32nd Trench Duty 9th – 15th September 1916

9.9.1916 TRENCHES: Battalion relieved 5th Battalion in RIGHT SECTOR. Capt EB JOHNSON rejoined from Hospital.

War Diary [WO/95/2694]

9th 2am: Patrols from 5th & 7th Battalions succeeded in damaging short lengths of the German wire by means of ammonal tubes. A further attempt was prevented by an enemy working party. In each case our parties returned without casualties & the enemy failed to retaliate.

11pm: The 6th Battalion relieved the 5th and the 8th relieved the 7th in the front line.

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

The first use of ‘Ammonal Tubes’ by the 46th Division?

Ammonal tubes

The 1/5th (Derby) Battalion

Parties under Lieut SMALLEY and LIeut CLAYE attempted to cut gaps in Enemy wire at X.1.d.55.50. and X.2.b.61.51. with tubes of Ammonal each 24′ long and afterwards raid the enemy sap. Lieut SMALLEY’s party successfully exploded the tube but when attempting to get through the wire found that about 12 yards deep had not been cut and consequently no raid resulted. Lieut CLAYE’s party came up against a strong enemy working and covering party on front of the BLOCKHOUSE and could not approach their objective.

ClayeCharles Geoffrey Claye (1895-1918)


Edward Arthur Victor Smalley (1885-)

1/5th Battalion War Diary WO/95/2695

The 1/7th (Nottingham) Battalion

Three enemy working parties were seen opposite left “C” Company Sector. Our heavy artillery [shelled] a strong post in a gabbled house just E of the east of the enemy’s 3rd line at the N end of BLAIRVILLE X.4.a.75.75. Two rifle grenades were fired by enemy on to the left Coy’s sector during the morning.

10.30pm: Eight spiral rockets were sent up from the enemy’s lines opposite right “A” Company sector. Each burst into 2 red stars. This was followed immediately by 6 heavy shells which burst on left “C” Company sector.

1am: 2/Lt NE WEBSTER MC with 2 sappers of the 2/1st RE Company 10 other ranks and 1 Lewis Gun left our own trenches from top of LA MOTTE 1 (R.33.d.51.81.). They took a tube containing ammonal & placed it under the enemy’s wire at (R.34.c.3.4.) just S of the SUNKEN ROAD [near the Ossier Bed]. This tube was fired by a fuse at 1.59am. It made a clean gap about 4 yards wide thro’ the wire.

2/Lt J KENT carried out a similar operation at R.34.b.42.50. opposite left “C” Company Sector. No action was taken by the enemy.

Both patrols returned safely to our trenches.

1/7th Battalion War Diary WO/95/2694

‘Friendly fire’ casualties in the Robin HoodsSept friendly fire

Three men of the Robin Hoods were killed by a British shell that fell short. They are buried next to each other in BELLACOURT MILITARY CEMETERY (Row G, graves 2-3).

  • 5309 Pte George Asher
  • 5910 Pte Robert Gray
  • 20538 Pte William White


20538 WHite5062/20538 Pte William White was a forestry worker from Baslow who was posted to the 3/6th Battalion in March 1916. He was transferred to the 1/6th Battalion on the 5th July and arrived in France (14 IBD at Calais)  with the 14th Reinforcement. He was posted to the 1/7th Sherwood Foresters on the 22nd July 1917 and renumbered using the 1916 5-digit numbering series – see here for more details.

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