10th July 1917

10th July 1917

At 6 a.m. on July 10 the enemy began a bombardment which, by 8.50 a.m., had become intense, and was of all calibres, including a few 15-nch shells. A Rifle officer taken prisoner was told by a German officer that their bombardment was the heaviest he had ever known. His own battery, consisting of ten Minenwerfer, fired 1,500 shells, each of about 250 lb. At about noon Lieutenant Gott very gallantly volunteered to go and see how D Company were getting on. All telephone cables had early been cut, and the Commanding Officer had no means of communication, forwards or backwards, except for eight pigeons, of which only one reached Divisional Headquarters, at 5.15 p.m. Lieutenant Gott returned with a cheery message from Captain Clinton that so far all his officers were unhurt. Shortly afterwards 2nd Lieutenant Taylor reached Headquarters, wounded in the head and dazed, reporting that his Company Headquarters had been blown in, that Lieutenant Munro was presumably buried, and that 2nd Lieutenant Heberden had been killed earlier in the day. There was a slight pause in the bombardment about 1 p.m., but it was soon as bad as ever again. At 2 p.m. Lieutenant Gott started to visit B Company, but was hit n the left arm and leg, and brought back to the dressing-station, which was close to Headquarters. Between 2.30 and 3.00 p.m. a message came in from Lieutenant Mills that his officers were still unhit, and the company dug-out still intact. Still the bombardment went on. The Divisional Artillery did their best, but without something heavier to help them they could do little except, perhaps, attract a little of the fire, and counter-battery work was pracctically 'nil.' German aeroplanes swarmed over our lines, coming down as low as 60 feet, and machine-gunning the trenches. Not one British aeroplane appeared during the day. At 3 p.m. it was found necessary to abandon the Headquarters dug-out, and move to a tunnel in the trench-works. This tunnel was about 6 feet high, but only 3 feet wide. It was about 100 yards long, and had an air-hole every 30 yards, which let in a very small amount of light. It was found to be occupied by about 40 men of an Australian Tunnelling Company without an officer. These men, who were armed with rifles, but had only 20 or 30 rounds of ammunition apiece, Colonel Abadie put under the command of 2nd Lieutenant Gracie. At 6 p.m. there was another short lull in the bombardment, and advantage was taken of it to get up rations and ammunition from the old Headquarters dug-out. The dressing-station was still intact, but Captain Ward, R.A.M.C., in charge of it, had been slightly wounded. At 6.15 p.m., the bombardment broke out again as intense as ever, and at 7.15 p.m. the German infantry, a division of Marines, attacked. A part of them penetrated along the beach, and got in behind our line. The first the Battalion Headquarters knew of them was their appearance in the communication trench running parallel to the tunnel, whence they threw bombs down the air-shafts. They then appeared at the rear end of the tunnel, and threw in a species of liquid fire. This seems not to have had any great effect. The Colonel then made for the front end of the tunnel and, apparently with the intention of making a last charge, went out into the open air, calling upon the party to follow him. In the narrow space, crowded with ammunition boxes, passage was difficult, and before the officers who were trying to get past to follow him could get through, both entrances were blown in. Colonel Abadie was last seen by an Australian standing at bay outside the entrance firing his revolver, with which he killed five Germans before he himself fell. His dead body was afterwards identified on the spot where he fell. Eventually the tunnel party escaped and the survivors were 4 officers and 32 other ranks.

Created by: Keith133517

  • Profile picture for Richard Neville Abadie

    Born 1881

    Died 1917

    British Army Captain King's Royal Rifle Corps

    British Army Lieutenant Colonel King's Royal Rifle Corps 2nd Battalion

    British Army Second Lieutenant King's Royal Rifle Corps