconds, the battery that reached it being C/310, then in position in the Noreuil Valley.

July 1917.

On the 2nd July I was returning from one of these tours, and, calling on my way back at the 310th Brigade Headquarters, which were then in a sunken road just N.W. of Noreuil, I found that a few minutes before my arrival a 4.2-inch shell had penetrated and burst inside a small shelter in the trench, killing four men and wounding three—all, of my special little R.A.R.E. company. The place was a shambles when I went into it. It was a particularly distressing affair, as there was a good and equally handy dug-out just beside the one that had suffered, fit to withstand any number of 4.2-inch shells; and these poor fellows had selected a place with no more protection than a corrugated iron roof.

I have not mentioned the R.A.R.E. company before. It was an unauthorised formation, not to be found, that[23] is to say, in any official manual, and was made up of eight sappers from the Divisional R.E., together with about ten men from each brigade and from the D.A.C. The company was thus brought up to an establishment of about 40 men, and was commanded by a Royal Engineer officer. We called it the R.A.R.E. Company, and its duties were to supervise generally the work of building gun emplacements, stables, shelters, dug-outs, etc., and to carry out itself any works demanding skilled labour. I was most fortunate in being given the services of Lieut. E. B. Hammond, M.C., R.E., as its first commander. He took the keenest interest in his work and inspired all his men with his own zeal and energy; and his cheery personality, and unfailing tact and good humour ensured him a warm welcome from every battery he visited, and the cordial co-operation, moreover, of those who, at the inception of the scheme, might have been inclined to resent the taking away of even a few men from their depleted batteries. It did not take long to convince any such doubters of the immense utility of this small body of men. From working with the eight skilled sappers, the gunners and drivers furnished from the brigades gradually became skilled workers themselves, and the company proved such an invaluable addition to my command from this date until the final breaking up of the division in the Army of Occupation, that I do not know how the D.A. could ever have got on without it. It was a great blow when Hammond left us in January, 1918, on appointment as Adjutant R.E., but our luck still held good, and the work was carried on most efficiently by Lieut. C. L. Clarson, M.C., his successor.

On the 5th July Lieut.-Colonel Lister left the Division[24] on appointment to the Staff at G.H.Q., and was succeeded in command of the 312th Brigade by Lieut.-Colonel A. T. Lough, who joined on the 9th.

Major-General W. P. Braithwaite, our Divisional Commander, inspected the D.A.C. on the 7th. The General always took the greatest interest in his artillery, and was a constant visitor to one or other of the units, and I only mention this particular occasion because I noted at the time, and well remember, what a really splendid turn-out we saw that day. I don't believe there was a better ammunition column in France. Lieut.-Colonel Woodcock, though not an old Regular officer himself, shared to the full the conviction held by most Regulars, that the smartest and best turned out troops are almost invariably the hardest workers and the best fighters, that in fact the one virtue leads automatically to the other. He had the happy knack, too, of getting the last ounce of work out of his subordinates without any unpleasantness in the process. In writing a record of artillery work it is inevitable that the performances of the batteries which do the actual fighting should come in for more frequent mention than the less showy, but equally indispensable and arduous, services of the D.A.C. Let me take this opportunity, therefore, of recording that the 62nd D.A.C. never failed me. As the war went on the daily expenditure of ammunition grew greater and greater, and at times the demands made on the column seemed almost impossible of fulfilment. Yet I can recall no instance when the amount of ammunition required was not punctually to hand. Colonel Woodcock was fortunate in his three Section Commanders, Captains Fraser, Kewley, and (for the greater part of the war) Edmondson.[25] They were always cheery and willing, however difficult and depressing the circumstances might be, and they infected the N.C.O.'s and men under their command with the same spirit of cheeriness and good-will.

At about this date the 5th Corps Staff left, and was replaced by that of the 6th, to which corps we consequently now belonged.

Lieut. J. A. Brown was wounded on the 7th, and Lieut. R. L. Pickard on the 11th July.

V/62 (Trench Mortar Battery), which had recently gone into action near Bullecourt, took part in some successful minor operations towards the end of July, at Hargicourt and Epehy, with the 34th and 35th Divisions respectively, and had three men wounded.

During the second half of July the activity of the hostile artillery increased considerably. On the 17th three officers were wounded, Lieuts. H. C. O. Lawrie, E. H. Vanderpump, and T. B. Wills, and three guns of B/310 were put out of action. On the next day the Noreuil Valley again came in for a severe shelling, chiefly directed on the advanced section of A/310, which had one of its guns knocked out, but no casualties in its personnel.

The Army Commander, Sir Julian Byng, visited some of the batteries in the right sector on the 19th, and also one or two of the O.P.'s. He expressed himself as much pleased with all he saw.

On the 22nd A/312 was heavily shelled in its position just west of Lagnicourt, and had two guns put out of action. C/312 was bombarded the same night for several hours in the village of Morchies; not much harm was done, but the guns were shifted next day to a[26] garden in the village which afforded better cover from the view of the Boche observation balloons. Morchies showed signs of having once been as pretty a village as could be seen in France, and must have been a charming spot before the Boche left his obscene trail there. At this time it was a shameful ruin, wantonly and brutally destroyed by the Huns when they retired through it a few months before. The numerous fruit trees had all been barked or uprooted, and most of the destruction in the village, both indoors and out, had obviously been done purposely and malignantly, and not by our, or the enemy's, shell fire. Of course this was only one out of hundreds of such cases, but Morchies must have once been so pretty and simple, and so aloof, that one felt an especial sense of outrage in seeing the hateful treatment to which it had been subjected. I used to wish that some of our pacifists could be brought out to see it.

On the 24th A/310 was again plentifully bespattered with shell, but so well were the guns and detachments protected that the net result of several hours bombardment was only two men wounded, and one gun wheel broken. Fortunately we were able to spot one of the batteries responsible for these recent annoyances, and on the 25th July Major Foot's battery, D/310, engaged this 5.9-inch battery with aeroplane observation. The shoot was a very successful one; several direct hits on the guns were recorded, and two emplacements were blown up with their ammunition. As a rule the batteries that annoyed us were firing from such a long range that they had to be dealt with by our heavy artillery, and it was a great satisfaction to us all when we were able to have a smack at them ourselves.


Aug. 1917.

On the 3rd August the Division made a side slip to the left, our left sector now becoming our right; for the new left sector we took over the rather unpleasant piece of trench (the old Hindenburg line) which ran from due south of Riencourt to about 500 yards west of Bullecourt, and which included the latter village. On this readjustment the 35th Brigade, of the 7th Division, was added to my command, in positions in the Ecoust valley. I moved two batteries of the 312th Brigade across into the same valley, while A and C/312 remained on the Lagnicourt side temporarily.

About this time we heard from a prisoner that part of the artillery acting against our front was the 49th Field Artillery Regiment; "but we call it," he said, "the 48½th, because they never quite reach their target, and are always firing into their own trenches." This was satisfactory hearing; at the same time we were uncomfortably aware that they managed to reach their targets rather more often than their own infantry seemed to suppose.

Good news reached us on the 4th from the Ypres front of 6000 prisoners having been taken and St. Julien occupied. Operations had, however, been brought to a standstill in the north by the vile weather; really it seemed as though the elements were always on the side of the Powers of Darkness.

Lieut. A. G. Bennett was wounded on the 8th August.

On about this date one of my trench mortar batteries went into action in Bullecourt.

They are in a ruin in the middle of the village. You get to them by first entering an old cellar in another ruin, and then scrambling down a sloping tunnel to an underground chamber[28] about 30 feet below the surface of the ground. Here the detachment live. Then you crawl up another tunnel, and emerge into the ruin which holds the mortar emplacements.

I think that the trench mortar batteries had, on the whole, while they were in action, the most uncomfortable and dangerous job of any troops in the line. The infantry, while recognising their great value, objected not unnaturally to have such favourite objects of the enemy's attentions in any position near their dug-outs or much frequented trenches; and, as it was necessary that the mortars should be sited as close as possible to the enemy's front line, and yet, for the above reason, not too near the infantry, it followed that the only available positions were usually in unpopular spots shunned by all who had any choice in the matter, and generally bearing such significant titles as Hell Fire Point, V.C. Corner, Deadman's Gulley, etc. The unfortunate detachments lived underground for practically the whole of their tour of duty, as it was often impossible to get to and from their emplacements during the daylight; and, owing to shortage of men, their tours of duty were generally two or three times as long as those of the infantry. When I went to visit them, I could nearly always promise myself an exciting walk with plenty of thrills in it. I retain lively recollections of crawling with Lindsell or Anderson, guided by Powell, the D.T.M.O., along shallow trenches, or places where trenches had been before they were demolished, and finally diving down into the ground to find ourselves, when the eyes got used to the subterranean darkness, in the midst of a party of smiling jolly looking gunners. They were a cheerful lot, and, after all, they had their compensations. There were times when there was no[29] scope for the use of trench mortars, and then they would sometimes get a rest for several weeks at a time, in some pleasant billet well back from the firing line; and when they did get a rest, it was well deserved.

On the 11th August C/312 was accurately bombarded, and lost two men killed and two wounded. The casualties up to this date amounted to

3 officers and 80 other ranks killed.
28 officers and 292 other ranks wounded.

C/310 came in for a tremendous bombardment on the 15th. For a long time shells were bursting in the position at the rate of about two a minute, chiefly 5.9-inch, varied by an occasional 8-inch. The detachments took refuge in their deep dug-out, and were able to laugh at the Boche's efforts, the effects of which were very slight considering the severity of the bombardment. One gun was buried, but subsequently dug out undamaged; another was blown out of its pit, but though the carriage was knocked to atoms the piece itself was still quite serviceable. At least 400 shells had fallen in and around the battery, and the ground was churned up into huge craters, many dead bodies being exhumed from their graves and scattered about. We felt that the Huns had not got good value on this occasion for the four thousand pounds which, at the very least, the expenditure of ammunition must have cost them.

On the 18th the 6th Corps held an admirably managed horse show at Bihucourt, which gave great enjoyment to a large concourse of officers and men. The artillery competitors came from six divisional artilleries, and we were remarkably successful, gaining the following events:—

Tent-pegging for Officers—1st prize (Major Swain).
Tent-pegging for other ranks—1st prize (B.S.M. Howes of the D.A.C.).[30]
Gun Team—3rd prize.
Pair of Light Draught Horses—1st prize.
G.S. Wagon and Pair—2nd prize.
Team of Mules—3rd prize.

I may mention that all the three prizes for officers' chargers were won by the division, going to Lieut.-Colonel Hore-Ruthven V.C., Major-General Braithwaite, and Lieut. C. Newman respectively; the second of these was a particularly popular win.

By this time the science of protective building and digging had been brought to a wonderful state of perfection in the batteries, as was evidenced by the remarkably small number of casualties caused by the enemy's constant shelling. Rarely a day passed but that the Noreuil and Ecoust valleys were under fire, and the former valley in particular presented an extraordinarily sinister appearance. It was thickly pitted with deep shell craters along its whole length, and a casual visitor would have found it hard to believe that any human beings could go on living in such a shell-swept area. Further investigation would however have shown that beneath all this desolation an active and busy underground existence was being carried on. The gun positions were camouflaged to appear like the surrounding ground, or disguised to represents heaps of debris, and were generally strongly enough protected to resist the impact of a 4.2-inch shell; and from every position at least two stairways led deep down into the ground to a network of passages and sleeping chambers from 30 to 40 feet below the surface. Where all the positions were[31] so good, it would be difficult to discriminate between them, but perhaps the palm should be given to D/310. The Battery Commander, Major R. C. Foot, was a mining engineer by profession, and two of his subalterns, Lieuts. Currie and Casey, had been students with him at the same engineering college; their experience was of great value in a case of this sort, and their scientifically constructed position in a sunken road just north-west of Noreuil was a model of what a position should be, and was visited with great interest by many senior officers of other divisions as well as of our own.

Concealment from view was daily becoming more and more impossible. The enemy's balloons were so numerous, and were poised at so great an altitude, that very few depressions on the ground were deep enough to conceal emplacements from one or another of them. But, in addition to this, as the science of sound ranging was brought to greater and greater perfection, concealment became less and less useful, and overhead protection became the most important consideration. We now adopted a practice which was henceforth followed when possible throughout the war. Each battery had a main position, the guns of which remained silent except in combined "strafes," when every gun in the line was firing; when this happened the gun flashes were so numerous and continuous along the whole front that it was almost impossible for observers in the hostile balloons to take accurate bearings to any one battery, and sound ranging also was impracticable. For the ordinary routine shooting each battery kept an advanced section; this could be moved with comparative ease if the Boche artillery should make the position too hot, and in any case it is more[32] difficult to spot two guns than six, and harder to hit them when found.

On the 21st August B/310 and C/312 were bombarded for several hours by 5.9 and 8-inch howitzers; although a tremendous weight of metal was poured into the positions, no material damage was done, and only two men were wounded.

On the 23rd and 24th the 35th Brigade was withdrawn from my command, and a readjustment of batteries had to be made. The 310th continued to cover the right, or Noreuil, sector, and the left, or Bullecourt, sector fell to the 312th. A/312 consequently moved from Lagnicourt to the Ecoust Valley; to our great delight the Boche threw about 400 rounds into the empty position the day after the battery had cleared out of it.

Sept. 1917.

On the 4th and 6th September the Noreuil valley was again heavily shelled; on the first of these dates A/310 had two guns knocked out, but suffered no loss to personnel; on the 6th the fire was directed on B/310 and C/310; one man was killed and one wounded, but no damage whatever was done to material. Capt. J. G. Robinson was awarded the Military Cross in connection with the above:

"On the 4th September, near Vaulx, the battery position was very heavily shelled. Capt. Robinson, having got his men into safety, endeavoured to locate the hostile battery by compass bearing. Later on, noticing that the camouflage of the two gun pits had caught fire, he, with Sergt. Rider and Gunner Charlesworth, left cover, and proceeded to extinguish the fires and to recover the gun pits with camouflage. As the[33] shelling continued and the dial sights had not been removed from the guns, he again went out and removed four of them. All this was done under very heavy fire and at great personal risk. He showed very great gallantry and coolness, and set a fine example to the rest of the battery."

On the 10th the trench mortars in Bullecourt carried out one of their periodical bombardments of the Boche trenches and knocked them about handsomely. The enemy turned a number of batteries of varying calibres on to the mortar emplacements and put one mortar out of action. Corporal W. Settle, who was in charge of one of the mortars, behaved with great gallantry. He was almost buried by an explosion, and his coat was literally riddled, with at least 30 rents and holes, though in some miraculous way he escaped unwounded. In spite of this he stuck to his work until the shoot was finished. He got the Military Medal, but, to my great sorrow, was killed five days later at Cherisy.

At the beginning of September the G.S.O.I. of the Division, Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. A. Hore-Ruthven V.C., left us on transfer to the Guards Division, much to the regret of us all. He was succeeded by a Gunner, Lieut.-Colonel C. R. Newman, D.S.O.

On the night of the 11th our infantry carried out a successful little raid on the Star Cross Roads, about quarter of a mile S.W. of Riencourt. The guns bombarded the trench from 11.10 to 11.15 p.m., and then formed a box barrage round the cross roads for quarter of an hour, while the infantry walked in; they bombed the dug-outs, did as much destruction as they could, and returned with four prisoners; their own casualties were only three wounded. Early in the morning of the 13th[34] the enemy attempted a raid on our trenches at the Apex. The S.O.S. signal was sent up, and our guns were firing hard for about two hours. The attack was completely repulsed.

The G.O.C. received the following message from Sir Douglas Haig:

"The Commander-in-Chief congratulates you and your troops on the repeated successes shown in your local operations, which show excellent spirit and skill. These successes help appreciably in the general plan."

A few days before this attack I had been ordered to lend two 18-pounder batteries and two trench mortar batteries to the 50th Division to help them in a raid in the neighbourhood of Cherisy, and as they had marched out on the 12th for an absence of four days, our artillery strength was in a dangerously low state when the attack took place, their being only sixteen 18-pounder guns and eleven howitzers to cover a front of 5000 yards.

The two field batteries that were temporarily detached for this duty were A/310 and B/312. The raid was a very successful one, but, unhappily, our losses in the trench mortars were very heavy, and we lost two valuable officers killed, Lieuts. G. A. Craven and W. E. Harris, and one wounded, Lieut. W. Wooliscroft. Seven N.C.O.'s and gunners were also killed, and a large number wounded. Lieut. E. Parkinson was given the Military Cross "for gallantry and devotion to duty during minor operations west of Cherisy. After his battery had suffered many casualties during the first phase, he reorganised his positions, and, after his Commanding Officer had been killed, went round under heavy fire encouraging his men to keep their mortars going. Later,[35] under heavy fire, he searched his gun position and assisted to get wounded clear and his men away."

Lieut. Parkinson has kindly furnished me with the following account of what took place:

"Y/62 and Z/62 trench mortar batteries were lent to the 50th Division for a raid they carried out on September 15th, 1917. The field guns and trench mortars provided a box barrage, the latter putting their contributions at each side, while the field guns shelled the enemy's support trenches.

"Our positions were in a little-used trench about 150 yards behind our own front line, opposite Cherisy. This trench had previously suffered very little from the German barrage, and it was expected that casualties there would be slight. The wire was not cut from any of these positions, and guns not even registered from them.

"The first portion of the raid was carried out from 4 p.m. to 4.40 p.m., and was completely successful. The Battalion which went over the top was commanded by the late Brig.-General Bradford, V.C., then Colonel, who afterwards came to the 62nd Division as a Brigade Commander.

"As ill luck would have it (I cannot think it anything else), the trench the mortars were in received about 75 per cent. of the total German barrage, and casualties were so heavy among Z battery that they were unable to man their guns for the full length of time. Lieut. G. A. Craven was so severely wounded that he died the same evening, while Lieut. W. Wooliscroft was wounded, and most of the men either killed or wounded.

"At 7.40 p.m. half a battalion went over the top again, and in this case also the results were all that could have[36] been desired. Previously Y Battery had only had two men killed, and so were able to man their four guns. The German barrage was again very heavy, and we suffered severely. Round one gun were grouped about a hundred bombs ready for firing, and exactly what happened we shall never know, but the lot were detonated. The detachment was of course blown to atoms, and at the next gun two men were killed by the explosion as well as Lieut. Harris. One man alone was left unharmed, and after carrying some wounded under cover, he returned and manned his gun single-handed until the raid was over.

"We went to the raid 4 officers and about 40 other ranks, and returned to our Division 1 officer and 6 other ranks."

I received the following letter from the G.O.C.R.A., 50th Division:

"Will you please thank your fellows very much for the good work they did for us yesterday. I am most awfully sorry your trench mortars had such a bad time. It was just bad luck; the Boche put down a barrage where he had never put one down before, and caught them. It was most unfortunate. I can't tell you how sorry I am about it."

On the 26th September we carried out a bombardment of the enemy's trenches south of Riencourt, together with a barrage, with the object of making him think we were assaulting, and inducing him to unmask his artillery positions. This object was successfully attained, the enemy "got the wind up" thoroughly, and answered with every available gun. Our planes and balloons were able to fix the positions of nearly 40 batteries.


Major A. F. Bayley arrived on the 27th, and was posted to the 310th Brigade.

For the next few weeks things were comparatively quiet, though life in the batteries was diversified by occasional bombardments. I take from a note written at the time a short account of one of my routine trips. It is a fairly typical one, and will serve to give some idea of the sort of condition under which we were now holding the line:

First we drive in the car for about two miles; then we alight, fix gas helmets in the ready position, put on tin hats, and go on on foot, leaving the car in a sunken road fairly safe and snug. Now the excitement begins. We go across country, generally in full view of the Boche lines, though they are still far off, and often dodging the places where their long-range shells are falling, or lying down till they burst if we hear them coming near us. A walk of one and a half miles brings us into a much-battered village in which my most advanced guns are scattered about, and now begins the second and more dangerous stage. The village (Ecoust) is a deserted ruin, but for occasional individuals moving hastily from cover to cover, and we waste no time in passing through it, and enter the communication trench which leads up to the front infantry line. As the Boche has exact photographs of the course of this trench, he frequently bombards it; and though the chances are greatly against a shell falling on any one bit of the trench just at the moment when one is passing, still at the time the possibility seems far from remote, and the situation is thrilling enough. About a mile of trench as the crow flies (but treble that distance to walk, owing to the zig-zag formation of the trench, so designed to prevent a shell from sweeping right down it) brings one to the support line. Stage three, and the most dangerous one, now begins; one follows the support trench for a good long way; it is generally pretty deep, but in places it has almost been destroyed by recent shelling, and then one has to crawl and duck until a safer depth is reached; then up other zig-zags to the very front line. Here one is in comparative safety, for the enemy is only one or two hundred yards off, and his artillery dare not shoot at you for fear of hitting[38] their own front line; so you are safe except for snipers (if you are foolish enough to show yourself), or for that most terrible of all terrors, the minenwerfer.

These trips were often unpleasant enough even to people who, like myself, could always count on returning to a comfortable and fairly safe billet for the night, and they helped us, I hope, to realise the strain and discomfort which the officers and men at the batteries were forced to endure from day to day and night to night. The bulletins "nothing fresh to report" or "all quiet on such a front" had for them very little signification.

During this period, in addition to the normal duties at the gun positions and in the wagon lines, every spare man was kept constantly hard at work in building stabling for the coming winter. It was a case of "sic vos non vobis," for everyone knew that our chances of remaining in this particular place were very small indeed, and that other men would enter into the fruit of our labours; however, the same considerations applied to the whole army, and one could only work one's hardest and trust that other divisions would do the same—a trust which, it is only fair to say, was rarely disappointed, even though, as must also be admitted, batteries almost always thought that the stables, shelters, and positions, which they had made, were a good deal better than those to which they succeeded. This belief may or may not have been always justified; anyway, it was human nature, and certainly the stabling constructed for this winter by the brigades and D.A.C. was of a very excellent and substantial nature.

During the period covered by this chapter 14 Military Medals were gained in the Divisional Artillery. Lieut.[39] F. C. Pritchard won the Military Cross on the 8th October for the following act:

"When an ammunition pit and the camouflage over a gun were on fire, he went out and pulled the camouflage off the gun, and shovelled wet mud on to the fire. He did not leave until it was isolated from the other ammunition, thereby preventing much destruction."


Chapter III

"And you, good Yeomen,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding.
Shakespeare.—King Henry the Fifth.
Oct. 1917.

Our infantry withdrew from the line for a rest on the 12th October. The artillery, however, merely changed the scene of their labours, and about ten days later marched straight up from their former positions into action in the neighbourhood of Wancourt, to cover the 51st Division; the trench mortar batteries in the meantime were temporarily distributed between the 3rd and the 16th Divisions.

On the 29th we had the misfortune to lose a valuable officer in Lieut. H. Sutherland, signalling officer of the 312th Brigade, who was killed very soon after his brigade had joined the 51st Division.

My own headquarters had meanwhile moved to Haplincourt, and on the 30th October I learned from the G.O.C.R.A. of the 4th Corps that a big attack was to be made in the direction of Cambrai within about three weeks, in which the 62nd Division was to play a leading part. It was, in fact, to attack and capture the village of Havrincourt, a position of enormous strength protected[41] by an elaborate system of trenches and barbed wire entanglements, and forming one of the strongest portions of the formidable Hindenburg line.

Nov. 1917.

The method of attack was to be an entirely new departure. There was to be no artillery preparation; in other words, not one gun beyond the normal was to be fired until the moment of assault, or what is technically known as "Zero." Then the barrage was to begin, and the infantry were to assault preceded by tanks. In addition to my own brigades, I was to have under my command for the operation the 77th, 93rd, and 16th Brigades, i.e. twenty batteries in all.

A period of intense activity now commenced. A tremendous lot of work had to be done, and there were at first very few men to do it. A party of about 100 men, taken from the 3rd and 16th Brigades R.H.A., was placed at my disposal, and I entrusted the superintendence of the work to Major C. A. Eeles, who tackled it with the greatest energy. Positions were selected for the five brigades at ranges of from 2000 to 2500 yards from the enemy's front line, chiefly along the Hubert road on the northern edge of the Havrincourt Wood, and, as it was absolutely essential that the work should be done without the Boche suspecting it, and the whole country was visible from his lines, the task was a very difficult one. The first thing to do was to screen off the proposed positions from view. That part of the wood through which the Hubert road ran had been cut down by the Huns when they retreated through it in April; a lot of scrub had grown up in the clearing during the summer, and with this a screen of twigs and branches was erected in one night, for a distance of two[42] miles along the edge of the road on the enemy's side. When morning broke on the 4th November the road itself was invisible from the German trenches, and yet the screen that hid it mingled so well with the surrounding scrub that the enemy never noticed any change. For the next fortnight the work of preparation went on night and day, and so careful were the precautions taken by the working parties, that the enemy never had the slightest suspicion that anything unusual was going on. On this occasion the weather helped us, as the days were usually misty, and yet not a drop of rain fell all the time.

The preliminaries consisted in making positions for 20 batteries, digging ammunition recesses and telephone pits, construction of shelters for the detachments, the preparation of gun platforms and trail beds, and the collection at the gun pits of tremendous dumps of ammunition (700 rounds per 18-pounder gun and 450 rounds per howitzer). For the conveyance of the latter about three miles of light railway had to be laid down. Then O.P.'s and brigade headquarters were selected and prepared, and camouflage was collected and placed over all work as it was carried out, and also arranged ready for putting on the guns as they were required to move into their positions in action.

Lieut. E. W. Davis was wounded on the 9th November.

Lieut.-Colonel R. M. Foot, D.S.O., A.A. and Q.M.G. of the Division, left us about this time on appointment to a corps. He had always been most helpful to the gunners, and we were very sorry to lose him. His place was taken, after an interval of a few weeks, by Lieut.-Colonel Harold Lea, D.S.O., with whom the Divisional Artillery always preserved the same happy relations.


The artillery concentration began on the night of the 12th/13th November, when the 310th and 312th Brigades arrived in the neighbourhood of Beaulencourt; they concentrated next day at Barastre, where their wagon lines were to be during the battle. In this advance to the battle area the most elaborate precautions were taken to keep the enemy's suspicions from being awakened. All troops marched by night, and remained hidden during the day time in the various big woods, which are dotted about in this part of the country. I well remember walking over to the Corps Headquarters at Villers au Flos on the evening of the 14th; it was a pitch dark night, and I found it almost impossible to make my way along the road, which was covered along its whole length by an unbroken column of heavy guns being drawn by caterpillars—the heavy artillery concentrating for the battle. And yet next morning that same road presented its usual empty and tranquil appearance to such hostile planes as might happen to fly overhead.

On the 18th, Divisional headquarters moved to Neuville. The 312th Brigade moved into their gun positions on the night of the 17th/18th, and all the rest of my command on the night of the 18th/19th, i.e. the 310th, 77th, 93rd, and 153rd Brigades.

Lieut.-Colonel Lough, commanding 312th Brigade, left on the 17th, invalided home, and his successor, Lieut.-Col. A. G. Eden, joined us on the 19th.

The night of the 19th was a very anxious one, and will long be remembered by all who took part in the battle. It was impossible to tell whether the enemy had any suspicions of what was in store for him; he might even know all about it, and this was the more possible,[44] as he had made a raid two nights before the battle and had captured one or two of our men. There was a chance that he might have wormed some information out of them, for an uneducated man may often give away valuable information quite innocently, out of pure ignorance or indiscretion. If he did know, the enemy might have wrecked the attack before it began, by bombarding the long line of guns, which had the most definite orders on no account to fire a round till 6.20 a.m. when the attack was to be launched. As it happened, the Boche showed great uneasiness, and fired very heavily during the night, though fortunately not on any vital places. We listened to the firing in great suspense, and watched the flashes of the shell bursting apparently very near our line of guns; but we could get no information, for no telephones were allowed until the moment of attack, lest indiscreet things might be said, and tapped by the enemy's listening apparatus.

At 5.45 a.m. there was a particularly furious burst of firing, which died down at a few minutes past six, and was succeeded by a dead silence, during which one could fancy one heard the anxious beating of fifty thousand hearts. Did the Boche know; had he some infernal surprise for us? We stood in a little group outside the hut which served for our headquarters, and fixed our eyes on the long grey line of wood along the edge of which the guns lay waiting. The moment arrived. A tremendous thunder clap broke the silence; the whole sky grew red, and the air sighed with shell. The battle had begun according to our plans, and success was certain.

Preceded by the tanks, our infantry swept forward in an irresistible wave, and pressing close up behind the[45] barrage, overcame all obstacles, capturing system after system of strongly fortified posts, and following the tanks through a jungle of barbed wire which the Boche might well have believed to be absolutely impenetrable. By about noon they had taken all their objectives. Havrincourt, Graincourt, Anneux, and the Cambrai road, from the factory north-west of Graincourt to the canal, were in our hands, together with several hundreds of prisoners, a 4.2-inch howitzer battery, and many machine guns and mortars. The Division had made the record advance of the war, 7000 yards in one day. The following message was received in the evening:

"Army Commander sends special congratulations to all ranks of the 62nd Division on their very fine achievements to-day."

As this was the greatest battle in which the Division had yet been engaged, I shall here give in full the official account of the artillery action, as it was made out at the time by Capt. Lindsell, my Brigade Major.

20th November. From zero (6.20 a.m.) until the capture of the brown line the artillery action was in the nature of a set piece, the barrage being fired according to timetable as detailed. No modifications were found necessary.

10.30 a.m. The first artillery advance was ordered, 77th Brigade being directed to send forward one battery to the area north-east of Havrincourt Wood in support of the 185th Infantry Brigade.

10.40 a.m. Eight prisoners were captured by the advanced reconnoitring party of C/310.

10.50 a.m. The 5th Brigade R.H.A., having passed under the orders of the C.R.A. 62nd Division, was ordered to advance battery by battery to the east of[46] Havrincourt, to support the advance of the 186th Infantry Brigade on Graincourt.

11.40 a.m. The 77th Brigade was ordered to advance complete to the south-west of Havrincourt to cover the line Graincourt—Factory on Bapaume-Cambrai road.

12 noon. The 310th Brigade was ordered to advance battery by battery to the east of Havrincourt to support, with 5th Brigade R.H.A., the further advance of the 186th Infantry Brigade.

2 p.m. The Divisional Artillery situation was as follows:

5th Brigade  R.H.A. East of Havrincourt, moving into action.
310thBrigadeR.F.A.In column of route moving forward.
77th""Two batteries in action south-west of
   Havrincourt, and two moving into
   action in the same area.
   } Still in original positions, 93rd
93rd""} and 153rd awaiting orders
153rd""} from 36th Division, to whose
312th""} command they had now passed.

2 p.m. It was ascertained that the 51st Division (on our right) had not captured Flesquières. As this position exposed the right of the attack of the 62nd Division, the 310th Brigade were ordered back to their former positions; this order did not, however, take effect, as on receipt of later information they were allowed to continue their former movement.

2.30 p.m. The 77th Brigade was in action complete S.W. of Havrincourt.


4.10 p.m. The 5th Brigade R.H.A. and 310th Brigade R.F.A., in action east of Havrincourt, were grouped under Colonel West, R.H.A., to cover the line gained by the 186th Infantry Brigade in the vicinity of Graincourt. The 77th Brigade was ordered to cover the part in the direction of Flesquières. The 312th Brigade, still in its original position, was ordered to be prepared to cover the brown line as a defensive measure in case of necessity.

6.50 p.m. Orders were issued for the 62nd Division to continue the advance on Bourlon on the 21st, and for a further advance of all artillery brigades in support of this attack. Owing to the state of the ground it was found impossible to get the guns forward during the night. Brigades therefore advanced as early as possible on the 21st to positions S.W. of Graincourt, with the exception of the 5th Brigade R.H.A., which remained N.E. of Havrincourt. The four brigades, as their batteries were able to get into action, were placed at the disposal of the G.O.C. 186th Infantry Brigade for his attack on Bourlon Wood. Owing to bad going and damaged roads the difficulties of getting guns forward proved very considerable, but all brigades were in position by the afternoon of the 21st, with communication established with the Infantry Brigade headquarters in Graincourt.

21st November. Bourlon Wood and village were attacked, under a barrage fired by the 5th R.H.A. and 310th Brigades. The attack was held up by machine gun fire from the Marquion trench. During the remainder of the day the artillery forward moves were continued, and a fresh attack on the Marquion line was organised for the 22nd.


22nd November. The 62nd Division again attacked under a barrage provided by all four artillery brigades. The attack succeeded in gaining a hold astride the Marquion line, south of Bourlon Wood.

The 40th Division then relieved the 62nd, the artillery, however, remaining in action under the former division.

The following Divisional Order was issued on the 24th November:

"Special Order of the Day.

"The Divisional Commander has the honour to announce that both the Commander-in-Chief and the Army Commander have expressed their high appreciation of the achievements of the 62nd Division in the battle.

"The Divisional Commander had the most implicit confidence that the Division would acquit itself with honour. To have advanced 7000 yards on the first day, taken all objectives, held them against counter attacks, and handed over all gains intact to the relieving division, is a feat of arms of which any division may be justly proud.

"The number of prisoners taken by the division is not far short of 2000. Thirty-seven guns have been captured, which include two 8-inch howitzers, one complete 4.2-inch battery, one complete battery of 5.9-inch, and the remainder guns of various calibres, many of which were brought into action against the enemy.

"The number of machine guns, granatenwerfer, etc., etc., which have fallen into our possession is so considerable that it has not been possible yet to make an accurate tally of them.


"The advance of the artillery to Graincourt, and the accuracy of the barrage, is worthy of the best traditions of the Royal Regiment.

"To G Battalion, the Tanks, all ranks of the Division expresses their admiration of the skill, bravery, and the splendid self-sacrifice which made success possible.

"The discipline, valour, and steadiness of all ranks has been beyond praise.

"It is with great and legitimate pride that I have the honour to sign my name as Commander of the 62nd West Riding Division.

"Walter Braithwaite,

On the 23rd, 24th and 25th November attacks were continued by the 40th Division against Bourlon Wood, which ended in the gaining of a firm footing in its southern outskirts. I received a letter from the G.O.C. 40th Division expressing his thanks "for the excellent and untiring support which the 62nd Divisional Artillery gave to the infantry under his command" on these days.

On Sunday the 25th the 62nd Division was ordered back into the line, much to our surprise, in relief of the 40th Division, which had suffered heavily in its severe three days' fight. Our orders were to capture Bourlon Wood, and we had the support of the following artillery in addition to our own: 5th Brigade R.H.A., 77th, 178th, and 181st Brigade R.F.A., and the 87th Heavy Artillery group.

Divisional headquarters moved forward into the Park of Havrincourt Chateau.

The attack was made at 6.20 a.m. on the 27th under a rolling barrage, and resulted in the capture of almost the[50] whole of Bourlon Wood, the highest piece of ground for miles round. Our losses were very heavy, but the success was a most important one, and in the battle our tired Division met and shattered a division of Prussian Guards which had to be withdrawn from the line after only 24 hours in action.

Lieut. E. E. C. Lintern was wounded on the 25th, and for gallant services on the 21st and 22nd, Major E. W. F. Jephson won a bar to his Military Cross, and Lieut. N. Hess was awarded the Military Cross. The same honour was gained by Lieut. J. B. Boden and Lieut. P. C. Furlong for the following acts:

"On the 23rd November, Lieut. Boden, finding a disabled enemy field gun in a forward position, fitted the breech mechanism of another gun to it, and brought it into action in the open. He fired about 60 rounds with excellent effect, though under heavy fire, and in full view of the enemy."

"On the 25th November, when one of his guns blew up while his battery was in action, Lieut. Furlong collected the detachment who were suffering from shell shock, got them under cover, and steadied the detachments at the other guns, under heavy shell fire."

On the night of the 28th our infantry was relieved by the 47th Division. On this day and on the 29th there was a great increase of activity on the part of the enemy's artillery, and it became evident that he had been strongly reinforced.

At 8.45 a.m. on the 30th the enemy launched a very formidable counter attack, pouring his infantry forward in great masses and with the most desperate determination, supported by a tremendous artillery fire of high explosive and gas shell. As the hostile infantry appeared[51] over the crest of the hill, to the west of Bourlon Wood, they were engaged with direct fire by our field artillery, which swept through and raked the advancing masses again and again, inflicting the most appalling losses upon them. The most desperate fighting went on all day, and at one time my two most forward batteries, A/312 and D/312, were within a few hundred yards of the Boche infantry. Batteries have seldom been given such excellent targets of massed infantry in the open as offered themselves that day to nearly all my batteries, and full advantage was taken of the opportunity. At 4 p.m., when darkness came on, the enemy had made no progress against our corps front, the most determined attacks of four German divisions, with three others in support, having been utterly crushed by the unconquerable resistance of the three British Divisions in the line. To quote from the official account issued by the General Staff:

"At the end of this day of high courage and glorious achievement, except for a few advanced positions, some of which were afterwards regained, our line had been maintained intact. The men who had come triumphantly through this mighty contest felt, and rightly felt, that they had won a great victory, in which the enemy had come against them in his full strength, and had been defeated with losses at which even the victors stood aghast."

Against the corps on our right the Boche had been more successful, and the position on its extreme right was at one time full of peril. Here the enemy penetrated our lines and captured Gonnelieu and Gouzancourt, though he was driven out of the latter village by the Guards that same night. The back areas were[52] very heavily bombarded all through the day, and the D.A.C. in Metz suffered a good many casualties.

Lieut. C. B. Innes was wounded during this day's fighting; Lieut. E. T. Williams was awarded the Military Cross, while Lieut. J. B. Boden added a bar to the decoration which he had earned only eight days before:

"During a strong enemy attack the battery was in action during the whole of the day. For over seven hours the battery was heavily shelled, and during the whole of this period Lieut. Boden was among the guns, occasionally working a gun himself, and setting a magnificent example to the men of his detachment. Finally he was put hors de combat through a shell dropping close by him and stunning him. His cool determination and devotion to duty were magnificent."

"On the battery being heavily shelled, and fired on by machine guns from the flank, orders were received to withdraw. Lieut. Williams remained behind with two guns, the wheels of which had been damaged, but succeeded in getting both of them clear of the position, thereby setting a splendid example of gallantry and fearlessness to the men."

Thirty-three Military Medals were also awarded (v. Appendix).

I handed over artillery command on the evening of the 30th, and rejoined Divisional Headquarters at Haplincourt, to find that all our three infantry brigades had again been thrown into the line in support of three different divisions. I heard to my great sorrow that Brig.-General Bradford, V.C., who had joined the 62nd only about three weeks before, had been killed. He was a man of extraordinary gallantry and great personal charm, and a born soldier and leader of men.


I copy here an extract from a captured document, signed by the Commander of the German army on our front, which was rather flattering to our pride as gunners:

"It is worthy of remark that our enemy's guns have a much smaller zone of dispersion than our own. They also appear to have better and more accurate data for shooting from the map than we have. This seems to be proved from the fact that in weather that excludes all possibility of observation, and under conditions very different from those prevailing during previous shoots, he obtains hits on small targets with great accuracy."

Dec. 1917.

Divisional Headquarters left the area of the Cambrai battle on the 4th December, together with the infantry of the Division, and after several moves the Artillery Headquarters finally settled down for a time at Bethoncourt, near Tincques, on the 19th. The guns, as usual, remained in action, supporting different divisions in the arduous work of adjusting the new trench line. Bourlon Wood was given up together with some more of the captured ground, but Havrincourt was retained, and the net result to us was considerably on the credit side.

Capt. E. F. Johnson was killed on the 9th December only about a week after joining the Division. On the 13th Lieut. L. Gane was awarded the Military Cross when in action at Doignies:

"When an enemy shell hit one of the gun pits which contained a large number of charges, Lieut. Gane ordered all the men away, and himself went into the pit. Satisfied that immediate action would save the shell dump and prevent the fire from spreading, he had a party to[54] extinguish the flames, which was successfully accomplished. By his prompt action and coolness he saved the shells and guns from being blown up."

I received the following letter dated the 11th December from the G.O.C. R.A. of the 47th Division:

"To-morrow I shall be parting with your brigades and D.A.C., and I take the opportunity of thanking you most heartily for all the work they have done since you handed them over to me.

"Our infantry have been greatly pleased with the support your gallant fellows have given them, not only on November 30th, but ever since, and I am only sorry that they have had to put up with so much discomfort, but the conditions have made it impossible to do much for them. Colonel Sherlock has been a tower of strength.

"E. N. Whitley,
"Brig.-General R.A."

At last, after another fortnight of hard fighting and great discomfort, the artillery was withdrawn, and arrived in the rest area behind Arras on the 29th December. In spite of the severity of the weather, all ranks greatly enjoyed the rest which they had so well earned, although it could only be called a rest in the sense that they were out of danger and in a condition of comparative comfort. Much work of course had to be done in cleaning up and generally refitting, and in preparing to take up the new positions just north of Arras, which were now to be our special charge.

Jan. 1918.

On the 7th January my Brigade-Major, Capt. W. G. Lindsell, D.S.O., M.C., left the Division to take up the appointment of Staff Officer R.A. of the 8th Corps. He was greatly[55] regretted throughout the Division, by none more sincerely than by myself. To an unlimited capacity for work, and a meticulously accurate knowledge of staff duties, he added a tact and charm of manner which made him many friends in the Divisional Artillery, and helped to ensure that all orders, however unpleasant, were carried out cheerfully and without question in full confidence that nothing which bore the Brigade-Major's signature would ever be unreasonable or unnecessary.

Major F. FitzGibbon, D.S.O., was appointed Brigade-Major in Lindsell's place, and I may say at once that he proved a most worthy successor.

In the New Year's gazette Capt. Lindsell, M.C., and Major Arnold Forster both received the D.S.O., and Major R. C. Foot the Military Cross. All these honours had been thoroughly well earned, but it was a great disappointment to me that more officers could not receive decorations. The allotment of honours allowed for regimental officers was always so small that each gazette left this feeling of disappointment behind it, and many an officer remained undecorated at the end of the war who had earned such distinction over and over again. Major Arnold Forster, I may here mention, was the only battery commander to hold that position in the Division throughout the war; one or two others ran him close as far as service in France was concerned, but he commanded a battery—and commanded it with conspicuous success—from May, 1916, till the breaking up of the Division in Germany, and had the satisfaction therefore of fighting the battery which he had himself trained.


Chapter IV

"There is but one task for all,
For each one life to give,
Who stands, if freedom fall?
Who dies, if England live?"

Jan. 1918.

On the 9th January Divisional Headquarters moved to Victory Camp, near Roclincourt, and I assumed command of the artillery in the line, the 56th Divisional Artillery.

Our own artillery relieved the 56th on the 15th. The front we now covered ran roughly from Gavrelle to Oppy. The 310th Brigade, which formed the right group, occupied positions on or about the southern end of the Vimy Ridge, with one advanced battery, B/310, close to Arleux, and only about a thousand yards from the Boche front line; this battery was so sited as to enfilade a long portion of the enemy's trenches; and though in what was apparently a dangerously forward position, it was so well concealed in a hollow of the ground that it came in for no greater attention than did the other batteries much further in rear.

The 312th Brigade was the left group; two of its batteries, B/312 and D/312, were in the shattered ruins[57] of Bailleul village; this was a most unpleasant spot, and I don't think I've ever seen a village which bore the signs of such serious and constant shell fire.

We now belonged to the 13th Corps, which consisted of the 31st and 56th Divisions, in addition to our own. A system of reliefs was arranged under which two divisions should hold the line and one division remain at rest, and it was hoped that divisional artilleries would get about three weeks' rest for every six weeks spent in action. No one, however, believed in his heart that this scheme would prove a lasting one. There were many indications that the enemy was preparing for a great offensive, and indeed it was now obvious that his only chance would be to strike, and strike hard, before the full weight of American intervention should be thrown into the balance.

The next few weeks were comparatively quiet ones, and a tremendous lot of work was done in improving the very indifferent positions which we had taken over. These positions, it is only fair to state, had not been occupied for more than ten days or so by the 56th Divisional Artillery, who were in no way to blame for their unsatisfactory condition.

Two Regular Majors were posted to us about this time, Majors M. R. H. Crofton, D.S.O., and J. F. K. Lockhart, who took over command of C/312 and A/310 respectively.

The experiment was now made of employing Indian drivers in ammunition columns, and on the 26th January I inspected those who had been sent to the 62nd D.A.C. There were about 130 of them, all Mussulmans, and they looked a useful lot of men; they proved to be so as it turned out, and did very good work for the rest of the war.


Feb. 1918.

On February 1st our heavy trench mortar battery, which, under command of Capt. S. V. Bowden, had done much good service, was transferred to the Corps, as it was now decided that divisional artillery should only have medium trench mortars. Capt. Bowden himself remained in the Division with the latter.

I have described this period as a comparatively quiet one, but that is not to say that the batteries were left alone by the Boche artillery. Shelling of a desultory sort was always going on, and most of the batteries came in for an occasional bombardment—a daily bombardment it would be more correct to say in the case of the two batteries in Bailleul. Fortunately the shooting was strangely ineffective. D/310, for instance, was heavily shelled on the evening of the 23rd January; but though there were three direct hits on emplacements and the whole position was deeply pitted with shell craters, no damage was done to men or material. A/310 was less fortunate on the 5th February, when, unhappily, two sergeants and a signaller were killed, though no guns were put out of action. B/310 was shelled the same day at Arleux, and on this occasion one officer was wounded, Lieut. C. R. Witcher.

On the 16th February the artillery withdrew from the line into billets in and around Aubigny, Caucourt, and Frevin Capelle, the headquarters being in the chateau at Berles. This was the only rest we were to get under the scheme mentioned above.

March, 1918.

On the 6th and 7th March we went into the line in relief of the 31st Division, against an enemy front of about 4000 yards, stretching from Oppy to Acheville; the[59] 310th was again on the right, and the 312th on the left, batteries being mostly in or about Willerval and Farbus. Headquarters were at Roclincourt.

It now seemed certain that a big German offensive was brewing, and henceforth practically all our firing was done by detached sections, while the main positions remained silent, and every possible artifice was employed to conceal them from detection by the enemy. At the same time several single guns were distributed along the front for defence against tanks, being so sited that every possible approach by a hostile tank would be under fire from one or more of the guns.

Some experimental firing by single guns was carried out on the afternoon of the 10th March near Souchez. A dummy tank, about three-quarters real size, was drawn across an open space at about a thousand yards from the gun. Detachments from various divisions engaged it in turn, and the results were most reassuring, two or three direct hits being very quickly scored in nearly every case; it seemed to prove that an anti-tank gun well handled ought to be able to knock out several tanks in a minute or two.

On the 11th Divisional Headquarters were persistently shelled by a 13 cm. gun firing from a range of about 14,000 yards. Information had been received that the long expected offensive was to begin on the 13th, and as the enemy's attacks were often heralded by long range firing into the back areas, it seemed likely that the report might in this case be correct, and all preparations were made accordingly. The bombardment was repeated on the night of the 12th, and all troops, artillery and infantry, were standing-to from an hour before dawn on the 13th. Nothing unusual, however, happened,[60] although the long range activity against our headquarters became a regular nightly occurrence from now on. As it was important to find out what was brewing, it was decided to carry out a raid with the object of taking prisoners and getting such information out of them as might be possible. The raid was carried out by a battalion of the 186th Infantry Brigade. At 10.50 p.m. on the 17th March, two batteries of the 56th Divisional Artillery opened on the Boche front about a thousand yards south of the part we were raiding. The enemy at once sent up S.O.S. signals, and his artillery put down a barrage on that part of the front—which was exactly what we wanted. At 11 p.m. all our guns opened fire on the real front for five minutes, and then, lifting off the part that was to be raided, formed a box barrage all round it. Our raiding party, consisting of 2 officers and 70 men, then went over the top, passing through gaps in the wire which had previously been cut by the trench mortars and by Bangalore torpedoes. At 11.25 they returned, having killed several Huns and taken five prisoners. The guns kept up the barrage till 11.40, and one of the howitzer batteries fired a screen of smoke shell along the edge of Fresnoy Park from 11.25 to 11.40, to screen our men as they returned. The whole thing went off like clockwork, and our infantry only had three men slightly wounded.

I received the following letter next day from the G.O.C. 186th Infantry Brigade:

"The raiders wish me to say that the barrage was perfect. Would you please accept for yourself and your batteries their thanks for the large part you contributed towards the success of the show. To show the accuracy of the shooting, the Bangalore torpedoes were inserted[61] in the wire while the barrage was still on the front line. This and the absence of casualties from short shooting, and the fact that the garrison was discovered prostrate on the floor of the trench, I think speaks for itself.

"J. G. Burnett,

And also the following from Lieut.-Colonel Thackeray, who commanded the battalion that carried out the raid:

"Both the officers and men who took part in the raid last night are loud in their praise of the wonderful accuracy of the barrage. It gave them the greatest confidence...."

I may say here that the infantry were always most generous in their acknowledgment of our support, and there was the best possible feeling between the two arms in our Division. We all had the greatest admiration for our wonderful infantry, and it was a great gratification to us to know that they appreciated our efforts.

Eight Military Medals were awarded while we were in action in this part of the line (v. Appendix).

Early on the morning of the 21st March the enemy began a tremendous bombardment on our front, and we could hear the thunder of his guns extending apparently for many miles to either flank. The great offensive had evidently begun, and we received orders to be prepared to withdraw from our part of the line, which was to be taken over by a Canadian Division, and to become G.H.Q. reserve.

Lieut. H. G. Goldsmith was wounded this day.

It was sometime before we could get any news of what was taking place, but on the 23rd we learned that the Boche had opened an attack with 45 divisions along a[62] front of 50 miles, from the Oise to the Sensèe, and thence to the Scarpe, that he had retaken Ecoust, Noreuil, and the Mort Homme heights, and that the 17th Corps on our right had evacuated the important height of Monchy. Further news came at mid-day that our 5th Army was retiring on Peronne, and that the 3rd Army was also being pressed back by sheer weight of numbers. Two batteries of the 312th Brigade, A and B, withdrew from the line that night, and went into action on the 24th in positions close to Beaurains to support the 17th Corps. My headquarters moved on the same day to Warlus, and the 310th Brigade, and the remainder of the 312th, were ordered to withdraw from the line that night and march to the Warlus area.

Events, however, were moving rapidly, and at midnight on the 24th I received instructions to concentrate at Ayette. The previous orders were at once countermanded; the batteries at Beaurains were ordered to withdraw from action forthwith and to march on Ayette, where they were to be joined by the rest of the artillery, which had just arrived at the Roclincourt wagon lines. I left myself at 6 a.m. on the 25th and met the G.O.C. at Ayette. Here we found orders awaiting us to push on to Bucquoy. Our infantry began to arrive there about mid-day, and, tired as they were after marching all through the night, were at once thrown into the line from Logeast Wood to Achiet-le-Petit, where the Boche was attacking in great strength.

The scene in Bucquoy that morning and all through the day was a remarkable one, never to be forgotten. For hour after hour one continuous unbroken stream of transport belonging to several different divisions passed through the village retiring west towards Hannescamps.[63] Everything had to move along one rather narrow road which, in bad enough condition to start with, became execrable later on in the day, and one bad breakdown of a lorry or wagon might have led to a disastrous block and the ultimate loss of thousands of vehicles. Fortunately the traffic control was admirably managed, and the shells, which as the day wore on began to fall with more and more frequency in the village, never happened to find out the crowded road, so that that particular disaster was averted. We moved on to the high ground just east of Bucquoy, and were able to get a good view of the general situation. We joined the Headquarter Staffs of two other Divisions there, and heard from them that our troops were still falling slowly back under great and increasing pressure, and that there was actually a large gap on the right through which our flank was in imminent danger of being turned. As it was obvious that my guns could be of no use in Bucquoy, and would only make the confusion in the crowded village worse confounded, General Braithwaite directed me to divert their march if still possible, and to put them into action near Monchy au Bois. The advanced parties arrived about noon, and were sent back to Ayette, where they were just in time to stop the brigades and turn them off to the positions ordered.

General Braithwaite now assumed command, and we found ourselves responsible for a tremendous number of guns, consisting of several divisional artilleries. Nobody seemed to know where they all were, some batteries being in action, some on the move, and some in positions of observation or readiness in rear. FitzGibbon, however, did wonders, and, with the help of Trench, the Signalling Officer, and Anderson the R.O., at last[64] succeeded in locating and establishing communication with the majority of them.

As night fell the shelling of Bucquoy grew very severe, and orders were received from Corps Headquarters to retire the infantry to a line covering Bucquoy, while the Divisional Headquarters moved back to Foncquevillers. It was a night of great stress and anxiety during which there was no sleep for anyone; the artillery was safely withdrawn, and positions were taken up in the area between Hannescamps and Les Essarts, my own weary batteries having to move up from the positions they had just occupied near Monchy. When the morning of the 26th dawned the infantry were holding their new line, and the guns were nearly all in action. There was desperate fighting throughout this day, in the course of which our right was pressed back out of Puisieux. Headquarters was shelled constantly, as was the whole area occupied by the artillery. Fortunately the enemy had not yet had time to locate the battery positions, and the shelling, being distributed over the whole country side, caused fewer casualties than might have been expected.

The situation was most critical, as the gap on our right flank still lay open to the enemy who kept pressing up into it and actually got up to the outskirts of Hebuterne in the afternoon. It seemed as though he would succeed in getting round the rear of the division, and many alarmist reports were rife as to the presence of Huns in all sorts of unlikely places behind us. These reports spread back for miles and caused a good deal of commotion in the back area. It was believed that they were propagated by German spies, and it may well have been so. Certainly many suspicious cases were reported of orders having been given to various units to retire at[65] once by red-tabbed officers who could never be identified afterwards as belonging to the staff of any of the divisions engaged. At least one such case occurred in the Divisional Artillery; a Staff Officer hurried up to Major Jephson, and, telling him that the enemy was working round behind his Division, advised him to retire his battery, C/310, before it should be too late. Jephson, of course, declined to adopt the suggestion, and reported the matter by telephone to Headquarters. He was from there told to arrest the Staff Officer, but unfortunately by the time the order got through to him the bird had flown.

That evening as the dusk was falling a group of us were standing at a corner of Foncquevillers watching Hebuterne rather anxiously, when an officer called out that he could see a crowd of Huns on our side of that village. Glasses were levelled on the place, and a very brief inspection served to show that the men were moving into and not out of the village. A moment later, and a sharp-eyed officer declared that he could make out the familiar slouched hats of the Australians. In the gathering darkness it was hard to make certain of this, but the arrival of an Australian Staff Officer a few minutes later dispelled all doubts. The infantry brigade to which he belonged had been rushed up to the critical point, and by 8 p.m. it had occupied Hebuterne and driven back the Hun patrols in front of that village, thereby greatly easing the situation. Later on in the night the New Zealand Division arrived after a wonderful 29 mile march, and filled up the gap still further to our right, from east of Colincamps to Beaumont Hamel.

The Military Cross was won this day by Lieuts. F. Abrahams and A. C. Murray:

"As Battery Signalling Officer, Lieut. Abrahams,[66] regardless of personal safety, superintended the mending of wires under heavy shell fire, encouraging the signallers and men of the battery in their task by his example of energy and devotion to duty."

"When the line between the receiving station and the guns, some 300 yards, was broken, Lieut. Murray volunteered to take the orders from the station up to the guns. He did this again and again under very heavy fire. On a later date he carried out most useful observation from an O.P., in spite of continual shelling."

Bitter fighting went on on the 27th, when we beat off five separate attacks, all made in great strength, and killed large numbers of Huns. The hostile artillery fire was again very intense on Headquarters and the area occupied by the batteries. Lieut. W. P. Holt gained his Military Cross for the following action:

"Finding that he could see little from his O.P., Lieut. Holt worked forward to the infantry, and, returning, sent back messages which obtained artillery support for a counter-attack. He displayed marked courage and enterprise in moving over the open under heavy fire and keeping touch with the fighting infantry. The information he sent back was most valuable."

Next day, the 28th, four attacks were made from the direction of Puisieux. One especially, launched at 10 a.m. against the 5th Duke of Wellington's, was delivered in tremendous strength, but the attacking enemy troops were nearly annihilated, and the battalion not only held its own, but captured some twenty prisoners. The shelling of Foncquevillers had now grown so severe that it became impossible to keep Divisional Headquarters there any longer and still maintain communication with the troops in front and the Corps Headquarters[67] in rear. We consequently moved to Souastre, leaving an advanced signal station in Foncquevillers, at which one officer of my staff always remained, taking it in turns among them to do each a 24-hour spell of duty there.

On this day Lieuts. L. C. Gane, M.C., and C. V. Montgomery were wounded, and Capt. A. Senior was awarded the Military Cross for "conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty"; this decoration was also gained by Capts. H. de B. Archer, Adjutant 310th Brigade, and J. Miles, its Signalling Officer:

"On the 26th, 27th and 28th March, 1918, during operations round Bucquoy, Capt. Archer sat, practically in the open, for 72 hours by the telephone, receiving and sending messages. He was constantly under shell fire, and had to carry the telephone from spot to spot, to be able to carry on. His coolness and thoroughness throughout this period greatly helped and encouraged the batteries. On the 25th and 26th March he also carried out most useful reconnaissances under constant heavy shell fire."

"On the 26th, 27th and 28th March, during operations near Bucquoy, Capt. Miles established and maintained a complete system of communication to all batteries of the brigade, and all neighbouring formations taking part in the operations. During the whole of this time he was continuously laying or mending wires; where the shelling was most severe he had to go oftenest, and did so with entire disregard for his personal safety. His work (and the results of it) and his behaviour were beyond all praise."

On the 29th fighting was still very severe, but our front line was now more firmly consolidated, and it began[68] to look as though the tremendous onslaught had been checked not only here but all along the British front. This was Good Friday, and it seemed very fitting that the day which already means so much for humanity should be still further consecrated as marking the first serious check received by the opponents of all that Christianity stands for. The following Divisional Order was issued:

"The Divisional Commander knows that all ranks are cheerfully bearing the strain of the prolonged fighting, and he is proud of their endurance and fine fighting spirit.

"The Division is performing a very important rôle of holding up the German advance in this part of the battlefield, and the very heavy casualties inflicted on the enemy are an earnest of their determined fighting.

"He congratulates all troops on their splendid gallantry, and is confident in the continuation of the fine resistance they are making to the enemy's attempts to break our line.

"Well done, 62nd (West Riding) Division!

"Walter Braithwaite,


Lieut. G. A. Ellis was this day awarded the Military Cross:

"He maintained communication and observed for his battery throughout the day, though his O.P. was spotted by the enemy and subjected to continuous rifle fire and shelling. He twice mended the wire, which was cut by shell fire, in the open."

Fifteen Military Medals were gained in the Divisional Artillery during the fighting from the 21st to the end of the month (v. Appendix).


During these strenuous days I had seven brigades of Field Artillery under my command, disposed as follows:

Right group. 93rd and 235th Brigades.
Centre"187th, 236th and 310th Brigades.
Left"190th and 312th Brigades.

And also the 54th, 71st, and 92nd Brigades of Heavy Artillery.

On the 30th March Lieut. C. R. Witcher was again wounded.

April 1918.

On the 1st April the 37th Division relieved our infantry but the artillery remained unchanged, the batteries of the relieving division not having arrived yet in the area.

On the 3rd April, Major J. Willey, Commanding A/312, was killed, to the great sorrow of all who knew him. He was a gallant, unassuming officer, with a rather diffident and altogether charming manner, and the loss of so able a battery commander at this critical time was felt severely.

Early on the morning of April 5th the 37th Division carried out an attack on Rossignol Wood and a position running thence westwards, under cover of a barrage from the guns, which was kept up from 5.30 to 7.30 a.m. The enemy answered with a very heavy fire on all the batteries, and especially on the headquarters of the right group at Chateau la Haie. Here the Adjutant of the 235th Brigade was wounded, and there were several casualties among the telephonists. About 130 prisoners were captured, including four officers. It soon appeared, however, that this local operation had merely forestalled another tremendous German attack, which reached its full force at about 10.45 a.m., and was kept up all through this and the following day. The[70] Boche bombardment was extraordinarily intense, and stretched far into the back area. It included a large amount of gas shell, concentrated chiefly on the 312th Brigade, which was in action along a hedge close to and south-west of Les Essarts. The brigade fought with magnificent courage, and though inundated with gas shell the batteries never failed to fire when called upon throughout the day; there was scarcely a man but had his hands badly blistered by the foul mustard gas, while many officers and men were temporarily blinded by it. C/312 had a particularly terrible experience. All the six officers with the guns, including Major M. R. H. Crofton, D.S.O., were wounded or gassed, and the majority of the gunners, while several guns were knocked out. In fact by the evening the battery had ceased to exist as a fighting unit, and it was about a fortnight before it could take an active share again in the fighting. Much sympathy was felt for the gallant Battery Commander, Major Crofton. He had already been three or four times wounded during the war, and on this day orders arrived appointing him to the command of a brigade, a promotion which he was unable to avail himself of owing to this fresh wound. It was particularly bad luck, as he had once before missed promotion in Mesopotamia for the same reason, having been badly wounded on the day on which he was appointed to a command.

The enemy suffered a sanguinary defeat, being repulsed by our troops with tremendous loss at all points, except that he gained possession of a small corner of Bucquoy.

Major G. A. Swain was awarded the Military Cross for his gallant behaviour on the 5th. His battery,[71] D/312, fired no less than 2600 rounds while under the heavy gas bombardment referred to above.

During the two days' fighting the following officers were wounded in addition to Major Crofton:

Lieut. H. F. Nowill, M.C.  }
"F. G. Sharpling} A/310.
Capt.A. Senior}
Lieut.J. B. Boden, M.C.}
"S. A. Rissik} all of C/312.
"E. W. Puttock}
"A. E. Stuttle}

Although the Boche had failed so disastrously on this occasion, his resources in men and guns seemed to be unlimited, and he still kept up his daily attacks with unremitting vigour. Our troops were exhausted almost beyond the limits of human endurance, and the first three weeks of the great offensive seemed to us like as many months—a period of constant danger and anxiety, unceasing hardships, and utter fatigue. The news from other fronts was of so sinister a nature that it might well have driven even the bravest of men to despair. Amongst our splendid troops, however, there was never any thought of further retreat, and the following stirring order, issued by the Commander-in-Chief on the 11th April, only served to confirm the resolution already taken by every officer and man in the British army to hold back the hated enemy as long as there was a gun or rifle left to fire at him:

"To all ranks of the British army in France and Flanders.

"Three weeks ago to-day the enemy began his terrific attacks against us on a fifty-mile front. His objects[72] are to separate us from the French, to take the Channel ports, and destroy the British army.

"In spite of throwing already 106 Divisions into the battle, and enduring the most reckless sacrifice of human life, he has as yet made little progress towards his goal.

"We owe this to the determined fighting and self-sacrifice of our troops. Words fail me to express the admiration which I feel for the splendid resistance offered by all ranks of our army under the most trying circumstances.

"Many amongst us now are tired. To those I would say that victory will belong to the side which holds out the longest. The French army is moving rapidly and in great force to our support.

"There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man; there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall, and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight on to the end. The safety of our homes and the freedom of mankind alike depend upon the conduct of each one of us at this critical moment.

"D. Haig,
"Commander-in-Chief British Armies in France."

Divisional Headquarters were now at Henu, and on the 18th a readjustment of the artillery took place, bringing back the 310th to cover their own instead of the 37th Division. The right group now consisted of the 310th and 312th Brigades, and the 187th Brigade, while the 26th, 295th and 296th Brigades formed the left group. The headquarters of the right group was established in a dug-out at Chateau la Haie, and the batteries of the 62nd Divisional Artillery, which had[73] been in the Essarts area, were now distributed about between Foncquevillers and Sailly au Bois. This was not quite so unpleasant an area as the one they had left, and things gradually became a little less strenuous. By the 19th April a French army had arrived in our support, and though it was not brought into action, the knowledge of its presence in close proximity to us was very reassuring.

The infantry of the Division was withdrawn from the line for a rest on the 24th April, and our headquarters moved back to Pas en Artois. The artillery remained in action, and had settled down by the end of the month to the old familiar routine of trench warfare. We had six more officers wounded during April, viz.:

Lieut.E. H. VanderpumpApril7th.
MajorE. W. Jephson, M.C."8th (for the third time).
Lieut.E. J. C. Sheppard"11th.
"J. E. McIlroy"18th.
MajorW. F. Tuthill"22nd.
Lieut.A. E. Cockerell"22nd.

Twenty-four Military Medals were awarded during the month (v. Appendix).

I insert here a message received from Her Majesty the Queen. The generous sympathy shown for us by all at home, and their unshaken confidence in the army had been a source of great comfort and support to us all during the ordeal we had passed through, and Her Majesty's gracious and touching words were highly appreciated:

"From H.M. the Queen to F.M. Sir Douglas Haig.


"To the men of our Navy, Army, and Air Force, I[74] send this message to tell every man how much we, the women of the British Empire at home, watch and pray for you during the long hours of these days of stress and endurance. Our pride in you is immeasurable, our hope unbounded, our trust absolute. You are fighting in the cause of righteousness and freedom, fighting to defend the children and women of our land from the horrors that have overtaken other countries, fighting for our very existence as a people at home and across the seas. You are offering your all. You hold back nothing, and day by day you show a love so great that no man can have greater. We, on our part, send forth with full hearts and unfaltering will the lives we hold most dear. We, too, are striving in all ways possible to make the war victorious. I know that I am expressing what is felt by thousands of wives and mothers when I say that we are determined to help one another in keeping your homes ready against your glad home-coming. In God's name we bless you, and by His help we, too, will do our best.

"Mary R."

The following special order of the day was published on the 9th May:

May 1918.

"I wish to convey to all ranks of the Royal Regiment of Artillery my deep appreciation of the splendid service rendered by them in all stages of the Somme and Lys battles since the opening of the enemy's attack.

"The difficult conditions imposed by a defensive fight against greatly superior numbers have been faced with the same skill, courage and devotion to duty which characterised the work of all branches of the artillery[75] through the offensive battles of 1917. With less constant and loyal co-operation on the part of both field, heavy, and siege batteries, the great bravery and determination of the infantry could scarcely have availed to hold up the enemy's advance. The infantry are the first to admit the inestimable value of the artillery support so readily given them on all occasions.

"The knowledge possessed by each arm, doubly confirmed by the severe tests already passed through successfully, that it can rely with absolute confidence upon the most whole-hearted and self-sacrificing co-operation of the other, is the greatest possible assurance that all further assaults of the enemy will be met and defeated. I thank the artillery for what it has already done, and count without fear of disappointment upon the maintenance of the same gallant spirit and high standard of achievement in the future.

"D. Haig, F.M.,
"Commander-in-Chief British Armies in France."

Lieut. J. Owen was wounded on the 10th May by a shell that entered his dug-out at Sailly au Bois.

June 1918.

During May and June there was not much activity on our front. We got many warnings from prisoners and other sources of the imminence of a further offensive, and on the 26th May especially an unusually severe bombardment, extending to the back areas, seemed to presage a fresh German effort. Nothing however came of it, except that on this latter date a big attack was started against the French near Reims. Our Headquarters came in for a good deal of unpleasant attention, chiefly from a high velocity gun firing from near Bapaume[76] which bombarded us with especial intensity on the 18th and 19th May, and on the 9th June. We were also considerably annoyed by bombing aeroplanes at night, and early in the morning of the 17th June several bombs fell very close to the chateau in which we lived. One bomb on this occasion burst ten yards from a small shanty in which two men were sleeping. Fortunately the inside of the hut had been dug down about 2½ feet, and the men were lying below the ground level, with the happy result that although the hut was blown to fragments the men inside were absolutely unhurt. The batteries were subjected to a good many bombardments, but generally without much effect. D/310, however, had an unfortunate experience on the 11th June. A 5.9 shell penetrated one of their dug-outs, going through 12 feet of earth before it burst and killing all the six men who were inside it at the time. Major Foot, who commanded this battery, was at the time studying the duties of Brigade Major at headquarters, and I may mention here that, in order to have understudies always ready to take the place of any Staff Officer who might become casualties, there was generally a Regimental Officer attached to my headquarters to learn the work. We had a good many officers in the Divisional Artillery who had been trained in this way, and who were quite competent to take on the respective duties at a moment's notice. Majors Eeles and Foot, and Capts. Archer and Middleton did particularly good work of this sort at one time or another.

Several raiding operations were carried out by us. On the night of the 25th May our guns supported the 57th Division in a raid which resulted in the capture of eleven prisoners, and at 1 a.m. on the 18th June we fired[77] off a thousand gas projectors at Ablainzeville, the guns and trench mortars firing a barrage through the village at the same time. The mortars that took part in this operation were firing from a position barely 400 yards from the Boche line, which had been selected by Bottomley, who had succeeded Powell as Trench Mortar Officer. It was a very dangerous and badly "strafed" place, but the risk was well worth taking, and the mortars were a constant thorn in the enemy's side. For obvious reasons the results of operations of this sort could very rarely be ascertained, but in this instance we were more fortunate for we learned from a document, captured in the following August, that the Germans lost in this gas attack two officers and 51 men killed, and 66 gassed, all of the 12th Bavarian R.I.R.

There were two rather notable events in the wagon lines during this period. On the 19th May, Whit-Sunday, General Braithwaite attended a parade service there and presented a large number of Military Medals. He took the occasion to make us a very graceful speech and to congratulate all ranks on their courage and fine behaviour during the trying days of the great offensive.

On the 16th June he inspected the D.A.C. and presented three Distinguished Service Medals which had been won by Indian drivers. The Indians, as I have said before, were a very useful lot of men, and could always be counted upon to obey orders, however difficult and dangerous the execution of them might be. In fact, as the following incident shows, the literal way in which they tried to obey their orders was sometimes carried to excess. Sometime during April, when the fighting was at its hottest, some wagons of the D.A.C., driven by Indian drivers, were carrying ammunition up to a[78] battery near Essarts. The drivers of one of the wagons were making their first trip up to the battery area, and one of the instructions given them was that they must on no account leave anything behind them when they returned, however heavily they might be shelled. As luck would have it this wagon had a very bad time of it, the British N.C.O. with it being badly wounded, and two out of the six mules being killed. The drivers behaved very well, finished their job of delivering ammunition, and brought back the wounded man safely. They were, however, full of apologies on their return to camp; they had done their utmost, they said, to load up the two dead mules on to the wagon, but although they had tried their hardest for about an hour under heavy fire, they had had to give it up at last as beyond their powers.

On the 14th June a rather disturbing order came out, reducing our establishment of horses and mules; the first line wagons and all the ammunition wagons of the D.A.C. were henceforth to be drawn by four instead of six horses. No doubt this step was unavoidable owing to the shortage of animals, but it added enormously to the difficulties of ammunition supply for the rest of the war.

On the 18th the 312th Brigade, which had been supporting the Division on our right for some time past, moved across to the neighbourhood of Foncquevillers and joined its own division again.

In the Gazette of the 3rd June, Lieut.-Colonel F. A. Woodcock and Major C. A. Eeles were awarded the D.S.O.

Nine Military Medals were awarded during May and June (v. Appendix), and two Military Crosses—to Lieuts.[79] H. O. Schofield on the 9th June and Harold Smith on the 23rd:

"When a shell burst in a gun pit, set the camouflage on fire and damaged the gun, Lieut. Schofield, with a non-commissioned officer (Corpl. Edwin Burton, D.C.M.) rushed to the spot, and, despite continuous enemy shelling and the dangerously overheated condition of the ammunition, they removed the clinometer and a large number of rounds to a place of safety and put out the fire, thereby saving much ammunition."

"During a destructive shoot on the battery, Lieut. H. Smith, with the assistance of a N.C.O., removed all dial sights from the guns, carrying them to a place of safety. Later, when the camouflage on the pit caught fire from a direct hit, he, with the help of two men, cleared the burning stuff away and removed ammunition whilst rounds were exploding and the battery was still under heavy fire. He eventually put out the fire, and thereby saved a gun from destruction."

On the 25th June the Division withdrew from the line to go into G.H.Q. reserve, and the sorely tried batteries at last got a brief spell of peace, and went into rest billets in and about Orville, Amplier, and Sarton.


Chapter V

"O torn out of thy trance,
O deathless, O my France,
O many wounded mother, O redeemed to reign.

Out of the obscene eclipse
Re-risen with burning lips,
To witness for us if we looked for thee in vain."

July 1918.

Comfortable billets and beautiful summer weather, with sports, entertainments given by the excellent "Pelican Troupe," and other distractions, contributed to make the rest a very pleasant one, but it was not to last long. On about the 12th July the Division was ordered to prepare for a move to an unknown destination, and on the 15th the artillery entrained and was taken south through Paris. That all units had made good use of their time in a peaceful area is proved by this letter, which the G.O.C. received from the General commanding the R.A. of the 4th Corps:

"My dear General,—I saw your artillery entraining at two stations on the 15th. I saw portions of six batteries and the D.A.C.


"I told the Corps Commander that I have seldom seen horses in such magnificent condition, or a better turn-out of men, horses and vehicles. They might have been proceeding for a ceremonial show in London, instead of going to take part in a battle.

"I told the Battery Commanders how sorry we are in the Corps to part with your Division. We know the Division and the Division knows the Corps, and all our battle associations have been happy and successful.

"We sincerely hope that the gallant Pelicans will come back to us.

"I thought you would like to hear about your artillery. They certainly impressed all who saw them very much, and I am sure that they will impress our Allies....

"Yours very sincerely,
"J. G. Geddes."

On the 15th July the enemy began a big attack on a front of 50 miles, each side of Reims, and the Division, which was originally, I believe, to have gone to Verdun, was diverted while still in the troop trains towards the Reims front, and by the 18th had been detrained and billeted in an area between Arcis and Epernay, with headquarters at Tours Sur Marne. We now learned that we, with the 51st Highland Division, had been formed into the 22nd Corps, under command of Lieut.-General Sir A. Godley, and were for the time being a part of the 5th French Army. We heard, too, the cheering news that not only had the German offensive been definitely checked, but that the French had counter-attacked on a long front from Soissons southwards, and, in addition[82] to advancing several kilometres, had captured about 17,000 prisoners.

Late at night on the 18th I was aroused by the news that we were to advance at once and take our place in the line of battle. Accordingly we moved our headquarters on the 19th to Germaine, in the forest of Reims, while the two brigades and the D.A.C. concentrated near Avenay and Fontaine. In the afternoon I rode out with the Brigade and Battery Commanders, and reconnoitred a position of assembly in the forest, out of view of aeroplane observation. Early next morning the batteries moved up into this position, while the Divisional Headquarters was established in the village of St. Imoges. The D.A.C. took up its position close to the Reims-Epernay road, about two miles east of Courtagnon.

At 8 a.m. the French artillery attached to the Division opened a barrage, under which our infantry attacked Marfaux and the Bois de Reims. While in their positions of readiness the artillery was unmolested except by a chance shell, which unfortunately burst on a sub-section of B/312, killing six men and wounding two officers (Lieuts. J. M. Whitworth and W. Burt) and five men. As the fight progressed the brigades were ordered into action, and by 6 p.m. all batteries were in position in the Patis d'Ecueil, with the exception of C/312, which came into action about 800 yards west of Courtagnon Farm. Lieut. P. K. Baillie-Reynolds was also wounded this day. Lieut. G. A. Ellis added a bar to the Military Cross which he had won in March: "He carried an officer, who was wounded in the battery O.P., back to safety through a heavy barrage, and then returned to his post to observe the progress of the attack, sending back valuable information. Later on, when the battery of which he was[83] left in charge was heavily shelled, he promptly moved the men. His coolness and judgment prevented many casualties."

At 10 a.m. on Sunday the 21st we launched an attack against the wooded ridge running north-west from the north of Cuitron. The enemy offered a stubborn resistance, and neither we nor the 51st were able to make much progress. Firing was almost continuous during the day and night, sometimes at the request of our own infantry and sometimes of the French on our right.

Next day we attacked the Bois du Petit Champ just north of Cuitron, and by 4 p.m. we had taken the wood, making prisoners over 200 Huns and capturing 30 machine guns. Lieuts. H. E. Stephens and V. A. H. Draper were wounded, and about ten men were killed or wounded.

At 6 a.m. on the 23rd July the Division attacked under a barrage of our own artillery and French guns, and captured the villages of Marfaux and Cuitron, together with 130 prisoners and about 30 more machine guns. We also recovered a battery of French guns which had been lost in the opening offensive. Several batteries fired as many as 600 rounds per gun, and the infantry declared that the barrage was magnificent. The prisoners were in a great state of depression, and reported that their losses from our artillery fire had been enormous. This was no more than we expected, for large bodies of the enemy had frequently presented ideal targets to our guns throughout the day, and the batteries had taken full advantage of their opportunity. Divisional Headquarters moved to Hautvillers in the evening.

The 24th July was spent chiefly in consolidating the positions won. The artillery fire was mainly in support[84] of the 77th French division on our right. Boche aeroplanes were very active during the night, and the D.A.C. were particularly unfortunate, losing 26 animals killed and 20 wounded from hostile bombs. In the two brigades about nine horses were killed, and there were several casualties among the men. Lieut. W. H. House, United States Army, who was attached to the D.A.C. as Medical Officer, was awarded the M.C. for gallantry on this occasion. A great many bombs fell in the vicinity of our headquarters, and a large ammunition dump, in the valley about a mile distant, was set on fire, and went on exploding all through the night with tremendous detonations. The spectacle as viewed from the roof of our billet was a very grand and awe-inspiring one; the loss of ammunition to the French must have been very serious.

The following letter referred to the work of these last few days:

"Le Général Serrigny, C.B., C.M.G.,
"Commandant la 77me Division d'lnfanterie.
"à Monsieur le Général Commandant
"La 62me Division Britannique.
"le 26 Juillet, 1918.

"Mon Général,

"J'ai l'honneur de vous prier de vouloir bien transmettre au Commandant de l'Artillerie Britannique placèe sur vos ordres mes remerciements pour le concours efficace qu'elle a prété à ma Division au cours des attaques sur le bois de Reims et le château de Commetreuil.

"L'enlèvement difficile de cette région boisèe avait été préparé par les actions energiques menées par la 62me D. I. Britannique pendant les journées précédentes;[85] l'appui de I'artillerie anglaise pour les opérations des 22 et 23 Juillet a facilité grandement la tâche de la 77me D. I. francaise.

"Je vous exprime, au nom des troupes sur mes ordres, toute leur gratitude, et vous prie d'agréer l'expression de ma considération la plus distinguèe.


On the 25th and 26th July preparations were made for a further attack, and dumps at battery positions were made up to 600 rounds per 18-pounder, and 500 rounds per howitzer. The 310th Headquarters at the Ferme d'Ecueil was heavily shelled on the 26th, and had to be moved a few hundred yards. Lieut.-Colonel Sherlock on this occasion showed great personal gallantry in removing wounded men under very heavy fire. It rained heavily in the evening, and a cloudy night kept the bombers from troubling us.

At 6 a.m. on the 27th the Corps launched a fresh attack. It was completely successful, and by 11.30 a.m. we had captured the villages of Espilly and Nappe. After the attack the batteries advanced one at a time, and were all in their new positions before dark, the 310th in the Bois du petit Champ, and the 312th close to and west of Pourcy. We moved our headquarters to Nanteuil in the evening. It was raining hard, and the move was rather a cheerless one, the more so as the enemy was shelling the village hard when we entered it. Lieut. E. S. Lloyd gained the Military Cross for gallant and distinguished conduct in this day's action.

By this time I had under my command, in addition to my own artillery, 12 batteries of French Field Artillery and six French heavy batteries.


On the 28th the 312th Brigade moved forward at dawn to positions west of Marfaux, and supported a successful attack by the 185th Infantry Brigade on the Montagne de Bligny. The D.A.C. advanced to the vicinity of Courtagnon.

On the 29th we consolidated and pushed patrols forward, and there was some very hard fighting. The 310th Brigade moved at dawn to positions north of Cuitron, and engaged many moving targets with direct observation firing about 1500 rounds per battery during the day. D/310 engaged three hostile batteries with great success. Shortly after mid-day A/310 and C/310 advanced in full view of the enemy to positions near the Moulin de Chaumuzy and engaged machine guns which were annoying the infantry. The 312th also advanced two batteries in close support; B/312 trotted into a position near Chaumuzy under heavy fire, and suffered a few casualties.

Orders came in the afternoon for the British Corps to be withdrawn from the line and entrained to another destination, and after supporting a small operation from 7.45 to 8.45 p.m. the 310th withdrew to their wagon lines.

The 312th Brigade fired, in the early morning of the 30th, in support of a French advance, and then withdrew at 10 a.m. to St. Imoges and thence to Aigny. Divisional Headquarters moved back to Hautvillers.

The Divisional Artillery then marched to Chalons and Coolus, where they entrained on the 1st and 2nd August, and returned to our old neighbourhood. Headquarters were in Pas, the 310th Brigade in Couin, the 312th in Bus, and the D.A.C. in Authie St. Leger.

So ended a very interesting and exciting experience.[87] I think we all felt it a great privilege to have been selected as part of the force sent to help our French comrades against a formidable offensive, and we found them so cordial and pleasant, and so easy to get on with, that we all carried away very agreeable memories of our connection with their 5th Army, in spite of the strenuous nature of the fighting and the many hardships and dangers which we had to face. The fighting was of quite a new and unaccustomed type. It was moving, as opposed to trench warfare, and batteries were continually changing position, and had no more protection than they could dig for themselves in the intervals of firing; they took to it as readily as if they had done nothing else all through the war, and, in spite of all the difficulties of ammunition supply and keeping up communications in the thickly wooded country, they were always ready to open fire up to time, and to support the infantry in their rapid advances. This could only be achieved, however, by the unremitting exertion of every officer, N.C.O., and man, who were fighting and toiling night and day without shelter of any sort, and with never more than a chance hour or two of sleep at a time, from the 20th to the 30th July. Although the infantry suffered very severely, our casualties were not heavy, owing to the indifferent counter-battery work of the enemy, and to the excellent habit, which had become a second nature in all the batteries, of digging themselves in directly a position was occupied. The total losses in the Divisional Artillery in the ten days' fighting were only five officers wounded, nine other ranks killed, and about 60 other ranks wounded.

As some indication of the extent of artillery activity while with the 5th French army, I note here the[88] number of rounds handled during the period by the D.A.C.:

From railhead to reserve dump,   18-pr.How.
by lorry55,70518,450
Delivered to the guns from the
reserve dump by limbers52,32117,476

Eight Military Medals were awarded in connection with the operations, and also one Legion of Honour and nine Croix de Guerre (v. Appendix).

The following special order of the day was issued on the 31st July by Maj.-General Braithwaite:

"The operations which commenced on the 20th July were brought to a successful termination at midnight on the 30th July.

"During the whole of this period the 62nd Division has had continuous fighting, manoeuvring, and marching in new and hitherto unknown country of a character entirely different from anything in which it has operated before during this campaign. Especially have the densely wooded slopes of the Bois de Reims been a difficulty for troops unaccustomed to wood fighting.

"But neither the difficulty of the country, nor the determined and bitter resistance of the enemy, have militated against the victorious operations of the Division.

"The Division made a great name for itself at the battle of Cambrai. It enhanced that reputation at Bucquoy, where it withstood the attacks of some of the best of the German troops, up to that time flushed with success. It has in this great battle set the seal on its already established reputation as a fighting force of the first quality.


"During the period, it has been fighting with its comrades of the French army, and side by side with the 51st (Highland) Division, the 62nd (West Riding) Division has utterly defeated the 123rd German Division, which had to be withdrawn on the 22nd inst., and the 50th German Division (an assault division of the first rank) shared a similar fate a few days later.

"The fortitude, steadfastness, and valour of all ranks has been beyond praise.

"Marfaux, Cuitron, Bouilly the clearing of the Bois du Petit Champ, attest your gallantry, while Espilly, Nappes, the advance up the Ardre Valley, and the capture of Bligny and the Montagne de Bligny are evidence of your sustained valour.

"To every officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer and private soldier I tender my grateful thanks, and express my unstinted admiration of their victorious efforts. They have gloriously upheld the highest traditions of the British Army.

"It is with intense pride that, once again after a great victory I have the honour to sign myself as Commander of the 62nd (West Riding) Division.

"Walter Braithwaite,

The Corps had also the honour of receiving a complimentary order from General Berthelot in the following terms:

"Ordre Général No. 63 le 30 Juillet, 1918.

"Au moment ou le XXII. C. A. Britannique est appelé à quitter la Vme Armée, le Général Commandant l'Armée lui exprime toute la reconnaissance et toute[90] l'admiration qu'ont merité les hauts faits qu'il vient d'accomplir.

"A peine débarqué, tenant à l'honneur de participer à la contre offensive victorieuse qui venait d'arrêter la furieuse ruée de l'ennemi sur la Marne, et commencait à le rejeter en desordre vers le Nords, précipitant ses mouvements, réduisant à l'extreme la durée de ses reconnaissances, le XXII. C. A. s'est jeté avec ardeur dans la melée.

"Poussant sans répit ses efforts, harcellant, talonnant l'ennemi, il a, pendant 10 jours successifs d'âpres combats, fait sienne cette vallée de l'Ardre largement arrosée de son sang.

"Grace au courage héroique, et à la tenacité proverbiale des fils de la Grande Bretagne, les efforts continus et répétés de ce brave Corps d'Armée n'ont pas étés vains;

"21 officiers, plus de 1300 soldats prisonniers, 140 mitrailleuses, 40 canons, enlevés à l'ennemi, dont 4 divisions ont été successivement malmenées et refoulées,

"la haute vallée de l'Ardre réconquise avec les hauteurs qui la dominent au Nord et au Sud.

"tel est le bilan de la participation Britannique à l'effort de la Vme Armée.

"Ecossais de la Montagne, sous le commandement du Général Carter-Campbell, Commandant la 51me Division!

"Enfants de Yorkshire, sous le commandement du Général Braithwaite, commandant la 62nd Division!

"Cavaliers Neo-Zelandais et Australiens!

"Vous tous, officers et soldats du 22me C.A., si brillament commandé par le Général Sir A. Godley, vous venez d'ajoutir une page glorieuse à votre histoire.

"Marfaux, Chaumuzy, Montagne de Bligny, ces noms[91] prestigieux pourront être écrits en lettres d'or dans les annales de vos regiments.

"Vos amis Francais se souviendront avec émotion de votre brillant bravoure, et de votre parfaite cameraderie de combat.

"Le Général Commandant la Vme Armée,

The G.O.C. also received the following letter from Sir A. Godley:

"I am very sorry not to have been able to see any of your artillery on coming out of the battle. I had hoped to do so, but could not manage it. I should be very glad if you would convey to them my most grateful thanks and high appreciation of all the good work that they have done during the last ten days. The way in which batteries worked with battalions, and brigades with brigades of infantry, in open warfare, must have been a source of enormous satisfaction to all officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, and the way in which it was done is worthy of the best traditions of the Royal Regiment. Will you please convey my heartiest congratulations to all ranks."


Chapter VI

"The Right Hand of the Lord hath the pre-eminence. The Right Hand of the Lord bringeth mighty things to pass."—Psalm cxviii.

Aug. 1918.

On the 8th August the 4th Army launched a completely successful attack west of Amiens, and an offensive on a large scale was then decided on in which our Army, the third, was to participate. The 62nd Division was in reserve, but its artillery was temporarily placed under the 37th Division, and took up positions between Essarts and Bucquoy. The attack began on the 21st with a substantial victory. Our troops advanced through and beyond Bucquoy, Ablainzeville, and Moyenville, and later on in the day captured Achiet le Petit and Courcelles. In this action Lieut. A. G. Bennett was awarded the Military Cross:

"On the 21st August Lieut. Bennett was in charge of a section of trench mortars, and took part in the barrage preceding the attack on Bucquoy. In spite of the difficulties due to misfires, owing to dampness of charges on account of the atmospheric conditions, he succeeded in firing the whole of the hundred rounds in ten minutes, the shooting being excellent. On completion of the barrage he went forward with the infantry to reconnoitre,[93] taking with him Gunner E. Wendrop, M.M. In Bucquoy they met four of the enemy partly concealed, who had been overlooked by the first wave, and who were then sniping our men from the rear. With difficulty they got round them, and then rushed them, taking them prisoners."

The artillery pushed on, and on the 23rd our batteries supported the 4th Corps in another great attack, which resulted in the capture of Achiet le Grand, Bihucourt, and Irles. Our casualties were not heavy, but unhappily we lost one officer killed, Lieut. J. C. Massey-Beresford. That same evening the 62nd Divisional Artillery were withdrawn to Bertrancourt, and thence marched to join the 38th Division in an attack from the neighbourhood of Aveluy Wood. They remained with this division until the 6th September, and took part in the arduous advance from the Ancre to the Tortille river, being in action as the fight progressed in and about the ruined remains of the historical villages of Pozières, Bazentin, Flers, Morval, Mesnil, and Manancourt. I myself, with my Headquarter Staff, was with the artillery supporting the 62nd Division all this time, during its advance from Behagnies to the neighbourhood of Morchies; unfortunately, therefore, I am unable to describe the operations of the 62nd Divisional Artillery in detail, but they entailed very heavy fighting and continuous hard work. Major R. C. Foot has kindly furnished the following notes of the experiences of the 310th Brigade:

"Early on the 24th August we marched to Bouzincourt, where battery commanders went forward. The 38th Division had crossed the Ancre and made good Albert, but the enemy were still holding Tara and Usna Hills, which overlook Albert from the east. Our orders[94] were to take up positions east of the river to cover the next morning's advance. The three 18-pounder batteries went into action on the low ground east of the river that night, and I went in by the goods station close to the river. I remember we had to have 200 rounds per howitzer that night, which meant that the horses were on the road all night after 48 hours practically continuous marching.

"On the morning of the 25th we fired a barrage to cover the attack; Tara and Usna Hills were taken with three 77 mm. guns and some prisoners. That afternoon the 310th Brigade went into action near the crest in front of La Boisselle. The infantry advanced this evening and the next day, with little opposition after the morning's success.

"On the 26th the brigade was in action in the valley between Contalmaison and Pozières. That evening B/310 and D/310 did a combined shoot on a counter attack by two companies of the 3rd Grenadier Regiment, made against the right brigade of the 38th Division; the Germans came out of Trones Wood across the open, and Jim Currie (commanding B/310) caught them beautifully; we counted about 40 dead there next morning.

"On the 27th we were in action by Mametz Wood and Bazentin Wood. Here we fired a barrage for an attack on the Longueval—Guillemont area that morning. The 28th saw us in action at Ginchy covering the advance on Morval, which proved rather a difficult place to take. Here Latter behaved very gallantly under heavy shelling, for which he was subsequently awarded the M.C. I had some very nice shooting from here on some infantry dragging light trench mortars; I hit two[95] teams and counted 12 dead and all three mortars left there next day.

"We remained at Ginchy two days, and on the 30th went into action at Morval. From this position we covered the advance on Sailly Saillisel Ridge, which was taken on September 1st.

Sept. 1918.

"Reconnoitring the long forward slope down to the Canal du Nord at Manancourt on the 2nd was a nasty job, and some 38th Division batteries who were pushed on in front of us here had a bad time. Meanwhile my battery moved up close behind Sailly Saillisel.

"On the evening of the 3rd we moved up close to the canal. I went in rear of B/310, about 800 yards from the canal, which our infantry were to cross in the morning. By bad luck I came under a German gas concentration, which lasted from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. I had to stay there to fire a barrage, and consequently got about 90 per cent. of the men at my gun positions gassed. We were digging, and carrying ammunition all night; the position was close to Manancourt. Nelson got an M.C. for his work that night.

"The Brigade crossed the canal on the 5th, but on the 6th was withdrawn from action. The advance had been 18 miles as the crow flies, in 13 days, over the old Somme battlefield."

The official records of the two Military Crosses mentioned in the above account are as follows:

"When ordered to reconnoitre at Ginchy for a gun position for an advance, Lieut. Latter found the enemy in possession of the area, and sweeping all approaches with machine gun fire. He successfully marked a position, although he was at times in the open within[96] 300 yards of the hostile machine guns. Later, in command of a detached section, he displayed great gallantry and initiative, moving to and fro several times from his section to the main battery position for orders, in preference to sending runners from his men."

"Lieut. H. G. Nelson: when his battery came into action in a forward position it was heavily shelled with gas, but with great courage and determination he moved about encouraging his men. Later, when two of his guns received direct hits, he kept them in action, removing the casualties himself. His disregard for his own safety was a splendid example to his men, and enabled them to maintain the fire of their guns when this appeared impossible."

Four officers were wounded during these operations, Lieuts. F. R. Stuart, W. J. Green, J. C. Harker, and H. G. Nelson. Eight Military Medals were gained (v. Appendix). Lieut. N. Hess won a bar on the 1st September to the M.C., which he gained in November 17, and Lieut. E. C. Lintern was awarded the Military Cross for the following action on the 3rd September at Mesnil:

"When during night harassing fire one of the guns of D/312 burst, killing two and wounding two of his detachment and setting fire to the pit, he and a gunner at once went to the assistance of the wounded men. They removed burning charges which had been blown into the ammunition recess, and succeeded in preventing an explosion and keeping down the fire, until other help was forthcoming and the fire was put out. His prompt action prevented further loss of life."

The following letter was received by the Divisional Commander from the G.O.C. 38th Division:

"I have experienced the great honour and privilege[97] of having under my command, from the 21st August to the 5th September, 1918, the artillery of your Division.

"This Division has attacked on a 3000 yard front for 16 days consecutively with a truly remarkable success. I attribute this success to a great degree to the magnificent support I have received from the Field Artillery. On many occasions batteries of your artillery have literally moved parallel with my advancing infantry. Their dash, determination, and staying power are above all praise.

"I wish especially to bring to your notice the gallant and distinguished conduct of Lieut.-Colonel D. J. Sherlock, D.S.O., and Lieut.-Colonel A. G. Eden."

This battle from the 21st to 31st August is now officially known as the Battle of Bapaume, which, runs the official account, turning the flank of the German positions on the Somme compelled the enemy to withdraw to the east bank of the river. Here 23 divisions defeated 35 German divisions, capturing 34,250 prisoners and 250 guns.

On the 28th August Major-General W. P. Braithwaite left us on promotion to the command of a corps. Glad as we all were that he should receive the recognition due to his distinguished services, each one of us felt his departure as a personal loss. He had always taken the keenest interest in his artillery, and had been a constant visitor at the battery positions, and we felt that we were losing in him a leader who inspired confidence and could understand our needs. Whatever the difficulty and danger of the situation, he always preserved the same cheery, courteous, and debonnaire demeanour, and he never passed through a battery without leaving the officers and men the happier for his visit. Less than this[98] I cannot say, and I would gladly say more; but it would be unbecoming in me to speak of the soldierly qualities of a superior officer, while he and I are still on the active list, and I must content myself with saying that Sir Walter Braithwaite will long be remembered with admiration and affection by his old artillery.

He was succeeded in command of the Division by Major-General Sir Robert Whigham.

Sept. 1918.

My own artillery joined the Division again on the 8th September. Divisional Headquarters were then at the Triangle Copse near Gomiecourt, and the Division was enjoying a short rest some distance in rear of the front line, which ran roughly along the Canal du Nord. I had hoped that our gunners would have a rest too after their fine work with the 38th Division, but it was not to be, for on the day of their arrival we received orders to be prepared to attack and capture Havrincourt, the scene of our former triumph in a few days. The brigades and D.A.C. accordingly moved on the 9th to the area round Beugny, and the work of reconnoitring positions for the coming battle began at once. The positions selected lay chiefly between Havrincourt Wood and the Canal, a little to the left of those occupied in the battle of the 20th November, 1917. The 3rd Divisional Artillery, together with the 5th, 76th, 93rd, and 232nd brigades, were temporarily added to my command, making a total of twenty-four 18-pounder batteries and eight 4.5 howitzer batteries to support the Division in its attack. Batteries set to work forthwith to prepare their positions, and to dump thereon 450 rounds per gun. While engaged in this work Lieut. B. Alderton won the Military Cross "for great gallantry at Havrincourt Wood on September[99] 10th, 1918, in leading ammunition wagons which were being heavily shelled to a place of safety. He dealt with the situation with great pluck and skill, assisted the five drivers who had been wounded, and undoubtedly saved further damage being done."

The following Divisional Order was issued on the 10th:

"The 62nd (West Riding) Division has been called on to make a big effort to capture the high ground on which the village of Havrincourt stands.

"The early capture of this important tactical feature is regarded as essential to the success of larger operations in the near future. Every day given to the enemy to strengthen his positions there is a day gained for him.

"There are no tanks available for this attack at Havrincourt, which will be carried out under intense artillery barrage and bombardment.

"The 62nd Division has borne a brilliant share in the operations on the Marne in July, and more recently in nine days hard fighting round Mory and Vaulx. It captured Havrincourt on the 20th November last year, and a second capture of this strong position in the Hindenburg line will add fresh lustre to the splendid record of the Division.

"R. D. Whigham,

All the batteries went into action during the night of the 11th September, and in the early hours of the 12th Divisional Headquarters moved to the canal bank south-west of Hermies. At 5.25 a.m. the barrage opened, and continued for about three hours, sweeping north-east through the village of Havrincourt at the rate of 100 yards in three minutes. The infantry pressed[100] on irresistibly behind the line of bursting shell, and once more this almost impregnable position fell before the unconquerable onslaught of our wonderful battalions. The prisoners numbered 12 officers and over 600 other ranks. We had one officer wounded in the Divisional Artillery, Lieut. J. B. C. Hewitt. All through the 13th there was fierce fighting round the village. The Boche counter-attacked vigorously, and at one time got a foothold in a corner of Havrincourt, but by the evening he was again thrust out. The guns were hard at work all day, and we learned from prisoners that the counter-attacking troops lost heavily from our artillery fire.

On the 14th the infantry again attacked under a barrage, and captured a trench about a thousand yards east of Havrincourt, together with five officers and 204 other ranks. The 15th was spent in consolidating the positions gained. The enemy's aeroplanes were very active and brought down three of our observation balloons in flames. That afternoon, when visiting the headquarters of the 185th Infantry Brigade with the G.O.C., I heard a curious story from Lord Hampden, the Infantry Brigadier. During the attack of the previous day some of his men entered a dug-out and found four Boches playing cards; they simply held up their hands for a moment, remarked "Kamerad," and then went on with their game! It was rather an amusing proof that the Huns were beginning to regard defeat and capture as a thing naturally to be expected.

On the 16th September the infantry of the Division withdrew for a rest, the guns remaining in the line, as usual, under the 3rd Division. Lieut. S. A. Rissik was wounded this day. No further advance was made for some days, but preparations were set in hand for another[101] great attack to be begun by the 3rd Division, and carried on afterwards by the 62nd.

On the 18th the enemy counter-attacked heavily. For about two and a half hours he kept up a bombardment of extraordinary intensity, and shells of all sizes, about half of them gas, were falling in and around our batteries; over a hundred shell craters were afterwards counted in B/312's position alone. All communication lines were cut, but the batteries fired hard on their S.O.S. lines, and the attack finally broke down. In this action Lieuts. H. J. Dowden and C. F. M. Douet won their Military Crosses:

"In response to an S.O.S., Lieut. Dowden at once got all the guns into action, and maintained a quick rate of fire in spite of a heavy barrage. He fired one gun himself until the detachment was collected, and then assisted to bind up a wounded officer."

Lieut. Douet was "in charge of a forward section of his battery when it was firing S.O.S. under heavy bombardment, previous to a hostile counter attack. One of his guns was put out of action and the detachment incapacitated, the detachment of the other gun were killed or wounded. He, with an N.C.O., worked the gun until the order to cease fire was received."

On the 25th Capt. K. B. Nicholson, M.C., was wounded.

We moved our headquarters on the 26th to a dug-out just north of Hermies, and at 5.20 a.m. on the 27th the battle began. The 3rd Division advanced under an artillery barrage and captured the strong defensive positions of Flesquières and Ribecourt. The artillery command then passed to me, and the 62nd Division, pushing on through the 3rd, pressed forward towards Marcoing and captured a strong line of defence between[102] that village and Flesquières, taking prisoner 15 officers and about 300 other ranks. The victory was complete all along the line, Bourlon Wood having fallen to the Canadians and Graincourt to the 17th Corps.

Next day we continued our advance, captured Marcoing, and secured the crossings of the St. Quentin Canal. The 186th Infantry Brigade pushed on the same night and secured an important line of trench east of the Canal. We moved Divisional Headquarters to a dug-out on the Graincourt road just north of Havrincourt. In these two days' fighting our Division had captured about 60 officers and 1600 rank and file, together with 49 guns and howitzers. On the 29th the action was continued, and the Division took Masnières. Our headquarters shifted to a dug-out east of Flesquières, the battery positions being now for the most part in the area south of Marcoing. We were much gratified at receiving the following telegram to the Division from our former Commander, Lieut.-General Sir W. P. Braithwaite:

"To General Whigham, 62nd Division. Just heard of your great success at Ribecourt and Marcoing. It is all splendid and just like 62. Will you allow me to congratulate you and the Division and to say how very proud I am to have once commanded so splendid a Division."

Oct. 1918.

The 3rd Division relieved our infantry during the night of the 30th September and captured Rumilly under an artillery barrage on the 1st October.

On the 2nd Major-General Sir R. Whigham visited the D.A.C. and brigades with me. The former was in the Ribecourt Valley, and the brigades were still in the neighbourhood of Marcoing, where they were enjoying[103] a short rest before being pushed forward again. They had lost a large number of horses during the few preceding days from shell fire and bombs. I remember that Lieut. G. A. Murray, the Signalling Officer of the 310th Brigade, showed us round the positions; he had only been with us for a few weeks, and I was much taken by his smiling, cheery manner, and his evident grasp of his duties. It was therefore a great shock to me when I heard next day that he had been killed while laying a line across a bridge in Masnières; it was a great sorrow to us all, and a serious loss to the brigade.

The Boche now made a peace offer in the vain hope of staying our progress—the humblest thing that had yet emanated from Berlin. There could, however, be no parleying with a foe who was destitute of honour or humanity, and the answer, on our part of the front, was a fresh attack made on the 8th October, in which the 2nd and 3rd Divisions captured the high ground running through Seranvillers, and pushed on through that village towards Wambaix. Our guns took part in the action, and Lieut. E. Smart won his Military Cross for the following act of bravery: "On October 8th he was observing officer; when the infantry advanced over the crest he was unable to observe the situation, and so went forward and kept in close touch with the infantry, then held up in a trench. He established an O.P. in the trench and there observed the enemy counter attacking, supported by three tanks. Our infantry were compelled to retire, but Lieut. Smart remained at his post for some considerable time, and sent back valuable information. Throughout the whole of the period he was under constant shell fire from the enemy barrage."

Cambrai was captured on the 9th by troops on our[104] left, and on the 10th October we moved headquarters to Masnières. The position on that day was as follows: on our front the Guards were in Bevilly, the 4th Corps had captured Beauvois and Caudry, and the 5th Corps was closing up on le Cateau. The 310th Brigade was in action covering the Guards' Division, but the 312th were resting at and around Estourmel, and came back under my command. This day brought to a close the Battle of Cambrai—St. Quentin, 27th September to 10th October, which in ten days of victorious fighting broke through the last and strongest of the enemy's fully prepared positions, opening the way to a war of movement and an advance on the German main lines of communication. Thirty-five Infantry, 3 Cavalry, and 2 American Divisions defeated 45 German Divisions, taking 48,500 prisoners and 630 guns.

On the 10th I walked up to Estourmel with Elston, my Staff Captain, to see the 312th Brigade, which was then temporarily under Major Arnold Forster's command, vice Lieut.-Colonel Eden, who had gone home on a course a short time previously. Lieut.-Colonel R. H. Johnson, D.S.O., took over the command a few days later. I remember that we were much struck by the rapid change in the appearance of the country. Masnières, the village from which we started, was a mere heap of ruins; the next village on the road, Seranvillers, had been badly knocked about, and then came Wambaix, which was in not quite so bad a state. After that the country presented an almost normal appearance, and church spires and compact little villages were to be seen dotted about the landscape, practically unharmed by the brutal Boche, who was now retiring in such haste that he had little time to carry out the wanton destruction[105] in which his soul delighted. In Estourmel most of the houses were in pretty good condition, and even contained furniture. The gardens were cultivated, and Elston, as good and thorough a Staff Captain in the lighter as he was in the sterner duties of warfare, was able to collect a useful load of vegetables for the refreshment of our mess. We moved our headquarters into this village on the 11th.

The 310th Brigade advanced on this day to St. Hilaire, still in support of the Guards. The enemy was now holding a strong position along the Selle river, and an attack was arranged for the 20th October in which the whole of the 3rd and 4th Armies were to be engaged. The task of the 62nd Division was to force the passage of the river to capture the town of Solesmes and the village of St. Python, and then to establish itself on a line about 3000 yards north-east of them. The 3rd Divisional Artillery was put under my orders for the battle, and these two brigades, together with the 310th and 312th, began to take up their positions on the 16th, south of the Cambrai—Solesmes road, and about 2000 yards to the west of the river. We established headquarters at Bevillers on the 18th. The barrage was rather a complicated one to make out, not only because it had to be accurately co-ordinated with the barrages of the Guards Division and the 42nd Division on each side of us, but also owing to the fact that large numbers of French civilians were known to be still living in both the town and the village, and we were naturally anxious to put them into as little danger as possible. It was finally decided not to direct any artillery on Solesmes itself, but only on its suburbs on our side of the river, and on the village of St. Python. It was assumed that the[106] civilians would take refuge in the cellars, and as no high explosive shell were to be fired at the buildings, but only shrapnel, the risk to them would not be a serious one. These suburbs and St. Python were at the time in "No Man's Land," and for a few nights before the battle our infantry patrols used actually to enter them under cover of darkness and take coffee with the unfortunate but stout-hearted inhabitants.

The attack was launched in bright moonlight at 2 a.m. on the 20th October. The barrage was kept up for 23 minutes on the village and suburbs mentioned above, while the infantry forced their way across the river; it then crept up on each side of Solesmes at the rate of 100 yards in four minutes. The infantry followed it up closely and secured the ground on each side of the town, while specially detailed battalions turned in to the right and left and entered Solesmes, which they took possession of after some hard fighting. While the town was being "mopped up," the guns kept up a standing barrage beyond it for over an hour. At 4.20 a.m. the artillery ceased firing for a time, and some of the more distant batteries moved up to closer range. At 7.40 a.m. the creeping barrage began again, and moved north-east at the same rate as before, followed by a fresh infantry brigade up to a line about 500 yards short of Romeries. The victory was complete, not only on our immediate front, but along the whole army line. The 62nd Division took prisoner 12 officers and 539 men, and also three field guns, several trench mortars, and a large number of machine guns; its own casualties were under three hundred. The infantry were loud in their praise of the shooting of the guns, and I was proud to get the[107] following note from Brig.-General J. L. G. Burnett, D.S.O., Commanding the 186th Infantry Brigade:

"As I know that you people like to know what the infantry who attacked thought of the barrage: both the left attacking battalion and the one which took the railway station wish me to say that it was the most accurate barrage which they have yet advanced under. Would you please convey our thanks to the men behind the guns who so largely contributed towards the success.

"Yours sincerely,
"J. G. Burnett."

The batteries advanced across the river as soon as crossings could be prepared for them, a work which was carried out by the sappers in a marvellously short time, and I found them already in action north of Solesmes when I visited that place next day, the 21st. Two or three thousand civilians were still in the town, and though a lot of shell were already beginning to fall there, they were parading the streets in great numbers, and there was a great doffing of hats and waving of handkerchiefs as we passed through. I saw a party of prisoners being marched along the main street; women and children were running alongside shaking their fists at them, and crying out, "Sales Boches! Sales Boches!" with all the strength of their lungs. When I thought of all their sufferings at the hands of the barbarous savages, I could hardly find it in my heart to blame them for this triumph over their humbled enemy. The civilians would all have gladly stayed where they were, but it was thought necessary in their own interests to get the women and children, and the old men, out of the place as long as the[108] Boche guns remained within range. It was a very pathetic sight to see them arriving in Bevilly that afternoon. Groups of soldiers met the lorries as they arrived at the buildings reserved for the refugees, and it was pleasant to see the tenderness with which the men lifted out the children—and sometimes the old grand-mothers—and carried them across the sea of mud that lay between the roadway and the house. It was painful to think of the hell that these poor people had been through, crouching in their cellars while our shell crashed and screamed overhead, and later while our infantry hunted out the Boche from house to house and street to street. However, they looked happy, most of them, in spite of their discomforts; they were free at last and out of danger, and had the prospect before them of a speedy return to their own homes.

The 3rd Division took over our front during the night of the 22nd and attacked at 3.20 a.m. the next day. Our guns helped to support the attack, which resulted in the capture of Romeries and Vertain. Continuing their victorious progress on the 24th, the 3rd Division captured Escarmain, and reached the railway line north of Ruesnes.

So ended our share in the Battle of the Selle River, which forced the enemy from the line of that river and drove a big salient into his defences, and in which 26 Divisions defeated 31 German Divisions, with 21,000 prisoners and 450 guns.

A great many mines had been going up during our advance along the railway lines, and the delay thus caused in the bringing up of ammunition and supplies was becoming very serious. It was decided therefore to call a halt for a few days until the communications[109] could be made more secure. This decision made it possible to give the artillery the rest which they so sorely needed, and my brigades withdrew to Quiévy on the 26th October while the D.A.C. remained at St. Python, to which place they had gone after the capture of Solesmes. We moved our headquarters to the latter town on the 30th. On this day we heard the cheering news of the conclusion of an armistice with Turkey.

Nov. 1918.

We were now warned that we were to take part in a great attack on the 4th November, our immediate objectives being the villages of Orsinval and Frasnoy. The 40th, 42nd, and 76th Brigades R.F.A. and the 84th Brigade R.G.A. were put under my command for the battle in addition to the 62nd Divisional Artillery. Positions were selected near Ruesnes for the batteries, and across the railway close up to the front infantry line for the trench mortars. The 310th and 312th moved up to Escarmain on the 2nd; the village was heavily shelled that night and B/312 lost 44 horses. Next day the batteries occupied their positions, and Divisional Headquarters went to Escarmain.

The barrage opened at 5.30 a.m. on the 4th November, and our infantry made a victorious advance of 7000 yards, capturing their two villages and taking over 600 prisoners and a large number of guns. The Guards, on our left, met with equal success, and north and south along the whole far flung battle line the enemy was completely defeated. Early in the battle we advanced our headquarters into a ruined chateau in Ruesnes; it had been badly knocked about, and a great deal of wanton destruction had been done to a large and[110] valuable library. In the afternoon the New Zealand Division, on our right flank, captured the fortified town of Le Quesnoy, together with its garrison of a thousand men. Our casualties were not heavy, but two of the Battery Sergeant-Majors were killed, and Lieut. J. A. Brown was wounded (for the second time). Our satisfaction in the result of the day's fighting was increased by the news we received that night that an armistice with Austria had come into effect at 3 p.m.

On the 5th we pushed on and extended our gains. It was pouring with rain, and the mud and slush made progress extraordinarily difficult. We moved our headquarters to Frasnoy, where we were greeted with the greatest enthusiasm by the 200 civilians who still remained in the village—wild with joy at their deliverance after four years' suffering at the hands of the hated Boche.

On the 6th and 7th the advance was continued without much opposition. The roads were in a shocking state, and the forward movement was so rapid that it was a matter of the greatest difficulty to comply with the ammunition demands. The D.A.C. did wonders, but no sooner was a dump of ammunition formed in one place than the tide of battle rolled far beyond it, and another one had to be started further on. Never during the whole war were the men and horses of the brigades and D.A.C. worked to a greater state of exhaustion than in these closing days. Headquarters went to Le Trechon on the 7th, the advanced infantry having on that day reached a line about 5000 yards east of Obies. D/310 came under heavy shell fire during one of its advances, and Lieuts. W. P. Holt and K. A. Latter were badly wounded. Lieut. R. G. Morgan gained the[111] Military Cross "for conspicuous gallantry and perseverance on the 6th and 7th November at Le Trechon and near Harguies. He kept in close touch with the attacking infantry, advancing his guns in the face of intense fire so as to afford them the utmost support. The following day he carried out a similar task, advancing his section on very bad tracks through heavy shell fire. He made several reconnaissances throughout the day, which enabled him to afford effectual support to the infantry."

In Le Trechon I came across an authentic case of Boche barbarity. One of our cavalry on patrol entered the village on the 6th, and seeing four Germans preparing to destroy a bridge fired on them, killing one. They returned the fire and he fell wounded. The Germans then fled, thinking that there were more of our men close behind. The French inhabitants of the nearest house, one of whom was my informant, came out and made the wounded man as comfortable as they could. As he was too badly hurt to be moved they laid a blanket over him so that any passing Boche might think him dead. After a short time the three Germans returned, seeing that no British were yet in sight, and deliberately murdered the wounded man with their bayonets. An officer of the 20th London Regiment told me that he had seen the corpse, and that there were several bayonet wounds in it in addition to the mark of the bullet.

On the 8th our infantry took the village of Neuf Mesnil, but, what with the vile weather and a temporary stiffening of the enemy's resistance, the day's advance was only about three kilometres. We heard that the German emissaries had crossed our lines to sue for an armistice.


The 9th was a beautiful sunny day. There was little resistance to our advance, and the Guards entered Maubeuge, while our infantry took possession of the large suburb of Sous le Bois, and pushed through and beyond it. Divisional Headquarters moved to Neuf Mesnil.

On the 10th we remained where we were. The enemy had retired about six miles east of Maubeuge, and a short delay was necessary to get up ammunition and supplies for a further forward movement. News came that the Kaiser had abdicated, and that his ignoble son had renounced his claim to the succession. A revolution in Berlin was also reported, and the end seemed so close in sight that it was scarcely a surprise when, at 9 a.m. on the 11th November, I received the wire, "Hostilities cease at 11 a.m. to-day."

So ended the Battle of Maubeuge, which, lasting from the 1st to the 11th November, struck at and broke the enemy's last important lateral communications, turned his position on the Scheldt, and forced him to retreat rapidly from Courtrai. This victory completed the great strategical aim of the whole series of battles by dividing the enemy's forces into two parts, one on each side of the great natural barrier of the Ardennes. The pursuit of the beaten enemy all along the Allied line was only stopped by the Armistice. Twenty-six Divisions defeated 32 German Divisions, taking 19,000 prisoners and 450 guns.

The total casualties in the 62nd Divisional Artillery since landing in France had been

10 officers and 160 other ranks killed.

71 officers and 714 other ranks wounded.


The following special order of the day was issued on the 11th:


The operations of the last three months have forced the enemy to sue for an armistice as a prelude to peace.

Your share in the consummation of this achievement is one that fills me with pride and admiration.

Since August 21st you have won eighteen decisive battles, you have driven the enemy back over sixty miles of country and you have captured 67,000 prisoners and 800 guns.

That is your record, gained by your ceaseless enterprise, your indomitable courage and your loyal support to your leaders.

Eleven Divisions in the four Corps (Guards 2nd 3rd and 62nd, 5th 37th 42nd and New Zealand, 17th 21st and 38th), have been continuously in action since the beginning of the advance and have borne the brunt of the operations. Other Divisions have joined and left, each one adding fresh lustre to its history.

To all ranks, to all Corps and formations, to all administrative and transport units, I tender my thanks. May your pride in your achievements be as great as mine is in the recollection of having commanded the Army in which you served.

J. BYNG, General,
Commanding Third Army.


Chapter VII

On the 12th November we went into comfortable billets in Sous le Bois and Neuf Mesnil, while preparations were being made to march into Germany. The 62nd Division was to form part of the 9th Corps, under our former Commander, Lieut.-General Sir Walter Braithwaite, the other divisions being the 1st and the 6th; the trench mortars were to be left behind, but were to join us subsequently in Germany. While in Sous le Bois Lieut. E. S. Lloyd, M.C., Signalling Officer of the 312th Brigade, was taken ill with influenza, and to the great sorrow of us all died after a few days' illness. On the 17th we had a thanksgiving service for the Divisional Artillery, conducted by the Rev. S. Garrett, our senior chaplain. I may mention here that the Rev. T. A. Horne, who came out from England with the artillery, was invalided home in December, 1917, and was succeeded by the Rev. H. O. Perry. The latter was with us all through the big German push, and was then transferred to another appointment while we were fighting at the Marne in July, 1918. He was succeeded in his turn by the Rev. S. Garrett.

We marched on the 18th November, a wet, unpleasant day, to Ferrière la Grande. The artillery marched for the future in a separate column from the rest of the division, our itinerary being as follows. I give as a rule the name of the place where headquarters halted; the[115] remainder of the artillery was billeted in the surrounding area, generally within a mile or two of headquarters.

19th. Solre sur Sambre, our first entry into Belgian territory.

20th. Berzèe. On arrival here we were greeted by the local band, which played our National Anthem over and over again with remarkable persistency for about two hours. It would be tedious to describe our reception at each halting place throughout the march, but I quote here, as typical of other greetings, the address presented to the 312th Brigade on their arrival in this area; it was couched in English as follows:

"Dear Allied Friends,

"After more than four years of a terrible war without example in the history of the world, the Belgians deprived of their freedom and rights during all that time have the immense joy of seeing again the sun of liberty shining bright and joyful over their heads. To tell you what a boundless feeling of happiness and gratitude we have now in our hearts is impossible for us to do in some words. We are like slaves whose fetters would fall down all of a sudden, like birds kept for long years in a dull cage and which unexpectedly could fly freely again in the open air of a nice spring day. Our hearts sing merrily, our souls are transported with joy and hope. On this memorable day where you bring us freedom, we turn away from the hard and unjust past to look forward with hope to the future. But if we are so to say mad for joy, our hearts are large enough to make room for another feeling as sincere and powerful as our happiness—our gratefulness to all our Allied friends. Yes, to you all which have helped us to reconquer our liberty, to you all which have given your blood for a destruction of a[116] system of oppression, violence and brutality which threatened the world, we are immensely obliged. We are full of admiration for the great exploits of your armies; their courage, their spirit of self-sacrifice, their perseverance in the duty are for us external signs of the inner forces which animate them; passion for independence, justice and liberty. We are proud indeed to have as friends and Allies men of such a noble character.

"In the name of the Civil Authorities of the village of Thy-le-Chateau I am proud and glad to have the privilege of greeting you heartily.

"Hurrah for the English people and their valiant armies.

"Hurrah for our brave Allies. Hurrah."

24th. Gerpinnes.

25th. Ermetont. The 310th Brigade on this occasion were billeted en masse in the Abbey of Maredsous, where they were entertained most hospitably by the Benedictine Monks. The Prior and eight of the monks had only just got back from serving two years' imprisonment with hard labour in Germany. This savage punishment was inflicted on them for having given a few days' shelter to a wounded British soldier.

27th. A long march through Dinant, where we crossed the Meuse, to the Thynne area, where we had a long and rather tedious halt. The headquarters billet was in a most picturesque chateau situated in a deep hollow surrounded by rugged hills, on the road from Dinant to Lisangues. The owner was the widow of a retired French General. She told me that when the Germans were occupying her chateau, at the time of the Dinant atrocities, they treated her and her husband, an old man over eighty, with the greatest roughness.[117] Finally they told the old couple one day that if any further act of hostility were committed by the surrounding villagers, they would both be shot. The next day the old General fell dead of heart disease.

Dec. 1918.

10th December. Area round Laignon. Headquarters at the Chateau de Barçenal.

11th. Barvaux Condray.

12th. Clavier.

13th. Ville. We billeted in the fine chateau, which had been in the early days of the war the headquarters of Prince Eitel and his staff. Monsieur La Masch, the owner of the house, told me that his unwelcome guests drank about a thousand bottles of his wine, for which they offered him on their departure the generous payment of a franc a bottle. As most of the wine they affected had cost from 15 to 20 francs a bottle he declined their offer, and he was now entering the full value in his claim against the Boche Government. The royal Eitel, a true Boche, looted all the linen when he left, tablecloths, napkins, sheets and towels; he even carried off all Madame's lace, most of it old and priceless.

14th. Chevron. Here the scenery was as magnificent as the billets were mean and uncomfortable.

16th. Basse Bodeux.

17th. We crossed the German frontier, and marched through Malmédy to Weismes. It was decided that we should hold our anniversary dinners on this auspicious date. We halted here for a few days in rather uncomfortable billets. The weather was very bad, and it snowed continuously.

21st. Elsenborn Camp. This was a sort of German "Salisbury Plain." The huts were however far superior to those provided in an English practice camp; they[118] were substantially built and well heated, and officers and men found them almost luxurious after the cramped village accommodation which they had been accustomed to.

22nd. Mountjoie.

23rd. The area round Schleiden. Headquarters marched straight through to Gemund, our final destination.

25th. The Divisional Artillery made their final march in a snow blizzard and went into billets as follows:

14th Brigade R.H.A. (now attached to the Division), Kal and Keldernich.

310th Brigade R.H.A., Gemund and Malsbenden.

312th Brigade R.H.A., Gemund, with two batteries at Nierfeld and Schleven.

D.A.C. Kal and Sottenich.

Trench Mortars (eventually), Urft.

The purpose of this work is to describe the war services of the artillery, and I shall not therefore write about our life in Germany. The ordinary military routine, under what were practically peace conditions, affords little of interest to a Chronicler, and it is sufficient to say that life was agreeable enough, and that ski-ing, tobogganing, and later on fishing broke the monotony of our routine duties in a very pleasant manner. Demobilisation dragged on slowly but surely, and on the 18th February we heard that the Division was to be broken up, and to be reformed as the Highland Division. Most of the officers now began to drift away, but it was not till the 19th April that I said farewell to my command. My Staff all left at about the same time.

The Divisional Artillery remained with the Highland Division, though greatly changed in personnel and with[119] an almost entirely new set of commanding officers. Major Lockhart was, I believe, the only battery commander who stayed on until the final breaking up. The artillery left Germany in the middle of August, and returned to England (Salisbury Plain); on the 5th December the headquarters' office closed, and on that date the Divisional Artillery may be said to have ceased to exist.

That it may long exist, however, as a brotherhood of officers and men, bound together by a thousand memories of danger and privation borne in common, proud in the consciousness of duty done, and strong to maintain in peace the steadfast and loyal comradeship which knit them together in war, is the sincere hope of the writer of this little chronicle.


Appendix A

I should like to have been able to bring the records of the 311th Brigade within the scope of this work, but the difficulties have proved too great, and I must content myself with giving a brief digest of its services after leaving the 62nd Division, for which I am indebted to the kindness of Lieut.-Colonel A. Gadie.

The brigade was first attached to the 34th Division, and took part in the battle of Arras on Easter Monday, 1917; after this it occupied positions in the Arras sector, opposite Gavrelle and Oppy.

In May it marched to Ploeg Street Wood, and fought in the battle of Messines, in support of the Anzacs. The battery positions in this battle were in some cases within 850 yards of the Boche front line.

In June, 1917, the brigade enjoyed a rest at Bailleul, and then returned to its old positions at Messines, near Warneton.

In October, 1917, it pulled out and went to the Ypres salient, where it took part in the strenuous fighting at Passchendale.

December, 1917. St. Quentin sector.

February, 1918. In action at Jeancourt until the big German offensive began. The brigade then retired steadily to the Somme, taking up as many as five[121] separate positions in one day. At St. Christ's bridge it held on to its positions for two days, and then only retired on being outflanked by the enemy. The batteries remained in action on this occasion, firing over open sights, until the infantry had retired behind the guns. Positions were finally taken up about 8 miles east of Amiens.

May, 1918. To the Arras sector. When the final great advance was in preparation, the brigade moved into seven different positions in ten days, in order to cover the withdrawal of the Canadians, who were being sent south. It finished up by occupying positions on the top of the Vimy ridge.

During the advance, which began in August, the brigade was attached to the 8th Division and to the Canadians.

When the armistice was concluded on the 11th November, 1918, it was at the village of Le Havre, about three miles east of Mons.

The following officers were awarded Military Crosses:

*Armitage, Lieut. H. G.
*Browne, Major W.
*Campbell, Major C. W.
Danby, Capt.
*Dawson, Capt. H. B.
*Fraser-Mackenzie, Major E. R. L.
Hannah, Major (also a D.S.O.)
*Hollingworth, Major A. (also a bar, and a Croix de Guerre).
Hunt, Lieut.
*Jameson, Major A. A. (also a bar), afterwards killed.
[122]*Knowles, Lieut. G. (w.)
Morgan, Capt.
Saberston, Lieut.
*Sampson, Lieut. H. T.


*Gadie, Lieut.-Colonel A.
Beckett, Capt.
*Browne, Major W.
*Hollingworth, Major A.
*Armitage, Lieut. H. G.

[123] * Originally in the 62nd Divisional Artillery.

Appendix B

(An asterisk denotes that the officer has been more than once wounded while with the Division.)

Abrahams, F., Lieut., M.C.
Alderton, B., Lieut., M.C.
Aldrich, E. C., Capt.
Anderson, A. T., Brig.-Gen., C.M.G.
Anderson, R. A. T., Lieut.
Archer, H. de B., Capt., M.C.
Armitage, H. G., Lieut.
wArnold-Forster, F. A., Major, D.S.O.
wAshby, H. C., Lieut.
Aspinwall, R. H. S., Lieut.
Astley, N. T., Lieut.
Badham-Jackson, C. O., Lieut.
*wBaillie-Reynolds, P. K., Lieut.
Baker, W., Capt.
wBall, S. C., Lieut.
Bayley, A. F., Major
Bedwell, E. P., Lieut.-Col.
Belbin, H., Capt.
Bennion, C. F., Major
wBennett, A. G., Capt., M.C.
Beresford, G. W. Capt. R.A.M.C.)
Bigg, L. B., Major
Blow, A., Lieut.
wBoden, J. B., Lieut., M.C.
Bottomley, G. R., Capt.
Bowden, S. V., Capt.
Bradford, L. B., Major
*wBrown, J. A., Lieut.
Browne, W., Capt.
wBurt, W., Lieut.
Cairns-Smith, A. F., Lieut.
Campbell, C. W., Major, M.C.
Casey, N. B. V. Major
Casey, S. N., Capt.
Clarson, C. L., Lieut. (R.E.) M.C.
Clayton-Barker, A. G.
Cockayne, W. R., Major
wCockerell, A. E., Lieut.
Coleman, E. T., Lieut.
Corke, C. A., Lieut.
wCraven, G. A., Lieut.
wCrofton, M. R. H., Major, D.S.O.
Currer-Briggs, D. H., Major
Currie, J. M., Major
wDavis, E. W., Lieut.
Dawson, H. B., Lieut.
[124]Dixon, W. T., Lieut.
Donovan, J., Lieut.
Douet, C. F. M., Lieut., M.C.
Dowden, H. J., Lieut., M.C.
Drabble, L., Capt.
wDraper, V. A. H., Lieut.
Eager, W. McG., Lieut.
Eden, A. G., Lieut.-Col.
Edmondson, J. E., Capt., T.D.
wEdwards, A. J., Lieut.
Eeles, C. A., Major, D.S.O.
Ellis, G. A., Lieut., M.C.
Elston, A. J., Major, T.D.
Eveleigh, E. D., Major, M.C.
FitzGibbon, F., Major, D.S.O.
Fleming, G. R., Major
Fletcher, S. R. H., Lieut.
Foot, R. C., Major, M.C.
wForrest, R., Lieut.
Fowler, A., Lieut.
Fowler, J. R., Lieut.
Fraser, John, Capt.
Fraser-Mackenzie, E. R. L., Major, M.C.
Furlong, P. C., Capt., M.C.
Gadie, A., Lieut.-Col., T.D.
Gadie, C. A., Lieut.
+Gallimore, H. B., Capt.
wGane, L. C., Lieut., M.C.
Garrett, S., The Rev.
Geddes, R., Lieut.
Giffen, J. H. P., Lieut.
Glover, A., Lieut. (R.E. Signals)
wGoldsmith, H. G., Lieut.
Gow, J. L., Capt.
Gravett, G. M., Lieut.
Green, J. S., Lieut.
wGreen, W. J., Lieut.
Haigh, S., Lieut.
Hammond, E. B., Capt. (R.E.), M.C.
+Hardy, G., Lieut.
wHarker, J. C., Lieut.
+Harris, W. E., Lieut.
Hartley, Capt. (R.A.M.C.)
Hatcher, H. G. B., Capt.
Hay, A. J., Lieut.
Haydock, T., Lieut.
Hempel, F. H., Lieut.
Hess, N., Lieut., M.C.
wHewitt, J. B. C., Lieut., M.M.
Hinchcliffe, H., Lieut.
Hirst, P. A., Lieut.
wHolburn, R., Lieut.
Hollingworth, A., Lieut.
wHolt, W. P. Lieut., M.C.
Horne, T. A., The Rev.
House, H., Lieut. (United States)
Howell, V. P., Lieut. (R.E. Signals)
wHudson, G. L. C., Lieut.
Humphreys, B. J., Lieut.
Illingworth, M., Lieut.
wInnes, C. B., Lieut.
James, W. L., Lieut.
+Jameson, A. A., Lieut.
*wJephson, E. W. F., Major, M.C.
Johnson, R. H., Lieut.-Col., D.S.O.
+Johnson, E. F., Capt.
Johnston, Lieut.-Col. (Horse Master)
Jones, K. S., Lieut.
Joslin, G. A., Lieut.
Kensett, F., Lieut.
Kewley, T. C., Capt.
Kinsman, G. R. V., Lieut.-Col., D.S.O., Comg. 310th Bde.
Kirkconnel, W. H., Lieut., M.C.
[125]wKitson, H. G., Lieut.
+Knaggs, V. St. G., Lieut.
Knowles, G., Lieut.
Lamb, Capt. (R.E. Signals)
Lane, L., Lieut.
wLasbrey, H. C., Capt.
wLatter, K. A., Lieut., M.C.
wLawrie, H. C. O., Lieut.
Lawrence, J. H., Capt.
Lindsell, W. G., Major, D.S.O., O.B.E., M.C.
wLintern, E. E. C., Lieut., M.C.
Lister, F. H., Lieut.-Col., D.S.O.
+Lloyd, E. S., Lieut., M.C.
Lockhart, J. F. K., Major, D.S.O.
Long, V. H. S., Capt.
Lough, A. T., Lieut.-Col.
*+Lutyens, J. L. C., Lieut.
Lyn-Jones, R. F., Capt. (R.A.M.C.)
*wMacIlroy, J. C., Capt.
Major, A. E., Lieut.
Marples, G., Capt.
Marriott, E. C., Lieut., M.M.
Martin, Capt. (A.V.C.)
+Massey-Beresford, J. C., Lieut.
Middleton, H. D., Capt.
Miles, J., Capt., M.C.
Millet, J., Interpreter
Mitchell, F., Lieut.-Col.
*wMontgomery, C. V., Lieut.
Morgan, R. G., Lieut., M.C.
Mort, A., Lieut.
Mossop, G. N., Capt.
Moxham, H. E., Lieut.
Moxon, C. E., Lieut.
Moxon, T. C., Lieut.
Murray, A. C., Lieut., M.C.
+Murray, G. A., Lieut.
wNelson, H. G., Lieut., M.C.
Nickols, R., Major
Nickols, N. F., Major
*wNicholson, K. B., Major, MC.
wNowill, J. C. F., Lieut., M.C.
Owen, H. A., Lieut.
wOwen, J., Lieut.
Parkinson, E., Lieut., M.C.
Perry, H. O., The Rev.
wPickard, R. L., Lieut.
Powell, J. B., Capt., M.C.
wProctor, J. W., Lieut.
Pritchard, F. C., Lieut., M.C.
+Pullan, C. W., Lieut.
wPunchard, C., Capt.
wPuttock, E. W., Lieut.
Rew, J., Lieut.
Rice, R. G., Capt.
Richardson, Norman, Lieut.
Richardson, N., Lieut.
*wRissik, S. A., Lieut.
Robinson, J. G., Major, M.C.
Robinson, G., Major
Rotheray, E., Major, M.C.
Rudkin, G. C. R., Lieut.
Runacres, W., Lieut.
wSabelli, H. A., Lieut.
Sampson, H. T., Lieut., M.C.
Schofield, H. O., Lieut., M.C.
wSeeman, F. H., Major
wSenior, A., Major, M.C.
wSenior, G. P., Major
Severne, A. de M., Lieut.
Sharp, H. G., Capt.
wSharpling, F. G., Lieut.
wSheppard, E. J. C., Lieut.
Sherlock, D. J. C., Lieut.-Col., D.S.O., Comg. 310th Bde.
Siddons, N. H., Major
[126]Smart, E., Lieut., M.C.
Smith, Harold, Capt., M.C.
Spence, J. H., Lieut.
wStephens, H. E., Lieut.
Stroud, A. H., Capt. (A.V.C.)
Sturrock, G., Lieut.
wStuart, F. R., Lieut.
Stuttle, A. E., Lieut.
+Sutherland, H. S., Lieut.
Swain, G. A., Major, M.C.
Tanner, G., Lieut.
Trench, A. S. C., Lieut. (R.E., Signals), M.C.
wTuthill, W. F., Major
*wVanderpump, E. H., Lieut.
Walker, C. S., Capt.
Walker, R., Capt.
Webber, L. M., Major
White, O., Lieut.
wWhitworth, J. N., Lieut.
*+Willey, J., Major
wWilliams, R. C., Major, D.S.O.
wWilliams, E. T., Lieut., M.C.
Williamson, R. E., Col. (R.A.M.C.), T.D.
Wills, H. A., Lieut.
wWills, T. B., Lieut.
Wilson, A., Lieut.
Wilson, L., Lieut.
Wilson, N. G., Lieut.
*wWitcher, C. R., Lieut.
wWoodcock, F. A., Lieut.-Col., D.S.O.
Woodward, D. S. H., Major
wWooliscroft, W., Lieut.
Wrangle, B. G., Lieut.
Wright, P. A., Capt., M.C.


Appendix C


Anderson, A. T.Brig.-General3. 6.18
Lindsell, W. G.Major1. 1.18
Arnold-Forster, F. A.Major1. 1.18
Eeles, C. A.Major3. 6.18
Woodcock, F. A.Lieut.-Colonel3. 6.18
Lockhart, J. F. K.Major1. 1.19
Jephson, E. W. F.Lieut.2. 4.17
  (and bar on 21.11.17)
Nicholson, K. B. N.Lieut.13. 4.17
Nowill, J. C. F.Lieut.26. 4.17
Robinson, J. G.Capt.4. 9.17
Parkinson, E.Lieut.15. 9.17
Pritchard, F. C.Lieut.8.10.17
Hess, N.Lieut.22.11.17
  (and bar on 1.9.18)
Boden, J. B.Lieut.22.11.17
  (and bar on 30.11.17)
Furlong, P. C.Lieut.25.11.17
Williams, E. T.Lieut.30.11.17
Gane, L.Lieut.13.12.17
Foot, R. C.Major1. 1.18
Abrahams, F.Lieut.26. 3.18
Murray, A. C.Lieut.26. 3.18
Holt, W. P.Lieut.27. 3.18
Senior, A.Capt.28. 3.18
Archer, H. de B.Capt.28. 3.18
Miles, J.Lieut.28. 3.18
Ellis, G. A.Lieut.29. 3.18
  (and bar on 20.7.18)
Swain, G. A.Major5. 4.18
Powell, J. B.Capt.3. 6.18
Schofield, H. O.Lieut.16. 6.18
Smith, HaroldLieut.23. 6.18
House, W. H.Lieut. (U.S.A.)24. 7.18
Lloyd, E. S.Lieut.27. 7.18
Bennett, A. G.Lieut.21. 8.18
Latter, K. A.Lieut.30. 8.18
Lintern, E. E. C.Lieut.3. 9.18
Nelson, H. G.Lieut.5. 9.18
Alderton, B.Lieut.10. 9.18
Dowden, H. J.Lieut.18. 9.18
Douet, C. F. M.Lieut.18. 9.18
Smart, E.Lieut8.10.18
Morgan, R. G.Lieut.7.11.18
Rotheray, E.Major3. 6.19
Fleming, G.Major (Chevalier)30. 5.17
Anderson, A. T.Brig.-General (Officier)30. 7.18
Swain, G. A.Major30. 5.17
Elston, A. J.Major30. 7.18
FitzGibbon, F.Major30. 7.18
Currie, J. M.Major30. 7.18
Woodcock, F. A.Lieut.-Colonel30. 7.18
Sherlock, D. J. C.Lieut.-Colonel30. 7.18
Eden, A. G.Lieut.-Colonel30. 7.18
Lawrence, J. H.Capt.30. 7.18
Long, V. H. S.Capt.30. 7.18
Anderson, R. A. T.Lieut.30. 7.18
Anderson, A. T.Brig.-General15.12.19
Archer, H. de B.Capt.3. 1.18
Anderson, A. T.Brig.-General Brevet-Colonel1. 1.18
Sherlock, D. J.Lieut.-Colonel Brevet-Lt.-Col.3. 6.19
786049LeafGunner6. 4.17
786012EllisDriver6. 4.17
4317Smart, G.Driver6. 4.17
14383Cooper, J. S.Gunner6. 4.17
785652Wheatly, G.Driver9. 4.17
775585Clarke, F.Corporal22. 4.17
2334White, A.Corporal26. 4.17
796450Mather, W.Sergeant26. 4.17
   (and bar on 2.11.18)
78616Tweed, A.Bombardier1. 5.17
786276Cartwright, M.Driver1. 5.17
 Utley, F. A.Driver19. 5.17
 Harrison, C.Corporal20. 5.17
 Waide, E. H.Sergeant12. 8.17
40915Chamberlain, C.Sergeant12. 8.17
   (and bar on 30.9.18)
 Settle, W.Corporal25. 8.17
 Eshelby, J.Gunner2. 9.17
 Foster, E.Gunner2. 9.17
 Rider, H.Sergeant4. 9.17
 Charlesworth, G.Gunner4. 9.17
785747Jow, G. R.Bombardier10. 9.17
   (and bar on 15.9.17)
797096Schofield, H. H.Corporal15.9.17
40813Johnson, W. L.Gunner9.10.17
781506Burton, E.Corporal9.10.17
99305Parker, J.Sergeant10.10.17
26073Wendrop, E.Gunner10.10.17
   (and bar on 21.8.18)
796216Fisher, R.Gunner10.10.17
776671Harrison, H.Sergeant21.11.17
775809Preston, J.Bombardier21.11.17
786544Clapton, G.Gunner22.11.17
786176Nobbs, J.Gunner22.11.17
786216Heaton, R.Gunner22.11.17
686672Potts, J.Gunner24.11.17
82908Yates, J.Sergeant24.11.17
403491Yates, C.Pte. (R.A.M.C.)24.11.17
479756Swithenbank, H. S.Corporal25.11.17
479751Clarke, F. W. H.Corporal25.11.17
526246Page, W.Sapper25.11.17
534665Stockwell, A. W.Sapper25.11.17
785528Boden, G. F.B.S.M.25.11.17
786705Kettlewell, J.Sergeant25.11.17
479981Butcher, C.Sapper25.11.17
   (and bar on 5.4.18)
490257Fisher, H.Sapper25.11.17
254350Standing, E.Sapper25.11.17
776689Aspinall, C.Bombardier26.11.17
   (and bar on 21.3.18)
765565Walker, H.Gunner26.11.17
686744Black, J.Sergeant26.11.17
786087Smith, J. A.Corporal26.11.17
775811Othen, P.Corporal30.11.17
786070Parkinson, T.Driver30.11.17
785656Davis, H.Bombardier30.11.17
786267Wilthew, L.Shoeing Smith30.11.17
785248Hebblethwaite, J.Sergeant30.11.17
785507Haslam, W.Gunner30.11.17
786597Brears, B.Bombardier30.11.17
14394French, F.Gunner30.11.17
11390Slater, B.Driver30.11.17
786714Worsnop, C.Corporal30.11.17
796765Bawn, A. S.Bombardier8.12.17
795432Scott, E.Gunner8.12.17
78621Firth, H.Sergeant12.12.17
   (and bar on 20.7.18)
786143Emmett, H.Bombardier12.12.17
105408Williams, T. R.Driver22. 1.18
42374Higdon, C. E.Corporal22. 1.18
775647Phillips, F.Driver5. 2.18
238966Maguire, W. J.Driver5. 2.18
781555Spencer, W.Gunner7. 2.18
781130Beswick, C.Gunner7. 2.18
55022Salmon, J. P.B.S.M., M.M.12. 3.18
  (Bar to M.M.)
68968Bain, W.Driver12. 3.18
775421Bentley, J. A.Sergeant21. 3.18
775421Bentley, J. A.Sergeant21. 3.18
775909Chapman, A.Corporal21. 3.18
776421Kirk, J.Bombardier21. 3.18
776440Slater, F.Gunner21. 3.18
775873Simpson, A.Driver21. 3.18
776659Woods, P.Gunner21. 3.18
745725Green, T. J.Driver22. 3.18
170024Hales, A. E.Gunner26. 3.18
259377Williams, M. A.Corporal27. 3.18
   (and bar on 12.9.18)
482131Snowden, W. H.Sapper27. 3.18
775175Fenly, M.Gunner27. 3.18
775526Pawsey, O.Bombardier27. 3.18
776686McCart, J.Bombardier27. 3.18
 Simpson, J.Bombardier27. 3.18
785292Buchanan, H.Sergeant28. 3.18
786257Sweeney, A.Sergeant4. 4.18
62366Read, G. W.Sapper5. 4.18
786247Whitaker, S.Driver5. 4.18
786788Simpson, T.Sergeant5. 4.18
786581Orme, J.Bombardier5. 4.18
786041Jeffrey, H.Corporal5. 4.18
786570Hollyhead, G.Gunner5. 4.18
947529Glass, A.Gunner5. 4.18
403103Robinson, H.Pte. (R.A.M.C.)5. 4.18
786145Penny, A.Sergeant5. 4.18
786191Pollard, F.Corporal5. 4.18
786289Stobart, G.Bombardier5. 4.18
785989Bland, C.Corporal5. 4.18
786051McGowan, H.Sergeant5. 4.18
482124Maxfield, T.Corporal5. 4.18
479979Blair, S.Corporal5. 4.18
[133]776418James, T. E.Corporal5. 4.18
149519Gerrard, F. B.Bombardier6. 4.18
03191Mollett, T. A.Sergt. (A.V.C.)11. 4.18
775729Fincham, G.Bombardier12. 4.18
795519Simmons, F. W.Gunner18. 4.18
795469Wheater, T. W.Driver18. 4.18
796906Morley, T. H.Driver18. 4.18
795487Hattersley, J. W.Bombardier18. 4.18
786097Stradling, C. H.Sergeant25. 5.18
   (and bar on 30.9.18)
776462Green, M.Bombardier25. 5.18
776428Middleton, W. G.Gunner25. 5.18
776401Elmy, G. E.Bombardier25. 5.18
776389Clements, L. D. J.Sergeant10. 6.18
781506Burton, E. B.Corpl, D.C.M.16. 6.18
786598Firth, E.Corporal17. 6.18
70957Stevenson, W.Sergeant23. 6.18
117895Roberts, J. R.Bombardier23. 6.18
68531Brackfield, E.Corporal20. 7.18
 Turner, G.B.S.M.20. 7.18
776435Pearce, H. E.Bombardier21. 7.18
796698Taylor, E.Driver21. 7.18
814159Mellor, T. H.Gunner21. 7.18
786071Barr, G.Sergeant21. 7.18
73925Hedges, J. W.B.S.M.21. 7.18
786321Howard, G.Driver21. 7.18
776403Stapley, A. H.Sergeant24. 7.18
216999Willis, W.Driver29. 7.18
50531Eggett, G. H.Sergeant23. 8.18
178962Gething, W. H.Gunner26. 8.18
940904Brown, J. D.B.S.M.27. 8.18
479989Wilson, H.Sapper27. 8.18
[134]786188Wakefield, E.Sergeant28. 8.18
960755Darling, G.Sergeant1. 9.18
686809Mitchell, D. J.Corporal4. 9.18
686749Blakeley, J.Bombardier4. 9.18
98085Head, W.Gunner5. 9.18
775441Marsden, W.Driver10. 9.18
142257Gisby, S.Sapper12. 9.18
811015Fellowes, A.Gunner15. 9.18
03221Daniells, J. W.Sergt. (A.V.C.)30. 9.18
775071Howard, A.Corporal30. 9.18
 Dawe, W. H.Signaller2.10.18
 Crerar, E.Signaller2.10.18
795531Lacey, W.Sergeant6.10.18
795655Firth, A.Bombardier6.10.18
55862Hill, F.Signaller8.10.18
795460Mallinson, G.Sergeant17.10.18
796893Martin, W. J.Driver17.10.18
775228Naylor, C. B.Bombardier20.10.18
775859Milnes, N.Signaller20.10.18
154325Thornton, F. W.Signaller20.10.18
775939Arundel, J. W.Corporal4.11.18
776494Mornan, J.Bombardier4.11.18
775751Smith, H.Corporal4.11.18
776523Malham, A.Bombardier4.11.18
482341Squires, A.Corporal5.11.18
247749Courtney, H.Signaller6.11.18
775451Doolan, J.Signaller7.11.18
482343Holmes, F. H. W.Sapper7.11.18
57500Heard, J.Bombardier7.11.18
795579Marks, H.Driver8.11.18
670Morgan, D. E.Driver8.11.18
785515Ames, O.Driver8.11.18
785624Brothwell, T.Sergeant8.11.18
788499Jeffrey, W.Corporal30.11.17
 Whittaker, F.Sergeant11. 1.18
775056Moody, J.Sergeant3. 6.18
786077Pullan, P. E.B.Q.M.S.3. 6.18
 ShawBombr. (T.M.)1919
786097Stradling, C. H.Sergeant30. 4.18
775017Wharton, H.Sergeant3. 1.18
776421Kirk, J.Gunner3. 1.18
786260Edmonson, C.Sergeant3. 1.18
786044Kitchin, F.B.S.M.3. 1.18
780086Hargreaves, W.Corporal3. 1.18
797010Tyler, J. A.Gunner3. 1.18
21316Bashir AhmedDriver22. 4.18
27652Abdul QuayumDriver22. 4.18
33810Nathoo KhanDriver22. 4.18
 Anderson, A. T.Brig.-General, C.M.G.
 Anderson, R. A. T.Lieut.
 Bedwell, E. P.Lieut.-Colonel
 Bowden, S. V.Capt.
786544Clapton, G.Gunner, M.M.
 Eeles, C. A.Major, D.S.O.
 Elston, A. J.Major
 Fraser, J.Capt.
6998Howes, T. W.B.S.M., D.C.M.
 Kewley, T. C.Capt.
 Lindsell, W. G.Major, D.S.O., M.C.
 Lockhart, J. F. K.Major, D.S.O.
 Long, V. H. S.Capt.
 Nickols, R.Major
 Robinson, G.Major
781825Rutter, C.Sergeant
 Seeman, F. H.Major
 Senior, A.Capt., M.C.
 Sherlock, D. J. C.Lieut.-Colonel, D.S.O.
 Willey, J.Major
 Woodcock, F. A.Lieut.-Colonel, D.S.O.
 Clapton, G.Gunner17. 3.17
 Tristram, F.Gunner17. 3.17
 Laird, W.Bombardier6. 5.17
 Salt, L. K.Sergeant22. 7.17
 Edmonson, C.Sergeant22. 7.17
 Wells, H. T.Bombardier22. 7.17
 Pickering, A. S.Bombardier22. 7.17
 Clayton, A. C.Sergeant22. 7.17
 Hebblethwaite, J.Sergeant23. 7.17
 Cameron, A.Bombardier23. 7.17
 Parker, R.Bombardier23. 7.17
 Everest, H.Gunner23. 7.17
 Webster, G.Gunner23. 7.17
 Gibson, J. W.Gunner23. 7.17
 Levett, J. A.Sergeant28. 7.17
 Knaggs, V. S. G.Lieut.10.10.17



Ablainzeville, gas attack on, 77

Abrahams, Lieut. F., 65

Achiet le Grand, 8, 20, 93

Achiet le Petit, 4, 7, 62, 92

Albert, 93

Alderton, Lieut. B., 98

Ammunition supply, 5, 24, 42, 88

Anderson, Lieut. R. A. T., 20, 28, 63

Anneux, 45

Archer, Capt. H. de B., 67, 76

Arleux, 56, 58

Armistice, 112

Arnold-Forster, Maj. F. A., 6, 10, 55, 104

Arras, Battle of, 10

Artillery, French, 85

Ashby, Lieut. H. C., 10

Auchonvillers, 2

Australians, 11, 65

Austria, armistice, 110

Aveluy wood, 93

Ayette, 62

Bailleul, 57, 58

Baillie-Reynolds, Lieut. P. K., 10, 82

Ball, Lieut. S. C., 13

Bapaume, 7

"    Battle of, 97

Barastre, 43

Barvaux, 117

Basse-Bodeux, 117

Batteries, A/310, 26, 32, 34, 58, 71, 86

Batteries, B/310, 10, 32, 56, 58, 94, 95

Batteries, C/310, 29, 32, 45, 65, 71, 86

Batteries, D/310, 26, 31, 58, 76, 86, 94, 95, 110

Batteries, A/312, 7, 32, 51, 62

"      B/312, 8, 9, 34, 56, 62, 82, 86, 101, 109

Batteries, C/312, 7, 10, 29, 32, 70, 82

Batteries, D/312, 7, 9, 16, 51, 56, 71, 96

Bayley, Maj. A. F., 37

Beaumont Hamel, 2, 3, 65

Beaurains, 62

Bedwell, Lt.-Col. E. P., 16

Bennett, Lieut. A. G., 27, 92

Benson, Brig.-Gen., 22

Berthelot, Gen., 89

Berzèe, 115

Bethoncourt, 53

Bevillers, 105

Bigg, Maj. L. B., 6

Bihucourt, 7, 93

[138]Bligny, 86

Boden, Lieut. J. B., 50, 52, 71

Bois d'Hollande, 4

Bois du petit champs, 83

Bois de Reims, 82

Bombing planes, 76, 84

Bottomley, Capt. G. R., 77

Bourlon Wood, 47, 49, 51, 53, 102

Bowden, Capt. S. V., 58

Bradford, Brig.-Gen., 35, 52

Braithwaite, Lt.-Gen. Sir W. P., 24, 30, 63, 68, 77, 88, 97, 102, 114

Brigade, 310th, 1, 2, 7, 8, 16, 21, 43, 46, 56, 62, 72, 85, 86, 93, 104, 105, 118

Brigade, 311th, 2, 3, 7, 8, 120, 121

Brigade, 312th, 1, 7, 16, 21, 27, 43, 46, 56, 70, 72, 78, 85, 86, 104, 118

Brown, Lieut. J. A., 25, 110

Bucquoy, 4, 7, 62, 64, 92

Bullecourt, 14, 15, 27, 32

Burnett, Brig.-Gen. J. G., 61, 107

Burt, Lieut. W., 82

Burton, Corpl. E., 79

Bus les Artois, 2, 86

Byng, Gen. Sir Julian, 25, 113

Cambrai, 103

"    Battle of, 45

Cambrai—St. Quentin, Battle of, 104

Canal du Nord, 98

Casey, Maj. N. B. V., 32

Casualty, First, 2

"    First Officer, 3

Casualties, number of, 11, 17, 29, 87, 112

Charlesworth, Gunner, 32

Chalons, 86

Chateau la Haie, 69, 72

Chaumuzy, 86

Cherisy, 33-35

Chevron, 117

Clarson, Lieut. C. L., 23

Clavier, 117

Cockerell, Lieut. A. E., 73

Colincamps, 2, 65

Couin, 86

Courtagnon, 82, 86

Craven, Lieut. G. A., 34, 35

Crofton, Maj. M. R. H., 57, 70

Croisilles, 7, 8

Cuitron, 83

Currie, Maj. J. M., 31, 94

D.A.C., 5, 12, 24, 52, 57, 77, 78, 82, 84, 86, 102, 110, 118

Davis, Lieut. E. W., 42

Dinant, 116

Douet, Lieut. C. F. M., 101

Dowden, Lieut. H. J., 101

Draper, Lieut. V. A. H., 83

Ecoust, 8, 9, 11, 13, 27, 30, 32, 37, 62

Eden, Lt.-Col. A. G., 43, 97, 104

Edmondson, Capt. J. E., 24

Edwards, Lieut. A. J., 16

Eeles, Maj. C. A., 41, 76, 78

Eitel, Prince, 117

Ellis, Lieut. G. A., 68, 82

Elsenborn, 117

[139]Elston, Maj. A. J., 104, 105

Engelbelmer, 2, 57

Engelsart, 5

Ermetont, 116

Ervillers, 7, 9, 14

Escarmain, 108, 109

Espilly, 85

Essarts, 64, 70, 92

Establishment of horses, 78

Estourmel, 104

Farbus, 59

Ferme d'Ecueil, 85

Ferrière la Grande, 114

Fitzgibbon, Maj. F., 55, 63

Fleming, Maj. G., 19

Flesquières, 46, 47, 101

Foncquevillers, 64-66, 73

Foot, Brig.-Gen. R. M., 42

"  Maj. R. C., 6, 26, 31, 55, 76, 93

Forrest, Lieut. R., 13

Fraser, Capt. J., 24

Frasnoy, 109, 110

Frontier, Crossing the, 117

Furlong, Lieut. P. C., 50

Gadie, Lt.-Col. A., 8, 120

Gallimore, Capt. H. B., 16, 17

Gane, Lieut. L. C., 53, 67

Garrett, Rev. S., 114

Gas attack on 312th, 70

Gavrelle, 56

Geddes, Brig.-Gen. J. G., 81

Gemund, 118

Germaine, 82

Gerpinnes, 116

Ginchy, 94, 95

Godley, Sir A., 81, 91

Goldsmith, Lieut. H. G., 61

Gomiecourt, 7

Gonnelieu, 51

Gough, Sir H. de la P., 13

Gouzancourt, 51

Graincourt, 45-47

Grandcourt, 3

Green, Lieut. W. J., 96

Haig, F.M. Sir Douglas, 72, 75

Hammond, Lieut. E. B., 23

Hampden, Brig.-Gen. Viscount, 100

Hannescamps, 62, 64

Haplincourt, 40, 52

Hardy, Lieut. G., 16, 17

Harker, Lieut. J. C., 96

Harris, Lieut. W. E., 34, 36

Hautvillers, 83, 86

Havrincourt, 40, 45-47, 53, 98, 99

Hebuterne, 64, 65

Henu, 72

Hermies, 101

Hess, Lieut. N., 50, 96

Hewitt, Lieut. J. B. C., 100

Hindenburg line, 9, 10, 13, 15, 27, 41

Holburn, Lieut. R., 4

Holt, Lieut. W. P., 66, 110

Hore-Ruthven, Lt.-Col. The Hon. A., 30, 33

Horne, Rev. T. A., 114

Horse Show, 29

House, Lieut. W. H., 84

Howes, B. S. M., 30

Hubert Road, 41

Hudson, Capt. G. L. C., 6, 10

[140]Indian drivers, 57, 77

Infantry appreciation, 60, 106, 107

Innes, Lieut. C. B., 52

Jephson, Maj. E. W. F., 4, 8, 16, 50, 65, 73

Johnson, Capt. E. F., 53

"    Lt.-Col. R. H., 104

Kal, 118

Keldernich, 118

Kewley, Capt. T. C., 24

Kinsman, Lt.-Col. G. R. V., 14

Kitson, Lieut. G. H., 15

Lagnicourt, 11, 21, 25, 27

Laignon, 117

Lasbrey, Capt. H. C., 3

Latter, Lieut. K. A., 94, 95, 110

Lawrie, Lieut. H. C. O., 25

Lea, Lt.-Col. H., 42

Le Quesnoy, 110

Le Trechon, 110, 111

Lindsell, Maj. W. G., 28, 45, 54, 55

Lintern, Lieut. E. E. C., 50, 96

Lister, Lt.-Col. F. H., 16, 23

Lloyd, Lieut. E. S., 85, 114

Lockhart, Maj. J. F. K., 57, 119

Logeast Wood, 7, 62

Lough, Lt.-Col. A. T., 24, 43

Lutyens, Lieut. C. T., 13

MacIlroy, Lieut. J., 4, 73

Mailly-mailly, 2, 6

Malsbenden, 118

Marcoing, 101, 102

Maredsous, 116

Marfaux, 82, 83, 86

Marquion, 47

Martinsart, 5

Masnières, 102, 104

Massey-Beresford, Lieut. J. C., 93

Maubeuge, Battle of, 112

Medals, Presentation of, 77

Mesnil, 93, 96

Metz, 52

Middleton, Capt. H. D., 76

Miles, Lieut. J., 67

Mines, 9

Miraumont, 3-6

Mitchell, Lt.-Col. F., 12

Monchy au Bois, 63

Montgomery, Lieut. C. V., 15, 67

Monument Camp, 20

Morchies, 25, 26, 93

Morgan, Lieut. R. G., 110, 111

Morval, 94

Mory, 9

Mountjoie, 118

Murray, Lieut. A. C., 65

Murray, Lieut. G. A., 103

Nappe, 85

Nelson, Lieut. H. G., 95, 96

Neuf Mesnil, 111, 114

Neuville, 43

Newman, Lt.-Col. C. R., 33

Newman, Lieut. C., 30

New Zealanders, 65, 110

Nicholson, Maj. K. B., 10, 101

Nierfeld, 118

[141]Noreuil, 11, 21, 22, 25, 30, 32, 62

Nowill, Lieut. J. C. F., 13, 71

Obies, 110

Oppy, 56, 58

Orders, special, 34, 45, 48, 68, 71, 74, 88, 89, 91, 99, 113

Orsinval, 109

Orville, 79

Owen, Lieut. J., 75

Parkinson, Lieut. E., 34, 35

Pas en Artois, 73, 86

Patis d'Ecueil, 82

Peel, Brig.-Gen. E. J. R., 20

Pelican Troupe, 80

Perry, Rev. H. O., 114

Pickard, Lieut. R. L., 25

Powell, Capt. J. B., 28

Pritchard, Lieut. F. C., 39

Proctor, Lieut. J. W., 13

Puisieux, 4, 64, 66

Pullan, Lieut. C. W., 7

Punchard, Lieut. C., 15

Puttock, Lieut. E. W., 71

Quéant, 20

Queen, Message from H.M. the, 73

Quiévy, 109

Raids, 33, 34, 35, 60, 76

R.A.R.E. Company, 22, 23

Reims, 81

Rest house, 6

Ribecourt, 101

Rider, Sergt., 32

Riencourt, 20, 21, 27, 36

Rissik, Lieut. S. A., 71, 100

Robinson, Maj. J. G., 6, 32

Roclincourt, 56, 59

Romeries, 106

Rossignol Wood, 69

Ruesnes, 109

Rumilly, 102

Sabelli, Lieut. H. A., 4

Sailly au Bois, 73

Sailly Saillisel, 95

St. Hilaire, 105

St. Imoges, 82

St. Leger, 11

St. Python, 105, 106

Schleiden, 118

Schleven, 118

Schofield, Lieut. H. O., 79

Seeman, Capt. F. H., 6

Selle River, Battle of, 108

Senior, Maj. A., 67, 71

"    Maj. G. P., 13

Seranvillers, 103, 104

Serrigny, General, 84

Settle, Corpl. W., 33

Sharpling, Lieut. F. G., 71

Sheppard, Lieut. E. J. C., 73

Sherlock, Lt.-Col. D. J. C., 14, 54, 85, 97

Smart, Lieut. E., 103

Smith, Capt. H., 79

Solesmes, 105-107

Solre sur Sambre, 115

S.O.S. Test calls, 22

Sottenich, 118

Souastre, 67

Sous le Bois, 112, 114

Special orders, 34, 45, 48, 68, 71, 74, 88, 89, 91, 99, 113

Spies, German, 64

[142]Stephens, Lieut. H. E., 83

Stuart, Lieut. F. R., 96

Stuttle, Lieut. A. E., 71

Sutherland, Lieut. H., 40

Swain, Maj. G. A., 4, 6, 19, 29, 70

Tanks, Practice against, 59

Thackeray, Lt.-Col., 61

Thy le Chateau, 116

Tortille river, 93

Tours sur Marne, 81

Trench, Capt. A. S. C., 63

Trench Mortar Batteries, 10, 21, 25, 27, 28, 33-35, 40, 58, 77, 109, 114, 118

Turkey, Armistice, 109

Tuthill, Maj. W. F., 73

Urft, 118

Vanderpump, Lieut. E. H., 25, 73

Vertain, 108

Villers au Flos, 43

Vimy Ridge, 10, 56

Ville, 117

Wambaix, 103, 104

Wancourt, 40

Weismes, 117

Wendrop, Gunner E., 93

Whigham, Maj.-Gen. Sir R., 98, 99, 102

Whitley, Brig.-Gen. E. N., 54

Whitworth, Lieut. J. M., 82

Willerval, 59

Willey, Maj. J., 10, 69

Williams, Lieut. E. T., 52

"      Maj. R. C., 4

Wills, Lieut. T. B., 24

Witcher, Lieut. C. R., 58, 69

Woodcock, Lt.-Col. F. A., 11, 24, 78

Wooliscroft, Lieut. W., 34, 35

Printed by
W. Heffer and Sons Ltd.
Cambridge, England

Transcriber's Notes

Obvious errors of punctuation and diacritics repaired.

Inconsistent hyphenation fixed.

P. 63: the shell, which as the day wore on -> the shells, which as the day wore on.

P. 84: I'ai l'honneur -> J'ai l'honneur.

P. 117: 16. Basse Bodeux -> 16th. Basse Bodeux.

P. 121: East Monday -> Easter Monday.