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Henry Tabor's 1916 War Diary

August 1916



1916 Diary entry

Research & comments 2003


1 Tue

Shoot with 9th Siege, mostly washouts.

High Wood ( Somme ), German counter-attack west of, failed.


2 Wed

Still plenty of hostile counter battery work, suppose we must expect it for a good long time now at least until the infantry make another big shove.

German attack on Delville Wood ( Somme ) repulsed.



3 Thu

Shoot with 9th Siege.  Major made a mess of things after reporting target by ordering F2 to [...] out.

British gain ground west of Pozieres.


4 Fri

Luggie fairly busy with shelling.  Some washout shoot with 28th Siege.

Steve Beardmore shifted up quite close tonight.

Two years now, looks like it’s going to be another two.

Two years to the day since Britain declared war, and two years and three months before it ended.

British gain German second line system on a front of 2,000 yards north of Pozieres, several hundred prisoners.


5 Sat

Very decent today, quite a nice day, but no aero shoots.  Fritz still shelling this district very heavily.

Saw a lot of Steve Beardmore today.



6 Sun

Fine clear morning, Bosche aeroplanes very active.

Should be another fuggle tomorrow the 7th [?]

Slight British progress east of Pozieres towards Martinpuich.



7 Mon


British attack outskirts of Guillemont.  German attacks north and north-east of Pozieres, repulsed.


8 Tue


British move against Guillemont continues, line advanced 400 yards.


9 Wed




10 Thu




11 Fri




12 Sat

French took Maurepas today, many prisoners.

Wonder if they are going to do try a push somewhere else on the front, doesn’t seem as if they intend to do much more just here.

 Ruins at Maurepas

British advance on a mile front north-west of Pozieres.  French gain the German third line system of trenches from Somme to Hardecourt.


13 Sun

MRD (49th) called up , all guns out of action.  Had a bit of mail today for a change.

Fritz put shells very near here today, one within 5 yards.

49th Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery


14 Mon

Nothing much doing.

Great artillery activity north and south of the Somme


15 Tue

Fair day.  Capt Greenham came, had to reverse position of poles.

Went up to old Bunny’s place.



16 Wed


Colleague died:  John Frederick Pearce, 2/AM 7750 (4 before HTT).  RFC, Wireless Section 9th Sqadron, age: 18.  Son of Frederick Nicholas and Laura Pearce, of 53, Dynham Road, West Hampstead, London .  Buried at Corbie Communal Cemetery Extension Grave/Memorial Reference: Plot 2. Row A. Grave 114.

British advance west and south-west of Guillemont.


17 Thu


Violent artillery fighting north and south of the Somme .


18 Fri


British advance from Pozieres to Somme ; ground gained towards Ginchy and Guillemont.

French gain part of Maurepas and extend their gains south-east.

Violent German counter-attacks north of Maurepas beaten back by French.


19 Sat

Weather lately very unfavourable for aeroplane observation, too cloudy or misty.

Just learnt that General Congreve who stopped Dale and myself in Dragons Wood, led the attack on Montauban personally, escaped without a scratch.


From Dr. Conan Doyle's history of ' The British Campaign in France and Flanders , 1916 - his account of how Montauban was taken by the Thirteenth Corps under General [Sir Walter] Congreve on the first day of the battle:

“The hardest fighting of any fell to the lot of the 55th Brigade upon the right. No sooner had the troops come out from cover than they were met by a staggering fire which held them up in the Breslau Trench.

The brigade was winning its way forward but the hard resistance of the Germans had delayed it to such a point that there was a danger that it would not be in its place so as to cover the left flank of the 90th Brigade, who were due to attack Montauban at 10 a.m. Such a failure might make the difference between victory and defeat. At this critical moment the officer commanding the East Surreys dashed to the front, reformed his own men with all whom he could collect and led them onwards. Captain Neville was killed in gallantly leading the rush, but the wave went forward.

By midday two platoons of West Kents were into Montauban Alley, and had seized two houses at the western end of Montauban, which were rapidly fortfied by a section of the 92nd Field Company. The flank of the 90th was assured. A South African officer led the first group of Surrey men who seized Montauban.  He is said during the action to have slain seventeen of the enemy." []


20 Sun




21 Mon

Lieut Turner came, quite a stranger.  Very decent and chatty.  Mentioned that I and one or two more had been mentioned for anything that was going, what hopes?

Likely to mean put forward for a medal – later awarded on 8 Oct 1916 .


22 Tue

Day fairly quite.  Artillery active all night.  Plenty of bosche machines about this evening.  Infantry supposed to have done good work yesterday.

Heavy aerial fighting on Somme front.


23 Wed


Strong German attacks at Guillemont repulsed.


24 Thu


Further British advance towards Thiepval (northern Somme ).  Hard fighting east and north-east edge of Delville Wood, ground gained and prisoners taken.  German attacks west of Ginchy ( Somme ) driven off.


25 Fri

Terrible accident in 66th.  One of their 9.2s blew up, 1 killed, the gun lifted right of off cradle and flattened him, several wounded, one with his leg off and head battered.

66th Siege Battery , Royal Garrison Artillery.

 9.2 inch  howitzer


26 Sat

Too much shrapnel to be healthy, 1 killed, 11 injured this afternoon.  What price a couple of seats in the Scala tonight.

Wonder if Gert is enjoying herself.

British take a short length of German trench north of Bazentin-le-Petit ( Somme ).



27 Sun

Right section depart this morning for a week’s rest at Corbie.  Wish I could go.  Drew taken Forsyth’s place, comes from Tottenham, very decent.

Nothing doing re aeros, showers.  Shrapnel plentiful.



28 Mon

Gloriously fed up with every damned thing.

Weather wretched until this evening.  All the blessed squadron over then.



29 Tue

Damned awful weather, nearly flooded out.  Fritz awful busy on counter battery work, made a mess of this station, also 66th.

“During the late morning of 29th August 1916 Robert Burleigh and Reginald Harry took off from Marieux aerodrome in BE2c no. 4187 on their last flight. Their task was to use their wireless to direct artillery fire onto the ruined village of Thiepval above the River Ancre.

At about 12.00 above Thiepval they were attacked by Oberleutnant Hans Bethge of Jasta 1. The combat was seen by the crew of another 15 Squadron machine at 3,000 feet over Beaumont Hamel engaged on an artillery shoot.

Burleigh and Harry crashed near a trench named Carlisle Street , in the British support line. The spot is west of the Caribou memorial inside the present day Newfoundland Memorial Park . The machine lay on the crest of the ridge and was shelled by the Germans during the day. The bodies of Burleigh and Harry were removed for burial in Knightsbridge Cemetery .” [from  AIR1/1359/204/21/9, Public Record Office.]


30 Wed

Fair day, terribly busy on wireless.  Lt Kaman called up, but his petrol gave out.

Wireless Operator at work


31 Thu


Heavy German attacks between Ginchy and Bois Foureaux.




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This page was last updated on 23 February 2004.