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Remembered Today:

8th Bn. Leicestershire Regiment in Action 2/10/17


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Please could anyone tell me where the 8th Bn. Leicestershire Regiment were in action on 2/10/17.  Perhaps a member has a War Diary copy for this day & maybe the days either side?  33265 Cpl.William Mabbutt lies at rest in Hooge Crater Cemetery so assume during the 3rd battle of Ypres?
Thank you.  Clive Mabbutt


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Correct, They were in the Joist Farm / Polygon Wood area. There was a German counterattack on 1/10. Several pages of description.2/10 described as quiet apart from shelling of Polygon Wood. The 8th and 9th were combined on 4/10/17.

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I have the WD from somewhere, probably Andy Llewellyn of this Forum.




FRONT LINE. The night was extremely quiet, the absence of hostile shelling was particularly noticeable. At 5.30am a heavy hostile barrage was placed on the front line, and 100 yards west of the road in J.10.a. central. This was maintained until 6.00am when it became evident that a hostile counter attack on the 9th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT was in progress. The S.O.S. was sent up by the 9th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT on the right, also by this Battalion, and a heavy barrage was placed on and in front of the enemy lines. Heavy Lewis gun and rifle fire was immediately brought to bear on the threatened flank. A few minutes after 6.00am, a message was received from the 9th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT that the enemy had gained possession of their front line. About 6.30am, small parties of the enemy were seen about JOIST FARM J.10.d.2.0. moving by short rushes towards our right front line Company and threatening to turn the right flank of the Battalion. Heavy Lewis gun and rifle fire was opened on the enemy, who suffered casualties and were unable to make any progress down the slope towards the front line. About this time the intensity of our barrage lessened, and towards 7.00am ceased altogether. Between 7.00 and 10.30am the enemy made repeated attempts to advance against the open flank of the Battalion, but was driven back on each occasion by rifle and Lewis gun fire. During this period it was found that the 9th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT had been reinforced by two Companies of the 7th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT and were holding the line of the road running north and south in J.10.a. A defensive flank was formed from the right flank of “B” Company J.10.d.35.50. to Battalion HQ at J.10.c.5.5. The right support Company (“A”) moved up to the road and linked up with Battalion HQ on the left, and the left Company of the 9th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT on the right. At 10.15am Captain J. B. MATTHEWS with the left support company (“D”) moved from its position J.10.a.3.2 in order to make a counter attack against the enemy holding the high ground in the vicinity of JOIST FARM. Unfortunately Captain J. B. MATTHEWS M.C. was killed instantly by a sniper when making a personal reconnaissance preparatory to the attack, and at 10.30am the hostile artillery put down a heavy barrage on the east side of POLYGON WOOD consequently this counter thrust did not materialise. This heavy hostile barrage was kept up until 1.00pm at which hour the shelling ceased, but no further hostile attack took place. At 2.00pm small parties of the enemy were seen moving about the south west edge of JETTY WARREN, but were dispersed by rifle fire, Shortly afterwards a hostile machine gun opened traversing fire along the road in J.10.c. central, and Lt. Col. UTTERSON D.S.O. was hit in the arm by a bullet. At 3.10pm a determined effort was made by the enemy 10 or 12 strong to move down the slope from JOIST FARM towards Battalion HQ but the attempt was stopped by rifle fire from the Battalion HQ concrete emplacement, the enemy retiring and leaving several dead behind them. No further attempt to advance was made by the enemy and the remainder of the afternoon passed quietly. At 6.10pm the S.O.S. signal was put up by the Brigade on the right and an exceptionally heavy barrage was placed on the enemy lines by our artillery. No hostile attack developed and at 8.00pm the barrage ceased. At 8.05pm the enemy attempted a counter attack against the ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS on the left. The S.O.S. was again sent up and a second barrage of an hours duration was placed on enemy lines. The counter attack was beaten back with loss to the enemy. The remainder of the night passed quietly and at dawn a protective barrage was formed by our artillery lasting for 15 minutes.

FRONT LINE. With the exception of desultory shelling of POLYGON WOOD during the morning, the day passed quietly, the situation remained unchanged and the enemy made no attempt to carry out any further attack. Major H. E. C. ANDERSON came up during the morning to take over command of the Battalion and early in the afternoon Lt. Col. UTTERSON D.S.O. went down to the dressing station after having remained for 24 hours in command of the Battalion with a wound in his right arm. On the night of the 2nd/3rd October the 110th Infantry Brigade was relieved by the 64th Infantry Brigade, the 8th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT being relieved by the 3rd/4th QUEEN’S ROYAL WEST SURREY REGT . On relief the Battalion marched to SCOTTISH WOOD CAMP via BLACK WATCH CORNER, CLAPHAM JUNCTION, SANCTUARY WOOD, ZILLEBEKE and SHRAPNEL CORNER.





Edited by GraemeClarke
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Here is Joist Farm.  The Germans indicated by a red dot and the Bn HQ and B Coy in blue, with CAPT Mathew's position next to the Street View image.  This image is from the road adjacent to Joist Farm looking from the German perspective.  On the RHS is a 1/10/1917 trench map.



Source: http://preview.tmapper.com

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Clive  Have you read "The Tigers" by Matthew Richardson ?  A detailed history of 110th brigade  (6th , 7th , 8th & 9th battns Leic Regiment) .

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Thank you Mark1959, GraemeClarke, WhiteStarLine & Ellis for taking time to post so much information.  I am very grateful.  Ellis I have not read “The Tigers” but will endeavour to on your recommendation.

I am fortunate to have WW1 medals, war service records etc. for my grandfather & his brothers on my mothers side of the family & have conducted a lot of research including now 3 battlefield tours in Belgium & France with younger family members.....tracing their footsteps.  On my fathers side I have my great grandfathers war service record at home as a skilled blacksmith in the Royal Engineers & about a year ago I found William’s death plaque for sale but unfortunately not his medals.  Visited his grave last Feb with my eldest grandsons.  Best wishes to you all.4226BF36-5FB1-4C35-8F59-CC612C1FAB21.jpeg.2ec5e1858adaa70bf19129799c5ddedb.jpeg














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  • Admin

Hello Clive, thanks for sharing your findings. Another book worthy of reading is "Of those we loved" by Dick Read. 8th Battalion Leicesters. He goes to England in April 1917 or there abouts,  so October 1917  on the Western Front is not really mentioned. It is however a really good read. I suppose that William and Dick would have known each other  and shared similar experiences. Regards, Bob.  PS; The book Ellis recommended is a must too, Dick Read is quoted in it a few times.

Edited by Bob Davies
to add a PS
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Hi Bob

Thank you....Dick might have rubbed shoulders with William as both serving in 1916.

Will track down the book.  Clive

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  • Admin

Hi Clive, Amazon about £14- all in. Hardback too. Is where I got mine, well second copy, gave the first away as a present. Regards, Bob.


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