EXTRACTED FROM THE REGIMENTAL CHRONICLES OF THE OXFORDSHIRE & BUCKINGHAMSHIRE LIGHT INFANTRY
The 48th Division (Major-General Sir R. Fanshawe, K.C.B., D.S.O.), to which belonged both the l/4th Battalion and the 1/1st Bucks Battalion of the Regiment, had a varied year. It saw heavy fighting in the Third Battle of Ypres in the autumn of 1917, after which it was moved south to the neighbourhood of Vimy Ridge, and at the end of November received sudden orders to proceed to the Italian Front. The first half of 1918 in Italy passed almost without incident, except for a determined Austrian attack delivered on the 15th June, and beaten back with heavy loss to the enemy. In the second half of the year came the break-up of the Austrians, followed by the Armistice.
Summary of the Battalion Diary :-- 1917. July.—On the 2nd the Battalion moved from Demicourt to Fremicourt, next day to Bihucourt, and on the 5th to Bailleulmont, where until the 21st training was carried out, in preparation for the coming offensive in Flanders. On the 21st the Battalion entrained at Mondicourt, detrained at Godewaersvelde, and marched to billets at Houtkerque, where training was resumed for nine days, after which a move was made to a camp at S. Jans-ter-Biezen (near Poperinghe). On the 6th Major Pickford joined the 1/6th Glosters as Second in Command; on the 14th Major Lloyd-Baker joined the Battalion as Second in Command.
August 4th.—The Battalion moved in Brigade to Dambre Camp (near Vlamertinghe), and next evening moved up to the front line along the Steenbeek, having several casualties while taking over. 2nd Lieut. R. H. white, M.C., and R.-S.-M. W. R. Lane were killed and Lieut. W. H. Enoch (Adjutant) was wounded.
August 6th.—Dispositions: A left front company, with two platoons in Adam's Farm and two in Canoe Trench; B right front company, similarly distributed in the Bund, a large concrete structure near Alberta Farm and Canopus Trenches; Battalion H.Q. in Canoe Trench at C.10.d.6.5.; C and D Companies in support. Continuous shelling caused many casualties.
August 7th.—Heavy shelling continued, with further casualties. The Battalion was relieved at night. The casualties in the Battalion during the three days, in addition to the others already named, were: 2nd Lieut. H. E. Gibson and 18 men killed; Lieut.-Colonel R. Stephens (commanding), 2nd Lieut. J. A. S. MacLean, and 58 men wounded; and 4 men missing.
August 8th.—The Battalion reached Dambre Camp in early morning; and next day Lieut.-Colonel A. J. N. Bartlett rejoined and resumed command. The following week was spent in training, especially in the attack practice over a prepared course, in rehearsal for the attack on the enemy's position.
August 15th.—Moved to Reigersberg Camp at 10.30 a.m. and rested until 10.15 p.m. There was an air fight above us in the afternoon, and one of our aeroplanes fell in the camp. At 10.15 p.m. the Battalion moved off by trench-board track to the Yser Canal, and crossed at Bridge 3, eventually reaching the neighbourhood of Alberta Farm.
August 16th.—At 4 a.m. all companies were in position on assembly, and direction tapes laid west of the Steenbeek. Dispositions: C Company on the right, D on the left, forming the two leading waves; in rear of them A and B Companies, forming the third and fourth waves. Each wave in two lines. The Battalion had on its right the 1/lst Bucks, and on its left the 11th Manchesters (34th Brigade).
Objectives : (1) Strong points west of the St Julien-Langemarck road; (2) Langemarek-Winnipeg road between C.6.d.2.L and C.6.C.4.9.; (3) Langemarck trench system, etc., to Hubner Farm. Two tanks were to have co-operated in attacking the strong points, but owing to the sodden nature of the ground they were unable to do so.
At 4.45 a.m. the attack started, our men advancing behind a strong artillery barrage. Beyond some slight rifle fire on our assembly positions, there was little opposition until the first wave had advanced about 200 yards east of the Steenbeek, when it came under effective machine-gun fire from Mon du Hibou. The right flank was then reinforced by rear waves, and the advance was continued until it was stopped at about 100 yards south of a line through Mon du Hibou and Triangle Farm, by deadly machine-gun and rifle fire. Protected by strong concrete shelters, the enemy maintained their fire while our barrage passed over them. Most of the twelve company officers became casualties in attempting to get forward. We settled down to hold the ground gained on a line C.5.d.9.1. to C.12.a.4.9. The attack on the right and on the immediate left was also held up, but farther on the left there was better progress. The enemy barrage came down after the attacking waves crossed the Steenbeek, and was directed with particular severity against Alberta Farm, cutting off communication for several hours. At 7.30 p.m. a company of the l/7th Worcester's (in reserve) attacked Mon du Hibou, but failed to take it.
August 17th.—At 2.30 a.m. another company of the Worcesters repeated the attack on Mon du Hibou, gained a temporary footing, but were driven out, and dug in close in front. We remained throughout the day holding a line of shell holes, suffering casualties from enemy snipers. Just before midnight we were relieved.
August 18th.—Assembled at Reigersberg Camp, and at sunrise moved back to Dambre Camp. CASUALTIES. . Killed. 2nd Lieut. A. S. Wotherspoon. 2nd Lieut. H. H. Jefferson. 2nd Lieut. F. E. Jones, M.C. 2nd. Lieut. C. H. Bowman. 2nd Lieut. A. P. Salmon. And 60 other ranks.
Wounded. 2nd Lieut. A. E. Crew. 2nd Lieut. J. H. Early. 2nd Lieut. E. C. H. Wincer. 2nd Lieut. D. E. Cochrane. 2nd Lieut. J. Swatridge. And 100 other ranks.
Missing. 4 other ranks.
August 20th.—Dambre Camp. Lieut. J. C. B. Gamlen to be Adjutant, and 2nd Lieut. J. E. Boyle to command A Company.
August 2lst.—A search party of 40 men, under 2nd Lieut. J. E. Mackay, visited the battlefield and established the death of several men who had been reported missing.
August- 22nd-25th.—Training and preparing for the next attack.
August 26th.—The Battalion moved at 3.30 p.m. to dug-out billets, in canal bank (east). Very comfortable. Heavy rain at night.
August 27th.—Final preparations in the morning. The Battalion moved at 1.55 p.m., zero hour, from the canal bank by Infantry Route 4, having been ordered to form support to the attacking battalions (l/7th and l/8th Worcesters) between zero + 3 hours and zero + 4 hours, occupying their assembly positions in the Triangle (C.6.C.), and to remain out of the fighting until the line Flora Cottage and Hubner Farm to Stroppe Farm had been obtained. The Battalion reached the assembly trenches soon after 4 p.m. with very few casualties, although it had to pass through a hostile barrage, scattered over 700 or 800 yards. At 5 p.m. each company reported in position or digging in. Dispositions : A, right front; B, centre; C, left; D, support; H.Q. in concrete block-house N.E. of Mon du Hibou. At about 6 p.m. the 1/1st Bucks Battalion came into support also behind and close to our front companies. On our arrival the attacking battalion reported that the advance was held up by Springfield in the right flank battalion area. This was captured at 6.30 p.m. with the co-operation of a tank. A concrete building in the vicinity of Vancouver was now holding up the centre of the attack. Before dusk we established liaison with the Warwicks on the left, and later with the l/4th Berks on the right; and about midnight we relieved both battalions of the Worcestershire Regiment.
August 28th.—Enemy artillery quiet except for spasmodic shelling of the east side of the Triangle. At night the Battalion was relieved by the 2/7th London Regiment.
August 29th.—At 10.45 a.m. the Battalion assembled at Reigersberg Camp for a hot meal and rest, and then marched to Dambre Camp. The casualties amounted to 9 men killed, 19 wounded, and 2 missing.
August 30th.—To S. Jans-ter-Biezen; where the Battalion remained carrying out training, playing games, etc., until the 16th September.
September 1st-6th.—During this period at S. Jans-ter-Biezen the Battalion was occupied in training of various kinds; intercompany football, etc.; and parties were taken in motor lorries to the seaside at Mardick, near Dunkirk.
The following awards were made:
Bar to Military Medal, Sergeant W. N. Hobbs ;
Military Medal, Sergeant F. Habey, Lance-Corporal C. C. Gray, Private H. S. Pearce, Private H. J. Finch.
September 16th.—The Battalion entrained at 10.15 a.m. at Abeele and proceeded to Audruicq, thence marching to Banninques (near Calais), for further training and rest. At the Brigade Horse Show, held on the 23rd, the Battalion won several first and second prizes.
September 24th.—Marched to Estmont for the night, and next day to Watten, where entrained at 7 a.m. and proceeded to Brielen (near Ypres), whence by road to Reigersberg Camp.
September 27th.—Moved up into the trenches (St. Julien front), with Battalion H.Q. at Mon du Hibou. During the relief Captain L. W. Birt was seriously wounded, and died of his wounds on the 3rd October.
September 28th.—Heavy enemy shelling in the evening. Two men killed and two wounded.
September 29th-30th.—Patrols active. 4 men killed, and 4 wounded. The Battalion was relieved by the 1/1st Bucks Battalion on the evening of the 30th, and went back into Brigade reserve, H.Q. at Cheddar Villa.
October 2nd.-Moved to Reigersberg Camp, and on the 4th to Cheddar Villa, where the Battalion remained until the 8th, carrying out patrol work, etc. having 1 man killed and 26 men wounded.
October 8th.-To Dambre Camp, on relief, and on the 11th to S. Jans-ter-Biezen.
October 14th.—Entrained at Hopoutre at 10 p.m., and detrained at Ligny-St. Flochel at 6 next morning. Marched to Caucourt, and arrived at 1.30 p.m., being now in the area behind the Vimy Ridge.
October 18th.—The Battalion moved to Villers-au-Bois, and occupied huts there until the end of the month.
November 2nd-6th.—The Battalion was in the line, Avion-Mericourt Sector, near Lens, for these four days; then to Vimy Village until the 10th ; and then to Ottawa Camp, Mont St. Eloi, for another four days; after which a move was made on the 14th to billets in Savy, Berles, and Vandelicourt, towards St. Pol.
November 15th.— Major and Quartermaster A. A. Bridgwater left the Battalion to take up an appointment at the VIIIth Corps School. Major Bridaewater had been Quartermaster of the Battalion continuously since mobilization, and had held a similar post with the 4th Battalion (T.F.) since 1905. Previously he had served for 21 years in all ranks of the 52nd up to Quartermaster-Sergeant.
November 22nd.—The Battalion was ordered to entrain for an unknown destination in two trains, with 9 days' rations, at 9 p.m., and started at 11 p.m., next day passing through Albert, Amiens, St. Denis, Longueville, Troves, etc.
November 24th.—Travelling all day. Passed Bourg at 10 p.m., entering the Alps.
ITALY November 25th.—Reached Modane at 9 a.m.; through Mt. Cenis tunnel at midday, and halted at Turin 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and had an enthusiastic reception from the Italian inhabitants.
November 26th/27th.—Trains moved very slowly through Italy. Two long halts enabled the men to get out for football.
November 28th.—Arrived at Bovelone at 5.30 a.m., and marched to billets in the village of Cadegli Oppi; next day to Albaredo, on the Adige River; and on the 30th to Asigliano, where billeting parties from the second train were met. (The above were the movements of the first train; the second train had moved by a different route, viz., via Lyons, Marseilles, Toulon, Cannes, Nice, San Remo, Genoa, Parma, Bologna, S. Pietro di Morubis, Caselee, to Asigliano.)
December 2nd.—The Battalion moved to billets in Agugliaro, where were also the 1/1st Bucks Battalion.
December 3rd.—To Monticella; 4th, to Campodoro and Villa-franca ; 5th, to Campo San Martirio ; 6th, to Paviola, where remained until the 14th, and then marched to Tezze and Granella. The remainder of the year was spent at Tezze and Granella, training, etc.
1918. January.—This month passed without incident until the 24th, when the Battalion moved from Tezze and Granella to Villa Bolzonella and thence on the 26th to Brusaporco.
February.—On the 2nd the Battalion marched to Albareda, and on the 13th to Porcellengo, at which places the time was spent in training and games. Then on the 27th a move was made towards the River Piave, the Battalion going into the line at Giavera, and sending patrols out to reconnoitre Geneva Island, in the endeavour to find a crossing,
March:—Major Pickford describes the events of this month as follows :-- "On March 3rd we went back to the reserve battalion area at Bavaria, where the accommodation consisted of dry and roomy house billets, as it did even in the front line; in fact, so comfortable and peaceful a sector we had never yet seen. In our next and last visit to the Piave front (March 7th) we succeeded in getting one man of a patrol on to the enemy's side of the river, and a post was located and fired a Very light from about 100 yards away, but unfortunately the temperature of the water reduced patrols to too cold a state to achieve anything. We were then relieved at Bavaria by Italian troops, and marched back via Cusiguana and Porcellengo (15th), Torreselli (16th), and Palazzo Bressanin (17th) to Arsego. From this place we sent three representatives to the Inter-Allied Sports at Rome, to compete in the British Tug-of-War Team. On March 23rd we moved to S. Maria di Non, where training was continued for another ten days, and some good sports were held."
April 2nd.—The Battalion moved to Galzignano (near Padova), a mountain training area, where it remained until the 16th, carrying out useful training, mostly in hill work. On the 7th, Captain Enoch, M.C., rejoined, and resumed the duties of Adjutant. On the 10th, Major A. B. Lloyd-Baker proceeded to take command of the l/4th Berks, and his place as second in command was taken by Major N. H. Waller, M.C., l/6th Glosters.
TO THE ASIAGO PLATEAU. April 16th.—Marched to Sarmego;
17th to Montecchio Maggiore;
18th to Castelgomberto;
21st to S. Maria (near Sarcedo);
22nd to Mare;
23rd to Valle di Sopra (1,450 feet). Here the Battalion halted until the 29th, preparing for the march up into the mountains (5,000 feet).
April 29th.—Marched by mule track and road, in fighting order, to Granezza, and next day reached the Asiago Plateau, and went into the front line about S. Sisto.
Major Pickford's Account. " The situation here was, from a military point of view, a doubtful one; the Austrian was within 2 ½ miles of the ridge of mountains south of Granezza which dominated the whole of the Venetian plain from Venice to Verona, and it was realized that if he once reached this ridge, lines below this could only temporarily check his advance, and a retirement to the Adige or Po became necessary. In this narrow strip of mountain running down to the edge of the plateau, where our front line was, and fed by only two roads, were concentrated practically all our guns, our support and reserve troops, all our stores, our ammunition, and our Echelon A transport. Happily, a thick pine forest concealed all our dispositions and movements, or the position would have been untenable. No Man's Land, about a mile wide, began where the forest ended; the plateau was over two miles wide, and on the far side rose higher mountains than on our own side. But the enemy, whose main position lay, like ours, on the edge of the plateau, had decided to include Asiago, and so held a line, through the middle of the plateau, which was entirely without cover, which was completely dominated by our position, and which could be pounded at will, with excellent observation by our guns.
" What chiefly impressed us in Italian military engineering were the marvellous roads, in excellent order, up impossible precipices; the wonderful trenches bored through the solid rock (but without any dug-outs as we knew them); and the telefericas, which carried ammunition, rations, and even men, from the plain to the mountains in about half an hour, whereas the winding roads took a lorry perhaps two hours to reach the same point.
" When first we arrived we found things very peaceful; hardly a shell was ever fired, and patrolling was practically unknown. Within a, fortnight we changed all this; our guns began to make the enemy's positions very uncomfortable, and, as usual, we undertook active patrolling."
Summary of Battalion Diary continued. May 1st-13th.—The Battalion continued in the front line or support during this period, without suffering casualties.
May 14th-15th — On this night Lieut. H. Miles, M.C., took out a patrol of 30 men to raid an enemy post. On encountering the post of 8 to 12 men, the enemy fired and ran. Our men followed, killing 3 and capturing a fourth. Lieut. Miles was severely wounded and brought back with difficulty; C.-S.-M. Coggins then took out a fresh party and brought in the original patrol. The prisoner had a bomb in his pocket, and this accidentally exploded while he was passing through our wire, killing him instantly, and wounding one of our men. Lieut Miles was awarded Bar to M.C. C.S.M. Coggins was awarded D.C.M.
May 19th-31st.—On the 19th the Battalion was relieved and moved to Grariezza Camp; on the 20th, to Mare (Lugo area); next day to S. Maria; and on the 22nd to Brogliano, where the next ten days were spent in training, etc. The casualties during May were: 2 men killed, 1 officer and 9 men wounded.
June 2nd,—The Battalion moved to Casa di Serona—a very stiff climb, and on the following day relieved the 8th Worcesters in support at M. Lemerle.
June 9th.—Relieved the 1/1st Bucks Battalion in the front line, opposite Canove having observation posts out by day and outpost platoons by night,
June 14th.—Vaister Farm, an enemy strong point in No Man's Land, was captured and occupied by us, and it was discovered that an Austrian attack was about to take place.
June 15th.—At 3 a.m. the enemy put down a barrage of gas shells on our front and reserve lines, and simultaneously bombarded with T.M.'s, M.G.'s, and Flammenwerfer for some three hours. Under cover of this shelling, the enemy came over and penetrated a portion of our line, and our right front was forced back at 4.30 a.m.
Major Pickford's Account. "An enormous shell dump was blown up at Handley Cross, the cross-roads past which all traffic to our sector must come, and our communications forward from Battalion Headquarters were all destroyed in the first five minutes, and backwards in the first 45 minutes. The actual attack was made shortly before 7 a.m., and, as identified by prisoners captured, no less than seven battalions were involved in the attack on our front; the front on our right, which had a very exposed approach, was intended to be turned by a flanking movement. The front on our left was pierced, and a wedge driven in. Our front companies, after putting up a great fight in the outpost line, where the small garrison found itself surrounded, contested every inch of ground, but were engaged in rear by enemy who had filtered through on their left, and towards noon were compelled to withdraw fighting to the neighbourhood of Battalion Headquarters.
"Meanwhile an improvised semi circular defence had been made on a small ridge around Battalion Headquarters, which was in a sunken road some 500 yards behind the front line; and after our local reserves and our H.Q. Company had delivered two counterattacks without succeeding in restoring the front line, this line of rocks and bits of trenches were manned by the surviving clerks, orderlies, servants, cooks, etc. These men held out all day against repeated attacks, despite the fact that the enemy had got machine-guns into position level with H.Q. on the right, 200 yards away in front, and 500 yards behind on the left. Later in the day our depleted garrison was reinforced by the Berks, and at dawn next morning, following close on a Stokes Mortar barrage, we and the Berks counter attacked, to find the enemy in the act of retreating in considerable disorder, leaving hundreds of dead and wounded; and we were able by 7 a.m. (16th) to restore our original line, and to send patrols into No Man's Land."
Summary of Battalion Diary continued. The casualties in the Battalion were :-- Killed or Died of Wounds. Captain A. Allan, M.C. Captain R. P. Buxton. Lieut. V. Garlick. 2nd Lieut. R. A. Buttery. 2nd Lieut. N. A. Luck (R.W. Kent). 2nd Lieut. T. Moore. And 42 other ranks.
Wounded. 2 Officers and 92 other ranks.
Missing. 34 other ranks.
June 16th.—On relief, the Battalion moved to huts in Carriola, where during the next few days officers and men were attacked by "mountain fever."
June 30th.—After a week in camp at Marziele, the Battalion moved to Centrale Camp.
July 1st.—The Battalion marched at 11.40 p.m. from Centrale, and arrived at Brogliano at 7.30 a.m. next day, being warmly greeted by the inhabitants.
Notification was received of the following awards for gallantry in action on 15th June 1918 :-- Bar to D.S.O. : Lieut.-Colonel A. J. N. Bartlett, D.S.O.
D.S.O.: Major P. Pickford, M.C.
Military Cross: Lieut. J. M. Constable, 2nd Lieut. H. R. Vince.
D.C.M.: Corporal J. Stratford, Lance-Corporal S. Spicer.
Military Medal: Lance-Corporal E. Wyatt, Lance-Corporal G. Daniells, Private H. Richards, Sergeant A. W. Lemmings, Lance-Corporal S. W. Wilks, . Sergeant G. T. Waterman, C.-Q.-M.-S. W. J. Liebermann, Lance-Corporal F. H. Atkins, Private F. A. Allen, Private H. Ryland, Sergeant A. Disbury.
Italian Silver Cross for Valour: Lieut. J. E. mackay.
July 2nd-16th.—Spent at Brogliano, carrying out training of all kinds, with sports and other recreations in spare time. Weather very hot.
July 17th.—Marched during the night of 16th/17th to camp near Santa Maria, arriving at about 4 a.m.; on the 18th to Granezza, a steep and rough march; and on the 19th the Battalion relieved the 12th Durham Light Infantry in the left sub-sector, Right Brigade (S. Sisto).
July 20th-25th.—In. the line; generally quiet; a little shelling.
July 26th.—On relief by the l/5th Glosters, the Battalion moved to the forward Reserve area (Kaberlaba), and remained there, furnishing working parties, until the 30th, when it was relieved by the l/8th R. Warwicks, and moved back to Club Camp, Granezza.
August 1st-6th.—Remained at Club Camp.
August 7th.—Relieved l/4th Glosters in the line, and occupied trenches and dug-outs until the 11th. Raiding parties from other battalions went out, but the enemy showed little activity.
August 12th.—The Battalion went into support, and on the 18th returned to the front line until the 22nd. Active patrolling was carried out, and there was a certain amount of shelling.
August 22nd.—Moved to Reserve position at Kaberlaba. Enemy artillery more active.
August 25th.—To Camp at Marziele in Divisional Reserve; a splendid site overlooking the plains as far even as Venice.
August 27th.—Brigadier-General Pitt-Taylor took over the command of our Brigade in relief of Brigadier-General D. M. Watt, D.S.O., to England. The casualties during August were 2 men killed, and 4 wounded.
September 2nd.—The Battalion returned to the front line and great activity commenced.
Major Pickford's Account. "A period of almost nightly raids then began. It was found that the enemy was getting demoralized by our activity, and it was desirable that this state of affairs should be fostered, so raids, at first by platoons, and later by companies and battalions, were ordered.
On September 6th we were selected to raid the enemy front line at Sec, on the outskirts of Asiago, on a front of 1,000 yards, to a depth of 400 yards. We were taken out of the front line to train for the operation ; an excellent model of the area was prepared by the scouts; platoons were lectured at the model on their exact task, and were then shown the ground from an observation point; patrols were made each night, so that every one knew the lie of the land, and officers were taken to artillery O.P.'s to study the country in detail. The raid took place at 4 a.m. (September 10th) with a barrage from 100 guns. A searchlight was used, and a demonstration was made on Ave farther to the left. Everything went exactly according to plan; one officer and 37 prisoners and three machine-guns were captured, our casualties amounting to 10 in all.
The following day (September 11th) we returned to the line, and oscillated between reserve at Granezza, support at Kaberlaba, and front line at Posten or S. Sisto, until the end of October, when a Bucks raid (October 29th) produced the information that the enemy had evacuated his much-shelled line south of Asiago, and retired to the foot of the mountains opposite."
Battalion Diary continued. The following awards for gallantry during the raid on Sec were made :--
Military Cross: Captain J. E. Boyle, Captain and Adjutant W. H. Enoch,. 2nd Lieut, J. F. Wright, 2nd Lieut. W. R, B. Brooks.
D.C.M.: Corporal F, R, Crombleholme,
Bar to Military Medal: Sergeant A. W. Lemmings, M.M., Private G. Daniells, M.M.
Military Medal: Lance-Corporal W. G. Clements, Lance-Corporal J. T. Dyer, Corporal E. Rixon. Sergeant A. G. Cooper, Corporal E. T. Ollson, Lance-Sergeant G. Harris, Bugler W. Bennett, Sergeant H. A. Burden, Private A. Hall, Lance-Corporal H. C. Saunders, Private F. Price, Lance-Corporal H. C. Harris, Sergeant T. F. Wynne.
Italian Silver Medal for Valour : Major P. Pickford, D.S.O., M.C.
Italian Bronze Medal: 2nd Lieut. J. F. Wright, M.C., Corporal F. R. Crombleholme, D.C.M.
Croce di Guerra : Corporal T. Ward, M.M., Lance-Corporal E. Luckett, Corporal E. Rixon. M.M.
October 29th.—The Battalion pushed scout groups to the front and searched positions from which the enemy had retired. Asiago was thoroughly examined, and found to be clear of the enemy. At night the whole Brigade front was patrolled by a company of the Bucks Battalion.
October 30th/31st.—Battalion dispositions unaltered. Enemy artillery fairly active, Casualties during October, 1 man killed and 1 man wounded.
THE ADVANCE INTO AUSTRIA. November 1st.—The Battalion moved into Asiago, as support to the Bucks and Berks delivering an attack. The Bucks carried M. Catz, but the Berks were held up at Bosco by the Austrian rearguard defending the mouth of the Val d'Assa. The Battalion pushed on to Roccolo N.E., posted piquets, and bivouacked for the night.
November 2nd.—To M. Meatta, while the Bucks Battalion occupied M. Mosciagh, to guard the passage of the 143rd Brigade up the Val d'Assa. Billeted at Valle di Portule for the night. The enemy in full retreat, abandoning many guns and much material.
November 3rd.—The Battalion started at 4.30 a.m. to march up the Val d'Assa. Thousands of Austrian prisoners were met coming back, and a car flying the white flag and containing two Austrian generals came by. Abandoned material and guns showed with what haste the enemy had retired. Halted at 10 a.m. for a meal, and at 11 a.m. continued the march, after detaching A and C Companies to guard prisoners. At 3.30 p.m. accepted the surrender of a battalion and a half of Austrians, and " caged " them at Caldonazzo, where the Battalion spent the night, after a march of some 25 miles.
THE ARMISTICE. November 4th.—The Armistice came into effect at 3 p.m., though the Austrians had actually given in and had commenced negotiations some days before. The Battalion remained at Caldonazzo until the 9th, guarding prisoners and captured stores, and feeding the civilian population.
November 9th.—Moved to Venezza; on the 10th to Valle di Por-tule; on the 11th to Granezza; on the 12th to Thiene; and to Maglio di Sopra on the 13th—50 miles in all. The remainder of the month was spent at Maglio, training, inspections, and football matches. The Battalion had no casualties in November.
December.—This month was spent by the Battalion at Maglio, where a certain amount of training was carried out, with inspections by various Generals, leisure time being devoted to football and other competitions. Demobilization was now in full swing, and on the 23rd the first demobilization train left. Christmas Day was kept in true British style.
The following awards were made during this month :--
Military Cross : 2nd Lieut. J. T. foster.
Military Medal: Sergeant H. J. Howes, Sergeant D. L. Howells, C.-S.-M. T. A. Avery, Lance-Corporal J. S. Farr, Private A. Hudson, Private A. C. Tomlin, Signal Sergeant A. E. Garrett, Corporal G. Douglas, Transport Section..
Italian Croce di Guerra: Lieut.-Colonel A. J. N. Bartlett, D.S.O., Captain W. H. Enoch, M.C., 2nd Lieut. G. E. Webster, Sergeant D. L. Howells, M.M.
Previous to this, and since 1st July 1917, the following other awards were made :--
Distinguished Service Order: Lieut.-Colonel A. J. N. Bartlett Major A. B. Lloyd-Baker (1/lst Bucks Battalion).
Military Cross: 2nd Lieut. H. Miles, Captain A. K. Gibson.
Mentioned in Dispatches: Lieut.-Colonel A. J. N. Bartlett, Major A. B. Lloyd-Baker (twice), Lieut. W. P. Powell, 2nd Lieut. A. E. Crew, Lieut. W. H. Enoch, Major J. C. Coombes, M.C., Lieut, J. M. Constable, Lieut. J. E. Mackay, R.-S.-M. H. E. Buckingham, R.-Q.-M.-S. J. Burford, Sergeant G. W. Grant, Sergeant L. S. Stratford, C.-Q.-M.-S. H. J. Harmsworth, Sergeant O. Frewin, Sergeant F. J. Clements, Sergeant H. J. Howse.
Bar to Military Medal: Sergeant W. N. Hobbs, M.M.
Military Medal: Sergeant F. Haley, Lance-Corporal C. C. Gray, Private H. J. Finch, Private H. S. Pearse.
Meritorious Service Medal: Sergeant H. F. Jeynes, R.-Q.-M.-S. J. Burford.