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Remembered Today:

107th Brigade,36th(Ulster)Division


johnsammc

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Hi guys,

Im looking for info re:aboves whereabouts at times mentioned.Ive looked in the History of 36th and cant see anything.The 2 men im looking for are buried in Bertenacre Mil Cem in Fletre if this helps.Any help greatly appreciated

John

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On July the 19th the 9th Division, in line on the right, captured Meteren, the Artillery of the 36th Division co-operating in the attack. The 36th Division did not at first strive to improve its position in a similar way, but contented itself with raids on a large scale. One, by the 109th Brigade, resulted in very heavy fighting, the enemy being on the alert. Though the enemy's casualties were estimated at thirty, and a prisoner was taken, the raid hardly ranked as a success, since our casualties were seventeen, including four men missing. The 107th Brigade, on the left, had a more satisfactory venture.

A strong patrol of the 2nd Rifles surrounded a farm in which there was an enemy garrison of ten. Two of these were taken prisoner, the rest killed. The patrol had not a casualty, despite heavy machine-gun fire. Further prisoners were taken by the 107th Brigade on a later occasion, while the only raid attempted by the enemy, from Haagedoorne, where his troops held the old railhead, was beaten off by rifle fire, even though the Germans got within twenty yards of the outposts before being seen.

An interesting event of this period was the visit of His Majesty the King to the area. On August the 6th, at Oxelaere, a little village on the slopes of Cassel Hill, he presented to Lieutenant Knox, 150th Field Company, R.E., the Victoria Cross won by him during the March retreat in circumstances that have been described. On the following Sunday His Majesty attended a parade service at Terdeghem, where were Divisional Headquarters.

The 36th Division, being in the Second Army, was not destined to take part in the early great counter-offensives that raised all men's spirits and showed the world that at last the tide had turned. The first of these had been French, though four of the best British Divisions had played their part in it. In what is now known as the Battle of Tardenois, beginning on July the 18th, the salient of the great German advance to Château-Thierry had been crushed in, and the enemy routed, with great loss of prisoners and booty.

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Then, on the 8th of August, came a second mighty blow. The Fourth British and First French Armies began a great offensive down the Amiens - Roye Road. The quality of the resistance with which it was met showed that German discipline and German steadfastness were weakening at last. On the 21st the British Third Army, and a little later the First Army, launched still greater attacks, sweeping swiftly across the waste of the old Somme battlefield, and once more approaching the Hindenburg Line. Before that was reached the 36th Division, up in Flanders, was again in action.

Various local offensives had been planned, to take from the enemy what little good ground he held near the point of his salient.

The 9th Division's capture of Meteren has been mentioned. At the end of July, the 1st Australian Division, further south, had retaken Merris. On August the 18th the 9th Division carried out a further successful operation, capturing the important Hoegenacker Ridge, south-east of Meteren. It was now the turn of the 36th Division to improve its position. On August the 22nd an attack carried out by the 15th Rifles, on the right of the line, advanced it a quarter of a mile on a front of half a mile. Twenty-two prisoners and two machine-guns were captured.

A curious and vastly effective ruse was employed in conjunction with this operation. The demoralizing effect of the Livens projector upon the enemy was well known, but its use, charged with gas, would have prevented any immediate attack by our troops upon the area bombarded. The drums were therefore filled with a scent which resembled the smell of gas. Many of the enemy had run back before our men advanced, while others were caught wearing their respirators.

Two days later an attack on the left by the 1st and 9th Irish Fusiliers, under a barrage of smoke and shrapnel advanced the line to the Haagedoorne - Dranoutre Road on a front of upwards of a mile. So great was the surprise and so swift the assault, that the enemy was "smothered," and did not make a serious resistance. Sixty prisoners and eleven machine-guns were taken here. An enemy counter-attack in the evening was brought to a stop by rifle and machine-gun fire, though the 108th Brigade lost one small post. The line was now a thousand yards only from Bailleul,, and the defences of the town were pierced. An attack upon the salient would now have resulted in a great German rout. The enemy did not await it. Under the skilful leadership, that was never more apparent than in the months of defeat and humiliation which were to follow, he flitted in a night.

The 36th Division, on the morning of August the 30th, was awaiting relief by the 35th Division, to be given a short period of rest and training before being launched upon the great series of final offensives in Flanders. Its right-hand neighbour, the 9th Division, had already been relieved by the 31st Division on the Hoegenacker Ridge, with a like object. That rest the 36th Division was not destined to enjoy.

At ten o'clock that morning came a report from the 31st Division that the enemy was gone from its front, and that its men were entering Bailleul from the south. Before two o'clock patrols of the 36th were in the huge Asylum north of the town, and upon the Neuve Eglise Road. The relief was cancelled and an immediate advance ordered, to be carried out by the 109th Brigade.

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John - do you have a Btn. in mind for your boys? Might be able to fish something more?

Des

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John - do you have a Btn. in mind for your boys? Might be able to fish something more?

Des

Yes Des i have,

The first is Rifleman John Toner of the 1st R.I.Rifles who DOW 20/07/18

The second is Rifleman Samuel Cordiner of the 2nd R.I.Rifles who was KIA 18/08/18.

Thanks again Des

John

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More in-depth from the Rifles' specific history

The British were now strong enough to embark upon some local offensives to improve their position. On July 19th the 9th Division, on the right of the 36th, recaptured Meteren. Two platoons of the 1st Battalion attempted to 'enter the enemy's trenches as a diversion. In this they were unsuccessful, but a patrol later captured a German in broad daylight. On the 23rd the 2nd relieved its sister battalion, and on the 29th carried out a brilliant little patrol action. Two officers, Lieutenant D. B. Wallington and 2nd-Lieutenant J. M. G Stewart, with four men, crept out at 5.30 p.m. and made their way to a farm-house inside the enemy's wire, where they heard talking. A quick rush completely surprised tie enemy post, numbering about ten. Four prisoners were taken, and the rest killed or wounded. Two of the prisoners broke away in "No Man's Land " on the return journey, and were shot. The patrol had no casualties, though heavy machine-gun fire was directed on it as it made its way back to our lines.

Casualties were light, but the 1st Battalion had 2nd-Lieutenant W. E. Park 2 and the 2nd Battalion Lieutenants C. R. W. McCammond and E. Morrow wounded during July.

The ordinary tours in line and support continued into August, but the British had not given up their policy of eating into the enemy's defences and denying him any good ground that existed in his uncomfortable salient. At the end of July the 1st Australian Division, to the south, had retaken Merris. On August 18th the 9th Division resumed its offensive, and captured the Hoogenacker Ridge, south-east of Meteren. All men's hopes were rising now. It was a month since Marshal Foch's first great counter-blow had been struck, and the Germans driven out of the Château-Thierry salient, so menacing to Paris, with great loss in prisoners. Another great offensive on August 8th had cleared Amiens and carried the line forward to Roye, where the German break-through had occurred at the end of March. It was now the turn of the 36th Division to improve its position.

The task did not fall to either of the battalions with which we are concerned, though both suffered from the increased liveliness of the front. On the 14th of the month the 2nd Battalion came in for a bad bombardment with gas shell, about sixty men being more or less affected. *

* On this date the following officers were gassed: 2nd Battalion - Captain C. E. Barton, 2nd-Lieutenants C. H. Lane, R. A. Gough, F. T. Pool; 1st Battalion - 2nd-Lieutenant F. R. H. Macauley, Rev. WW. H. Hutchison. Of these the two officers first named died subsequently. Two further officers of the 2nd Battalion were wounded on August 24th 2nd-Lieutenants R. I. Johnston and W. H. Calwell.

Two days later the 1st Battalion had its commanding officer, Colonel Hunt, wounded, Major J. A. Mulholland, M.C., taking over command. On August 18th the third battalion of the 107th Brigade, the 15th Royal Irish Rifles, carried out an attack, advancing the line on a front of half a mile a distance of 400 yards, and taking 22 prisoners and 2 machine guns. Two days later the 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers, of the 108th Brigade, carried out an even finer attack, under a barrage of smoke and shrapnel, advancing to make it through the 1st Royal Irish Rifles. The enemy was taken completely by surprise. The line was advanced to the Haagedoorne - Dranoutre road; 60 prisoners were taken, with 11 machine guns, and a great number of Germans killed.

IV. - THE GERMAN RETIREMENT.

The British were now only 1,000 yards from Bailleul, and had pierced its main defences. An attack upon the salient would now have resulted in a victory like that on the Maine. The enemy, however, did not await it. On the morning of August 31st, when the 107th Brigade had gone back again to the Cassel area for a rest, it was suddenly discovered that he had slipped away from in front of our positions. By 2 p.m. patrols had entered the asylum and were upon the Neuve Eglise road. By midnight they were within a mile of the summit of the Ravelsberg Hill. The 107th Brigade was accordingly moved up to the area of Mont Noir and Mont des Cats, to be in readiness to follow up the pursuit.

The 2nd Battalion had now a new commanding officer, Lieut.-Colonel J. H. Bridcutt, D.S.O. Major H. C. Glendinning had been temporarily in command during the last month, Colonel Cox having gone to the Senior Officers' School at Aldershot. One event may be recorded, as of interest to the history of the Regiment, and also as typical of British imperturbability. The II Corps Horse Show had been fixed for August 31st, and the Germans were not allowed to spoil it by their untimely retirement. And again the transport of the 1st Battalion achieved a triumph. It was selected by General Coffin to represent the infantry transport team - one travelling kitchen, one water-cart, two limbers, two pack mules - of which one was entered from each division in the Corps. It carried off first prize.

The transport sergeant, Sergeant Clarke, received a silver cup, and each driver a silver medal. Meanwhile the rest of the Battalion was marching forward. It was the case of Drake and his game of bowls over again.

On August 31st the 109th Brigade captured the Ravelsberg with some difficulty, then hustled the enemy rearguards down the further slope. The following day saw much severer fighting, which brought our troops to the outskirts of Neuve Eglise. On September 2nd that village and the old G.H.Q. line were captured by the 108th Brigade. By the evening of the 3rd the line ran from l'Alouette, a mile east of Neuve Eglise, to La Plus Douve Farm, south-east of Wulverghem. Another attack next day brought it from a point on the Bank of the famous Hill 63, captured by the 29th Division, to Gooseberry Farm. The latter, however, was lost to a violent counter-attack, supported by three times the weight of artillery the British had been able to drag up across the bad roads, and the line on the left driven back some five hundred yards. Nor did further attacks on September 5th meet with better fortune. It was evident that fresh troops were wanted, as the 108th Brigade had been fighting constantly for four (lays.

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John - one thing. This from a moderator point of view - please don't take this the wrong way ... when replying just use the fast reply option. That means we don't get the original quote which eats bandwidth.

Des

PS I will edit 'em.

Cheers

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  • 7 years later...

Hi guys, 

 

Does anyone know/have any photographs of the officers of 107th? 

 

Many thanks,

 

Rob

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