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4th Battalion, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)


mycener
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I am in search of the war diary of the 1/4th battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), 168bd, 56st div, who fought at the Somme to get a better picture what happened to great uncle Albert Bland till the day he died. Especially interested in the days July 1st and 25th September.

Does it exist at all?

thanks

Alex

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Yes, but at the National Archives at Kew, London. It is in the series WO 95. Last I checked it wasn't digitised and therefore not available through the documents online service. It is possible that a forum member might have a copy/transcript, but otherwise it might be worth trying to locate the divisional history, written by a Dudley Ward, if I remember correctly.

This divisional history is available as a reprint from Naval and Military press and it is likely some forum members have a copy and may be able to do look ups.

Ali

Forgot to say the battalion history is available as a reprint and online, but I gathered from another post you already had access to this?

Ali

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Whatever is in it as far as it relates to 1st July, plus information from the personal files of 13 officers 1/4th Londons officers, is in my book, however, below are the entries for the end of June and July 1st

1/4 Londons

27th June. Moved to Hebuterne and relieved 8th Middlesex. Bombardment ceased 7.45 PM. Germans then bombarded W and WR lines. Two patrols sent out from New Woman Street to examine the front line wire.

Killed 1 other rank

Wounded 1 officer and 1 other rank

28th June. Patrol returned at 12.30 AM bringing wire samples. Unable to penetrate German trenches. 12.30 AM German sent up 1 red light followed by 2 red lights. 15 minute bombardment around Lone Tree.

3.45 Heavy German barrage on WR and Hebuterne. German machine guns searched front of lines. Germans continued shelling Woman and Cross St. junction looking for artillery. Also north end W 47 looking for trench mortars.

11.30 PM Large German working party found at Farm and Farmyard by a patrol. Two patrols sent out to New Woman St. to examine the German trenches and wire.

Killed 2 other ranks

Wounded 2 officers and 11 other ranks

29th June. 12.10 AM. Patrol approached Farm and Farmyard. Officer in charge second Lieutenant Webster looked over parapet and discovered party digging, same party as at 11.20 PM 28 June. Patrol challenged. Very lights sent up and patrol retired.

Less German shelling during day but Woman and Cross Street still shelled.

6.30- 7.30 AM German bombardment of W sector. German machine guns from Sunken Road between 1 and 4.30 AM.

6.00 PM German bombardment.

Night patrol sent out from W 50 to examine the wire running North from Bucquoy road. Report that wire insufficiently cut to allow free passage of infantry.

30th June. Midnight. German barrage of lines and Hebuterne.

7.00 AM. W sector shelled heavily. Afternoon WR lines and Woman and Cross Street shelled. German machine guns active.

Killed 2 other ranks

Wounded 21 other ranks

Hebuterne July 1st 1916

2.45 AM. The day of the battle of Gommecourt. About 2.45 AM the Germans opened an intense bombardment on all assembly trenches, to which our artillery did not retaliate and shortly afterwards a portion of the left assaulting battalion was blown back from their assembly trenches into our area (1/4 Londons) and caused great congestion of traffic.

6.25 AM. Our intense bombardment began.

7.25 AM. Smoke was discharged along the whole front.

8 AM. Communication was extremely difficult owing to the German barrage.

8.45 AM. Orders were received for the 2 companies in our front-line to reinforce the Rangers left, in the German front-line trench Fetter, and to move up the supporting company D to our front line. Of 6 runners despatched with the message by different routes and 2 additional runners sent after 15 minutes interval, only 1 returned, having failed to locate the left company. The others were all killed.

9.05 AM. Information was received that the Rangers and Fusiliers were in front line German trench.

10.25 AM. Information was received that the leading companies of the battalion were over in the second line German trench.

10.45 AM. The battalion trench pioneers were sent over.

10.53 AM. The brigadier required information of the situation of the left of the brigade in the German line. Privates Whitehead and Buckingham volunteered to go across and report.

11.50 AM. A message was received from Captain A R Moore (untimed) to say he was still in his preliminary battle position in the W 49. A patrol was dispatched to report, on returning, that Captain Moore's company had gone forward.

1 PM. Information was received from the officer commanding D Company that he had suffered 50 per cent casualties and that the position had become untenable.

1.30 PM. The above patrol sent across to the German lines returned with the information that the junction of Et and Felt in the second line German trench was held by a party of Rangers under Lieutenant Harper and that he was urgently in need of bombs. At that time there were none of our brigade in the German third line trench. This information was reported to brigade headquarters and passed on to the officer commanding the Rangers.

1.45 PM. A special bomb squad from our battalion was ordered across but the party were all killed or wounded before reaching the German line.

2.30 PM. The front of the battalion headquarters dug out was blown in by a German high explosive shell which killed 7 men and wounded 7 others who were in the trench outside. The commanding officer, Major Moore, the adjutant and the signalling officer were in the dug out at the time.

3.30 PM. D Company again reported heavy casualties.

3.45 PM. The brigade headquarters ordered the company to withdraw to the WR line and the withdrawal, with a strength of 20 men, was reported by Captain Stanham at 4.45 PM.

6.30 PM. Brigade headquarters ordered the battalion to reform in the WR line between Wood Street and Woman St.

The strength of the battalion on the evening of 30th June was 32 officers and 890 other ranks distributed as follows: headquarters and fighting line 23 officers and 700 other ranks, transport and depot 9 officers and 115 other ranks, detached as brigade carriers 75 other ranks. On the night of the 1st and 2nd July after the action 7 officers and 356 other ranks answered at roll call.

In B Company, the clearing party, both officers were wounded and only about 10 men got back from the German line.

A Company most gallantly led by Captain A R Moore reinforced and reached the second German line, losing all its officers and all but 18 men.

Only 2 platoons of C Company got forward as the order failed to reach the company commander. This company was very severely treated by the German barrage and was greatly extended owing to the front-line trench being so much blown in. This accounted for the order not reaching the left of the line. All its officers were killed or wounded and the company was brought out of action by Company Sergeant Major Davis.

D Company which was in reserve sat through the most intense artillery bombardment from 2.30 PM until withdrawn as above stated by Capt. Stanham who kept them well in hand throughout the day ready to move forward if required.

2nd July. The battalion reached Sailly in the early morning. Orders were at once given to the companies to ascertain the number of men actually with the battalion in bivouac and for the preparation of approximate lists of those killed, wounded, missing and sick. Brigade was thereupon advised of casualties and strength present. In the afternoon the battalion marched to St Amand.

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Yes, but at the National Archives at Kew, London. It is in the series WO 95. Last I checked it wasn't digitised and therefore not available through the documents online service. It is possible that a forum member might have a copy/transcript, but otherwise it might be worth trying to locate the divisional history, written by a Dudley Ward, if I remember correctly.

This divisional history is available as a reprint from Naval and Military press and it is likely some forum members have a copy and may be able to do look ups.

Ali

Forgot to say the battalion history is available as a reprint and online, but I gathered from another post you already had access to this?

Ali

Thanks Ali, that was of great help

regards

Alex

Thanks Bill

Very much appreciated!!

regards

Alex

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Yes, but at the National Archives at Kew, London. It is in the series WO 95. Last I checked it wasn't digitised and therefore not available through the documents online service. It is possible that a forum member might have a copy/transcript, but otherwise it might be worth trying to locate the divisional history, written by a Dudley Ward, if I remember correctly.

This divisional history is available as a reprint from Naval and Military press and it is likely some forum members have a copy and may be able to do look ups.

Ali

Forgot to say the battalion history is available as a reprint and online, but I gathered from another post you already had access to this?

Ali

Ali...I didnt have access to the battalion history online! But it would be very interesting. Do you know where to find it?

thanks

Alex

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got it...thanks

regards

Alex

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