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  1. #151
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    Saturday 11th November 1916. Day 134


    Y-Ravine today. This photo shows the top of one of the arms of the Y with Hawthorn Ridge in the background. The German front line was in the area where the photographer is standing. It's now part of the Newfoundland Memorial Park.


    Beaumont Hamel

    2 Special Company RE, bombarded Beaumont Hamel and Y-Ravine once more with tear gas from their 4-in Stokes Mortars and also with gas drums. 180 tear gas bombs were fired at the village as well as 47 gas drums. 39 gas drums were fired into the ravine.

    Le Sars

    At midnight the Canadians attacked Regina Trench with 46th ( South Saskatchewan) Bn and 47th (tate>British Columbiatate>) Bn. A company of 102nd Bn supported the assault. Positions were established in the trenches leading into the Le Sars-Pys Line and several counterattacks driven off.
    Last edited by Groundhog; 18th November 2006 at 12:58.

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  2. #152
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    Sunday 12th November 1916. Day 135

    Troops began moving into the line for the assault planned for the 13th.

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  3. #153
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    Monday 13th November 1916. Day 136

    The Battle of the Ancre, the final battle of the Somme Campaign began today.



    Serre

    3rd Div was to attack Serre with 8 and 76 Bdes. The attack turned into a shambles in waist deep mud and the attack was abandoned.

    On the extreme left flank of the attack 31st Div was to provide flank protection. 12th and 13th Bns, The East Yorks advanced short ly after midnight and occupied the German front line. The second line was occupied with some difficulty. The troops fought off German counter attacks all day. With the failure of 3rd Div, the troops were withdrawn after dark.

    Redan Ridge

    2nd Div attacked Redan Ridge north of Beaumont Hamel with 6 Bde on the left and 5 Bde on the right. 99 Bde was in reserve. 5 Bde formed up in No Man’s Land and, staying close to the creeping barrage, took the German front line with little difficulty. 2nd Bn, Highland Light Infantry and 24th Royal Fusiliers pressed on to Beaumont Trench. The Fusiliers blocked the trench because 6 Bde’s advance had fallen behind. They fought off some German bombing attacks.

    6 Bde had real problems. Fog and mud slowed the advance as did fire from the Quadrilateral. Added to which the German wire was intact. Troops from the brigade’s four battalions entered the German trenches where they were pinned down by MG fire.


    By 7.30 am only 5 Bde was ready to move on to the second objective, Frankfurt Trench. Only a few men reached this objective and soon withdrew. Also at 7.30am 99 Bde began to move forward to support the attack but orders for an advance by the brigade were cancelled and 2nd Div began to consolidate on it’s captured trenches. 6 Bde was withdrawn to re-org.

    Beaumont Hamel

    51st (Highland) Div attacked Beaumont Hamel with 152 Bde on the left, 153 Bde on the right and 154 Bde in Reserve.

    153 Bde attacked across the ground that had been the scene of the Newfoundland Regiment’s disaster on July 1st. As a repeat of that morning also, a mine was detonated under Hawthorn Ridge forming another crater right next to that of July 1st. 1/7th Gordon Highlanders of 153 Bde attacked south of Y Ravine with the right of the battalion reaching Station Road. The left of the battalion along with 1/6th Black Watch were held up by MG fire and snipers from the ravine. Some of the Black Watch skirted north of the Ravine. 1/5th Gordon Highlanders were sent forward to support the attack on Y Ravine. In the early afternoon 1/4th Gordon Highlanders of 154 Bde attacked the south end of Beaumont Hamel which fell to a mixed bag of 1/4th , 1/5th Gordon Highlanders and 1/6th Black Watch. Meanwhile 152 Bde had managed to get it’s four battalions into the village with a little assistance from two tanks before they ditched in the village. 1/5th Seaforth Highlanders had been held up by wire south of Hawthorn Ridge Crater while north of the Auchonvillers- Beaumont Hamel road, 1/8th Argyll Highlanders was held up by MG fire. The Seaforths were reinforced by their 1/6th Bn and broke through the German line allowing 1/6th Gordon Highlanders to bomb along the German Support Line before the advance to the village continued. The brigade consolidated in the village.


    Beaucourt

    Immediately north of the River Ancre the 63rd (Naval) Division was in action. This division attacked with 188 Bde on the left, 189 Bde on the right and 190 Bde in support. 190 Bde included 10th Bn Royal Dublin Fusiliers. At Zero Hour Hood and Drake Battalions (189 Bde) took the German front line in the face of heavy MG fire. The two battalions moved on to take Beaucourt Station and treet>Station Roadtreet>. 1st Bn of the Honourable Artillery Company then took The Mound and cleared the dugouts in the railway embankment. The rest of the attack was foundering under the German machine guns with the other two battalions of 189 Bde (Hawke and Nelson) and 188 Bde failing to breach the German line except in isolated areas. Bringing forward the support battalions made little difference although by 8am about 400 men of the Hood and Drake had dug in short of Beaucourt. Throughout the day, bombing attacks were made against a strongpoint on Beaumont Hamel Spur but by nightfall, the furthest advance was into the German support line. After dark 111 Bde of 37th Div was sent to reinforce the attack on Beaucourt.

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  4. #154
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    Monday 13th November 1916 continued

    St Pierre Divion


    39th Division attacked in this area along the AncreValley.

    118 Bde attacked on the right of the division, forming up in No Man’s Land. 1/1st Bn, Herefordshire attacked north reaching Hansa Trench b 7.30am. 1/1st Bn, Cambridgeshire Regt attacked north west quickly securing Mill Trench and Beaucourt Mill by 10am. 1/6th Cheshires and 4/5th Black Watch lost their way in fog and got lost in the warren of trenches.

    117 Bde attacked up the valley, clearing the dug outs along the banks of the river. St Pierre Divion was captured at 7.30 am. Three tanks were to assist in this attack, starting from Thiepval. However only one reached the German line where it got trapped in a collapsed dugout. Under attack from the Germans it was rescued by the Black Watch at 9am.

    With their objectives taken units began to consolidate and re-org. The Herts and North Lancs dug in 50 yards beyond the Hansa Line while the Cambridgeshires and Cheshires repaired Mill Trench as far back as St Pierre Divion. 227th Field Coy , RE and the divisional Pioneers (13th Glosters) began to repair the Hamel- St Pierre Divion road.

    Thiepval

    7th East Lancs and 7th Loyal North Lancs (56 Bde) led the attack of 19th Div. Under cover of a heavy mist the two battalions and 8 Vickers machine guns of 56th MG Coy assembled in No Man’s Land in front of Stuff Trench. By 8.15am they had achieved their objective-Lucky Way, a sunken road leading to Grandcourt. They consolidated with the help of 81st Field Coy, Royal Engineers and two companies of 5th Bn, South Wales Borderers.

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  5. #155
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    Tuesday 14th November 1916. Day 137

    Redan Ridge

    99 Bde attacked Munich Trench with 1st Bn, King’s Royal Rifle Corps and 1st Bn, Royal Berkshire Regt. The attack got off to a bad start due to mist and shorts from the British barrage. Some of the KRRC got lost and wandered into treet>Leave Avenuetreet>, mistaking it for their objective. Despite realising the mistake no progress was made. The Berkshires meanwhile captured parts of Munich Trench, Lager Alley and Serre Trench. Later they withdrew from Munich Trench. This caused problems for an afternoon attack by 11th Warwickshire Regt and 6th Bedfords on Frankfurt Trench. These battalions attacked in the belief that Munich Trench was held by friendly forces. Coming under fire from the trench they withdrew to treet>Wagon Roadtreet>.

    Beaumont Hamel

    152 Bde of 51st Div was supposed to attack Munich Trench in conjunction with an attack by 111 Bde (63rd Div). Not receiving the order in time the attack did not materialise until 7.30am when two companies of 1/7th Argyll Highlanders occupied the south end of Munich Trench. They were forced out at 11am by a British bombardment on the positions they had occupied. 1/9th Royal Scots tried to bomb along treet>Leave Avenuetreet> with no success. After dark the divisional pioneers and the RE began digginga new trench (called New Munich Trench) unaware that Munich Trench ahd been evacuated by the Germans.

    Beaucourt

    63rd Div renewed it’s attack on Beaucourt Trench at 6.20am. 13th Royal Fusiliers and 13th Rifle Brigade, attached from 37th Div, attacked from treet>Station Roadtreet> but lost direction in the mist. Eventually they halted 200 yards short of Beaucourt Trench.

    190 Bde troops were assembled at Beaucourt Station with a hodgepodge of men from the previous day. They pushed into the village and formed a line around the eastern edge of the village. The earlier attack resumed in conjunction with this advance and occupied Beaucourt Trench.

    Two tanks were then sent from Auchonvillers to support the attack on the Strongpoint in Beaucourt Trench, still held by the Germans. The two tanks broke down but the second was in range of the strongpoint which it bombarded with it’s 6-pounder gun. The Dublin Fusiliers took 400 German prisoners when the strongpoint surrendered.

    Le Sars

    2nd Australian Div attacked at 6.45am with 19th, 25th (Queensland) and 26th (Queensland & Tasmania) battalions supported by 1/5th and 1/7th Northumberland Fusiliers. The 25th and 26th Bns were stopped by MG fire from the Maze. 19th Bn and the Fusiliers took Gird Support but they found it was flooded and they withdrew to Gird Trench. The surviving men of 1/7th Northumberlands disappeared into Hook Sap and were never heard from again.The surviving troops fought off counterattacks all day. At dusk two companies of 20th (tate>New South Walestate>) Bn made an attack on The Maze but were stopped by MG fire. A midnight attack by elements of 1/4th and 1/5th Northumberlands also failed.

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  6. #156
    Chief of the Diet Tribe Groundhog's Avatar
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    Wednesday 15th November 1916. Day 138

    Redan Ridge

    10th Loyal North Lancs and 8th East Lancs (112 Bde, 37th Div) were under command to 99 Bde. Losing their way in fog, the two battalions suffered heavy casualties and fell back to treet>Wagon Roadtreet>. 22nd Royal Fusiliers built a strongpoint in the Quadrilateral on the crest of Redan Ridge.

    Beaumont Hamel

    Two companies of 1/7th Argyll Highlanders attacked Frankfurt Trench from New Munich Trench. They ran into their own barrage and although some of them entered Frankfurt Trench, they were forced to withdraw.

    Beaucourt

    37th Div began to relieve 63rd Div. In order to link with 51st Div on their left 13th Bn, Rifle Brigade began to bomb along Beaucourt Trench towards Munich Trench at 9 am. They established the link up at 10am. A patrol of 63 Bde found Muck and Railway Trenches abandoned but full of mud.

    Thiepval

    39th Div had to fight off several German attacks on Schwaben Redoubt.

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  7. #157
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    Thursday 16th November 1916. Day 139

    Redan Ridge

    14 Bde (32nd Div) relieved 2nd Div at dawn. After dark 97 Bde took over treet>Wagon Roadtreet> and linked up with the 51st Div. The area was under bombardment from 3pm and a strong German attack ensued.

    Beaucourt

    10th Royal Fusiliers and 13th King’s Royal Rifle Corps (111 Bde, 37th Div) set up posts in Railway Trench and Muck Trench.

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  8. #158
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    Friday 17th November 1916. Day 140

    Beaumont Hamel

    97 Bde (32nd Division) took over the line from 51st Division.

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  9. #159
    Chief of the Diet Tribe Groundhog's Avatar
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    Saturday 18th November 1916. Day 141

    It snowed overnight. Zero hour was at 6.10 am and attacks were started in driving sleet and in zero visibility. The snow further obscured the indefinable objectives.

    Beaumont Hamel

    32nd Div was to attack Munich and Frankfurt Trenches between treet>Leave Avenuetreet> and Lager Alley. On the right of the division 17th Highland Light Infantry and the right flank of 16th HLI were stopped dead by MG fire. The troops who made it to the objective were cut off and practically annihilated. 2nd Bn, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was stopped by a strongpoint in Munich Trench and forced to stay out in No Man’s Land until dark. The left of the battalion entered Munich Trench at the junction with Lager Alley where they met with the 2nd Manchesters. The Mancs had been tasked with attacking Ten Tree Alley. Some of them made it into the village of Serre where they were cut off and captured or killed.

    Beaucourt

    8th Bn Somerset Light Infantry moved up through Beaucourt and established a line of posts running from Bois D’Hollande west to the treet>Puisieux Roadtreet> and south to Ancre Trench. By dawn, 8th Lincolns had joined 10th Royal Fusiliers and 13th King’s Royal Rifle Corps in the posts in Muck Trench to support the 32nd Div attack on Frankfurt Trench. The KRRC and the Fusiliers sent out patrols that met opposition in Railway Trench and treet>Leave Avenuetreet>. The Fusiliers bombed along treet>Leave Avenuetreet> to the Junction with Frankfurt Trench. The Somersets meanwhile entered Puisieux Trench and occupied it as far as the Ancre.

    St Pierre Divion

    19th Div attacked with 56 Bde on the left and 57 Bde on the right. In 57 Bde, 8th North Staffords entered the German Trenches west of treet>Stump Roadtreet>. They advanced some distance before being cut off and most of the survivors captured. Only 70 men returned. Also in 57 Bde was 10th Bn, the Warwickshire Regt. They lost direction in the driving sleet and the left flank became mixed up with 56 Bde troops while the right was stopped by wire.

    In 56 Bde the 8th Gloucesters advanced across BatteryValley, joined by the lost Warwicks, and enteredthe south western end of Grandcourt. They were joined in the village by the 7th Bn, South Lancashire Regt who had advanced along the St Pierre Divion-Grandcourt road and the railway. Also in 56 Bde, 7th Bn, East Lancs launched an unsuccessful assault on Baillescourt Farm with two companies.

    Thiepval

    18th Div attacked with the four battalions of 55 Bde- 8th East Surreys, 7th Royal West Kents, 7th Buffs and 7th Queens. The brigade formed up in No Man’s Land, lying in the snow. By 8.10am the East Surreys had occupied part of Desire Trench, linking with the Canadians. At 9.20am the West Kents reached their objective and bombed along the trench to meet the Surreys. The other two battalions got lost. The West Kents then cleared Point 66, a German strongpoint on the junction of the Grandcourt-Courcelette and Pozieres-Miraumont roads. Aline was then dug back to Regina Trench after dark.

    Courcelette

    4th Canadian Div was the right flank of the attack with Desire Trench and Desire Support as it’s objectives.

    Right of the Pys Road 10 Canadian Bde advanced with one company of 46th (Saskatchewan) Bn and two of 50th (Calgary) Bn. The 46th met heavy MG fire and withdrew while the men of the 50th entered Desire Support and began to consolidate before being forced back.

    11 Bde attacked with two companies each from 75th (Mississauga), 54th (Kootenay), 87th (Canadian Grenadier Guards) and 38th (Ottawa) Bns. The 75th got lost in the snow but the others reached their objectives. Patrols were sent forward to Grandcourt Trench while the Canadian 44th and 47th Battalions were sent forward to help consolidate Desire Support Trench.

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  10. #160
    Chief of the Diet Tribe Groundhog's Avatar
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    Nov 18th was the last day of the Battle of the Somme. On both sides over 300,000 men were dead. Another 700,000 were wounded. The German line had been pushed back a few miles but nothing of strategic value had been decided in over three months of fighting. Of course the fighting continued. Some men of the Highland Light Infantry are cut off in Frankfurt Trench. Only the Germans know they are there. The 45 survivors will surrender on Nov 21st. The Great War will drag on for another two years during which the Germans will recapture all the ground won at such great cost in 1916.

    In February 1917 the Germans withdrew to newly prepared defences called the Hindenburg Line.

    The map below shows the ground gained during the Somme Campaign, the Green line is the front on July 1st 1916, the Red shows the front on Nov 19th.

    Last edited by Groundhog; 18th November 2006 at 15:26.

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  11. #161
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Excellent thread Groundhog. Made very interesting reading, and I couldnt help wondering each day..."How long more did it drag on for?"

  12. #162
    Chief of the Diet Tribe Groundhog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldie fish View Post
    Excellent thread Groundhog. Made very interesting reading, and I couldnt help wondering each day..."How long more did it drag on for?"
    What, the thread or the battle?

    It made very interesting research too although my head nearly melted at times.

    On the subject of which, if I haven't credited him already most of the research was done in Chris McCarthy's book, The Somme, The Day to Day Account.
    Last edited by Groundhog; 6th July 2007 at 20:37.

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  13. #163
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    I should have printed this before I left. I find i'm crossing over my path over and over. However I am finding something new to see each time. The true tragedy is the countless war graves, dotted all over the countryside.
    Most poignant though is the cemetery at the Newfoundland Memorial, where all the residents died on July 1st 1916, and at the Aussie Memorial, Near Amiens, where some of its headstones record Death continuing after november 11th 1918.

  14. #164
    Private 2* Corkman's Avatar
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    Re the Battle of the Somme and 1st Bn. Munster Fusiliers.

    Quote - "This area was attacked by the 29th Division, their first operation in France having moved from Gallipoli early in the year. The Dublin and Munster Fusiliers were in the Division." Unquote

    According to History of the Munster Fusiliers by Capt. Stouppe McCance, the 1st Bn. Munsters were temporarily withdrawn from the 29th Div. on 24th April 1916, they were transferred to Lines of Communication at Boulogne base for recruiting and training. The 1st Bn. spent a month at Boulogne. There they received orders to join the 48th Brigade of the 16th (Irish) Div. the 1st Bn Munsters left Boulongne on May 28th.

    The 1st Bn. Munsters were not part of the 29th Div. as of 1st July 1916.

  15. #165
    Private 3* Galloglass's Avatar
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    One of those graves is that of my grandmothers brother. a Redmondite Volunteer. he thought he was fighting for Home Rule for Ireland in what was essentially an imperialist contest over colonising rights. Terrible shame and a horrible waste of human life.

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  17. #166
    Closed Account Goldie fish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglass View Post
    One of those graves is that of my grandmothers brother. a Redmondite Volunteer. he thought he was fighting for Home Rule for Ireland in what was essentially an imperialist contest over colonising rights. Terrible shame and a horrible waste of human life.
    Sums up all wars really.

  18. #167
    CQMS spider's Avatar
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    Anyone know where Groundhog went...I always found the stuff he put up about WW1 really interesting.

    And he gave me some help and tips re tracking down a soldier Great-Uncle who disappeared after WW2.

    I pm'd him some time ago to let him know I had tracked the (now deceased) mysterious uncle down...but never heard back from him.
    Oh Fortune...like the moon...you are changeable...

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