8th Battalion Norfolk Regiment

8th Battalion Norfolk Regiment

known 1st July 1916

From the War Diary of the 8th Battalion Norfolk Regiment, 1 July 1916 The Battalion took part in an assault on the German trenches North of CARNOY, and S.W. of MONTAUBAN. The 7th Battalion The Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment of the 55th Brigade were on our Right and the 6th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment, of our own Brigade, were on our left. In the early hours of the morning the Battalion was in position in the four assembly trenches, i.e., in their battle position ready for attack. The early hours of the morning were passed in comparative quietude. 5:30am. Teas were brought up from CARNOY and served out in the Assembly trenches. 7:20am. Our artillery commenced the intense bombardment and the enemys retaliation on our Fourth line Assembly trench became more apparent. 7:27am. A mine and two Russian saps were exploded on our front. 7:27am. The first wave of "C" and "D" Companies deployed from our firing line and laid out in the open about 30 yards in front. This movement was accomplished without loss. 7:30am. The assault commenced. The remainder of the two assaulting Companies left our trenches and moved forward in four successive waves. MINE TRENCH was reached and crossed by these two Companies with practically no opposition, and without loss on our side. All Germans remaining alive in this trench after our artillery barrage had passed were thoroughly cowed and at once surrendered. "C" Company on our right took about 30 prisoners from the West edge of the Mine craters. MINE SUPPORT was taken about 7:40 am. The wire entanglements in front having been completely demolished by our artillery. Up to this point the Battalion suffered very few casualties. BUND SUPPORT was reached and taken at 8 a.m., where a halt was made. The two assaulting Companies on leaving BUND SUPPORT came under very heavy enfilade machine gun fire from the direction of BRESLAU SUPPORT and BACK TRENCH and suffered heavily, Captain B.P.Ayre being killed and Captain J.H Hall being seriously wounded. By this time the following Officers had been wounded:- Capt & Adjt H.P. Berney-Ficklin.,2nd Lieuts, J.G.Hampson., C.T. Blackborn., L Padfield., S.A.Wharton.,G.R.Ironmonger., and E.MacLean, (At Duty). There now remained no Officer with the Left leading Company and two subalterns in the Right leading Company, which were reduced to about 90 and 100, respectively. The Left leading Company under C.S.M.,A.F.Raven, reached our first objective - POMMIERS TRENCH - and took it about 10:30am. A portion of the Right leading Company also got into POMMIERS TRENCH near the East side of THE LOOP at the same time, but the remainder of this Company was held up by Machine Gun fire and a strong point at the junctions of BOCHE TRENCH and BACK TRENCH with MINE ALLEY. After this Company had been reinforced by a platoon from the Support Company under 2nd Lieut G.E.Miall-Smith, and the Battalion Bombers under Sergeant H.H.West had also been sent up to this point, this strong point fell and the garrison of about 150 Germans and 2 Officers of a Bavarian Regiment surrendered, and right leading company was then able to push forward in to the East portion of POMMIERS TRENCH which up to then had not been taken. At this point in the attack "A" Company which had been in the Reserve and had been consolidating MINE SUPPORT, now advanced to BUND SUPPORT and commenced the consolidation of this trench; at the same time, "B", the Support Company, advanced with three platoons (1 already having been sent to reinforce "C") to POMMIERS TRENCH. 3.p.m. "B" Company had now taken THE LOOP and both assaulting companies advanced to take the MONTAUBAN ALLEY line - the final objective of the Battalion. Owing to machine guns firing from this line and from N.W. of MONTAUBAN, "D" Company on the left suffered heavy casualties, and "C" Company, led by 2nd Lieut J.H.Attenborough with C.S.M. J.Coe had both been killed in the attempt to get into this trench. 5:45.pm. The MONTAUBAN ALLEY line was taken and the Battalion was in touch with the 7th Queens on our right and the 6th Royal Berks on our left. 6.pm. The whole of "B" Company having been used to support "C" and "D" Companies who were now reduced to, respectively, 70 and 80 Other Ranks and 1 Officer, the work of consolidation of MONTAUBAN ALLEY was commenced at once and patrols were sent forward to reconnoitre along CATERPILLAR TRENCH and EAST TRENCH. The Reserve Company, whom in the meanwhile had advance and consolidated POMMIERS TRENCH and THE LOOP, were now brought up and sent forward to take up the advanced post known as the GREEN LINE. The Green line was taken up and the strong points commenced about 8 p.m. and patrols were sent forward in the direction of CATERPILLAR WOOD. 8 pm. From now onwards the enemy commenced a heavy and continuous bombardment with 5.9 and a few 77mm shells on the West end of MONTAUBAN ALLEY held by the Battalion, generally in the vicinity of the junction

Created by: Gerry59140

  • Profile picture for Gilbert Spencer Hart

    Born 1895

    Died 1916

    British Army 13186 Private Norfolk Regiment