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Remembered Today:

2nd Royal scots Fusiliers 1st july 1916


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Hi, has anybody got access to the war diary for the 2/RSF for 1st July 1916, I would be interested to know what there objectives were, casualties etc.. ? Cheers, Rick

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Their objective was Montauban, attacking behind Liverpool and Manchester pals battalions of the 30th Division. A succesful attack, with most of the casualties in the Manchester battalions.


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Assembled near Cambridge Copse for attack on Montauban (1/7). In support, followed 16th and 17th Manchester forward at 8.30 a.m. - village entered at 10.05 a.m. and Montauban Alley beyond soon after. Casualties - 170.

cheers, Jon

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Hi guys,

thanks very much for the information, much appreicated,


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War Diary

1st July

The battalion reached its assembly trenches between midnight and 1 a.m. having left Etinehem Camp in two halfs at 6.10 and 7.10 p.m. and joined the rest of the Brigade which moved from Billon Wood in two parallel columns.

Only water proof sheets and rations for one day, besides emergency rations, were carried and on each man’s pack was a yellow patch, 30th Division, and a metal disc. Every man, with exception of bombers who carried 10, carried 2 No 5 grenades and 200 shovels, 100 picks and quantity of sandbags were distributed over the battalion.

7.30 a.m. Zero was fixed for 7.30 a.m. and an intensive bombardment started approximately ay 6 a.m. The battalion left its trenches behind Cambridge Copse at 8.30 a.m. in the following order:

Three platoons of Nettoyeurs from B, C and D Companies, marked by yellow shoulder straps behind the third wave of 16th Manchesters on the left and 17th Manchesters on the right. The remainder of the battalion moved on two lines of columns of half platoons, 150 yards between companies, C and B on right and A and D on left, with its right on the west end of Glatz Redoubt and its left on Talus Boise.

There was very little shell fire and hardly any casualties occurred before reaching British front line, 1000 yards. After reaching the German lines there was considerable rifle fire from the left flank which increased as the battalion advanced causing numerous casualties in A and D Companies.

The 18th Division who were operating west of the Talus Boise appeared to be held up and to be keeping to the trenches while the enemy could be plainly observed firing on our men. The battalion however kept its formation perfectly.

9.20 a.m. The battalion halted in conformation with the leading battalions, the Brigade having covered the ground too quickly, the barrage being on Montauban till 9.55 a.m. Owing to the mass of shell craters the ground was difficult to manoeuvre over but no trouble was experienced from uncut wire.

9.30 a.m. The Brigade moved again but halted at 9.45 a.m. when the advance seemed to waver. The barrage lifted off the village and both B and C Companies caught up the 17th Manchesters and A and D the 16th Manchesters on the right and left respectively about 400 yards from the village. Our field guns again put a barrage on the village.

10 a.m. The whole Brigade advanced again our Nettoyeur platoons and most of the battalion being in the assaulting line. There was no rifle fire from the village itself but it was still heavy from the left flank.

10.15 a.m. A Company reached the centre keep and the remaining three companies had occupied the trench south of the village (South Trench) by 10.30 a.m. and the whole started consolidating.

The casualties during the advance were:



Lt J W Towers-Clark (OC A Company)

2nd Lt J H L Grierson (C Company)

2nd Lt V Godfrey


Capt & Adjt M B Buchanan

Capt M J N Law (OC D Company)

Lt J S Craig (A Company)

2nd Lt A G Lochhead (D Company)

2nd Lt W M Knox (C Company)

Capt G D Fairley, RAMC

Other ranks:

Killed 18. Wounded 94. Missing 58. Total 170.

Only 20 officers had been taken into action and fighting strength was 743 other ranks.

Lt Col R K Walsh, commanding 2nd RSF, had previously been appointed OC Montauban. The Adjutant’s duties were taken over by Lt M Carr.

All strong points and trenches, so far as recognisable, were occupied as practised but touch was not obtained with the 18th Division on the left. The Nettoyeur platoons after clearing the village rejoined their companies, one platoon taking 28 prisoners. Several batches of prisoners including an Artillery Brigadier and his staff were conducted to the rear.

The battalion was disposed as follows: A Company holding Keep A, one platoon of D Company just south in Keep E. Rest of D Company west end of South trench. Battalion HQ, C Company and B Company at east end of South Trench. The 16th and 17th Manchesters holding Montauban Alley, touch north of the village with the north perimeter and the east perimeter of the village respectively. Touch with the 21st Brigade in Chimney Trench was established.

12 noon. The enemy commenced bursting heavy shrapnel over Keep A and this, with the shortage of tools, severely held up the work of consolidation.

12.30 p.m. Enemy guns turned their attention to other parts of the village and heavy enfilade fire from 5.9s and 4.2s was brought to bear on Nord and Train Alleys.

The carrying parties of Manchesters which had been retained at Keep A now returned to obtain more stores from forward Brigade dump.

2.45 a.m. One platoon of C Company was sent to reinforce Keep B held by the 17th Manchesters which was being heavily shelled. The remaining two companies of the 18th Manchesters had previously moved into South Trench, their HQ adjacent to those of the 2nd RSF, to strengthen the garrison.

5 p.m. D Companies platoon was withdrawn from point E owing to the heavy and continuous shell fire and the impossibility of consolidating that position.

8 p.m. Enemy shelling increased and continued throughout the night, guns from the direction of Bernafay Wood enfilading South Trench, causing several casualties. One of our own batteries was also putting shells into the village.

10.30 p.m. One platoon of B Company was moved to Nord Alley to reinforce the 17th Manchesters whose ranks were being thinned by the continual shell fire.

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  • 3 years later...

Hi bmac,

I know this is an old post but...

I'm interested in the 17th Manchesters. Your War Diary for the 2nd RSF has some new info. for me. Do you have a continuation?

The German counter-attack @ 3am on 2nd July involved Scots and the RSF War Diary may throw some more light on this.


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