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robertb

8th RWF - missing month December 1915

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robertb

The month of December 1915 seems to be missing from the War Diary of 8th Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers (Gallipoli).  Has it been lost for ever, or misfiled (Ancestry) some where?  Help much appreciated.

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PRC

Not a direct answer, but have you tried looking for the Brigade War Diary for the period. A copy of each sub-unit war diary was received by them within a couple of days of the end of the month and then typed up and included in the Brigade War Diary. From personal experience many of the appendices and maps that have gone "walkies" over the years from individual battalions war diaries, tend to still be there in the Brigade Diaries, plus you get both sides of any communications.

 

regards,

Peter

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robertb

Thanks for the advice.  Will let you know how I get on.  Must say it is a bit frustrating when chunks of information are 'missing'.

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clive_hughes

It isn't unusual for some later months of the campaign to be missing from the RWF Territorial units' diaries at Gallipoli, so there may be a pattern here.  As there is an "original" (not recent) transcript set of the diaries in the RWF archives in Wrexham Museum, you could try asking them if December is missing from that volume.

 

Clive

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Hywyn
2 hours ago, clive_hughes said:

It isn't unusual for some later months of the campaign to be missing from the RWF Territorial units' diaries at Gallipoli, so there may be a pattern here.  As there is an "original" (not recent) transcript set of the diaries in the RWF archives in Wrexham Museum, you could try asking them if December is missing from that volume.

 

Clive

Yes, it is missing Clive.

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robertb

Thank you for the information, a shame though it is.

 

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Hywyn
17 hours ago, Hywyn said:

Yes, it is missing Clive.

It occurs to me that I may not be referring to the same set as Clive. For avoidance of doubt I mean the set of (photocopied?) typed WDs that were available to Researchers when the Archives were at Kings Mill, Wrexham. They were/are marked to the effect that December is missing. Clive might mean another set  within the archives. No doubt Clive will along in due course to clarify.

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clive_hughes

Hywyn,

Yes, they are typed transcripts, bound in brown card covers.  Chances are they're the same set you remember.

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Hywyn

Robert

Clive and I are talking about the same set of diaries.

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robertb

The December 1915 is missing from the War Diaries supplied by Ancestry.  Would there be another set of 'originals' somewhere?

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Guest

The diary is missing, however the HQ 40th Infantry Brigade fill in some of the gaps, as can some of the other battalion diaries in the same Brigade. The 40th Brigade diaries are some of the most detailed diaries maintained during the Gallipoli campaign.  

 

MG
 

Edited by Guest

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Guest

In the absence of the Battalion war diary, i think the closest you will get is the Brigade Headquarters diary. Here is December 1915:

 

HQ 40th infantry Brigade War Diary.

 

Wed, 1 Dec 15. 

On Nov 30th the 4th Bn SOUTH WALES BORDERERS were relieved by 8th Bn ROYAL WELSH FUS and moved into BR 62 as Brigade Reserve. Fire trenches being held as follows:-

 

8th Bn ROYAL WELSH FUS    B 58, B 50 (less 1 Bay)

5th Bn WILTSHIRE REGT        1 Bay B 59, B 60 5 Bays B 61

8th Bn CHESHIRE REGT          10 bays B 61, B 62

 

The length of fire trenches of battalions holding firing line being in proportion to effective strength of those battalions.

 

Turkish snipers were unusually active during the day and R 62 and BR 62 were shelled, no casualties. Eight Japanese trench mortar bombs were fired into Turks' trenches at foot of Western end of SCIMITAR HILL. The parapet was damaged in two or three places and it is hoped that some casualties were caused to the occupants.

 

A Turk working party working in a shallow trench on SCIMITAR HILL was fired on by machine guns . Four Turks were seen to fall and work was discontinued.

 

370 men were sent to 38th Infantry Brigade to work during the night on CHOCOLATE HILL defences.

 

Thu, 2 Dec, 15   

Turks sniping activity was continued. Two mortar bombs fell near B 61 but did  no damage. Snipers claim 12 hits today as Turks were exposing themselves more than usual.

 

In the morning a party of Turks in marching order were seen to pass along a shallow trench on Southern slopes of SCIMITAR HILL, machine gun fire was opened and six Turks were seen to fall. The Japanese trench mortar was again used with effect on Turks' trenches.

 

Fri, 3 Dec, 15     

Turks sniping was active during the day but were kept under by vigorous counter-sniping from prepared posts in the parados of fire trenches and some of the support trenches.

 

Three Officers' patrols during the night failed to discover any Turkish patrols or working parties. Japanese trench mortar was again fired with apparently good result. Work on wire entanglements and scrub cutting to clear field of fire in front of B 60 was carried out.

 

Sat, 4 Dec, 15    

Turkish snipers were much less active during the day, and they fired very little during the night. Two Officers' patrols were out during the night. Turks were reported working  West of SCIMITAR HILL. A small party of Turks covering their working party retired on approach of our patrol. Our Japanese trench mortar was fired with success.

 

Sun, 5 Dec, 15   

06:30.  A Turk belonging to the 3rd Bn 34th REGT surrendered to B 62. According to this two Turks who surrendered, one on Dec 4th and this one today. The Turks suffer a good many casualties by our rifle and machine gun fire, the latter being especially effective against their working parties at night. Our Japanese mortar had also caused several casualties.

 

Three Officers' patrols were out at different hours during the night. No Turkish patrols were encountered and no Turkish working parties could be seen or heard.

 

Mon, 6 Dec, 15 

At Dawn our snipers had some good targets and claim several hits. Turkish sniping during the day was kept well in hand by our snipers who claim several hits. At hours varying from 19:00 to 04:00 three Officers' patrols approached close to enemy's trench at foot of Western side of SCIMITAR HILL; they report trench strongly held contrary to the statements of the Turkish deserters.

 

Turks fired two machine guns on one of our wiring parties in front of  B 59 no casualties.

 

Tue, 7 Dec, 15   

Drafts having arrived for all Battalions the firing line was redistributed as follows:-

 

8th Bn ROYAL WELSH FUS  occupied B 58, B 59 and 6 Bays of B 60

5th Bn WILTSHIRE REGT      occupied 8 Bays B 60 and 8 Bays B 61

8th CHESHIRE REGT              occupied 7 Bays B 61 and B 62

 

Two Officers patrols were out during the night. The first placed two letters written by a Turkish deserter, stating how well we treat our prisoners, in a conspicuous place close to the Turk trenches. The second under 2 Lt O'BRIEN, 5th Bn Wilts REGT  threw grenades into the Turkish trench and at a Turkish patrol, by which the Officer was challenged four times. The patrol returned in safety through a fairly heavy fire was kept up from the Turkish trenches for half an hour after the grenades were thrown.

 

Wed, 8 Dec, 15 

Turkish snipers were quiet during the day. During the early part of the night the Turks fired a machine gun at our trenches generally. Our machine guns dispersed a Turkish working party.

 

Thu, 9 Dec, 15   

Turks were very quiet during the day, little sniping going on.

 

Our artillery bombard the Turk trenches in front of this subsection at 17:15. Bombardment appeared effective. Some Turks were seen to have their trenches affording targets for our machine guns. Four or five Turks were seen to fall.

 

An Officers' patrol found Turks working on SW slopes of SCIMITAR HILL, this working party was covered by a party extended in line.

 

During the night work was continued on our entanglements.

 

Fri, 10 Dec, 15   

Turks were quiet during the day. At 17:15 artillery bombarded approaches to Turkish trenches on our front, after which Turks fired briskly for a short time.

 

An Officer and 10 men went out in front of B 59 to way-lay any Turkish patrols. None however were seen or heard. The Japanese mortar was used with effect during the morning on the Turk trenches opposite B 61. It was returned to Ordnance 13th Div in the evening.

 

At 18:00 a party of two Officers and 100 men from each of the 8th Bn CHESHIRE REGT and 8th Bn ROYAL WELSH FUS and 4th Bn SOUTH WALES BORDERERS went to take over and improve trenches on LALA BABA. In the morning the Brigade Staff less Staff Captain, Officers Commanding and one Officer from these Battalions had visited the trenches to be taken over.

 

Sat, 11 Dec, 15  

Turks shelled BR 59 and BR 60 between 16:00 and 17:00. No casualties.

 

Officer's patrol placed two Turkish deserters' letters near Turk trenches opposite B 59. HQ and 3 Sections 88 Field Coy RE left for LALA BABA for work on SALT LAKE LINES. Work on preparation of mines on our front was carried out.

 

Sun, 12 Dec, 15 

Turks were quiet during day but more active as regards rifle fire during the night. Work in preparation of mines in front of our entanglement continued.

 

Officer's patrol between 01:45 and 03:45 in front of B 60 reported Turk wiring in front of their trenches on South slopes of SCIMITAR HILL.

 

Mon, 13 Dec, 15

Turkish snipers were quiet during the day. Between 07:00 and 08:00 the trenches of the subsection was shelled indiscriminately but no damage was done.

 

An Officer's patrol reported Turks working on wire entanglements in front of new Turk trench on Southern slope of SCIMITAR HILL.

 

Work on preparing holes for mines in front of our entanglement was continued.

 

Tue, 14 Dec, 15 

Work was carried out early in the night to make the new fire trench on right of B 59 conspicuous in order to give the enemy the impression that new work was in progress.

 

22:20. Machine gun detachments which consisting of one Officer, 32 Other ranks and 3 machine-guns of the 8th Bn CHESHIRE REGT and 4th Bn SOUTH WALES BORDERERS left for SALT LAKE LINES.

 

An Officer's patrol and grenadier party of 5th Bn WILTSHIRE REGT went out in front of B 59 between 22:30 and 24:00. The Officer and two grenadiers crawled to within 20 yards of Turk trench. Three grenades were thrown into the Turk trench, places being selected where  lights were seen and Turks were heard talking. Each grenade fell into the trench. A heavy fire was opened on the party but after lying behind cover for a short time all returned safely to our lines. The patrol ascertained that the Turks hold the portion of the trench visited strongly at night, that the bays of the trench are about 36 feet in length and that at present there is no wire entanglement in front of it.

 

Wed, 15 Dec, 15

During the morning a party works in new trench on right of B 59 throwing up the earth in a conspicuous manner.

 

16:00. Turks shell S 61 for a short time. No casualties. Otherwise a quite 24 hours.

 

14:00. 4th Bn SOUTH WALES BORDERERS took over 8 Bays of B 60 and 8 of B 61 from 5th Bn WILTSHIRE REGT in the firing lines.  5th Bn WILTSHIRE REGT moved to Brigade reserve in BR 62.

 

36 mines were laid in front of our entanglement. They were not made active.

 

An Officer's patrol in front  of B 62 remained out between 18:30 and 21:30. No Turks were reported working.

 

An Officer's patrol in front  of B 58 and B 59 remained out between 21:00 and 01:00. A Turk party approached this patrol about 22:30, an attempt to cut it off was unsuccessful. The same patrol later came under fire of another Turk party which was concealed in the scrub. No casualties were caused.

 

Thu, 16 Dec, 15 

Two Officers' patrols in front of B 59 at about 22:30 reported Turks working on their trench and in constructing wire entanglement in front of B 59. The Turk working party was covered by a party of about 590 men.

 

On retirement of Turks' covering party our patrol advanced and threw two grenades into a Turkish trench. Patrol returned safely. Patrol in front of B 61 at about 01:00 reported that no work was being carried out by the Turks on that front.

 

Fri, 17 Dec, 15   

More mines were laid in front of our entanglement, but were not made active.

 

Throughout the night from 18:00 to 06:00 three Officer's patrols relieved every four hours remained in front of our lines. On our left no Turks were working or patrolling, a brisk fire was being kept up from their trenches on this flank.

 

In the centre our patrols could not move out far owing to the pressure of Turkish parties of 20 to 30 who were covering working parties in rear. On the right our patrol advanced some distance but after about 21:30 they had to retire closer in owing to large Turkish patrols advancing against them. Fire was opened by our patrol and it is thought that some damage was done.

 

Our patrols each consisting of one Officer  and 10 men and found themselves outnumbered by the Turks consequently being unable to accomplish much . No casualties were caused to our patrols. Turks appeared to be working on their entanglements.

 

Sat, 18 Dec, 15  

18:25. 5th Bn WILTSHIRE REGT with details of 8th Bn CHESHIRE REGT of two Officers and 52 Other Ranks, 8th Bn ROYAL WELSH FUS, two Officers, 43 Other Ranks and Brigade HQ of 19 Other Ranks left at 18:25 for embarkation at SOUTH PIER LALA BABA.

 

18:00. 8th Bn ROYAL WELSH FUS less machine gun detachment left for LALA BABA to remain there for embarkation on Dec 19th.

 

The 70 mines placed in front of our own wire entanglement were made active during the night. Fire groups were put out to cover RE party working on the mines. The group in front of B 60 and that in front of B 58 both drove back Turkish patrols of about 12 men in each with rifle fire and grenade throwing, inflicting some casualties on them. Turks threw grenades at group in front of B 58 before being driven off. RE and covering group returned in safety.

 

During the night the Turks were working in front of the right ad centre portions of the subsection.

 

Sun, 19 Dec, 15 

At dawn on Dec 19th the Turks were sniping briskly. Two sentries 4th Bn SOUTH WALES BORDERERS were hit in the head, one being killed.

 

After departure of 5th Bn WILTSHIRE REGT and details, fires were kept up in the vacated lines. The day passed quietly except for a little shelling which was directed on reserve trenches which had been vacated.

 

The programme in attached copy of Brigade Order BM 0800 of 18.12.15 was carried out punctually. Troops had no difficulty in withdrawing from the trenches and the last troops reported that where they left at 01:30 on Dec 20th the Turks were busy working on their wire entanglements. In almost full moon and a still night with a slight haze greatly assisted the withdrawal.

 

No article of any value at all was left in the area occupied. A small amount of reserve rations were destroyed; everything else evacuated.

 

Mon, 20 Dec, 15

01:15. Brigade Staff, portion of 8th Bn CHESHIRE REGT and 4th Bn SOUTH WALES BORDERERS embarked on HMT ROWAN.

 

07:00. Brigade staff etc disembarked and went to camp about 2 miles from landing place. The whole Brigade less 5th Bn WILTSHIRE REGT and some details arrived at the camp during the morning.

 

14:45. Brigade at IMBROS (less 8th Bn ROYAL WELSH FUS) embarked on HMT HUNTSGREEN and OSMANIEH for MUDROS

 

Tue, 21 Dec, 15 

17:00. Arrived at MUDROS HARBOUR.

 

Wed, 22 Dec, 15              

08:30. Disembarked and went to PORTIANOS CAMP where 5th Bn WILTSHIRE REGT and details which left LALA BABA, SUVLA on the night Dec 18th/19th had already arrived.

 

Thu, 23 Dec, 15 

At PORTIANOS CAMP

 

Fri, 24 Dec, 15   

8th Bn ROYAL WELSH FUS arrived at PORTIANOS CAMP with the exception of two Officers and 45 men who remained on Transport REDBREAST to unload machine guns.

 

Sat, 25 Dec, 15  

Remained at PORTIANOS CAMP. Drills and exercises were carried out Regimentally.

 

Sun, 26 Dec, 15 

Remained at PORTIANOS CAMP. Drills and exercises were carried out Regimentally.

 

Mon, 27 Dec, 15               

Remained at PORTIANOS CAMP. Battalions went to bath at warm springs at THERMA.

 

Tue, 28 Dec, 15 

11:30. Brig Gen LEWIN DSO, Brigade Major MORGAN-OWEN and Brigade MGO Capt MARR 4th Bn SWB embarked on the PRINCESS ALBERTA. Left MUDROS at 16:15 for HELLES.

 

Wed, 29 Dec, 15              

Brig Gen and party disembarked at SS RIVER CLYDE, V BEACH, HELLES. Arrived at 42nd DIV HQ on GULLY BEACH at 04:15. In afternoon visited trenches to be taken over by 40th INF Brigade

 

Thu, 30 Dec, 15 

Commencing at 21:30 40th INF Brigade disembarked at V BEACH and marched to GULLY BEACH, last party arriving at 05:00. 8th Bn ROYAL WELSH FUS brought two machine guns 8th Bn WELSH REGT (PIONEERS) in place of their four guns which had not disembarked on Dec 24th; these guns and the party 8th Bn ROYAL WELSH FUS were sent to ALEXANDRIA in error.

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clive_hughes

Excellent, that will be handy I'm sure.  Thank you.

 

Clive

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robertb

Magnificent.  The 40th Bde Diaries are brilliant.

Any news when you might get any of the 13th Div / Brigade/Battalion  War Diaries out in your transcribed series?

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Guest
On 03/10/2017 at 20:14, robertb said:

Magnificent.  The 40th Bde Diaries are brilliant.

Any news when you might get any of the 13th Div / Brigade/Battalion  War Diaries out in your transcribed series?

 

I am glad it has been of some use. 

 

Ref 13th Div diaries - Some time away. The process is grindingly slow and I have had a Guards interlude; the Grenadier Guards diaries are now published and more recently the Indian Army Corps which will be done soon. Thereafter I may revisit Gallipoli. The task of transcribing is one thing, however I am a perfectionist and the process of editing is extremely time-consuming as I edit each diary three times. I am essentially rebuilding diaries by adding back reports and Op Orders that have been weeded out of the original but now can be found in the Brigade diaries (for example). I am also adding lots of footnotes which need to be researched and more recently adding photos which need to be researched as well as checking copyright.

 

In the meantime if you need any details do feel free to ask. The 13th Div and 40th Brigade diaries are exceptional.

 

MG

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