1st BUCKINGHAMSHIRE BATTALION WAR DIARY 17-25 JULY 1916
17TH JULY 1916 – SENLIS
Battn in billets.
At 7pm the Bn marched through ALBERT & bivouaced temporarily in W.30.A South of the ALBERT – BAPAUME road.
A reconnaisance in force of 6 points in the enemy front line was carried out.
Battn HQ were established at X.9.D.56.72.
A& D Companies under the command of CAPT E V BIRCHALL carried out the operations & assembled in the sickle shaped trench running through X.9.B –X.3 D&C.
B&C Companies supplied carrying parties
17TH/18TH JULY 1916
At 1am 18th inst one platoon under 2Lt B C RIGDEN left our trenches & attacked point X.3.D.97 & entered this objective at 2am.
Barricades were at once erected & the party commenced consolidating.
Repeated enemy bombing attacks were driven off – the party was withdrawn owing to the other enterprises failing. On the 25th July LT B.C. RIGDEN was awarded an immediate grant of the Military Cross for his good work on this occasion.
2Lt C. HALL with one platoon attacking point X.3.B.1.1 was held up by machine gun fire & was withdrawn & he was wounded severely in the head whilst bringing in casualties – 2Lt R.C. NORWOOD with one platoon attacked point X.3.C.7.9 & was held up by machine gun fire& was seen to fall. The Sergeant in charge was ordered to retire & a further search was made for 2Lt NORWOOD. As a result of this reconnaissance the positions & strength of the German dispositions in the neighbourhood was established & the Battn received the congratulations of the G.O.C 48th Division.
The Battn marched to billets in BOUZINCOURT during the morning.
During the night of 18/19 July 2LT R.E.M. YOUNG took out a patrol of 1 Sergeant & 12 men of B Coy to reconnoitre the German wire on the side of POZIERES on the ALBERT – BAPAUME road in a northerly direction.
19TH JULY - BOUZINCOURT
The Battn in billets. At 5pm the Battn marched through ALBERT & took over bivouacs in W 30a from the 1/5th R WARWICKS.
20TH JULY - ALBERT
Battn in bivouacs.
During the night 20/21 July the attack on the German front line in X.3. was resumed by the 48th Division.
The objective of the BUCKS BN was Point X3.B.11 & Point X3.D.28 & trenches adjoining these point – The 1/5 GLOUCESTER REGT was attacking immediately to the left of the BUCKS BN – The BUCKS BN attacked in 4 waves, one behind the other on a front of 2 Companies, C Coy on the right & A Coy on the left. These Companies were dispersed in a line of columns of platoons, two platoons in the front line & each company front. The fourth wave was supplied by B Coy which supported both front line companies & followed along behind them.
A tape was laid 175 yards from the German front line by the RE – The attacking companies assembled in the Sickel shaped trench (X.9.B – X.3D&C) & moved forwards up to the tape at 2.30am.
D Company occupied the Sickel shaped trench after the other three companies had left.
At 2.30am the enemy started sending up numerous white flares & after a few minutes red flares as a result of which machine guns opened fire.
At 2.45am an intense artillery barrage opened on the German front line & lifted at 2.47am.
The attack could not be pushed home owing to the large number of enemy machine guns, though one party of 1 Corporal & 6 men succeeded in entering the German line on the extreme right of the attack.
Wounded 2LT B.C RIGDEN. 2LT H.C.E MASON. 2LT H.V. SHEPHERD & 97 OR Missing CAPT G.G. JACKSON & 42 OR
About 9am the Battn was withdrawn from the trenches & returned to bivouacs.
22 JULY 1916 - ALBERT
Battn in bivouacs. At 10pm the BUCKS BN moved to trenches in X 13 B as support to an attack by the 1/5 GLOUCESTER REGT.
23 JULY 1916 - ALBERT
Early in the morning the BUCKS BN were ordered to continue the attack on the German front line & to attack at 6.30am.
D Coy were on the right & proceeded up the easternmost communicator running in a N E direction from X.8.B 68 to X.3.C.7.9 their they came to a bombing barricade about 150 yards from the German trench.
B Coy on the left went up the westernmost communicator running in a NE direction from X.8.B.68 to X.3.C.7.9.
Both companies were ordered to get out of the trenches & extend inwards so as to get into touch with each other & then rush the German line.
D company moved out of the trench to their jumping off place amid a barrage of 15cm shells in a very steady manner – they then extended & rushed the German front line before our own barrage had lifted. It was entirely due to this that they were enabled to carry out successfully what two other similar enterprises had failed to accomplish: this was confirmed by a captured German officer who stated they were taken entirely by surprise & were waiting for the British barrage to lift.
CAPT E.V.D.BIRCHALL who commanded D Coy at the time was seriously wounded in the leg.
A Company under CAPT N.S.REID were drawn up in the SW end of the easternmost communicator & as D Coy entered the trench CAPT REID led his company up the communicator, rushed from the barricade & entered the German trench. Consolidation was immediately commenced & a bombing section quickly got into touch with the 1/4 R BERKS REGT on the right.
B Company under CAPT O.V. VINEY went up the westernmost communicator but were seriously impeded & somewhat disorganised by our own barrage which caused them casualties and compelled them to withdraw a little. They were unable to take part in the advance but one platoon & a Lewis gun managed to gain the German trench via the westernmost communicator.
One platoon of C Company was sent up to reinforce the left of the captured trench& the rest of the company was employed carrying up SAA & bombs etc.
About 150 Germans & 2 officers surrendered & 2 machine guns were captured.
Frequent enemy bombing attacks were beaten off during the day.
During the afternoon a bombing section reached point 40 (X.3.A) & advanced some 90 yards up the German trench but were driven back by rifle grenades & a heavy artillery barrage.
In the evening C Company took over the front line assisted by some 60 men from the other three companies.
24 JULY - ALBERT
Between midnight & 1am (24th inst) the Germans put a heavy barrage on the captured front line but the majority of the shells went over.
The front line & communicators were intermittently shelled throughout the morning.
At 12 noon the 1/5th GLOUCESTER REGT commenced relieving the BUCKS BN who returned to bivouacs near ALBERT.
Casualties Killed 8 OR
Wounded CAPT E.V.D.BIRCHALL. CAPT O.V.VINEY. LIEUT E.N.C. WOOLERTON – 70 OR Missing 8 OR
The BUCKS BN received the congratulations of the GOC 145 Inf Bde & GOC 48 Division