Intense artillery fire from .Infantry went over at .Hear they are doing well.Our
aircraft doing good work spotting German batteries.
third line taken, bon.
Ye gods what a row.
, our infantry
in Montauban.Saw German
prisoners go by, looked like I am, fed up.
active, luggie tried to make counter attack: failed.French 16 gun battery very active.
Battle of the Somme starts:
The offensive, launched in bright sunlight at 7.30 on the
morning of July 1, failed disastrously on most sectors of the 18 mile
front. British commanders were so confident they ordered their troops to
walk slowly towards the German lines. Once they had been seized, cavalry
units would pour through to pursue the fleeing Germans.
Even the explosion of several huge mines under the German
front line did not prevent their machine-gunners emerging to create havoc
among the waves of British infantry.
There was, however, a limited success at the southern end
of the line [where HTT was stationed] where more imaginative infantry and
artillery tactics enabled 18th and 30th Divisions to take all their
Montauban and Mametz; break through towards Bapaume.French attack towards Peronne; reach outskirts of Hardecourt and
Curlu; take Dompierre, Becquincourt, Bussus, and Fay.5,000 prisoners taken.
Many battalions were virtually annihilated. The British
casualties on this one day totalled 57,470, the biggest ever suffered by
the British army in a single day.
It was a baptism of fire for Britain's new volunteer
armies. Many 'Pals' Battalions, comprising men from the same town, had
enlisted together to serve together. They suffered catastrophic losses:
whole units died together and for weeks after the initial assault, local
newspapers would be filled with lists of dead, wounded and missing.
Artillery very active from .Further progress made by infantry.Hear that Fricourt has been evacuated by Germans.Bon.Aeroplane shoot
with 15 Siege.
British capture Fricourt; relinquish captured trenches at
Artillery fairly active.Registered on Hun battery with aeroplane this evening.Have been warned to prepare to shift tonight up to Carnoy, heigh
Dumped down in La Pree Wood (right
of Carnoy) at , came on to
Fixed up station in open, made a
small bivouac with strips, bless god drenched through.
Gives one the pip still we’re
advancing so mustn’t grumble.
HTT moved to La
Pree or Lapree Wood (now Bois St Cauchy) is 0.5 Km SE of Carnoy,
where he stayed until 18th July.
Heavy thunderstorms impede operations.
British take Bernafay Wood, east of Montauban; make air
attacks on Comines, Combles, St. Quentin.
Pulled out of bed at to fix up
telephone wire drat them.On
duty from 3:30 am.Had a
decent shoot with 28th Siege.
How I long of the old country.
“In an active part of the Front the telephone wires
would never remain intact for long, as they would be cut by shell-fire. It
might have been quite useful if the enemy had not persisted in destroying
the wires, or if they had left the observation post itself in peace. But
this they would not do. They spotted an observation post within a
half-hour at the outside and would shell it to pieces. They even shelled
anything that looked like an observation post.”- Wyndham Lewis
Two shoots with 9th
Siege and two with 28 Siege.Made
a small dugout for instrument, shells came very near while working 28th
Had a fair night’s sleep for
British win ground on slopes
of Thiepval [6 miles north of HTT].
9 Squadron aircraft in action directing artillery at a
battalion of infantry moving from Bois de Leuze to Guillemont and directly
machine gunning a brigade marching into Ginchy.
Rotten day for most part.Few machines up this evening.More
shells very near.
British again advance;
portion of Leipzig Redoubt carried on Thiepval Plateau.Fighting at Ovillers and east of La Boiselle.Contalmaison won but not held.
Guess we are in for a warm time,
just here.I want to go home.Infantry doing well I understand.
The wireless is, after all, being
used to great advantage and as for the aeroplanes, well they are great.
British penetrate southern part of Trones Wood, where HTT
will be based from 14th September.Hand to hand fighting in Ovillers.
French take Hardecourt.
Jolly warm all day.Ruddy T.H.E. and shrapnel flying about, made sure I had got a
blighty one when laying out strips.
one– a wound deemed sufficiently serious - but not potentially fatal -
to necessitate either temporary or permanent recuperation in Britain
English make slight progress
at Ovillers; fighting continues in Trones Wood.
Rotten muck up this morning, M6 and
M19 both called in together, major got wild and ordered T to be put out
and then MW called up a quarter of an hour later.Had a fine shoot.
M6 and M19 are
co-ordinates of artillery batteries.
Germans regain footing in Trones Wood.
Rottenest day I can remember, this
position shelled out by eight inch.Absolutely
awful, I had to keep on running to and fro to see to wireless, also had to
put out strips.
Guns shifted away in front, poor me
still here.I’m going to kip
down and damn them.
Contalmaison won and held against counter-attacks; British
also take parts of Mametz [within half a mile north of HTT’s position]
and Trones Woods.
Total prisoners in 10 days fighting 7,500, and 26 field
Shelling continued all night, also
this morning, this is a spot.
British gain Mametz Wood and
make progress in Trones Wood.
More shelling, will they never
stop.Ropes of mast cut away.Had tons of escapes even during today from flying pieces of shell.
Infantry going at it again
tomorrow, good luck to the boys.
Effects of shelling on Delville Wood, Somme
Terrific bombardment on both sides
at , 3 killed and
7 wounded in this battery.Fine
sight at , to see the
thousands of cavalry going up.Hear
our infantry have taken Longueval.
One of the finest sights I have
ever witnessed was the cavalry going up this morning, string after string
keep going by, until they stretch as far as the eye can see.Ye gods wont old luggie get a doffing up.
Cavalry:On July 14th there was a surprise dawn attack without a
long preparatory bombardment. High Wood was taken by the 7th Division and
Cavalry, for a day.Unfortunately
the cavalry was positioned too far back-to make a breakthrough into the
open country beyond High Wood.
British attack German second line; capture Longueval and
Bazentin-le-Petit, and the whole of Trones Wood.
End of first phase of Battle of the Somme.
No shelling of this place to speak
of, just a few here and there.Shoot
with 9th Siege on Hun battery.Expecting to advance again very soon.
Trones Wood will surely be famous
after this, we have taken and lost it about six times already, now hear we
hold it all.
British advance continued; capture of Delville Wood,
penetrate to Bois des Foureaux and outskirts of Pozieres; 2,000 prisoners
taken; second defence lines penetrated; British cavalry in action.
Very quiet as regards wireless.
British consolidate their positions; withdraw from Bois
des Foureaux (High Wood)
Nothing doing up above.Saw Pearce, Bunny and Wilkie this evening.
British storm and capture
German second line positions on front of 1,500 yards.Take Waterlot Farm, east of Longueval; clear Ovillers of the
Nothing doing re wireless.Had to shift station to other side of valley, no place to go to, so
had to build a hut myself – v hard work.Major reared up saying station was not up in about half an hour,
Moved to other side of valley
from La Pree Wood for two days.
Germans make strong
counter-attacks at Longueval and Delville Wood; retake part of latter.
Fair day, M19W called up, but the
target was out of range.
German attacks on Longueval and Delville Wood continued;
British regain some lost ground, repulse attack on Waterlot Farm.
French made an attack this morning,
we are shifting again tonight.
Awful game this keep on shifting.Saw some fine thrilling air fights.Boches come off worse every time.
HTT moved to position on road near Maricout Wood, where he
stayed until 6th September.
Struggle in Longueval and Delville Wood continued.British advance 1,000 yards between Bazentin and Longueval.
Put up aerial after about 4 hours
sleep in the [...]
A lot of confusion as to where the
station is to go up.Terrible
British push their advance to Bois des Foureaux (High
and regain some ground.
Thoroughly demoralizing today
putting whiskers on me.Shells,
shells in a never ending stream.
Decent aero shoot with 28th.Big attacks on both sides tonight.
Dugout building is damned hard
work.Oh I am fed up with this
ruddy war; only to get back to blighty.
From 28 Siege Battery’s War Diary of
22/7/16 “Fired 583 rounds at
hostile trenches, also in Guillemont, Ginchy and an S.O.S. into Longueval”
British attack along whole
front from Pozieres to Guillemont; violent fighting.
Terrible here today from first
thing in morning to last thing at night.Had to shift to another dugout.Lost revolver during the night, also all my private belongings.
Second phase of Somme Battle begins.
From 28 Siege Battery’s War Diary of 23/7/16 “Fired
947 rounds at hostile trenches near Wdge Wood, Guillemont, Ginchy and
Maltz Horn Farm, also cut wire, this was successfully cut by using full
charge.Engaged a hostile
battery with aeroplane observation, 5 OKs obtained and a great number of
Intense fighting in and round Pozieres; British recapture
whole of Longueval, but Germans retake north end of village.
Outskirts of Guillemont twice change hands.
The same as yesterday, only worse.About four machines called up this station at once.
Everybody thoroughly scared here,
21 fellows wounded, one serious and sergeant suffering from shell shock.
Struggle for Pozieres continues; British gain some
Persistent German counter-attacks at High Wood and
Started off with shrapnel first
thing this morning.One
wounded.Only saved myself by
a slice of big luck.Fairly
[...] hostile shelling from .
Terrible mess made of mast and
guys.Fed up.First up had to repair it immediately though.
With fresh reinforcements the Germans counter-attack near
Longueval and Bazentin; are repulsed.
Pozieres almost entirely in British hands.British push along Albert-Bapaume road towards Hill 160.
Went up to Beardmore this morning
as it was very still.Hostile
shelling continuous from onwards,
terrible wounded in this battery.
July 1st to July 26th,
30 casualties in this battery.
The whole of Pozieres village in British
British advance continues northwards
towards Hill 160.
Bit quieter today as regards shells
in this quarter, still its rotten all the same.Bags of mail today, bon.
Fresh British gains at Delville Wood and near Pozieres;
fighting continues at Longueval.
Desultory shelling by Fritz, here,
there and everywhere.Knocked
12th Siege out of existence.Aero shoot avec 9th Siege.
Big counter attack by Fritz
tonight, terrific row.
- marked by lack of definite plan or regularity or purpose; jumping
from one thing to another.
British capture of Delville Wood and Longueval village;
make further progress near Pozieres.Enemy
raids near Neuve Chapelle repulsed.
Same as yesterday re hostile
shelling.Shoots with 9th
and 28th Siege.
Wish I was home tonight, suppose I
should be going out somewhere with Gertie.
Artillery bombarding all tonight.
Had to put on gas helmet three
times during night.Don’t
know which is worse, gas or helmet.
Hand to hand struggle north and north-east of Pozieres and
High Wood.Two German attempts
to recapture Delville Wood fail.
British troops in gas masks at the Battle
of the Somme, 1916
Infantry advanced again this
morning after a terrific bombardment all night.
Hear now that we have lost
Guillemont again and again later we took it.
Combined Allied advance north of Somme, from Delville
Wood to the river.
British make progress east of Waterlot Farm and Trones
Wood; French reach outskirts of Maurepas.
Grand day.Absolutely wrecked [?] our instrument, with the French machines.Shoots with 9 and 28.Plenty
of hostile shelling this afternoon.Pay
day first time for two months.