On this day 26th March 1916

ACQ 25.3.1916: A & B Companies under Capts E.B. JOHNSON and J. TOLSON proceeded to trenches for 6 hours work in marching order without packs. On arrival at the trenches they were detained as the 5th Battalion had attempted to seize the near lip of a crater caused by enemy mine explosion early that day, and had been drives back by enemy bomb attack. About 11 p.m. Lt.-Col. GOODMAN was ordered to proceed to the trenches and organise an attack with the two Companies.

Capt DICK, 2/Lieuts BOND & LYLTE with Battn Grenadiers & Scouts also proceeded to the trenches. Brig.-Gen. SHIPLEY & the Brigade Major were also there. It was found impossible to launch the attack before dawn & on reference to the Division it was postponed.

new trenchesTRENCHES 26.3.1916: The attack was organised in accordance with instructions. Great coats were sent up for the men in the evening also a hot meal. Owing to unavoidable delays in issuing meal the attacking party did not commence to dig until about 2 p.m. Operations were conducted with the utmost quietness and by dawn a trench 3′ deep had been dug to the new lip of the crater linking up existing trenches, and this without a single casualty.

It was snowing at times & the men throughout the 48 hours bore discomfort very cheerfully.

War Diary [WO/95/2694]

26 March 1916 Orders and Report

My regiment was in reserve, when word came through one night that a Battalion in our Brigade had been blown up by a mine, we were ordered at the double to take from the Germans the Crater they had occupied. All night long and well into the next morning we bombed and counter bombed, and in the end decided it would be better to dig a new trench round the Crater, all the following day we remained quiet, listening and watching, but as soon as it was dark we commenced digging the new trench, and completed it by daylight, all but the section of half Platoon was withdrawn from the battle, but I remained with the people in this line. On the third morning our half Platoon was withdrawn a few yards behind the new trench, we were instructed to get some rest, for we had been without sleep for three nights. We occupied some old French dug-outs.

 [2305 Pte Frank Longson]

 2 Companies of the 6th Battalion S.F. with the 139/1 Trench Mortar Battery under Lieut.-Col GOODMAN gained the near lip of the Crate and dug a trench across jointing up with the extremities of the old line trench, without casualties or opposition.

By dawn a tench a trench of over 3′ deep had been dug and a look out post constructed overlooking the Crater. The extremities of the trench were occupied by two posts.

139 Infantry Brigade: Headquarters War Diary [WO95/2692]

26 March telegram


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