1/21st London Regiment December 1917

1/21st Battalion London Regt Ref Maps LENS 11 1/100,000
First Surrey Rifles FRANCE  Sheet 57c 1/40,000
ALBERT    Combined Sheet) 1/40,000
MOEUVRES (Special Sheet) 1/20,000

HINDENBURG SUPPORT LINE

1/12/1917
9.30 a.m. Orders received to be ready to move at once to reinforce either 140 or 141 Inf. Bde. Reconnaisance made of possible supporting positions W & E of ANNEUX.
3 p.m. Warning received of probable relief of 15th Lon Regt in BOURLON WOOD.
5 p.m. Orders received to reinforce 141 Inf Bde E of ANNEUX. Battn prepares to move. C.O. reports to 140-141 Bde Hqrs for orders.
6 p.m. Orders cancelled & new orders received to proceed with the relief of 15th London Regt already prepared for.

BOURLON WOOD

2/12/17
1 a.m. Relief of 15th Lon Regt complete. Dispositions. D& A Coys in Front line, opposite BOURLON. C Coy in immediate support. B Coy in reserve near Battn Hqrs at SW corner of BOURLON WOOD.
8.10 p.m. 7th & 8th Lon Regt attack to straighten out Front Line immediately W. of BOURLON WOOD. Our L.G. cooperate on R. flank of the attack. Capt. A.L. STRICKLAND sends one platoon (D Coy) to assist in the consolidation of captured line. 8th Lon Regt wounded & prisoners wounded & unwounded, passed through Battn Hqrs & R.A.P.

3/12/17
1 a.m. Stretcher-bearers & SAA & tools supplied to 8th Battn to help in evacuation of wounded & consolidation. C.O. issues orders for new dispositions to strengthen the left flank, at the request of O.C. 8th Battn.
1.45 a.m. These orders cancelled on receipt of orders from 142 Inf Bde to take over more Front Line on the Right flank in relief of a Company of 22nd Battalion.
Heavy enemy shelling – GAS & H.E. – around Battn Hqrs in the evening. Rations obtained by limber during barrage fire.

4/12/17
3 p.m. Orders received from Brigade for C.O. to go to Battn Hqrs. He returns at 5.30 p.m. with orders for withdrawal from the BOURLON SALIENT.
6. p.m. Operation Orders issued to O/C Coys in Conference at Battn Hqrs.
4-10 p.m. Vicinity of Battn Hqrs intermittently and heavily bombarded with GAS shells & H.E. SAA.& tools removed by limber about 9 p.m.

4-5/12/17
12 midn’t. Battn withdraws according to plan to HINDENBURG SUPPORT LINE – casualties Lieut. HUNT killed, 2 o.r. wounded.

5/12/17
4 a.m. Outpost line (2 platoons, C Coy) under Lieut J EDMUNDS withdrew without casualty from BOURLON WOOD.

HINDENBURG SUPPORT LINE

5/12/17
6.30 a.m. Outpost line reported back with the Battn.
Battn extended in accordance with 142 Inf Bde: OO 240. Dispositions – 4 Companies, each disposed in depth, 2 platoons in main line of resistance, 1 platoon in outpost line. Major R.H. Tolerton came forward to relieve Lt Col DAWES, & temporarily assumed command of the Battn. Battn HQ in 5.9’ gunpits in forward trench system.

6/12/17
11 a.m. Divisional Commander visited the line.
4 p.m. Fighting patrol under 2/Lt J.O.B Hitch sent Northwards along HINDENBURG SUPPORT LINE obtains touch with outposts of 2nd Divn – no signs of enemy patrols.
5.30 p.m. The forward outpost line through GRAINCOURT held by 140 Inf Bde withdrawn.
6 p.m. Post in K.11.A (Sheet 57c) held by RWF relieved by 2 platoons D Coy under Lieut C.H. EDMUNDS. Patrols & forward picquets maintained during this & successive nights.

7/12/17
Work of consolidation of line continued. Enemy M.G. & snipers active for GRAINCOURT & neighbourhood. Much desultory shelling around Battn Hqrs. Patrols etc maintained.
9 p.m. Battn Hqrs moved from forward system into GEORGE STR near Bde Hqrs. An advanced Hqrs is left in the old position under Capt STRICKLAND. Lieut Col DAWES resumed command of the Battn.

8/12/17
Work of consolidation & improvement of wire and communications continued. Day quieter and enemy in general less active.

9/12/17
Considerable hostile shelling against our posts resulting in the evacuation of a post on our right garrisoned by the 23rd London Regt.
1 p.m. A counter attack consisting of 20 O.R’s with a platoon in support was conducted by 2nd/Lt STOKE. This operation resulted in driving the enemy to the N side of the sunken road in K.10.b but further progress was impossible owing to heavy machine gun fire down the road. Lt Richmond and 2 O.R’s killed. Sgt ALEXANDER who had been shot through the thigh early in the morning, slipped away from the regimental aid post and returned to the line when the enemy were attacking. He left the trench and charged and dispersed a party of the enemy with the bayonet but was killed whilst performing this act of gallantry.

9-10/12/17
12 midnight. Advance Post under Lt C H EDMUNDS withdraws.

10/12/17
Day considerably quieter. At dusk Lt H.A. GILKES MC and 3 O.Rs went out to the old advanced post at K.11.a evacuated previous night. A number of ‘P’ bombs were thrown into the dugouts and the entrances to the tunnels.

11/12/17
Consolidation continued. Situation fairly quiet except for some sniping from GRAINCOURT.

12/12/17
Consolidation continued. Situation fairly quiet except for some sniping from GRAINCOURT.

6 p.m. Two companies relieved by 23rd Bn Royal Fusiliers. Remaining Companies relieved about midnight by the 22nd Bn The London Regiment.

K.32.a&c
13/12/17
4 a.m. Relief complete. Battalion bivouacked on hill side.

14/12/17
Area occupied cleaned up generally. Blankets sent up and all efforts made to make things as comfortable as possible.

15/12/17
6 p.m. Relieved by 7th Bn The London Regt.

BERTINCOURT
15/12/17
9 p.m. Battalion in billets at BERTINCOURT.

16/12/17
8 a.m. Battalion paraded and marched to VELU. Entrained there at 9 a.m. and proceeded to AVELUY detraining there about midday. Dinner in half an hour and Bn then marched to LAVIEVILLE which we reached 4.30 p.m.

LAVIEVILLE
17/12/17
Day spent in cleaning up generally and in intensive economy.

LAVIEVILLE
17/12/17 – 30/12/17
Battalion in billets resting. Light training carried out according to daily programme.
Tactical scheme by Brigades under supervision of the Divisional Commander. Work done as material available, an improvement of accommodation in billets.

25/12/17
Christmas holiday.

28/12/17
Brigade put under orders to move at 4 hours notice.

30/12/17
4 p.m. Orders received to be ready to move about 6 p.m.
6.15 p.m. Brigade Operational Order received to march to ALBERT & entrain for ÉTRICOURT.
9 p.m. Battalion entrained at ALBERT.

ÉTRICOURT
31/12/17
6.30 a.m. Battalion under canvas in camp near ÉTRICOURT.

31/12/17 – 1/1/18
12 midnight. Operational Order received for Brigade to move into Camp in LECHELLE area.

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