Based on extracts from the Regimental Chronicles of The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Vol 25 1915-1916
COMMANDING OFFICERS (Lieut.-Colonel A. J. Eden's) Diary.
August 2nd.-(To billets in Annequin.) In the morning we were relieved by the Queen's, when 2 ½ companies went into billets, the remainder being disposed as follows :-- 2 Platoons (A Company) and 1 machine-gun in Cuinchy Support Post. 1 Company (D) and 1 machine-gun in Cambrin Supporting Point.
August 3rd-6th.-(In billets at Annequin.) Companies were exercised daily in musketry, drill, and physical training. August 7th.-At midday we were relieved by the 1st R. Berkshire Regiment (6th Brigade), and marched back to billets in Bethune in the Cemetery area a new one for us, and the seventh different one in which I have been in this town.
August 8th-l4th.-In Corps Reserve in Bethune, the remainder of the 5th Brigade being in the neighbourhood.
August 13th.-A year today since we left England with the Expeditionary Force, and of those who then embarked there are now present with the Regiment: 7 officers, 3 warrant officers, 27 sergeants, 4 buglers, and 228 rank and file (including 2 attached from the R.A.M.C.)- Of these the following have served continuously during the twelve months : 2 officers, 1 warrant officer, 12 sergeants, 2 buglers, 133 rank and file (including 2 attached from the R.A.M.C.).
August 14th.-To Givenehy in the morning with Company Commanders to reconnoitre a sector of trenches quite new to us.
During the past year there have been 1,023 admissions to hospital—an average of 2.8 per diem.
August 15th.- In the afternoon we moved up into B 2 Section Givenchy trenches, and relieved the 1st Irish Guards.
August 16th.-We are now in the left sector of Givenchy, and a very active spot, extending from the Shrine on the right to the low ground in continuation of Scottish Trench on the left. Two other battalions of the Brigade continue the line as far south as the canal. Two of our companies occupy the front system, the other two are in support in depth, less 1 platoon in Herts Redoubt. Regimental H.Q. in houses at Windy Corner.
Opposite the right company there is a mass of mine craters, some made by us, others by the enemy. These craters form three groups, or at any rate two distinct groups. Three saps lead up to occupy the lip on our side in the southern group, and four saps' to the northern group. At places we are within 30 or 40 yards of the Huns. Mining by both sides is most active, and working parties and material congest the trenches.
August 20th.-We remained in the trenches until today. Bombing (chiefly by us) was carried on vigorously every night, our average being 200 bombs per night; fortunately we have plenty at present, and the enemy replied with very small quantities. Trench mortars were much in use on both sides, and our artillery was fairly active, though the enemy's guns were pretty quiet. The officers in the front line got little rest, as it was necessary to have two subalterns per company always on duty.
Two men were wounded on 15th August, and two on the 16th.
In the evening we were relieved by the 1st Queen's and moved back into billets at Le Quesnoy.
August 21st-23rd.-(In billets at Le Quesnoy.) Companies did but little work (Saturday, Sunday, Monday), as all ranks required a good rest after the five strenuous days in the trenches.
August 24th.-In the morning we changed places with the 1st Queen's. Some lively bombing took place between 8 and 9 p.m., the enemy making a persistent attack on the northern craters.
August 25th.-About 4 a.m. a small mine was blown by the enemy, which buried three of our men. When this happens the digging out and restoration of the sap take a long time, with very heavy labour. The weather now very hot, and the days are fatiguing.
August 26th.-General Gough, commanding the Corps, with Brigadier-General Cobbe, V.C., came round to inspect the progress of the many " strong points " now in course of construction.
About midnight the enemy became very active, and made a determined bombing attack on the northern crater at the Sunken Road.
The enemy approached very close at one time, with the result that several of their bombs fell into our trenches and caused casualties.
August 27th.-A quiet day, and a much quieter night, although every night there is a considerable amount of firing from trench mortars on both sides, and some shelling by our artillery.
August 28th.-In the afternoon we were relieved by the 2nd R. Scots Fusiliers (21st Brigade), and the Brigade came out of the line. We went into billets in the Rue du Tir area, Bethune.
On the 26th the 28th reinforcement (40 men) arrived.
August 29th.-(In Brigade Reserve, in billets in Bethune.)
September 2nd.- The usual drills and training going on, and we have had the use of the baths (for washing clothes, etc.) on one day.
September 3rd.-The Regiment moved to billets at Le Quesnoy, in relief of the 2nd R. Scots Fusiliers. A very wet day, and the new waterproof cape was of much benefit to the men.
September 4th.-Very large fatigue parties found by the Regiment tonight- 3 or 4 platoons at a time—in the trenches and at the bomb store. We are going to use gas, though the word must not be breathed. The whole thing is an absolute secret. The cylinders were brought up by rail to within a mile of the village, whence they were transferred in transport wagons to a rendezvous about two miles from the front trenches. Then each cylinder (commonly called a "rat ") was carried on men's shoulders, with other men in relief; the carrying parties conveying their awkward loads not only noiselessly but with the greatest care.
September 5th.-Still at Le Quesnoy. The 29th reinforcement (85 men) arrived.
September 6th.-Relieved the 1st Queen's in the same section of Givenchy trenches as before, now renumbered B 3. A little bombing, but a fairly quiet night.
September 7th.-Enemy blew a small mine in early morning, which much obstructed our view from two sap-heads. A very busy day.
September 8th.-At 5 a.m. our miners blew a mine with excellent results, and, removing yesterday's obstructions, gave us a considerably better position than before. In the evening the 1st Queen's relieved us, and we returned to billets in Le Quesnoy.
Casualties on the 7th and 8th :—Captain A. W. N. Ponsonby and two men killed; Lieut. C. A. Barran, 2nd Lieut. A. E. Riddle, and 9 men wounded.
September l0th.-After a rest at Le Quesnoy we returned this afternoon to the same trenches, in relief of the Queen's.
September 11th-12th.-(In trenches at Givenchy.) A much quieter period, except for a little more frequent use by the enemy of Minenwerfer. Weather very fine and hot
September 13th.-In the afternoon we were relieved by the 2nd R, Welsh Fusiliers, 19th Brigade, who took the place of the 4th (Guards') Brigade when the latter left us in July to join the (Guards' Division.
To billets in Oblinghem and Vendin, good but very scattered.
Casualties.-- 10th September, 1 man killed. 12th September, 1 killed and 1 wounded 13th September, 2 wounded.
September 15th.-(Oblinghem.) The whole Brigade in reserve. Usual drills and classes of instruction, including an Adjutant's Drill. The 30th reinforcement (25 men) arrived.
September 16th.-Information received that No. 10290 Corporal H. watkins (since killed in action, 10th September) has been awarded the D.C.M.
September 17th.-At 3.30 p.m. the Regiment marched to Le Quesnoy, taking 65 minutes (4 miles).
September 18th.-In reserve in billets at Le Quesnoy.
September 19th.-In the afternoon we relieved the 2nd Worcester's in the right sector at Givenchy (B 3). Very quiet night; also very hot.
September 20th.-Very quiet day and night. The 31st reinforcement (16 machine-gunners and signallers) arrived.
September 21st.-Bombardment formations assumed this morning; ourfrontline and second line trenches were reduced by half in strength, and one company returned to billets at dawn. In the afternoon the 2nd Worcesters relieved us in B 3, and we returned to billets at Le Quesnoy.
Casualties.- 20th September, 1 man killed. 21st September, 2 men wounded September 22nd.-(In reserve in billets at Le Quesnoy.) Artillery bombardment continued, with hardly any reply.
September 23rd.-Some heavy rain fell. Artillery bombardment of enemy trenches, etc., continued all day. In the afternoon we relieved the Worcesters; in our old sector at Givenchy. Quiet night.