BASED ON EXTRACTS FROM “CITIZEN SOLDIERS OF BUCKS” BY JC SWANN.
On the 10th April the Battalion was relieved in the line by the 18th H.L.I. of the 106th Brigade, 35th Division, and on the 12th marched to Offoy, on the banks of the Somme, where a week was spent in training and cleaning before they moved to Germaine on the 19th, and on the next day went into support at Holnon, the left section of the Divisional front, one Battalion of the 184th Brigade holding an outpost line about 1,000 yards to the east of the village of Fayet. This line, as well as Fayet itself and the main line of resistance 8oo yards in front of Holnon, was all under the observation of the enemy at St. Quentin. The Battalion was employed nightly in digging and wiring the resistance line till they relieved the 2/5th Gloucesters in the outpost line on the night of the 23rd/24th.
During the night of the 25th the Battalion took over a fresh line of posts, thus extending the line about 1,000 yards to the south-east. Just in front of the right flank, where a sharp salient existed in the line, lay Cepy Farm. This farm had been captured by the 32nd Division, who had, however, been shelled out of it later. A reconnaissance under Lieutenant Pitcher found it unoccupied. At 7 p.m. on the next day a strong attack developed by a picked force of stormers. The amount of dead ground and the inherent weakness of the salient favoured an attack from the direction of Cepy Farm, from which a sunken road running northwest passed through the centre of the line of outposts, but had been closed by a barrier; an old German trench also provided an approach from the farm to the barrier. Making use of this trench and the sunken road one party of the enemy issuing from the farm made for the barrier whilst another party attempted to surround the adjacent post.
The attack on the post failed. A third party of the enemy attacked a post a little farther north, but were promptly met by Lewis gun fire, and as they retired were followed by Corporal Brawn with a party of bombers, who succeeded in killing and capturing 6 prisoners. The attack was thus completely broken up, more than 20 of the enemy having been killed and few if any escaping unwounded. The casualties in the Battalion were 1 man killed and 2 wounded.
The same night the Battalion was relieved, and bivouacked at Atilly, moving into support outside Holnon on the 29th, and resuming work on the resistance line.
After another tour in the outpost line the Battalion moved to Germaine, and spent the time in training when not employed on working parties till the 15th May, when they proceeded via Amiens to Arras, arriving on the 31st, and moving into support at Marliere and Wancourt the next day and into the line east of Guemappe on the 6th June.
On relief by the 2nd London Regiment the Battalion spent some ten days at Berneville training. Drafts began to arrive, and they had been badly wanted, as the strength of the Companies had fallen to "A" 110, "B" 90, "C" 70, "D" 90.
On the 23rd June the Battalion entrained at Gouy for Aux-le-Chateau, and thence marched via Frohen le Grand to Rouge Fay, where four weeks were spent in training before going into the Ypres area. Drafts continued to arrive, but the larger number only joined when more than half the time allotted for training had passed. Further opportunity for training occurred on arrival in the Lederzele—Rubruick area on the 26th July, and training was continued throughout the first half of August.
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