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"Only With Honour"



Saturday 25th September.

Walked up to trenches at 2:45am. It was drizzling slightly but very warm. This is "the day" the Dertag of the Huns. And even as they prepared for their day so have we, and, today the Allies are going to make a combined effort. Glorious news has come in all day (9:45pm) by wires from Brigade H.Q.

I understand the plan was for the main push to be made by the French somewhere south in particular and by the English 2nd Army. No advance was ordered on the Armentieres salient, but in the event of favourable opportunity arising it was decided that the small salient in front of our (the Surrey's) line should be taken.

The Queens in the trenches, it lay with us to make the assault. A furious bombardment had been evidently going on toward the south all yesterday and night indeed to mask the programme. We also kept up a tremendous cannonade on this salient and must have done much damage.

Our little "show" fell through and no attack took place much to the disappointment of the men. The last wire I read says that  the French have captured the whole of the first line of trenches and let their cavalry through. The English too have been successful  everywhere except at one point.


7th Battalion war diary 25th September.

The battalion moved to their positions at 2:30am. And all in position by 4:00am. At 5:00am the artillery bombarded the German salient at Le Touquet till 6:30am. At 5:56am we sent up a smoke screen all along our front with smoke bombs, burning straw etc. The Enemy only answered with q few whizz bangs. 

Our bombardment  did not sufficiently damage the Enemy's wire or make him give up his trenches, so it was decided no attack would be made, as from a tactical point of view there was nothing to be gained. Our whole objective being to make sufficient aggression to prevent him moving any troops to other parts. At 1:00pm we  received orders that we could go back to billets, the bombardments and aggression is still to go on from time to time, so the Enemy gets no rest.

Our men were very disappointed that no attack was made but were consolidated hearing the splendid news which kept coming in.


A summary of messages attached  -  "THE DAY HAS COME" - at last, everybody has been longing for it and no one questions the idea of anything but crushing success all along the line. From reports received it is evident the French and ourselves used "gas" which owing to the German breach of faith has become a legal weapon of war. And it is to be hoped that we will make full use of it and avenge the terrific suffering our men have received from the German gas.

Everybody realises that the 2nd Army front, roughly from Ypres to Bois Grenier being in advance of the general line will have to hold the enemy until the line straightens and then "our" day will come.


Sunday 26th September.

Walked out to William this afternoon. Got him excused stables so that we had until 8:00pm together. We strolled into Nieppe had tea etc. Improbably moving. Got back to Armentieres in time for dinner. A wire came to say that total French prisoners were over 10,000 and English 2,000. Last wire said Sonchey had fallen to the French , there was no word about the cavalry and altogether I do not feel so optimistic as yesterday. We received word that we were not to go up to trenches until tomorrow night.


Monday 27th September.

News that French have now taken 18,000 prisoners, 31 guns and 1st and 2nd line of trenches over 21km. We occupy Loos and have taken nine field guns.

We are going today, where, when, we have no orders and it is 6:00pm. A perfect chaos here at H.Q. Our Regiment not yet away. At last we are sent to billets in the town near the station and eventually got settled for the night. Slept on the floor but very comfortable and warm.


(*Like nothing had happened)


*All material produced or reproduced here and throughout this blog is the sole copyright of the holder of the diaries of Reginald Hannay Fothergill (author)



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