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Imperial War Museum War Partnership logoFirst World War - On this day...... 1st July 1916

 

Remembering the men from the Kingsdown and Creekside Cluster
who gave their lives in the First World War

On the centenary of their death, we remember

William Thomas BUTCHER(S)
b. 12th November 1892 (calculated);
d. 1st July 1916. Aged 23.


Private 22564 - 1st Battalion, Border Regiment
(formerly 3/6448, West Kent Regiment)
Remembered with Honour
Thiepval Memorial
Pier and Face 6 A and 7 C
Killed in Action

Thiepval Monument

For the purposes of this account, we have adopted the order of forenames that William used when he enlisted at Maidstone with the Queens Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment and when he recorded his father’s forenames – Stephen T rather than Thomas Stephen. His family name should properly appear in its pluralised form – "Butchers" rather than "Butcher" as it appears in Military records.

William’s Story

Census records show William, born in Wateringbury, was a gardener (like his father) living in the family home in Fullers Corner, Wateringbury along with his siblings. By 1911, only his eldest sister, Mercy (b.1890) had left home to become a housemaid servant in High Street, West Malling. William’s other siblings were all younger than him – Edith Annie (b.1895), Charles Herbert (b.1898; married in 1915 to Annie L. Hillier), Benjamin Gordon (b.1906), and twins Edward Maurice and Maurice Edward (b.1910).

Local historian, Dail Whiting, tells us that William attended Wateringbury School on Red Hill, which has since (1974) been demolished in favour of new housing. Consequently, William appears on both the church and school War Memorials - the school memorial was removed to the church vestry.

Charles Herbert (also Reginald Charles Herbert) Butchers, died on 31st January 1957 (22 Birchington-road, West Hampsted), leaving his personal estate of £1,151 19s. 6d to his younger brother – Maurice Edward, chauffeur. On William’s death his estate went to his father, “Stephen Thomas”, amounting to 5s. 9d. plus a War Gratuity of £4.

In his enlistment papers, William later described himself as a “footman” but still gives Fullers Corner as his own address. Local historian, Dail Whiting, tells us that the family home is no longer standing (at the corner where Danns Lane joins the A26 Tonbridge road). The site of their home was built on in the 1960s. We are also grateful to Mrs Whiting for the marriage details of William’s sisters who later married into the Acott and Whitfield families. Mercy Acott (nee Butchers) had at least one daughter called Doris A.E. Acott, born in the district of Malling in 1915. This generation of the Butchers family was very strongly local to Wateringbury; although his mother was born in Lewes, Sussex. This raises the question - why is William commemorated on the Doddington Memorial?

In similar cases in our Creekside Cluster, this kind of 'anomaly' has generally arisen because of temporary associations (hospitalised), war-time employment (e.g. Cotton Powder works), or close relations living in the Parish when decisions were made about erecting the Memorial. William’s initial enlistment with the Royal West Kent Regiment at Maidstone further reinforces the mystery; had he lived locally, it is likely (but not always) he would have joined The Buffs rather than the Queens Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment. We have not yet unearthed the local connection to Chequers Hill, Doddington (a location given in our own Remembrance records). Neither the 1911 Census nor the 1926 Directory show the marital names of William’s sisters (Acott and Whitfield) nor his mother’s family name (Moon). Was William engaged to a local woman? Doddington/Chequers Hill family names are listed as an endnote to this account.

1911 Family names found on Chequers Hill

This list is included speculatively in case there is a family connection that we have not identified: Overill, Mr Forster, Mr Higgins, Mr Rose, Miss Broad, Mrs Jarvis, Mrs Pullens, Mrs Gray, Mrs Wood, Mrs Whyman.

Enlistment

Moving on to William’s military service, at 22 years and 6 months of age, he enlisted at Maidstone (50th Regimental District) on 11th May 1915 after which he was probably posted to the Depot at Chatham where the WKR was located at the time. From here he was transferred on 22nd May to the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion Queens Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment – Regimental Number 3/6448. William, describing himself as a “footman” of 22 years and 180 days (this returns a date of birth of 12th November 1892; christened on 15th January 1893 - this delay is common). Does this occupation lead to an association with Doddington Place or Sharsted Court? He was 5 feet 10 3/8 inches tall with a chest measurement of 38½ inches and expansion of 2½”. He weighed 157lbs (71.2 kg), of “good” physical development and good eyesight. The only ‘low level’ defect noted was a small bulge below a scar from an operation for hernia repair.

On 9th November, William is transferred to 3rd Battalion of the Border Regiment and given the Regimental Number 22564. On 24th November 1915, after 6 months training, William moved to the 1st Battalion, Border Regiment and embarked from Devonport to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) that had been set up to conduct the fateful Gallipoli Campaign. He arrived in Egypt just as The Royal West Kents were leading up to their withdrawal from Dardanelles/Gallipoli on 13th December 1915. At the same time, the entire 29th Division was withdrawn from Gallipoli and it was this Division that contained the 1st Battalion the Border Regiment to which William had transferred. Having missed the main action in the Mediterranean Theatre, there was a desperate need to rebuild their strength before they went to the European Theatre. Had William remained with the RWK, he might have remained in Egypt for the duration. But the records show William was keen to serve as he had also declared a wish to move to the Grenadier Guards.

In February 1916, the 29th Division was reallocated to the European Theatre to join the 87th Infantry Brigade. However, on 21st February, William was admitted to the 17th Stationary Hospital in Port Said for one month (19th March), perhaps suffering from one of the many illnesses associated with that theatre (dysentery or enteric fever/typhoid) rather than from injury. Once discharged, William caught up with his new comrades as he departed from Alexandria (27th March) landing at Marseilles on 3rd April and rejoining his Battalion (1st/Border Regiment) on 9th April. William is then recorded as admitted to the 89th Field Ambulance on 27th May 1916, Divisional Rest Centre (D.R.S. 30-5) – at that time his Battalion was relieved from the Trenches to Louvencourt on 19th May when some officers reported in sick alongside 47 “other ranks”; by 27th May there were still 26 “other ranks” reported sick. On 28th May the Battalion moved to Englebelmer and slowly sick men returned to their Regiment. William was reassessed and moved to 88th Field Ambulance Divisional Rest Centre on 29th May where he stayed until he rejoined his Battalion on 11th June, just twenty days before he is killed in the opening actions of the Battle of the Somme. It is not clear why William was admitted to the Rest Centre (Field Ambulance). He is reported “missing” on 2nd July and later confirmed “killed in action” 1st July 1916.

MEDALS

William was eligible for the 15 Star, Victory Medal, British War Medal (“Pip, Squeak and Wilfred”).

15 Star Medal
Victory Medal
British War Medal
1915 star medal Victory Medal British War Medal

 

Draft Family Tree for William Butcher

Click on image for larger image

William_Butcher

 

Circumstances of William Thomas Butcher’s Death

For a summary of the strategic objectives across the entire front of the Battle of the Somme, we have transcribed the 23rd December 1916 Despatch from General DOUGLAS HAIG, Commanding-in-Chief, British Armies in France.

Casualties for the week ending 10th June 1916 were recorded as:

Killed: “nil”
Wounded: 2 (accidentally in demonstration of trench mortars)
Sick: 23 (William was in this group)
Rejoined from Hospital: 15

When William rejoined his Battalion on 11th June, his unit was on the Front Line near ENGLEBELMER until it was relieved on 15th June back to billets at LOUVENCOURT. They were probably glad to be out of the trenches which had faced heavy and continuous rain from 7th to 15th June. William remained in billets until 25th June when the Battalion marched to ACHEUX. In that time, the front line was quiet.

On 27th June, the Battalion Diary tells us: “A raiding party (D Company) 30 men under Lieut BREMNER left ACHEUX in the afternoon proceeding to front line.
The raiding party moved off from KNIGHTSBRIDGE BARRACKS at 10.45pm and arrived at the top of SHAFTESBURY Avenue (point of exit) at 11.30pm with the exception of the two Bangalore torpedoes, which were sent in charge of a guide provided by RIF to move over the top of the trenches and form up at the point of exit.
This arrangement was made on account of the extreme difficulty of getting them along the trenches.
Apparently the guide lost his way and the torpedoes did not turn up till 12.5am and it was then found that the fuse holes were choked with mud.
The hour fixed for the party to issue from our trenches was 11.50pm but owing to the non-arrival of the torpedoes this was delayed till 12 midnight.
At this hour the party started out and Lieutenant BREMNER succeeded in finding the cut in the wire at Q.17.a.8.85.
All the wire was cut with the exception of the last 8 feet which consisted of a thick mass of iron knife-rest trestles.
Just as he got to the wire the Field Regiments raid on the German salient started and at once machine guns and rifle fire was opened by the enemy and a large number of ‘Very Lights’ were sent up. Lieutenant BREMNER was trying all this time to cut through the wire with clippers but progress was too slow. At 1.5am, he gave the order for the party to retire to our trenches, reaching our line at 1.20am with no casualties.”

The importance of failure to cut the wire became all too apparent as “Z” Day arrived.

28th June was initially identified as “Y” Day – the last day of preparation before the planned all-out assault on the German held trenches (“Z” Day). The Royal Engineers faced significant logistical difficulties in setting up water supplies and inspecting London Field Company practice at rapid wiring intended to maintain communications. Unfortunately, the telephone had been removed from the SUCRERIE so communication relied on signallers and runners where visibility was poor. Two crows nest had been built at ENGLE and BELMER and Auchon Villers as part of the preparations.
Water supplies were dangerously strained by the influx of 1st line transport plus 1,000 horses from 4th Division and French Artillery horses amounting to 3,500 horses in ACHEUX. The railway went short as trench pipes and water storage were maintained.
The heavy rain meant that “Z” Day was postponed for 48 hours – which meant that all the logistical problems had to be managed for longer than expected.

29th June, (“Y” Day) the Royal Engineers declare they have met all demands for water with 5 days reserves in place. They also sent motorised transport to CONTAY to draw ammonal (high explosive used in mines) and “fuze-lighters”. They also made 189 Bangalore torpedoes for the assembled Brigades and were preparing a further 50-60 for reserves.

[ Note: The “Bangalore torpedo” is a long tube in which a charge is introduced and moved along the ground until the target structure is reached or it sits under barbed wire to help cut the wire ahead of infantry movements.]

30th June (“Y2” Day) the engineers were in a high state of readiness in bivouacs nearby.

1st July: “Z” Day. The Opening of the Somme offensive for 1st Battalion, Border Regiment

We have extracted from the Secret Orders for the 29th Division (No.38) dated 14th June which were very detailed [full text and map, below] - the orders describe a three-staged attack that would overrun the German forward and support positions and capture the village of BEAUMONT HAMEL.

On their southern flank, the 36th Division planned to overwhelm the German trenches to the RIVER ANCRE and southwards.
On the northern flank, the 4th Division would take three lines of German trenches.
Prior to the infantry attack, there would be several days of unbroken artillery bombardment punctuated by the use of gas if the wind was favourable. With favourable wind, a smoke barrage would be created to screen the attacks of 29th and 36th Divisions from the German held high ground south of the River.
The Orders stated “It is most important that the attack of the [29th] Division be successful. The assault will be carried out with the utmost vigour, and all Commanders will exert their maximum effort in driving the enemy from his position.” Three Battalions were pushed forward – with 10% of their strength held in reserve to defend German trenches that had been taken, protect supply lines and communications and provide defence against counter attack if it arose. They would also help relieve forward troops after they had won all three objectives. Sadly, the casualties far exceeded 10% of the Battalion strength. One Battalion was also held in reserve in MAILLY WOOD.
The planning was almost clinical on paper, but delivery was fatally flawed because of compounded unrealistic assumptions about the conditions the soldiers would actually face.
The Royal Engineers sprung the mine under HAWTHORN Redoubt ten minutes before the assault, which began at 7.30am. The RE report on the day noted that by 11.00am “it was seen that it [the assault] was a failure; and brigades were holding a line in No-mans land.”
1st Battalion, Border Regiment Diary for 1st July in the Front Line [Full Text]
“7.30am: The Battalion (less 10%) advance just SOUTH of BEAUMONT HAMEL, their objective being BEAUCOURT REDOUBT.
The 2nd W.W.Bs, whose objective was the first two GERMAN LINES, were wiped out by MACHINE GUN fire in our own wire. The 1st Battalion, the BORDER REGIMENT, then went over the top from our support line, and over our first line, the bridges over our front trench having been ranged by the GERMAN MACHINE GUNNERS the day previously, we met with heavy losses, while crossing these bridges and passing through the lanes, cut in our wire. The men were absolutely magnificent, and formed up as ordered outside our wire, made a right incline, and advanced into “NO MAN’S LAND” at a slow walk, also as ordered. The advance was continued until only little groups of half a dozen men were left here and there, and these, finding that no reinforcements were in sight, took cover in shell holes or wherever they could.
8 a.m.: The advance was brought entirely to a standstill.
8.15 a.m.: Enemy re-opened his bombardment on our trenches, for which our guns retaliated.
9.15 a.m.: LIEUT-COLONEL ELLIS having been wounded and brought in by No. 8409 Private NEWCOMBE, MAJOR MEIKLEJOHN (who had been in command of the 10%s) assumed command of the BATTALION, and collected all the men he could in the support line, as ordered by the BRIGADIER.
10.30 a.m.: The 10% ordered back to reserve line, where they stayed until next morning. Advance definitely given up on this sector. The BATTALION strength of those who took part in advance was OFFICERS 23. OTHER RANKS 809

OFFICERS
KILLED: ............................ 2
Missing believed killed: ....... 4
Wounded and Missing: ........ 2
Wounded: ......................... 12
OTHER RANKS:
KILLED: ............................ 64
Wounded: ......................... 411
Missing: ............................ 144

2nd July 1916
10 a.m. the remnants of the BATTALION relieved the 9th RIR just North of R.ANCRE, and immediately set to work to repair the trenches, which had suffered severely by the bombardment.
2.30 pm: At this time we sent out parties to bring in wounded and bury the dead of the RIRs who were lying in front of our line. This continued intermittently all day and during the night, the enemy continually sniping our rescue parties. 2nd Lieut R.G. CULLIS promoted LIEUT.+ACTING ADJUTANT”

An HQ report on the 1st July assault was submitted on 10th July. The reality makes sobering reading as the Division failed even to achieve its first objective. [Full text, below]
The failure to cut the British wire before attacking the German positions slowed their walk across “no mans land” contributing to the destruction of British troop strength before the morning was over. The instruction to walk was designed to ensure that the infantry did not catch up with the “rolling barrage” of British shelling that would (it was assumed) drive the Germans from their entrenched positions and break down their trenches. This underestimation of the strength of German trenches and their deep dug-outs meant that as the British barrage passed over the forward German trenches, the German machine-guns were quickly returned to their positions and laid down continuous, intense fire on the 29th Division as they stood exposed in no-mans land. As the orders stated: “Infantry must not arrive at their objectives before the times above noted, as the artillery will still be firing on those points. The Infantry must therefore make their pace conform to the rate of artillery lifts, and if they find themselves checked by our own barrage, they must halt and wait until the barrage again moves forward.” The soldiers followed these fatal instructions to the letter. The Report observes that the remains of the Division were huddled in scattered groups of half-a-dozen men each; each trying to find some kind of cover once it was clear that no further progress could be made.
Troops could not change their rate of progress in response to any difficulties faced by troops in neighbouring sectors: “On no account are troops to stop because formations on their flanks are held up. Experience has proved that the best way to assist troops, who are being held up, is to push forward, and to outflank the enemy.”
The smoke screens meant that visual connections between forces were lost; planned communication galleries were not ‘broken through’ into German trenches because of the failure to capture those trenches. Those galleries (tunnels) were intended for runners, telephone wires and water pipes. The broken communications led at one point to misinterpretation of lights and movement in German trenches as being from our own troops but they turned out to be the lights of German troops. This mistake led troop movements that met immediate reply from German arms. Support from our own machine and Lewis guns could not be employed without risking the lives of British troops scattered across the pock-marked landscape.
Wateringbury Parish records include a snippet from a survivor who describes William’s role as a runner between forward and control elements of the forces.
All the detailed planning for moving arms and ammunition up to the attack area from dumps placed in British trenches proved only to be useful for the defence against counter-attack rather than helping the lightly armed soldiers in the Front Line assault. The bridges placed across British front line trenches for reserves to cross had been ranged the day before by German guns; so, once British troops tried to cross their own lines, the Germans guns were brought to bear to wipe them out.
When the Battle HQ advanced, they did so without telephone lines in place – this further complicated management of the remaining ground forces. “the only communication used was by runner.”
“The 1st Kings Own Scottish Borderers and 1st Border Regiment left their assembly trenches at about 7.35 a.m. and advancing under a very heavy machine gun fire failed to get as far as the leading battalions with the exception of some of the leading sections of the 1st Border Regt which got as far as the German wire.
At 10.30.a.m. the 10% which had been left behind in ENGLEBELMER arrived and took over the front line.”

The Diary of the 87th Brigade Headquarters for 1st July summarised:

“FETHARD STREET. July 1st Attack on German position in accordance with Orders previously issued. The Brigade failed to attain their first objective and suffered heavy casualties.

CASUALTIES Killed Wounded Missing
  Officers Other Ranks Officers Other Ranks Officers Other Ranks
2nd South Wales Borderers 2 21 4 160 9 203
1st Kings Own Scottish Borderers 9 34 10 196 1 290
1/Inniskilling Fusiliers 4 50 11 265 4 235
1/Border Regiment 4 35 15 273 1 284
87th Machine Gun Company - 2 - 7 2 11
TOTAL 19 142 40 901 17 1,023

Total Casualties:- Officer 76. Other Ranks 2,066.

By 4th July, the torrential rain flooded the Brigade trenches and caused significant damage.

Another perspective on this day can be found in the Assistant Director Medical Services [RAMC] Diary in the 29th Division.

[Text and Evacuation Map, below].

Planning depositions on 30th June outlined a system of Dressing Stations, Field Ambulances, and Collection posts that could accept 50 “lying down cases”.

“ACHEUX HQ 29th BTN – 1st July 1916
7.30: The attack has commenced. The 86th Brigade on the left flank, the 87th on the right. 10am The two brigades are hung up at the first line German trenches generally but we have cleared point head of Y ravine. The 26th Battalion: on our right the Battalion has got onto German support trench but the attack on Point O3 has failed.
The ESSEX Regiment are being put into take it. The 86th Brigade all appears hung up, fresh attack being organised. It is feared there will be a large number of wounded owing to this general hanging up.
11 am: We have failed to take point 89 and a re-bombardment of artillery has been ordered at 11am to 12.30 along line from point 89 to point O3.”
The Report describes the need for redistribution of medical support to clear and transport injured men. On 2nd July, the Report concluded “in the attack yesterday there were 1,693 wounded.”


FULL REFERENCE TEXTS

[Source: Public Records Office]

SECRET Orders for the 29th Division dated 14th June [with map below]

The following preliminary instructions are issued for information and guidance in framing orders to formations and units.
1. The 29th Division has been ordered to attack the German positions on the line Q.17.b.15.4. to Q.5.c.2.8., on a date to notified later, which will be indicated in these orders by the letter “Z”. This attack will take place in conjunction with attacks by the Divisions on both flanks.
OBJECTIVES OF DIVISION:
2. The objectives allotted to this Division are:-
(a). German front line system of trenches from point O3 (Q.17.b.15.4) to point 27 (Q.5.c.2.8), including the village of BEAUMONT HAMEL.
(b). German second line trenches from R.7.c.9.4. to point 41 (Q.6.d.4.0)
(c). German third line trenches from R.8.b.8.2. and point (o9) to point 20 (R.2.b.4.0).
OBJECTIVES OF 36TH DIVISION
3. The 36th Division will advance simultaneously on our Southern flank, its objectives being:-
(a) German trenches from Point O3 to the RIVER ANCRE, and from the RIVER ANCRE to R.20.a.
(b) German trenches from R.8.d. Southwards.
The Battalions of the 36th Division, which will attack the enemy’s front system of trenches immediately South of the 29th Division, will occupy and consolidate the trenches from point O3 to the STATION BUILDINGS, Q.18.b.7.6. inclusive. They will not advance further North than this line, but they will be responsible for seizing and holding the Bridge and Hill R.13.a.2.7.
OBJECTIVES OF 4TH DIVISION
4. On our Northern flank the 4th Division will attack:-
(a). The German front line system of trenches and second line trenches, its right directed on Point 53. On reaching point 53 (timed 35 minutes before our troops reach point 41) they will commence bombing down the trench to point 41.
(b) The German third line of trenches its right directed on point 20.
BOMBARDMENT
5. A steady bombardment by all available guns will take place day and night for several days preparatory to the infantry attack.
GAS.
6. It is intended to use gas at intervals during the bombardment, if the wind is favourable. Further instructions on this subject will be issued later.
[The times of discharge on “W”, “X” and “Y” Days are as under:-
“W” Day ................10.15 a.m. to 10.25 a.m.
“X” Day ...................5.45 a.m. to 5.55 a.m.
“Y” Day ...................7.15 a.m. to 7.25 a.m.]
SMOKE BARRAGE
7. [amended] A smoke barrage will be arranged, if the wind is favourable on both sides of the RIVER ANCRE by the 36th Division with a view to screening the attacks of the 29th and 36th Divisions from the high ground on the south side of the River. This barrage will continue from 5 minutes before Zero (-5) till 1.20.
IMPORTANCE OF THIS ATTACK.
8, It is most important that the attack of the Division should be successful. The assault will be carried out with the utmost vigour, and all Commanders will exert their maximum effort in driving the enemy from his positions.
PRELIMINARY MOVES OF TROOPS.
9. During the night previous to the commencement of the bombardment, the troops holding our front system of trenches will be reduced to three Battalions. One Battalion will be in reserve in MAILLY WOOD. The 87th Brigade will have two Battalions in the front line, and the 86th Brigade one Battalion in the front line, and one in reserve in MAILLY WOOD. The 87th and 86th Brigade Headquarters will remain at ENGLEMELMER and the Café JOURDAIN, MAILLY respectively.
The remainder of these Brigades and the 2nd Monmouths will be withdrawn to ACHEUX, under instructions to be issued later. The 88th Brigade will be at LOUVENCOURT.
FORMING-UP PLACES
10. On Y/Z night the troops will move to their Forming-Up Places. The trenches and Areas allotted to Brigades for forming up, and the positions of the Brigade Battle Headquarters, are shown on the attached map.
The following routes will be available for Brigades for this move as under:-
87th Brigade – GABION, WITHINGTON and TIPPERARY AVENUES, and the ground South and East of the AUCHONVILLIERS – ENGLEBELMER Road as far North as the Brigade Boundary.
The line of demarcation between the 87th and 86th Brigades in ENGLEBELMER will be the Northern Road via Q.19.b.5.3. – Q.19.b.5.5. – Q.19.c.2.6 – Q.24.b.85.15. (all inclusive to the 86th Brigade).
The 87th and 86th Brigades will be clear of the REDOUBT LINE by 12 midnight on Y/Z night.
The 88th Brigade will use GABION, WITHINGTON and TIPPERARY AVENUES for their advance.
PREPARING FIRE
11. The 85th and 87th Brigades will be responsible for cutting the wire of our front, support and reserve trenches during the three nights (W/X – X/Y – Y/Z) preceding the day of assault. The wire will be cut diagonally, pathways being made at intervals of about 20 yards. Rifle and Lewis gun fire from our trenches must be kept up on the German wire each night during the bombardment to prevent the enemy repairing the gaps in it caused by our artillery and trench mortar fire.
ARTILLERY LIFTS
12. The following is the programme of artillery lifts.
0.0 No artillery fire West of the German front line.
0.20. No artillery fire West of the STATION and WAGON ROADS.
1.20. No artillery fire West of the BEAUCOURT RIDGE, i.e., R.7.c.9.4., R.7.a.3.1., Q.6.c.4.0.
1.30. No artillery fire West of the line R.7.a.5.2. to R.1.c.25.50.
2.40. No artillery fire West of the PUISIEUX ROAD, R.7.b.8.1. to R.1.d.6.9.
3.30. No artillery fire West of the final objective, GRANDCOURT – SERRE Ridge, R.8.b.5.7., R.2.b.3.0.
The above times are those noted for the Divisional Artillery lifts.
The Heavy Artillery will in all cases lift five minutes beforehand, except on the final objective when they will maintain their fire up to the moment of assault, at 3.30.
At the commencement of each Infantry attack the Divisional artillery will lift 100 yards, and they will continue lifting at the rate of 100 [changed from 50] yards per 2 minutes [changed from “per minute"] to the next objective.
The Heavy Artillery will lift straight on to the next objective.
Infantry must not arrive at their objectives before the times above noted, as the artillery will still be firing on those points. The Infantry must therefore make their pace conform to the rate of artillery lifts, and if they find themselves checked by our own barrage, they must halt and wait until the barrage again moves forward.
The success of the assault depends largely on the close co-operation of the artillery. Infantry should realise that it is better for them to be occasionally checked, than for the artillery to lift from the objective too early.
At 2.30 the Divisional Artillery will begin to creep forward from the line of wire (R.7.a.5.2. to R.1.c.25.50) towards the BUISIEUX Road and the Infantry should be prepared to follow as closely as possible.
TIME OF ASSAULT.
13. The exact time of the assault will be notified later.
ASSAULTING COLUMNS
14. (a). The assault on the first and second objectives will be delivered by the 86th and 87th Brigades. Each Brigade will have two Battalions in front line and two in reserve. The reserve Battalions will move through the leading Battalions for the attack on the second objective.
The 88th Brigade will be in Divisional Reserve, and will be used for the attack on the 3rd objective.
(b). The objectives assigned to the Brigades are as follows:-
87th Infantry Brigade.
1st Objective. The front system of trenches from Point 03 (Q.17.b.15.4)(incl) to Point 89 (Q.10.d.55.70) (excl), back to the STATION Road, the boundary on the right being the line [manuscript margin insertion: From point of MARY REDAN. Q.17.a.60.30 to houses at R.7.c.20.05. thence to railway and along railway to R.8.d.30.85. The houses and the Railway line are inclusive to 36 Division.], and on the left the Y RAVINE (incl).
2nd Objective. Second line trenches from Point R7.c.9.4. to Q.12.b.70.50 (incl).
86th Infantry Brigade
1st Objective. The front system of trenches from Q.10.d.55.70 (incl) to Point 27 (Q.5.c.2.8)(incl) back to the STATION and WAGON Roads, including the village of BEAUMONT HAMEL, the boundary on the right being the Y RAVINE (excl) and on the left the trench Q.5.c.2.8 – Point 59 – 88 – 04 (incl).
2nd Objective. Second line trenches from point Q.12.b.70.50 (excl) to point 41 (Q.6.c.4.0)(incl). For the attack on the second objective, the STATION Road as far South as STATION ALLEY (incl) will be allotted to the 86th Brigade.
88th Infantry Brigade.
German third line trenches from R.8.b.8.2. and point 09 to point 20 (R.2.b.4.0)
ATTACK ON FIRST OBJECTIVE
15. (a) For the attack on the first objective the leading Battalions will be formed up in depth on a three Company front, except the left Battalion of the 86th Brigade, which will have two Companies in the front line, the third Company being specially told off to clear the Northern edge of BEAUMONT HAMEL.
(b) Battalions detailed to carry the first system of trenches will advance at such time as will bring them about 100 yards short of, but parallel to the enemy’s trench at the time fixed for the assault.
At this hour the leading troops will move straight forward to their final objective (STATION and WAGON Roads) across the enemy’s trenches, but will not enter the enemy’s front trenches, as these will be cleared by special parties detailed for this purpose, who will move in rear of the attacking waves.
“Strong points” will be selected at suitable place at the junction of the enemy’s main and communication trenches, and will be consolidated. They should be designed for a garrison of about a platoon. On no account are troops to stop because formations on their flanks are held up. Experience has proved that the best way to assist troops, who are being held up, is to push forward, and to outflank the enemy.
(c) On arriving at the objective the leading troops of the 87th and 86th Brigades will immediately send strong patrols and bombing parties up the RAILWAY STATION, and BEAUMONT ALLEYS.
ATTACK ON 2ND OBJECTIVE.
16. (a). The leading troops of the four reserve Battalions of the 86th and 87th Brigades will leave our trenches, as soon as the last wave of the leading Battalions has reached the enemy’s wire. They will then move through the leading Battalions, and over the three lines of enemy trenches to the STATION Road, where they will be organised for the attack on the second objective. On capturing the second objective, “Strong Points” will be consolidated in the most suitable positions on the BEAUCOURT RIDGE.
(b) At 1.30 strong patrols will be sent out by these Brigades to cut the wire running North and South from R.7.a.5.2 to R.1.c.25.50. and bombing parties will be pushed along the communication trenches leading East. None of our artillery fire will be West of this wire after 1.35, but the artillery will continue to fire on the Area East of this wire until 2.30, when they will commence to creep towards the PUISIEUX Road.
ATTACK ON 3RD OBJECTIVE
17. (a) As soon as the hostile second line has been captured, the 88th Brigade (with two Battalions abreast, each on a front of two Companies) will move forward with their right clear of the Northern edge of BEAUCOURT VILLAGE, to the BUISIEUX Road. They should be so timed as not to cross the line of wire (R.7.a.5.2. to R.1.c.25.50) before 2.30. They will re-form on the PUISIEUX Road and at 3.10 will advance to the enemy’s third line trenches on the GRANDCOURT RIDGE.
(b) The boundary on the PUISIEUX Road between the 88th Brigade and the 4th Division on our left will be the road junction of the PUISIEUX Road with point 69.
(c) As soon as the 3rd Line has been capture, [88th] “Strong Points” will be consolidated along it, and patrols will be pushed forward to BAILLESCOURT, and to the SUNKEN Road running North from it. If the SUNKEN Road can be taken without undue loss, this line will also be occupied and consolidated.
FLANKS.
18. All troops in the advance will make arrangements to protect their flanks. The 86th Brigade will send parties of Grenadiers to bomb up any trenches on their left flank which have not been taken by the 4th Division,, and will endeavour to join hands with this Division.
Similarly the 87th Brigade will send bombing parties towards and will join hands with the 36th Division on their right flank. (The 87th Brigade will be responsible for the crossings over the RIVER ANCRE from the MILL (R.13.a.2.7) exclusive to the Railway Bridge at R.8.c.45.60 inclusive), and the 88th Brigade for the crossings East of the latter place.
UNDERGROUND GALLERIES.
19. Four underground galleries have been constructed leaving MARY REDAN (Q.17.a.4.3., 1ST AVENUE (Q.10.d.0.75). HAWTHORNE RIDGE (Q.10.b.0.7) and SAP /(Q.4.d.3.7). The 252nd Tunnelling Company have arranged to break through these tunnels on the morning of Z day.
The tunnels will only be used for runners and for getting telephone wires and water pipes forward. They will not be used as communication trenches. The forward Brigades will be responsible for policing the entrances and exits of the tunnels in the Sub-sections.
COMMUNICATION TRENCHES
20. As soon as the enemy’s first line system of trenches has been captured, parties will be told off from the 1.2nd Monmouth Regiment to dig communication trenches across “No Mans” Land from the Eastern ends of the tunnels at MARY REDAN, 1ST AVENUE and HAWTHORNE RIDGE. These trenches will connect with the enemy’s main communication trenches.
INSTRUCTIONS TO INFANTRY.
21. Arrangements will be made by Brigades to ensure that every man knows exactly what he has to do and to which party he belongs, whether assaulting, supporting or consolidating. The assaulting troops must be allotted definite objectives, and should be formed up as far as possible parallel to their objective prior to their advance.
Machine and Lewis guns, and Stokes mortars should be directed to their objectives by diverse routes, so as to reduce the chances of casualties.
TRENCH STEPS &c.
22. Brigade will arrange that steps leading from the bottom of the trench to the parapet are cut in every bay of the front, support or reserve trenches in their forming-up Areas.
They will also ensure that the bulk of the traverses in their areas are covered over, so as to provide bridges over our own trenches.
BRIGADE RESERVE TROOPS.
23. Only 22 Officers per Battalion will accompany the advancing troops. The remainder, together with 10% of the strengths of the Battalions, will form Brigade reserves and will not accompany the attack. After the advance they will occupy the front line lightly with a view to guarding against counter-attack and rallying stragglers. They will also furnish guards for prisoners, who will be handed over to them by the fighting troops at our present front line parapet. These reserves will eventually be used by Brigades to replace casualties after the day’s engagement.
MACHINE GUNS
24. Machine guns will fire ‘bursts’ throughout the bombardment, and especially at night to prevent the enemy mending his wire. The 88th Brigade Machine gun Company will take over all the gun positions in the YELLOW LINE on the night previous to the commencement of the bombardment.
Immediately prior to the assault all machine guns will open a heavy fire, direct and indirect, on to the German front and support trenches, and at the moment of the assault they will lift to the second objective and communication trenches leading to it, and will continue firing as long as the situation permits.
After the capture of the second objective, the 86th and 87th Brigades will move forward as many guns as possible to cover the advance of the 88th Brigade against the third objective.
STOKES TRENCH MORTARS.
25. Six [corrected from “five”] batteries of Stokes T. Mortars will be stationed in emplacements dug in the two tunnels and the SUNKEN Road as shown on the attached map. These emplacements will only be opened on Y/Z night. Prior to the assault, these batteries will open a hurricane bombardment on the enemy trenches, orders regarding which will be issued later. These batteries together with three additional batteries expected shortly, will be under the orders of their Brigade Commanders, who will issue to them the necessary instructions for the forward move, and will provide the necessary extra personnel for carrying ammunition, etc. 300 rounds per mortar will be stored in the forward emplacements, and 100 rounds should accompany every mortar which advances.
FORWARD BATTERIES
26. As soon as the second objective has been captured, as well as the ridge North of THIEPVAL, two batteries of 48th Division, attached to the 29th Division, will move forward under orders from the Corps to a position in “No mans” Land South of the BEAUMONT Road, in order to support more closely the attack on the third objective.
Two F.A. (Field Artillery) Batteries also, to be detailed by the C.R.A., will move forward subsequently for the same purpose to a position North of STATION Road.
ROUTES FORWARD
27. The routes forward for wheeled transport and guns are shown in Brown on the attached map. The CRE will be responsible for ensuring that within our lines the barricades on these routes are removed, and the bridges are in repair on the day of the assault. He will also erect notice-boards on the routes, with arrows indicating the direction of the traffic.
PIONEER BATTALION.
28. The Pioneer Battalion (1/2nd Monmouths) will detail two Companies to prepare roads over the enemy’s trenches by filling them in, and to dig the communication trenches mentioned in para.20. Two platoons of the Pioneer Battalion will be allotted to each of the 86th and 87th Brigades, and one Company to the 88th Brigade as carrying parties.
ARTILLERY LIAISON OFFICER.
29. The C.R.A. will arrange for an artillery officer to accompany each Battalion during the forward move.
ROYAL ENGINEERS.
30. One Field Company R.E., to be detailed by the C.R.E., will be affiliated to each Infantry Brigade, and will be utilized for maintaining the roads over our lines, for arranging the water supply forward as well as in our lines, for demolitions and for consolidation of “strong Points” at night. Searching for and cutting wires, which may be leading to hostile mines, and the destruction of any mines found will be carried out by the 252nd Tunnelling Company.
DIVISIONAL OBSERVATION POSTS
31. Northern and Southern Divisional Observation Posts have been made at Q.2.b.8.9. and Q.23.a.2.4. respectively. They will be in telephonic communication with Divisional and with the Advanced Brigade Headquarters. Each post will be manned continuously during the bombardment and attack by a Divisional Staff Officer. These Officers will report direct to Divisional Headquarters, and will not issue orders to Brigades, though they may be consulted by the latter as to the progress of the action visible from their posts. The Divisional Cyclist O.P. at Q.9.d.1.9. will also be manned by its normal complement of Cyclists.
REPORT CENTRES
32. The Main Divisional Report Centre will be at Q.8.d.45.05. Subsidiary posts will also be established at Q.8.d.45.05 Subsidiary posts will also be established at Q.19.b.1.3. and Q.14.d.95.25. The O.C. Divisional Signals will arrange for communication back to Divisional headquarters from these posts.
SIGNAL COMMUNICATIONS
33. Brigades will establish Advanced Visual Signal Stations as early as possible in the enemy’s lines. These Stations will communicate back with the visual signallers, stationed in the Divisional Observation Posts, who can receive messages but cannot acknowledge them.
Sending Stations will therefore call up with 20 'V's and repeat the message slowly four times.
Every Battalion will take forward with it at least two light telephone wires in order to connect with Brigade Headquarter. They will also take forward one ground signalling sheet for communicating with aeroplanes.
The O.C. Divisional Signals will arrange for telephone wires to be run through the forward tunnels in “No mans” Land to connect with the Battalions. In addition, Battalion Commanders will arrange a system of runners to keep up communication with Brigade Headquarters and with their Companies.
The O.C. Divisional Signals will issue to each Brigade five baskets of pigeons.
EMPLOYMENT OF AIRCRAFT
34. During the attack and subsequent operations two aeroplanes will be employed continuously as contact patrols. Signals to them by means of flares should be made by the troops in front, in accordance with the arrangements practised, vide “Instructions Regarding Liaison Between Infantry and Aircraft” 1 issued under C.G.S.44 dated 1st June 1916.
DISTINGUISHING MARKS
35. (a). Every infantryman taking part in the attack (Pioneer Battalion excluded) will wear a triangular piece of tin, 7” side, fastened to his back, between the shoulders.
(b). Diamond shaped screens, one per platoon, will be carried of the following colours.
29th Division. Vertical Division – red one half, yellow one half.
4th Division. Horizontal Division – Red above, yellow below.
48th Division – all yellow.
31st Division – horizontal division – red below, yellow above.
The leading troops of the Battalions of the 108th Brigade (36th Division) on our right will carry orange flags with two black vertical stripes. The flags of the 107th Brigade have one, and those of the 109th Brigade three such stripes.
(c). The 29th Division will wear, in addition to regimental patches, the Divisional Red triangular badge on both arms.
TRENCH BRIDGES
36. Trench bridges will be allotted as follows:-
86th Brigade ...................... 96
87th Brigade ...................... 96
88th Brigade ...................... 32
These bridges will be drawn by Brigades from the C.R.E. dump at ENGLEBELMER as they become available, and will be dumped in convenient places in the trenches.
BATTLE POLICE
37. Battle Police Posts, each consisting of one officer and three men, will be established at the following places in our communication trenches.

Junction of Knightsbridge & GABION AVENUE
Junction of UXBRIDGE ROAD and WITHINGTON AVENUE
To be found by 88th Brigade
THURLES DUMP.
Junction of BROADWAY and 88th TRENCH.
Junction of 88th TRENCH and 2ND AVENUE
Junction of 86th TRENCH and 3RD AVENUE
To be found by 86th Brigade.

Their duties will be to control traffic, to prevent straggling and to direct wounded men to Dressing Stations. Dug-outs have been prepared at those posts.
Divisional Posts will also be established by the A.P.M. along the line ENGLEBELMER – HEDAUVILLE Road, just West of ENGLEBELMER.
TRENCH TRAFFIC
38. Trench 85 will be reserved as follows:-
For “UP” traffic only towards the front line
WITHINGTON – TIPPERARY and 2ND AVENUE.
For “DOWN” traffic only
GABION AVENUE, BROADWAY and 3RD AVENUES.
The Brigades in occupation of these trenches will be responsible for policing them.
Staff Officers and linesmen repairing wires will be allowed to use communication trenches in either direction.
The trenches for “DOWN” traffic may be used for up traffic on Y/Z night, and for the advance of the 88th Brigade on the morning of Z day.
CAPTURED GUNS.
39. Any guns or machine guns, which are in danger of being lost, will be rendered useless by damaging the sights and breech mechanisms. As there is a probability of some of the enemy guns falling into our hands, the C.R.A. will arrange to have teams placed so that they can be brought up to remove the guns during the first night of the battle.
MISCELLANEOUS ARRANGEMENTS
40. Equipment to be carried.
(a) Infantrymen will carry: Rifle and equipment (less pack) 170 rounds S.A.A., one iron ration and the rations for the day of the assault, two sandbags in belt, two Mills Grenades, steel helmet, smoke helmet in satchel, water bottle and haversack on the back, also first Field Dressing and identity disc. A waterproof sheet should also be taken. The troops of the first and second waves will only carry 120 rounds S.A.A. The Pioneer Battalion will be equipped as above, except that they will only carry 120 rounds S.A.A.
At least 40% of the Infantry will carry shovels and 10% will carry picks.
The following Stores will be issued to each Brigade for the operations.

128 French wire coils.
64 Diamond shaped signalling screens.
1600 flares for aeroplane signalling (4 for each officer and N.C.O.) and 5 signalling shutters.
2 large signal lamps (a per Battalion and 1 per Brigade Headquarters).
64 bundles of 5’ wooden pickets.
48 mauls.
16 sledge hammers
640 wire cutters, and lanyards.
640 hedging gloves.
96 web braces or rifle slings – Machine gunners
16 old haversacks. – Machine gunners
16 petrol cans for water – Machine gunners
512 haversacks. (To carry Lewis magazines)
33 Bangalore torpedoes.

Brigades will arrange to draw these Stores, and the picks and shovels from the C.R.E. as follows:-
86th Brigade on 14th, 87th on 15th and 88th on 16th inst.
The picks and shovels carried on the men will not be taken from the Battalion or Brigade reserve tools, which will be loaded up on vehicles ready to move forward. The remainder of the stores can be drawn on application to D.A.D.O.S.
Packs and greatcoats will not be taken to the Forming-Up Areas on the night preceding the assault, but will be labelled and stored under Brigade arrangements under guard in selected dumps in the billeting areas and front trenches, whence they will be salvaged by the Divisional Reserve Company.
All bayonets will be sharpened.
All men carrying wire cutters will have a white label to that effect fastened on their backs.
The regulation amount of baggage to be carried forward in the baggage wagons of the train must be similarly collected, dumped, and labelled distinctly.
Grenadiers will carry equipment, less packs, rifle slung and 50 rounds S.A.A. waistcoat with 10 grenades.
Carriers each carry two buckets, holding 10 grenades each
Lewis and Machine gunners. 25% only carry rifles and 50 rounds S.A.A.
Light T.M. Gunners. 25% only carry rifles slung with 120 rounds S.A.A.
Signallers carry 120 rounds S.A.A. only and will not wear a tin disc.
Runners Wear shorts (if available), runners badge and no tin disc, rifles slung and 50 rounds S.A.A. only.
(b) Grenades.
Five reserve dumps each of 960 grenades are being formed in the forward line as shown on the attached map.
Grenades required for the attack will be drawn by Brigades from the grenades now being sent up to the Brigade dumps and from the Battalion and Brigade Reserves. The full establishment of equipment grenades will be kept by Battalions and the D.A.C. on wheels.
(c) Small Arms Ammunition (S.A.A.).
Cotton bandoliers with 50 rounds S.A.A. to complete up to 170 rounds per man will be drawn by Brigades from the ammunition placed in the Brigade Dumps for this purpose.
Five S.A.A. dumps will be formed under Divisional arrangements at the places indicated by notice boards in the forward trenches (vide map). Each dump will consist of 100 Boxes (100,000 rounds). A reserve of 250 boxes (250,000 rounds) will also be stored in the Divisional Dump (at Q.9.c.5.2.).
The S.A.A. dumped in the trenches will be drawn on to replace ammunition used during the bombardment. The balance of the S.A.A. in the trenches will be transferred to the above five dumps just prior to the bombardment.
The existing Brigade Reserve stores in MAILLY WOOD and ENGLEBELMER will be kept intact to be drawn on in required. The S.A.A. in regimental reserve for rifles, Lewis and Machine guns will be kept intact on wheels at ACHEUX.
The S.A.A. and grenades on wheels in the D.A.C. will similarly be loaded up, and kept ready to move forward.
(d) Stokes Mortar Ammunition.
Two dumps of Stokes Trench Mortar Ammunition, each containing 1000 rounds, will be formed at the places shown on the attached map. 8400 rounds also will be stored in the Divisional Dump.
(e) R.E. Stores.
Three advanced Depots of R.E. Stores will be formed by the C.R.E. at the places shown on the attached map.
Each of these Stores will contain:-
L.F. Pumps, sandbags, picks, shovels, crowbars, wire-cutters, coils of plain and barbed wire, iron and wooden pickets, tracing tapes and axes.
A large central store will be established at the R.E.Depot at ENGLEBELMER.
(f) Water.
Five water dumps have been formed in the forward trenches (vide map). Each consists of 320 tins (640 gallons). These dumps must not be drawn on before the advance. In addition water storage of 1200 gallons in tanks connected with the pipeline from SUCERIE has been arranged at five places in the support trenches for use during the bombardment vide map. Brigades holding the line will place sentries over all water dumps in their areas.
(g) Rations.
A reserve of two days rations has been established at the Divisional Dump. Three advanced ration dumps have also been formed as shown on map, containing a total of 10,000 iron rations. These will not normally be drawn on till the advance takes place. Sandbags have been stored in the dumps in which the rations will be carried forward, but these bags will not be filled until the rations are actually required.
MEDICAL
41. Advanced Dressing Stations will be established in the Left Sub-sector in the TENDERLOIN, AUCHONVILLIERS (Q.9.a.1.1.) and MAILLY-MAILLET (Q.7.c.6.7. billet 87) and in the Right Sub-sector at KNIGHTSBRIDGE and near VITERMONT Church (Q.19.d.5.9)
The Divisional Collecting Stations will be at MAILLY and VITERMONT Church, alongside the Advanced Dressing Stations. The Main Dressing Station will be at LOUVENCOURT, and the Corps Collecting Station will be at ACHEUX.
All troops are reminded that the care of wounded is the duty of the Regimental Stretcher Bearers and Field Ambulances. Fighting troops are forbidden to accompany wounded men to the Dressing Stations.
PRISONERS
42. Brigades will detail special prisoner escorts to take prisoners back to our front line, where the prisoners will be handed over to the parties allotted for the purpose, vide para 23. These latter parties will escort prisoners back to the Prisoners Enclosure at P.22.b., where they will be handed over to the A.P.M.
REFILLING POINT.
43. The Refilling Point will remain on the ACHEUX-LEALVILLE Road as at present, but in the event of the third objective being attained, it will be moved to the HEDAUVILLE – MAILLY Road just West of MAILLY WOOD.
1ST LINE TRANSPORT
44. Should the 1st Line Transport be required application should be made to Divisional Head Quarters.
Cookers should be prepared to join the troops at dusk on Z day.
One Officer and six M.M.P. will be detailed by the A.P.M. to control the traffic in BEAUMONT HAMEL and BEAUCOURT sur ANCRE, with their Headquarters near Q.5.c.7.0.
WATER.
45. The 86th Brigade will be responsible for policing the water supply in BEAUMONT HAMEL, and the 87th Brigade similarly for the water supply in BEAUCOURT, and along the ANCRE as far East as at dusk on Z day, and will refill at the water supply West of MAILLY WOOD on the HEDAUVILLE – MAILLY Road.
MAPS.
46. The only maps to be referred to in all messages, and to be carried in the attack, are the 1/10,000 BEAUMONT TRENCH Map sheet 57 D S.E. and 1.20,000 sheet 57 D S.E., both of which show the German trenches, but not our own. These have been issued to all concerned. No other maps will be carried by officers or men. Officers and N.C.Os. will carry notebooks, but no other papers will be taken.
SYNCHRONISING WATCHES.
47. Watches will be synchronised by the General Staff at 9.0 am. And 7.0 pm on X and Y days.
DIVISIONAL HEADQUARTERS
48. Divisional Headquarters will remain in its present position at ACHEUX.

Signed. C.G. Fuller
Lieut. Colonel, G.S. 29th Division.
HQ 29th Division.
Issued at 10 a.m.

Trench Map from Royal Engineers Diary

(click on image for a full-sized map, but very large - 3.5Mb)

29th Division Trench Map for 1st July 1916


Head Quarters Report on 1st July (10th July)

"SECRET
Prior to the 30th June Battalions had been equipped for the offensive operations as laid down in 29th Divisional Order No.36 dated 14-6-16, paragraph 40.
Bombers wore red arm bands and wire cutters white to enable to be quickly distinguished.
On 30th June the line allotted to the Brigade i.e. from Q.17.11/12 to Q.10.6/7 was being held by the three Companies of the 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on the right and by 3 companies of the 2nd South Wales Borderers on the left, remaining company of each Battalion in reserve at ENGLEBELMER. The 1st King's Own Scottish Borderers and the 1st Border Regt. being in huts in ACHEUX WOODS.
At 9-30.p.m. on this day the reserve companies of the Battalions holding the line moved up by WITHINGTON AND TIPPERARY AVENUES reaching their destination about 10-30.p.m.
By 11.p.m. the 1st R. Inniskilling Fusiliers and 2nd South Wales Borderers had taken up their pre-arranged positions of assembly in the firing line - Regents Street-and old firing line.
The 1st King's Own Scottish Borderers and 1/Border Regt left ACHEUX WOODS at 9-15 and 9-30 p.m. respectively and marching via ROTTEN ROW moved up by WITHINGTON and TIPPERARY AVENUES and occupied the line of trenches BUCKINGHAM PALACE ROAD-ST JAMES-BROOKE-and FETHARD STREETS arriving there soon after 12.mid-night.
There were no casualties while actually moving up to the assembly trenches.
Telephone wires from Brigade Headquarters (advanced) had been laid beforehand to Battalion Battle Headquarters and wore through practically throughout the operations.
When these Headquarters moved up new lines were in position at the far end of the Saps by 1st AVENUE and MARY REDAN ready to be continued but owing to the heavy casualties and the failure to attain the objective no communication was got through.
The lines laid were as per attached diagram.
Visual Signalling was arranged but due to the dense amount of smoke it was found impossible.
The only communication used was by runner.
The actual bombardment by the Artillery immediately previous to the assault does not appear to have knocked the enemy trenches about or filled in the deep dug-outs.
The Brigade advanced for the attack with two Battalions in the front line and two in support.
The two leading battalions had 3 companies in the front line and one in support.
The two rear battalions had two companies in the front line and two in support.
Every Company in the Brigade adopted the same formation. Lines of Platoons in columns of sections. Wire cutters and bridge carriers in the first line, Lewis Gunners and Bombers for clearing the trenches in the 2nd and 3rd lines, with the consolidating parties in the 4th line. Two Machine Guns went forward with each Battalion Reserve and Two Stokes' Mortars with the Reserve of the two rear Battalions.
The Two leading Battalions failed to reach the front German line owing to the machine gun fire and the two supporting battalions did not get as far, being mowed down as they passed through our own wire. At 7.30.a.m. the two leading battalions advanced to the attack.
Machine gun fire was at once opened by the enemy but at the same time it was thought that the objectives had been gained as lights were seen coming from the required direction.
These lights must have been enemy as no troops on our left got as far as the German Front Line. On our Right some of the Inniskilling Fusiliers were seen placing their trench bridges over the German front line and going through their wire but in very small numbers.
A report was received from the Artillery that bombing was seen going on in Station Road and later a report from the 36th Division came that the 9th R. Irish Fusiliers at STATION BUILDINGS had joined hands with the 1st R. Inniskilling Fusiliers at Station Road. This information has received no corroboration.
The 1st K.O.S.B. and 1st Border Regt left their assembly trenches at about 7.35 a.m. and advancing under a very heavy machine gun fire failed to get as far as the leading battalions with the exception of some of the leading sections of the 1st Border Regt which got as far as the German wire.
At 10.30.a.m. the 10% which had been left behind in ENGLEBELMER arrived and took over the front line.
At 2.p.m.the line was taken over by the 88th Brigade and the Brigade re-organised in the support trenches."


R.A.M.C. Preparation and Evacuation Map for the Assault of 1st July 1916

ACHEUX HQ 29th BTN – 30th June 1916.
The deposition of the Field ambulance units for the morrow’s advance is as follows. 89th Field ambulance forms the corps collecting station and the 29th Divisional main dressing station at ACHEUX on the right flank. The 87th Field ambulance forms the main dressing station of the left flank at LOUVENCOURT and the Advance dressing station at MAILLY MAILLET (one tent soldier) with collecting posts in AUCHONVILLERS (Red House, White House) and in TENDERLOIN (trenches) (Q.4.c.7.5). The collecting post at TENDERLOIN will take 50 lying down cases. The Advanced dressing station on the right flank is formed by the 88th Field ambulance and is at VITERMONT. The advanced dressing stations are also the Divisional collection stations for the lightly wounded. Operation orders No.1 & 2 by ADMS 29th B.W. attached.
The 20th MAC are evacuating wounded from LOUVENCOURT to Nos 4 & 35 CCS at BEAUVAL & DOULLENS respectively. The narrow gauge railway to GEZAINCOURT will evacuate for ACHEUX (89th Field Ambulance) to the 29th CCS. This takes in lightly wounded and lying down cases. Advanced cases are to go to AUTHIE 93rd Field Ambulance. The DADMS is to go forward to supervise the evacuation for the front. The ADMS to remain at HQ ACHEUX and look after the rear evacuation for main dressing stations.
ACHEUX HQ 29th BTN – 1st July 1916.
7.30: The attack has commenced. The 86th Brigade on the left flank, the 87th on the right. 10am The two brigades are hung up at the first line German trenches generally but we have cleared point 89.Q10 7.8 (head of Y ravine) The 26th Battalion: on our Right the Battalion has got onto German support trench but the attack on Point O3 (Q17b 1-4 has failed.)
The ESSEX Regiment are being put in to take it. The 86th Brigade all appears hung up, fresh attack being organised. It is feared there will be a large number of wounded owing to this general hanging up.
11am: We have failed to take Point 89 & a re-bombardment of artillery has been ordered at 11am to 12.30 along line from Point 89 to point O3.
12am: Reports fair number of casualties at KNIGHTSBRIDGE collecting station evacuated to GABION AVENUE. VITERMONT A.D.S. working well & getting rid of their casualties. ADS Got a truck with those on the right flank though (?) there are a good many wounded.
1pm: Message from OC 89th Horse ambulance ADS MAILLY message he is short of medical officers. Have ordered R.E. 89th Field Ambulance to despatch two at once Capt MORRIS and CAPT BLANDY.
8pm: Sent up to VITERMONT ADS 8 G.S. wagons and to MESNIL collecting post 8 GS wagons lent S.O.C. Train for evacuating the wounded. Sent at 6pm to KNIGHTSBRIDGE collecting post 1 officer and 50 bearers. Arranged with A.A.S.Eng for 200 men of the transport to report 100 to MAILLY ADS and 100 to VITERMONT ADS for use by the O.S.C.
2nd July 1916
Sent last night to MAILLY ADS to help in the evacuation of wounded 4 lorries (motor) 8 G.S. wagons and 4 motor ambulance wagons ........In the attack yesterday there were 1,693 wounded......

Medical Evacuation and Treatment Map

Click on map for full map - very large file (4Mb)

Medical Evacuation paths