July 1st-6th.-Continued in the Canal Right Sub-sector of the centre Brigade of the 2nd Divisional front near Bethune. A quiet and uneventful period, some bad weather, and some considerable heat.
July 6th.-Relieved by the 24th R.F., and moved into billets at Le Preol. D Company was left, distributed in Braddell, Stafford, and Mountain Keeps.
July 7th-11th.-Less one company the Regiment carried out such training as was possible. Several working and carrying parties were required by Brigade H.Q., but the calls were few and were met without difficulty. The Lewis Gun Classes which began work in May were completed, and after carrying out their range-practices were dismissed. A class to train Privates to become Lance-Corporals was held, with very good results, under the Adjutant and Sergeant-Major.
On the 10th and 11th Aquatic Sports were held in the Canal, and greatly enjoyed.
During this period each of the companies took its turn at the Keeps originally held by D Company.
July 12th.-Relieved the 24th R.F. in the right subsection of the Brigade front. Shortly after completion of relief (about 11.30 p.m.) the trenches were subjected to a very unpleasant bombardment by gas shells—particularly heavy against the support and reserve lines. A shell struck the parados of Kingsway (support) Trench, just opposite the entrance of a dugout occupied by the stretcher-bearers, etc., of B Company. The full blast went down the stairs, and three old soldiers, 6157 Lance-Corporal Williams (Sanitary Corporal), Privates 6474 Burrows and 7346 Tew (stretcher-bearers), died shortly afterwards from the effects. Some 15 or 20 men were affected to a greater or less degree within the next 48 hours, it being particularly noticeable how, in the evenings about dusk on the two succeeding days, men seemed no longer able to hold out. The general gas discipline was good, but two cases came to light where had the men been better trained they would not have been affected—one of these was very bad, the other slight. Had the discipline not been good B Company would have had, according to my estimate, 85 per cent, casualties.
July 13th-20th.-Quiet period. Weather variable. Some good patrol work was carried out among the craters in front of the right company.
July 20th/21st.-A raid by the regiment on our right (left Battalion of the 99th Brigade), holding Cambrin Left Subsection, drew some retaliation on our front line.
July 26th-27th.-A 5th Brigade raid successfully carried out on our right by the 2nd H.L.I., Dummy figures (" Murray's Light Infantry ") were displayed by the Sapping Platoon, under 2nd Lieut. Murray, and a barrage of rifle-grenades was put up by Lieut. Tyrwhitt-Drake,M.C., on the Regimental front, as a feint.
July 28th.-The Regimental frontage was extended to the left (northwards), on a readjustment of the line within the centre brigade area to the extent of one company. This made our left on Stirling Sap, and gave us part of the group of breastworks and Old Kent Road Tunnel (C Company).
July 30th.- There was some noise and bombardment by heavy trench mortars, but no casualties.
During the month of July the casualties in the Regiment were :— 1 man killed, 4 men died of wounds, 26 wounded (including 16 by gas).
No reinforcements were received this month.
The arrangement for holding the line was now for each battalion : Front line, 6 days; Close Support, 6 days; Front line, 6 days; Reserve (in billets), 6 days.
August 2nd.-Relieved by the 2nd H.L.I., and went into the position of Reserve Battalion at Le Preol.
August 3rd/4th.—Bathing, training, musketry.
August 5th.-The 83rd reinforcement (6 buglers) joined.
August 7th.-The 84th reinforcement (13 men) joined.
August 10th.-The 85th reinforcement (65 men) joined from the 2nd Division Draft School.
Casualties :—2 men wounded (1 shell shock).
August 13th.-According to returns called for, there are serving with the 52nd today—three years from the day on which the Regiment embarked for France,—4 officers and 88 other ranks of those who embarked on the 13th August 1914, of whom 1 officer and 59 other ranks have served continuously in this country during the three years.
August 14th.-The Regiment was relieved by the 2nd H.L.I., and proceeded to the position of the Support Battalion.
Casualties :-2 men wounded on the 12th, and 4 men wounded on the 14th.
August 14th-19th.-Employed on various working and carrying parties.
August 20th.-Relieved the 2nd H.L.I, in the front trenches, as before. The attitude of the enemy (20th-26th) was extraordinarily quiet, and gave an impression of extreme lack of vigilance throughout. There is no doubt, however, that the various thefts committed by our patrols, e.g., the removal by 2nd Lieut. Warren of a loaded rifle from a German sniper's post, made them alive to the necessity for greater vigilance. On the 25th and 26th, reconnoitring parties and probable staff officers were noticeable about their lines, especially in the quiet of the early morning.
August 21st.-The 86th reinforcement (1 sergeant and 14 rank and file) arrived.
August 25th.-The 87th reinforcement (18 rank and file) arrived from the 2nd Division Draft School.
August 26th.-The Regiment moved to the position of Reserve Battalion (Le Preol), on relief by the 2nd H.L.I.
August 27th.-Bathing and cleaning up. No. 4 Company, 20th Battalion of the Portuguese Expeditionary Force, was attached to the Regiment, and split up by platoons among A, C, and D Companies, at the disposal of their own officers.
August 29th.-The Regiment, with No. 4 Company 20th Portuguese, relieved the 2nd H.L.I.
August 31st.-The 88th reinforcement (40 rank and file) joined from the 2nd Division Draft School. Casualty :—1 man wounded.
September 1st.-The first period of attachment of No. 4 Company, 20th Battalion C.E.P. officially ended, and at 6 p.m. that unit was returned to its billets in Beuvry.
September 2nd.-One company of the 2nd H.L.I, relieved A Company in the Old Kent area, and A Company withdrew, on relief, to the Village Line, with H.Q. in Shaw's Cut.
September 3rd.-D Company carried out a 10-mile route march with the buglers from Le Preol. The 20th C.E.P. took over the line in the centre of the Brigade front, from the Bethune-La Bassee road to the Canal, both exclusive.
September 4th.-The Regiment was relieved by the 2nd H.L.I., and moved into support, occupying the Braddell Point H.Q., still in course of construction.
September 5th-8th.-These four days were spent in bathing, working-parties (both Brigade and Regimental) on Village and Support lines, etc., and in general Brigade carrying parties.
Casualties :-4 men gassed (on the 5th).
September 8th/9th.—Relieved the 2nd H.L.I.
September 9th.-A special service was held at St. Andrew's Church in commemoration of the Storming of the Cashmere Gate, Delhi, on September 14th, 1857.
September 10th.- Casualties :-4 men wounded.
September 11th.-Major-General H. R. Davies, C.B., commanding the 11th Division, visited the Regiment in the trenches. Casualties :-3 men wounded (gas).
September 15th.-C Company, as Support Company, began to dig the new Burbure Alley round the north face of Arthur's Keep.
September 16th.-The Regiment was relieved by the 2nd H.L.I., and moved to Le Preol (Reserve).
September 16th-22nd.-The Regiment carried out a special programme of training.
September 18th.-Notification received of the award (15th September) of the Military Cross to 2nd Lieut. R. C. Warren.
September 19th.-A small preliminary Regimental Sports meeting was held near Le Preol.
September 20th.- The Centre or Canal Brigade Front became what it used to be, i.e., Post 1 (Burbure Alley) to junction of Wolfe Road with front line. Right Battalion Posts 1-21 during occupation by the 2nd H.L.I.
September 22nd.-The Regiment relieved the 2nd H.L.I., in the area Posts 1-21 (Canal Right Battalion), with H.Q. at Braddell Point. The tour of duty was uneventful. Active patrolling, destructive shoots, etc., were carried out. Lieut. Thomas Tyrwhitt-Drake, M.C., was awarded a bar to his Military Cross.
September 28th.-The Regiment, on relief by the 2nd H.L.I., took over the normal position of Support Battalion, less 1 company to the north of the Canal, and with 1 company (D) in the Village Line, Wimpole Street, and Shaw's Cut.
September 29th.-The Regiment, less C Company (in front line), was employed to the extent of about 110 all ranks (A, B, and D Companies) in carrying up gas cylinders on the front of the Brigade on our right.
October 1st.-Normal dispositions of the Support Battalion were resumed, i.e., D Company moved from Shaw's Cut to the Company area north of the Canal.
October 3rd.-3 men were wounded.
October 4th.-The 89th reinforcement, consisting of 1 sergeant and 50 rank and file, joined for duty. The Regiment relieved the 2nd H.L.I, in the Canal Right Subsection. A discharge of gas, and bombardment in co-operation therewith, was carried out on the right, extending as near to the Regiment as the front of the battalion (of the 99th Infantry Brigade) next on the right.
October 5th.-The day passed without incident.
October 6th.-Relieved by the 11th Cheshire Regiment, and moved to Montmorency Barracks, Bethune.
October 8th.-Marched from Bethune to Marles-les-Mines, and went into billets, which were very bad, and very little material was available for their repair.
October 11th.-Major-General H. R. Davies, C.B., commanding the 11th Division, erected a Memorial (inscribed as below), on the site of the graves of a number of all ranks of the Regiment who were killed in the attack made on October 21st, 1914, near Langemarck, on the St. Julien-Poelcappelle road, close to the junction of the German Langemarck-Gheluvelt line of trenches with the main road, ten yards from the trench and fifteen yards from the road, north of the junction :- " In Memory of 5 officers and 70 N.C.O.'s and Men of the 52nd Light Infantry, Killed in Action, 21st-23rd October, 1914, some of whom are buried near this spot."
October 14th.-The 90th reinforcement (33 rank and file) joined.
October 17th.-Major-General Sir Robert Fanshawe, K.C.B., D.S.O. commanding the 48th (South Midland) Division, T.F., visited the Regiment in the morning, but was unable to remain for the Waterloo Sports in the afternoon. These long-deferred sports were successfully carried out on the parade ground and football field. Major-General H. R. Davies, C.B.. was present.
October 18th-31st.-The Regiment remained at Marles-les-Mines, and continued the training begun on the 9th October. This consisted of route marching and elementary training, generally by units not larger than companies. Regimental classes for specialists of all kinds were kept at work, and there was a Brigade Attack Practice and a Regimental Outpost Exercise.
On the 23rd a very successful Torchlight Tattoo was carried out in the regimental area, the buglers and the 2nd Divisional Band taking part.
The medical inspections held during the last week of the month revealed the fact that re-inoculations were advisable for 674 of all ranks of the Regiment. The reasons for it were explained on parade, and of the 674 all were re-inoculated except 13, who declined to be done.
November 1st-5th.-Training at Marles-les-Mines continued. Leave to England will in future be for 14 instead of 10 days.
November 6th.-The Regiment paraded at 8.30 a.m. and marched to Les Ciseaux, where the billets were fair, but very scattered.
November 7th.-Marched at 9.30 a.m. via Hazebrouck to billets and a camp near Terdeghem, where the billets were nearly as scattered as those of yesterday.
November 8th.-Marched at 9.30 a.m. to Le Nouveau Monde, on the Cassel-Wormhoudt road.
November 9th-14th.-The Regiment, covering a space of 2 ½ by l ¼ miles, remained in the Le Nouveau Monde area, and carried out various forms of training, including company and battalion tactical exercises of considerable value, especially for Officers and N.C.O.'s.
November 15th.-To Winnezeele; very bad camp.
November 23rd.-The Regiment was placed at two hours' notice to move at 4 p.m. last evening.