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Johno7439

1st and 2nd Battalions South Wales Borderers

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Johno7439

I have the above war diaries and am happy to look up any info anybody needs. 

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andrew pugh

Hi Johno

What was the location of both battalions on the 23rd/24th March 1918?

Kind Regards

Andy

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Johno7439

Hi Andy - 

1st Bn were relieved in the front line by 2nd Bn K.R.R Corps on 16th March. Companies marched back independently to HILL TOP FARM. War Diary states for the - 

 

23rd (IN THE FIELD) “D”Coy Bathed. Remainder worked on Army Line. H.V gun shelled HILL TOP FARM intermittently. 

 

24th (IN THE FIELD) C” Coy Bathed. Remainder worked on Army Line. Officers lecture of counter-battery work. 

 

2nd Bn - War Diary states: 

22nd/23rd March - Bn relieved by 1 Coy 2nd Hants and 3 Coys 4th Worsters, and moved back from SPREE Fm (I think it says Fm, but it’s hard to make the writing out) to RED ROSE CAMP BRANDHOEK. Relief complete by 1230am. 

 

23rd (RED ROSE CAMP) Men slept till 12 noon; the afternoon being devoted to cleaning up

 

24th (RED ROSE CAMP) Day devoted to inspections, checking of stores and cleaning up. Accommodation - mostly huts. Found to be rather crowded, but more tents were obtained. 

 

Hope this helps 

Edited by Johno7439

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andrew pugh

Hi Johno

Thank you for that information.

Regards 

Andy

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GrenPen

I transcribed some of the War Diary for the 1st Battalion up to the first part of the Battle of the Aisne
 

Bordon Aug 04
War delcared between England and Germany at Midnight
Bordon Aug 05
Battalion starts mobilising - all officers and men on leave recalled and medically examined.
Bordon Aug 06
Mobilisation continues - stores drawn - drafts of Regiments begin to arrive from the Depot.
Bordon Aug 07
Mobilisation continued and finished in 3 days. Eagerly await orders to move.
Bordon Aug 08
Inspected by GOC 3rd Brigade and exorted to follow the traditions and deeds of the 24th, Battalion, complimented in its smartness and efficiency.
Bordon Aug 09
Still waiting orders - Coys carry out training.
Bordon Aug 10
Training continued. Route marching, attack and musketry.
Bordon Aug 11
Receive orders to move early next morning proceed as part of Expeditionary Force.
Bordon Aug 12
Battalion proceeded to Southampton in two trains; 1st at 4.30 am. 2 Coys HQ render Lt Colonel Leach: 2nd at 5.30am 2 Coys M G transport under Major Reddie. Embarked with Glosters on Gloucester Castle and left at 2pm, arriving at Le Havre at midnight after smooth but slow crossing, escorted by destroyers. Distribution of officers as follows Lt Col Leach Commanding:  Major Reddie 2d in Command; Lt  Paterson Adjt, Lt Homfrey Transport Officer; Lt Hadley M G Officer Lt 2 Wilson: Capt Elliot R.A.M.C. A Coy Capt Ward, Capt Cargirven. Lt Johnson Coker & Steward - B Coy Capt Lawrence D.S.O. Capt Yeatman, Lieuts Ramsden, Lieut travers, Lieut Dawes - C Coy Major Lawrence, Cpt Gwynn, Lieuts Anstey, Baker & Silk - D Coy Major Wilby, Lieuts James Richards, Sills, Verner
Havre Aug 13
Marched to camp about 4 1/2 miles out of town. Very hot weather. Coys did musketry parades in late afternoon.
Havre Aug 14
Orders arrive for battalion to move 9.30 am on following day, no one knows where. Coys at musketry and route marching, very hot.
149
Havre Aug 15
Left camp at 7 am, arrived at troops siding 9.30a.m. entrained and left HAVRE at 1.30p.m. Stopped at ROUEN for 3/4 hour and served with hot coffee. Raining hard. travelled in train throughout the night.
Leschelle Aug 16
Arrived and detrained at ETREUX: and marched about 7 miles to LESCHELLE in a heavy thunderstorm where whole Brigade was billetted. Coys ratherscattered but very comfortable.
Leschelle Aug 17
Coys do parades and route marching and "C" Coy finishes an outlying piquet on the BUIRONFOSSE road. One wagon broken , and arrangements are needed for paying for repairs of such items. From reports on marching it appears the weight carried on the men is too great. They could not fight after a long march with present weight and certainly could not double.
Leschelle Aug 18
A very hot day. Coys work independently but chiefly route marching. Routine issued correctly. So far no hitch as regards routine. Everything arriving punctually. Orders for s Brigade Route march received. Several boots have given out. Leather seems bad.
Leschelle Aug 18
Brigade route march took place 9am till 12 noon.Nobody fell out. Weather trying but men more accustomed to packs. Coys have cookers, but 1 & 2 only camp kettles so latter have to wait a considerable time for dinners on return to billets whilst foreman cook on the march and dinners ready on arrival at billets. Something should be done in this connection. Shoeing of transport horses a source of considerable worry. Almost necessary to have a skilled man attached. We have cold shoers but unless they are experts it is possible that more harm than good will come of their shoeing. Orders received from Brigade to move tomorrow morning. Orders issued accordingly at 12 midnight.
Malgarni Aug 20
Brigade moved towards BEAUREPAIRE at 8.30 a.m. and billeted at MALGARNI near PRISCHES after a very hot march. On arrival all roads blocked to the north and east. Order from 3rd Brigade re paying for small articles required by units and which cannot be supplied from the Base. Orders received from 3rd Brigadeat 8.30 p.m. to move tomorrow. Battalion orders issued at 10.30.p.m. The 1st Division to move northward at 8.30a.m.
St Aubin Aug 21
Left MALGARNI at 8.a.m. and went into billets at ST AUBIN after an uneventful march getting near the Belgian frintier and heard distant guns for the first time. Received urgent orders to say we should move to the frontier tomorrow.
Givry Aug 22
Battalions marched at 5 a.m. and reached MAUBEGE midday, halted there for dinners. News received that German columns were coming down from the north and we are to push for the frontier. French territorials put up barbed wire and we are digging trenches north of MAUBEGE. March to GIVRY. hear guns and  ascertain that our Cavalry have been fighting. Battalion puts Givry in a state of defence, dig trenches and put up barbed wire entanglements. We expect a scrap tomorrow. Posts put out 2nd Division on our left flank.
PEISSANT Aug 23
C.O. inspects posts of A, B & C Coys; D in reserve. Battalions ordered to move to high ground near VILLIERS-LE-SEC. Met German prisoners on way. The 1st Army Corps takes up position as follows:- Left MONS, thence via SILENNES, HARMIGUIES, VELLERIE-LE-SEC, HALVCHIN, FAURDEULX, PEISSANT. The 2nd Corps on left of 1st Corps at MONS. The French on our right. A good deal of firing on the left in Battle of MONS. Battalion sent to relieve Welsh Regt on right at PEISSANT. A horrible place. Coys dug trenches and put up improvised obstacles. No field of fire and front covered with woods said to be full of Germans. A few shots fired at "D" Coy but no casualties. Battalion much relieved when night was over. We expected to get scupperred.
Le Grand Fayt Aug 24
Orders received at 3 am that a general retirement is to take place to lead the Germans on. We are fired on by shrapnel, but it bursts too high and no casualties. We retire by a westerly route to draw Germans across the French  front, and after a very long march and tiring day reach LE GRAND FAYT and are scared into believing that Uhlans are about. Coys extend along hedgerows and shots are flying in all directions. One man wounded himself with his bayonet the only casualty. We billet in the village late that night. Heavy firing is heard during the night.
ETREUX Aug 25
Heard that the 4th Guards Brigade were in trouble at LANDRECIES. The Germans put on french uniforms and approached the Coldstream Guards and chatted with them and then suddenly opened fire. The Germans lost about 800 men. The Battalion is up at 3a.m. and afterdiscarding packs move off towards FAVRIL. Here we start to dig trenches at L'ALOUETTE. The Queens on LANDRECIES-LA-GROISE road; the Gloucesters to FME DE LA BOUFLERTE; SWB on right connecting with 1st Brigade near CROIX HAINAUT. The Welsh in reserve at FAVRIL. The Germans are reported to be near at hand so rations for the next day are picked up whilst going alongthe road. About 200 yds of each side of the road are strewn with Bully Beef, Oxo, Tea & sugar and biscuits in fours opens out and proceed rationed men diving for food asthey pass. The Battalion is completely rationed with a loss of about 5 minutes. Villages can be seen burning to the north and Germans in column of route coming in our direction. The Germans shell us whilst digging with shrapnel, we have no casualties. An English aeroplane comes down in our lines and the pilot borrows C Coy Commander's pony and gallops to the General with news. He returns and flies off warning our men to keep their heads down. We receive lusty news to retire and we leive our 3 foot trench and retire to ETREUX encountering rain. A German aeroplance drops a bomb in a field of transport but no damage. We bivouac in a field dead tired after a 30 mile march.
GUISE Aug 26
We continue our retirement south. So far we have not had a rearguard to do. The 1st Brigade found the rearguard and the Munsters not getting orders to retire soon enough got cut up and only the remnants of a Coy rejoin. Weather very hot but fear fall out knowing that they will be captured.
BERNOT AUg 27
We still retire and the battalion line a couple of positions to assist the rearguard; but 1st Brigade commander requires no assistance and we continue our march and finally arrive late this evening at BERNOT where we billet dead tired. The march was about 26 miles and we were much harassed in the evening by the enemy.
BERTONCOURT{check spelling] Aug 28
Left Bernot at 2.a.m. and march toward RIBEMONT, and from there to BERTAUCOURT All troops are urged by the Commander-in-chief to make a special effort in the way of marching as Germans are very close to use. These orders are read out to platoons whilst on the march not to delay time. The men are getting disheartened by the constant retirement and desire above every thing to have a dig at the Huns but they do not understand the strategy of the campaign. We are waiting for the French to get up into line. We reach BERTAUCOURT and CREPY and feel safe. We are in touch with a French Corps on our right at last.
BERTAUCOURT Aug 29
A Rest day and we need it. Men are able to get a washand air their clothes and lie down and sleep in barns though all roads are picketed. the French Corps has a good deal fighing and owing to a reverse of the allies orders some at 11p.m. to say that our retirement shall continue. This is sickening news; we were all hoping that at last we shall turn about and go for the enemy. The weather is very hot and the improvised sun shades (the bottom part of a leg of trousers sewn into rim of cap) are a godsend. Very few men fall out and in nearly every case they are those who were too lazy to make the sunshade. 
BERTAUCOURT Aug 30
The battalion is part of the rearguard to the Division. No enemy seen. We leave St GOBAIN at 10a.m. Frightfully hot weather. The sounds of battle which had been heard raging in the distance are going further and further away. We are by way of marching seventeen miles to billet but an order has just come to go short of that and we are billeted at BRANCOURT where "D" Coy finds outposts.
Nr SOISSONS Aug 31
The battalion is on the move at 5a.m. and we march through SOISSONS to a place about 4 miles south of that town where we bivouac for the night. It is reported that Germans are coming on in large numbers and one prisoner says the Russians can't shoot nor can the French but the English can hoot and kill. During the night Engineers blow up all the bridges over the rivere Aisne. Orders come in that we are to move at 4a.m. tomorrow. This long retreat is begging to tell on the horses and we have no more spare ones left for the heavy waggons, but our doctor ound one wandering about and we found it shelter and fodder.
B W Collins  Lt Colonel
Commanding 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers
MAREUIL Sept 1
The Battalion moved at 6 a.m.and marched South. The weather is very hot indeed and difficult going. Passed through VILLIERS-COTTERETS where we saw the 2nd Division and Sir John French and Sir Douglas Haig. we come under artillery fire again and there was heavy artillery fire on our rearguard.
CREGY Sept 2
Orders come in to ay that the Battalion will be moved Southwards, up to the  present we had been retreating daily. Slow thorough firing in the same direction it is a march not a retreat. Nobody seems to know what we are supposed to be doing, everything is secret. there is no news of the enemy and the weather is exceedingly hot. There is a rumour around that we shall go back to the Paris defences. However we go to Meux and are sent off to billet at Cregy. It has been a long day and a weary one. Orders come at midnight to move at once and we think we are in for some fighting. Not at all.
PERREUSE Sept 3
We now march due east along the river Marne and form part of the rearguard to the Division. We pass CHATEAU THIERY and thengo south to LE GRAND BALLEAU where there is an enormous farm which holds headquarters and "B" Coy. The Battalion is bivouaced in the vicinity, the enemy guns commenced again in the evening.
Nr COULOMMIERS Sept 4
The Battalion at 5a.m.to MOUROUX where it was billeted in a factory. There was a delightful mill and stream where a bathe and was[h] could be indulged in, and a change of clothes as baggage wagons were up. We are told that the Germans are about 90 miles north on the other side of the river Marne but we wonder what their plan is. Heavy firing is heard at 5p.m. and we get orders to move out at 6p.m. to the high ground south of COULOMMIERS. We fire at aeroplanes and bivouac that night in a stubble field to cover the retirement of the rest of the Division. 
ROZOY Sep 5
About 3a.m. the head of the Division comes through the battalion and about 5.30 am we retire the Welsh Regiment in rear. There is no sign of the enemy. We march to ORMEAUX where we have a long halt. The men are marching well in the hot weather but it is a tremendous physical strain as well as trying for the nerves and several have fallen out; which probably means capture by the enemy. We move off again and arrive at ROZOY at 3p.m.where our first reinforcements under Capt Pritchard consisting of 100 men join us. Orders come for a further retirement tomorrow, but later these orders are cancelled and we are to assume the offensive. This is the best news we have received and everybody is pleased. The 1st Army Corps are to get on the line LA CHAPPELLE-LUMIGNY with the 2nd Army Corps echeloned for he firsts left. Two Cavalry Brigades guard the left flank and there is one Cavalry Division guarding our first and right. The First Division on the right and when we advance toward east; the First Division will do so in two columns. The 3rd Brigade (ours) on the right and the 1st Brigade on left. Battalion bivouaced at ROZOY in a stubble field.
VAUDRY Sept 6
The regiment moved off at 7a.m. to COURPALAY and then east towards LA CHAPPELLEIGER to take the offensive, Queens are advance guard and our Battalion is at head of main body. Enemy's aeroplanes active and we halt and take cover in woods. At 9 a.m. the battle has already begun to the east  and we hear that the enemy is advancing from the direction of LE PLESSIS-VAUDRY. We move a lot then halt again. At 10 a.m. there is heavy artillery fire to our front. We arrive at LE CHAPPELLEIGER and halt, and and after waiting for several hours we push on again. The enemy retire and we see a few wounded, but have not yet been engaged! The enemy has retired N.E. We had a very tiring day and we hope tomorrow to surround three German Corps and capture them. We bivouac at VAUDRY which is a very dirty place.
CHOISY Sept 7
Moved off at 10a.m. as advanced guard to the Brigade in a north easterly direction towards the Germans. Our cavalry are fighting to our front on the River Marne. We find the enemy gone; he is retiring with some speed. We march 25 miles and it has been a very hot and tiring day, when we bivouaced late that night south of CHOISY.
CHOISY Sept 8
The Battalion moved at 5a.m. towards FERTE-GAUCHER and we hear that the enemy are demoralised and cooked. We pass through villages that are in a fearful state. Houses are demolished and contents all over the roads. But the inhabitants are glad to see us again, the short German occupation was not appreciated. We are advancing about 8 miles west of the road down which we came in the great retreat. We pass the 1st Brigade and 1st Cavalry Division; they have had many casualties.

Wednesday 9th September, 1914      
Battle of the Marne. Push off again to take the bridge at Nogent, which after some delay we find to be an occupied by enemy. Our cavalry, which has already crossed, is fired on by the R. A. Silly asses. It is quite obvious that they are not the enemy. Advance again north. Sound of large battle on our left, i.e. west. We find 18 cavalry wounded by our guns. The officer of R. A. responsible ought to be shot in my opinion. We move north and still north and finally bivouc at Le Thoulet. All the villages are broken and signs of the retreating enemy are met with everywhere. Dead horses, graves, etc. Nasty sights. An occasional hole where a shell has dropped and with perhaps some blood about it. There is a certain amount of fighting with our advance guards and the Germans, and we see ambulances come back full of wounded. However one is accustomed to such sights. A most excellent dinner which our interpreters managed to get. Bacon, tea, eggs and fresh bread, which we have not seen for some five or six days. Everyone feels very much better.

Thursday 10th September, 1914      
2nd Brigade advance guard. 1st next, and ourselves last. Consequently a late move. Get off at 8am, raining, very nasty. Get news at 10:30 that the Germans, who are retiring from west to north-west, are crossing our front and we push on. Our Divisional cyclists come in for it and are shelled at 1,000 yards. Several killed and wounded, about 20. General Findlay, C RA., 1st Division, hit on the head by shrapnel bullet, was not dead when last we heard. Push on and come nasty close to high explosive German shells about the village of Frise, where we halt. To hospital - Baker (only temporary, probably), Steward (ditto), and Travers (probably to England). Orders the come to move to Sommelans and billet, which we do. On the way we pass over the ground on which the Sussex had a nasty half - hour; many dead and wounded. However, the enemy has been pushed back which is the main point. Find on arrival at Sommelans that the interpreters have given us a very good meal. Bread, eggs, potatoes, and jam, with “6 good bottles” as the French would say. Searched the farmhouse in which we fed and found a large washing-tub. All hands on to boil water and at 10 pm a glorious bath. I was exceedingly dirty I am sorry to say. Just before turning in comes news of a General Findlay’s death. Poor fellow.

[Brigadier-General Noel Douglas Findlay, CRA 1st Division, is buried in Vailly British Cemetery].

Friday 11th September, 1914      
We had orders to move past 6am in a northerly direction, but at 4am come orders saying that we must push off East at once. On the move at 5am, 3rd Brigade leading and ourselves as advance guard. Plenty of dirty thick woods to go through. Finally arrive at Villeneuve. Here we get information that the reason of our change of direction is that the French Army on our right defeated at German Army yesterday evening and that we are to arrive on the flank of the retiring and panic-stricken Germans. However as we only march about 10 miles and go into billets, there does not seem to be much truth in the story. What do we know? Nothing! We are expecting a mail today. Haven't seen one for last 10 days. Everything goes well with us. Mail and supplies arrive, but too late to dish it out completely, so we put it on the transport wagons again and load up. 

Saturday 12th September, 1914      
Move at 5:30am. Reddie tore a coverlet belonging to the house and Madame arrived three different times in tears to see me about it. Reddie offered her 5 Francs, which she refused, much has Silas Wegg refused Mr Boffin’s offer. However, it was all settled at last. Our Brigade does advance guard to 1st Division. We march north-east. En route we get authentic news that the French are victorious again and that the Germans retire in disorder. Good business! We go via Fere-en-Tardenois, Loupeigne, Mont Notre Dame to Bazoche, where there is a good battle going on by the sound of guns and rifle fire. Welsh leading, Gloucestershire, Queen's and ourselves in rear. Welsh and Gloucester line high ground north of Paars, but nothing comes of it. It appears to be the 2nd Division on our left about Cereuil who are driving back the German force and we are too late to co-operate on the 2nd Division 's right and turn the Germans left, so we go into billets at Vaucere, and as it is raining as hard as it can well do we are thankful for a roof, although personally I spent that part of the night not spent in writing messages, orders, etc in sleeping in it upright chair. I am always reminded on these occasions of Pecksniff’s night ride in the coach to London, with Anthony and his son as companions. Dickens says then that one's legs get in one's way and are tiresome, and so it is. One kicks, etc, but to no purpose. The rest of the mail is opened. Nice parcel from mother of food and tobacco and several letters. Hope to get another mail soon, but they have not been running well lately. However, no grumbling allowed. We are lucky to be in a house on such a night is the general opinion of the headquarters mess. Very tired. 

Monday 14th September, 1914      
As there is only one road by which the whole 1st Division can push on, it takes some time and we get orders not to move to 9am. At about 8 it is discovered that the bridges over the River Aisne have been so damaged that we cannot even move at 9, and as a matter of fact we move at 2pm. When we do move it is not for very long. We crossed the river with shells dropping around us. The Germans have destroyed most of the bridges and are shelling or trying to shell the ones they have left, hoping to catch us on them. However, we cross and line a ridge to the north of Bourg. The cavalry pushes out and we billet in Bourg. Find a very nice house in which a good dinner and to bed on the floor with Lt Homfray. I refused to spend another night sitting up and say so plainly. Another mail arrives with several letters for me. Very nice. Orders to move at 5am. 

Tuesday 15th September, 1914      
Move at 5 am.

Wednesday 16th September, 1914      
I have never spent and imagine that I can never spend a more ghastly and heart-tearing 48 hours than the last. Not a moment in which to write a word in my diary. We have been fighting hard ever since 8am on the 14th and have suffered much. At about 6am at Moulins we hear a good deal of firing going on and shells begin dropping about. We are then on the road moving north. The Queen's have been re-directed to the north-east some little time before and we are head of the Brigade. The 2nd Brigade is already engaged and we are sent to the high ground to the left to assist them. As we go we get some six shrapnels at us but mercifully are not touched. We reached the shelter of the high ground which rises quickly and steeply from the plain and then we advance over the crest and take up our position in a wood, ready to move out when required. Shrapnel and rifle fire fairly heavy. The first casualty is my mare who was shot in the head. Nothing very bad at present and she is able to go on carrying my stuff. Though I do not ride her. The General and Staff and CO and I watched the fight in the neighbouring valley in front.

It is a high ridge opposite, i.e west of us, that we have got to go for and nasty work it will be. Jenkinson, the Brigade Major, is killed, poor fellow, and soon afterwards we begin to suffer in the wood, chiefly from ricochets. We get several men down with small wounds, and then as C Company goes to attack, Lieutenant M T Johnson of A shot through the body. We hope he is not mortally wounded, but feared he is. C, D, and A Companies go out, leaving B in support. Swarms of the Germans on the ridge, rather massed. Our guns opened on them at 1800 yards, and one can see a nasty sight through one's glasses. Bunches of Germans blown to pieces.

We again suffered some casualties and eventually had to retire, or rather the Companies which have gone out have to come back to our ridge again. Here we stay firing and being fired at for some 8 hours and then another effort. Meanwhile our guns are having a huge duel. Not much success, and Germans are too numerous to really push back properly. Richards is hit in the arm and leg. Nothing very bad I fancy. Several men killed.

At dusk we are ordered to move up the valley towards the T of Troyon, which we did. As D Company was leading the wood a melanite shell burst at head of 1 Platoon. Poor young Vernon and a few men were knocked out. Vernon mercifully and miraculously not killed. On we go. It is now too late to be fired at by rifle fire and we go on well, but in the dark C and A Companies go ahead, and D lost touch. Most annoying. On reaching the ridge at the head of the valley we find only B and D companies, and as we were looking for the others, shots rang out and we were soon at it again. Short and sharp. Germans withdrew.

I have a horror of a night firing. One is so very likely to kill one's own men, and from wounds I have seen since, I am sure some of them were hit like that on this very occasion. The Brigadier and his staff came along and rode right past us, and in a few minutes they were fired on. General and Staff Captain of an Brigade Major, and one or two NCOs and men have got away, the rest were missing the next morning and have just been found by some of our search parties some distance ahead of our position. They have been fed by the Germans and looked after, but have been there for two days. We then spent the night in trenching our position, and at dawn a force of enemy was seen advancing. One of the officers called up to us that he wished to speak to an officer, but after the episode at Landrecies with the Guards, we weren't having any of that. I have no doubt that they really did wish to surrender but they must do it properly as one man did this morning and march up with his hands above his head and no arms upon him. So we opened fire, and although we lost some men we wiped them out at 200 yards, and there they lie in front of us. Poor devils. Later on the enemy's guns enfiladed us. We were told we were to hang on at all costs, and at all costs it had to be. We lost severely and it was a very bad business.

We were cheered on about midday by a message from Field Marshal French to say that we of the 1st Division had saved the situation and by holding on had allowed the crossing of the river to be made. Since then we have been under fire of all sorts, rifle fire from snipers, shell from enemy, shell (bursting short) from our own guns and we have not lacked experience. I am thankful that I and my particular friends have not taken a knock yet, but there is lots more to come. However, we have done and shall continue to do, please God, what we have to do and that is all about it. The sights were ghastly. Wounded crying all night for help and no one to help them. The doctors have done all they can, but the casualties are ever heavier than they can easily cope with. We have had a good few German prisoners and many Germans wounded have come through our hands, poor fellows, absolutely done and half-starved. I am certain that given a reasonable excuse they will surrender en bloc. Our total casualties are Yeatman and Johnson killed, Richards and Vernon wounded, and of the R & F 18 killed, 76 wounded and 122 missing, of whom I trust many may be found alive and well, as one must always lose some in the dark.

Here I sit outside our headquarters trench in the sun. The rain which we have had without a break for the past two days has now stopped and the world should look glorious. The battle has stopped here for a bit although in the distance we can here the 2nd English Army Corps guns and their battle generally. As I say all should be nice and peaceful and pretty. What it actually is is beyond description. Trenches, bits of equipment, clothing (probably blood-stained), ammunition, tools, caps, etc etc, everywhere. Poor fellows shot dead are lying in all directions. Some of ours, some of the 1st Guards Brigade who passed over this ground before us, and many Germans. All the hedges torn and trampled, all the grass trodden in the mud, holes where shells have struck, branches torn off trees by the explosion. Everywhere the same hard, grim, pitiless sign of battle and war. I have had a belly full of it. Those who were in that South Africa say that that was a picnic to this and the strain is terrific. No wonder if after a hundred shells have burst over us some of the men want to get back into the woods for rest. Ghastly, absolutely ghastly, and whoever was in the wrong in the matter which brought this war to be, is deserving of more than he can ever get in the world. Everyone very cheery and making the best of things. Men of course wonderful, as T. Atkins always is. I must try and write to mother now.

[Captain John Banks Jenkinson, psc, Rifle Brigade, is buried in Vendresse British Cemetery. He had been Brigade-Major of 3rd Brigade since April 1913, and was aged 33].

[Lieutenant Mervyn Taylor Johnson joined the regiment in 1907 and was aged 28. He happened to be in England on leave from 2nd Battalion when war commenced and joined 1st Battalion. He is also buried in Vendresse British Cemetery].

[Captain Marwood Edwards Yeatman, 30, was a Sandhurst graduate and a 1st Class Interpreter of Russian. He joined the regiment in 1903. Yeatman has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing at La Ferte sous Jouarre].

Thursday 17th September, 1914      
We sit all day in the trenches being sniped at and were still being enfiladed by the German guns. The left of our line, ie the 2nd Army Corps, are not yet up on our left. And the position is roughly like this: the Welsh Regiment is on our left, then come our Companies A, B, D and C, with the Gloucestershire Regiment in reserve; the Queen's which is the other regiment of our Brigade has been sent away on some special job. Our right is connected with the left of the 1st Guards Brigade. The enemy seemed to have got some guns at the point marked X and therefore can enfilade our trenches, which they do. If only the left of our line could come up into line with us we should not have any more trouble. Luckily we have had time to do something to the trenches, and we only had about two killed and six wounded. Then there is a lull in the firing and we get an hour or so peace in which to get out of the trenches and stretch our legs. However, the next shell sends us all back and so we stay to the evening, when the battle stops and we have some peace.

Friday 18th September, 1914      
At dawn the firing starts again, and this time we have to stay in our trenches the whole day long. I wonder how many thousands of shrapnel bullets must have been fired at us during the last 24 hours. It is a wearing, trying job and gets on one's nerves fearfully. We manage at daybreak to send out a search party to bring in any wounded that there may be out in front and we find some will have been a three days, wounded, with no water, no food and have shelter. And when found a large number say they are not half as bad as someone else close to them and will we look at the others first. Magnificent spirit, and people who say England is going to the dogs and that the men of England at the present day are inferior to those of the past do not know what they are talking about.

The rain comes down at about 9am and falls all day long in sheets. All the trenches of full of water. No draining any good. A cold wind on top of the hill does not improve matters. But again everyone tries to be as cheery as possible and so night comes on. The battle stops for a bit and again we have some rest. But little sleep, it is too cold really for that. At dawn, firing starts again. How long can it go on, I wonder, and how long can one's nerves stand it. Of course, one is safe enough as far as things go in trenches with cover, etc, but it is the noise and shock that tires one. A whistle and a bang, and the noise that sounds like a shower of hail as the shrapnel comes through the branches of the trees, and in all is over for a minute and then at it again.

Saturday 19th September, 1914     
We still sit in our trenches, being heavily shelled by enfilade fire from enemy's guns. Every now and then a man knocked out and nothing to shoot at. One does not mind losing men when one is doing something, but to sit still and be knocked over one by one without seeing a soul is trying. At last CO went to see the General. We were allowed to withdraw on to the ridge on the left of Gloucester's. Thank God. Total casualties: killed 35, wounded 131. One blessing is that the 68 missing have come back. They were lost and became attached to the Connaughts. Simonds, Gilbert and 190 men arrive. Third reinforcement.
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Battle of the Aisne report
On morning of 14 Sept, the 1st SWB marching from BOURG arrived at xroads 1/4 mile south of Vendresse & halted for about 1/2 hour there, before receiving orders to reinforce the left flank of Vendresse ridge. The battn had no had no soonerleft xroads when it came under shell fire and eventually reached the fir wood at the S.W. corner of Vendresse ridge - from there it was ordered to attack the ridge about 3/4 mile due north of CHIVY, i.e. in a northerly direction & carry on the line of the Black Watch who were in in front.
The furthest point reached at this stage was CHIVY village and the wood to the west of it, the Black Watch in the mean time moving off to our right front  - the battn being unable to advance further owing to enemy fire & casualties, held the line of the BEAULNE-CHIVY road that is facing NNW. Towards evening the Battn was ordered to advance to the CHEMIN DES DAMES road directing on tee CHE of CHEMIN route the Welsh Regt on our left moving up the valley and the Guards Brigade on our right.
The 1st S.W.B. were therefore re-organised in and near the fir woodabove mentioned and commenced the advance about 5.30p.m. & came under heavy artillery fire - the 2 leading Coys reached the ridge 140 yards from the point given without opposition & remained there for the night facing north with the Welsh quite close on their left - several of the enemy surrendered to them during the night - the other 2 Coys & HQ reached a point more to the right about 500 yards south of the CHEMIN-DES-DAMES with their right on the CHIVY-CERNY track, and were attacked very soon after arrival - As it was dark before reaching this point these Coys entrenched themselves at this point, one Coy on each side of the track, the left Coy facing north and the other north northeast. This position was held for the next six days  with the other 2 Coys on their left, thrown back. 

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The battalion adjutant, Charles James Paterson, was to die on 1 November 1914 from wounds received at Gheulvelt in the evening of 29th October. His family resided at Hook Cottage, near Horndean, and his name is recorded on the Blendworth memorial. The road is known as Patterson Lane. This location is fairly close to Bordon camp.

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