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7th Cameron Highlanders 17th August 1916 War Diary Entry

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Does anyone have the war diary entry for the 17th August 1916 for the 7th Cameron Highlanders, i believe they were attacking the Switch line, any help appreciated,


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Don't have the Diary, but this might do till someone comes along with it. Click


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The War Diary entry, or perhaps part of it, is on page 181 of Mike's link,



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War Diary entry: A Area (Front Line) Aug 17th -

Moved up to the attack for details on operation orders and report in Appendix

Disposition Headquarters in Gourlay Trench

7/8th K.O.S.B's on the right

9th Black Watch on the left and in front line

8th Seaforths in support

Relieved by 8th Seaforths during the night and early morning A & B Coys in Contalmaison C & D Coys in x 22 b (C Area)

Casualties Officers killed

Lieut H.B. Hardman

2/Lieut H.B. Goudie MC

2/Lieut J.M. Anderson

2/Lieut G.C. McLeay

Officers died of wounds

Lieut F.B. Cameron

Officers wounded

Capt H.B. Johnstone

Capt A. Ogilvy

Lieut Mirchison

2/Lieut S.A. Luen (?)

2/Lt C.W.D. Mackay

2/Lt C.R.G. Scott

2/Lt R.B.Purdon

2/Lt W. Mill

2/Lt D. Moir

Other Ranks

A Coy killed 13 died of wounds 1 missing believed killed 4 missing 2 missing believed wounded 7 wounded 38

B Coy 13 3 2 2 - 43

C Coy 10 - 2 2 - 49

D Coy 4 - 1 1 - 30


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Operation Orders No 2 by Lieut Colonel C.H. Marsh DSO Commanding 7th (S) Batt. Cameron Highlanders

1. The 7th Cameron Hs will assault the German Trench line between the points S.1.d.4.8 and X.6.a.7.3 on the 17th inst.

2. A B & C Coys will form first and second lines. D Coy will be in reserve.

3. Jumping off Trench is the new Trench dug by the ___ Battalion running from GLOSTER ALLEY to BOYAU joining BUTTERWORTH TRENCH and NEW SWITCH about

100 yards parallel to and opposite German Line.

Assaulting Parties

4.a. First line will consist of the first two platoons of each of A B & C Coys. Second line will consist of the third platoon of each of the 3 above-named companies and will

follow about 30 yards in rear of front line

b. D Coy will be in reserve in BUTTERWORTH TRENCH

c. The first fighting 10 of the left platoon of each of A B & C Coys will form the covering party under 2/Lt PURDON. This party will push straight across the German line

and take up a position in shell holes as far forward as possible under Artillery barrage. This party will be reinforced by 2 Lewis Guns, one on the right and the other

on the left. These two guns will go over with the second line. Covering party will not withdraw until word is received from the Os.C. A B & C Coys.

d. Platoons forming the second line will be the digging parties under 2/Lt MOIR of A Coy, 2/Lt BLACK of B Coy and 2/Lt SCOTT of C Coy. These officers will send

messages to the R.E. Dumps when they are ready for the R.E. Personnel to come up. These digging platoons will construct Strong Points at about S.1.b 0.3/3.0,

S.1.b.1.1, and X.6.a.9.3. The following R.E. Personnel will assist each of these platoons in constructing the Strong Points - 1 N.C.O and 3 men.

Blocking Parties

Double blocks will be established at about S.1.d.4.8 and X.b.a.9.3 (if necessary). A fighting 10 from D Coy with a Lewis Gun under 2/Lt GOUDIE will go over with the second line to establish a Double Block at about X.6.a.93 (if necessary) or to bomb the length of the trench. One N.C.O and three men R.E will be attached to each of these two parties. Thirty Mills Grenade Rods and forty rounds double blank are issued to each of these two parties.

Carrying Parties

O.C D Company will detail 2/Lt ANDERSON with three fighting ten as carrying parties to the R.Es. R.E. Stores will be brought up when required and dumped in GERMAN SWITCH in a central position. Carrying parties will then assist R.E. in wiring Strong Points. Two fighting tens of D Company will be detailed to carry up S.A.A Bombs very Lights from Dumps to Strong Points when required. One fighting ten from D Company will be detailed to carry up water in Petrol Tins to Strong Points.

5. Companies will be in position in Trenches half an hour before ZERO hour. ZERO hour - 8.55am.

6. A party of 10 men will be detailed by O.C. D Company to join GLOSTER sap to German Line.

I haven't included the following sections - Dumps; Action by Black Watch; Action by 44th T.M Battery; Action by 44th Machine Gun Coy; Prisoners; Outline of Artillery Action; Medical Arrangements; Reports; Dress


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Report to the Brig. General Commanding the 44th Infantry Brigade by the Officer Commanding the 7th Cameron Highlanders on the attack by the Battn on the SWITCH LINE of German Trenches -

Assaulting parties left HIGHLAND TRENCH at 8.55am on the 17th August at the same time as the Artillery Barrage opened. The German line was easily entered. As our men reached the German line a lot of Germans came forward holding up their hands. These were either killed or taken prisoner. The clearing up parties started up work and the parties detailed for digging went forward and started work, a few man went out as a covering party. Digging was carried on till about 10.15am. By this time the Germans started a bombing attack from the right, and as there was no officers in the German trench, most having been either killed or wounded, our men began to give ground. Captain McCrae who was on the right, and was out with the digging party, seeing this came back with 2/Lt Orr and organised a bombing attack to the right and formed a block. 2/Lt Black was out digging No 2 Strong Point. Getting heavily sniped by machine gun on right he withdrew into the German line and assisted in reversing the fire step and deepening the trench. I got word that more bombs were needed in the newly taken trench so formed 'chains' to pass up bombs from the prearranged dumps. In the meantime German bombs were used in large numbers. I used two platoons of the 9th Gordon Highrs who had come up to lay trench boards in carrying bombs from CONTALMAISON VILLA to BUTTERWORTH TRENCH dumps. These parties were invaluable.

About 11.45am seeing that we were not holding the ELBOW Captain McCrae was trying to collect men to retake this point from the end of GLOSTER SAP but he had difficulty in finding sufficient men and getting sufficient bombs. The Germans had formed a block at the ELBOW so Captain McCrae got the stokes gun to strafe this point and shortly after the stokes gun and team were put out of action by shell fire. At about 1pm I met Captain McCrae and restarted to organise this counter attack. I saw Lt Anderson of the Black Watch and Trench Mortar Battery and got him to send for another gun and get up more ammunition. This took some time as the team had also been knocked out. At about 2.15 I got word that a Coy of the 8th Seaforth Highlanders had just arrived so I sent for their Coy Commander and he told me he had a weak(?) Coy of about 80 men and had been carrying sandbags. So I determined to use two platoons of this Coy for the counter attack. At about 3.50pm I got word from my left that the Germans were massing on the Martinpuich-Pozieres road so informed Artillery F.O.O. The German shell fire was getting pretty heavy by this time. All the arrangements for the counter attack were not completed before 5.50pm when the two platoons of Seaforth Highlanders (about 50 men) with a few 7th Camerons retook the ELBOW under cover of the stokes gun fire and consolidated the position with very little opposition and, I understand, few casualties. At about 6.15pm the Germans opened a very heavy barrage on our front line with heavy shells until about 8pm then lifted for a bit and then started again.

My Battn was relieved at about 12.30 am 18th August by the 8th Seaforth Highlanders.

Approximate casualties officers killed 4 wounded 10. Other ranks wounded and missing 240.

I should like to bring to notice the following officers for good work. Captain McCrae, Lieut Orr, Black, Fraser & Moir, Captain Bateman RAMC - also Captain Binnie 9th Black Watch for assisting us in consolidating the front line when most of my officers were casualties. Also 2/Lt Turnbull 8th Seaforth Highlanders whose coy retook the SWITCH ELBOW.

We took 16 prisoners of the 179th Regiment. We also destroyed two German Machine Guns in the SWITCH LINE.

CH Marsh Lt-Col


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JP Brilliant post many thanks and many thanks for the links and info, very much appreciated, Geoff

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