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
Sidney James Pullen (of Doddington)
d. 4th April 1917. Aged 22 years.
11th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps
(previous unit: K.R.R.C., A/200294 Pte. Posted to 1/15th Battalion London Regiment)
[Formerly #3375, East Kent (The Buffs) Regiment]
Remembered with Honour
Pier and Face 13 A and 13 B.
Killed in Action
Sidney was the only son (born in Molash, near Ashford) of James Richard and Amy Pullen (nee Kemsley). His two younger sisters were Edith Elizabeth and Ivy May. Edith was born in Greenstreet/Teynham in 1898 and Ivy was born a little further east in Ospringe. Sidney's aunts and uncles had strong associations with the Isles of Sheppey and Harty but also Teynham and Ospringe. In the 1911 Census, Sidney's father was a "Cowman on Farm" and Sidney, aged 16, was "Waggoner on Farm, Doddington."
Beyond census information, there is precious little on record to help us visualise the man whose forbears were generally agricultural labourers. His story is by now quite familiar, a young man joins other local men to meet the general 'call to arms' - the reasons would be complex: sense of duty, opportunity to travel abroad, encouragement by employers and civic leaders - the military need was pressing on young men from all directions.
His mother, Amy, was his sole legatee to the tune of £10 3s. 11d., made up of personal effects and £9 of War Gratuity after the war ended. He was also posthumously awarded the Victory and British Medals - that would have been sent to his mother too. These few records do reveal that before serving in the battalion in which he died, Sidney had initially served in The Buffs (#3375). Then when he first joined the King's Royal Rifle Corps he was posted to the 1/15th Battalion London Regiment. Perhaps he was needed most urgently to replenish the 15th London Regiment due to their losses as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF)?
When did he enlist? The local newspaper report on his death tells us "middle of 1915".
Sidney would naturally have attested with the local County Regiment - East Kent (The Buffs) Regiment. Commonly, The Buffs would recruit in market towns (Faversham) or its home, Canterbury. This was the time when Kitchener's Army was desperately trying to reinforce the B.E.F. forces that were struggling to stem the German forces. It appears that Sidney remained at home until about September/October 1916. These early recruits were able to meet Home requirements, thereby releasing more experienced soldiers to serve at the Front.
Sidney was about 19 years old in 1915 - the minimum age for service overseas. We don't know whether Sidney had served in local militia before volunteering? At some point, his usefulness with a rifle marked him out to serve in the 11th (Service) KRRC.
So, after first serving in The Buffs, he was then redirected to the 11th/KRRC who were in urgent need to make up their numbers. However, perhaps because their need was more acute at Home - freeing up experienced soldiers to the Front - the London Regiment would have received men from any available direction to reach 'muster'. This may account for Sidney's initial posting from the KRRC into the 1/15th (County of London) Battalion (Prince of Wales's Own Civil Service Rifles). In time, Sidney was returned to the KRRC.
This brings us to the 11th (Service) Battalion, The King's Royal Rifle Corps. Sidney was finally posted to the 11th Battalion in active service on in 1916.
The 11th Battalion, KRRC, formed part of the 59th Brigade, 20th (Light) Division.
The Faversham and North East Kent News of 26th May 1917 gives us a little more about Sidney: "RIFLEMAN S.J. PULLEN, RIFLE BRIGADE. Mr and Mrs J.R. Pullen, of Pitstock Cottage, Doddington, have lost their only son, Rifleman Sydney James Pullen, of the Rifle Brigade, who is reported to have been killed in action on May 4th. Employed at Palace Farm, Doddington, he joined up about the middle of 1915, and had been at the front for about 8 months. It appears he was shot by a sniper. He was 22 years of age, and a fine young fellow, standing fully six feet in height. At Palace Farm he had proved himself a trustworthy worker, and letters from his officers state that he made a good soldier and was liked by everyone. He was an excellent shot."
This last reference begs a question about whether he was himself a sniper? Without evidence, we can only speculate.
From the War Diary:-
9th: The battalion moved up to the CARNOY Camps.
The Division on going into the line was made into 2 groups. The 59th Brigade being split up, and this Battalion together with 11th R.B. [Rifle Brigade] became part of the left group under G.O.C. 60th Brigade.
10th: The Battalion moves up to Camp at LA BRICQUETERIE. A dismal mud patch with a few bell tents attached.
11th: The Camp was slightly shelled causing much inconvenience, and particular annoyance to “C” Company whose dinners were hurled into the mud.
In the afternoon, after waiting impatiently for a few hours, for our rations, which by pure mishap arrived before we left, we proceeded to the front line to relieve the 29th Division; on the way up, we managed, by somewhat forcible measures to obtain the remainder of our rations and were thus enabled to go up with almost enough bully beef and biscuits – We had also a small supply of rum, carefully hoarded and stored, but this was very seriously reduced before the relief was completed, by a German bullet. Our expected Boots Gum, High, were also met lying in the mud, in the front line trenches, and without exception impossible to wear.
The trenches were a system of mud cuts, not too deep, not revetted and devoid of fire-steps on footboards, communication trenches were impassable. This came as rather a shock to most of us, as beautiful trench maps of the area had been issued.
12th: The day was spent mainly in trying to clear out the trenches, but this was rendered extraordinarily hard through alternate rain, snow, frost and thaw. It was indeed a race between nature and man and the latter succeeded in only an indifferent victory.
Much carrying under hard circumstances was carried out. – Battalion H.Q. were situated in a sunken road near LES BOEUFS, a bad site, well shelled.
13th: Battalion was relieved by 12th KRRC and went back to GUILLEMONT Camp, amongst the coldest and worst constructed in France, with 2 Companies in the FLERS line. Casualties, 1 OR killed 9 OR wounded.
14th: Battalion moved back to CARNOY Camps into Divisional Reserve; here we cleaned up and evacuated our 3-score and more trench-feet cases, a sorry business, but one which left a lasting impression. It was here that we learnt that our Chaplain had quite accidentally walked into a caterpillar and was fast on the way to “BLIGHTY” and also received a wire from the Corps Commander, congratulating units of the 59th Brigade on the condition they left their billets 6 days previous. A party of 40 O.R. was found for work in the FLERS Line. A party of 21 O.R. was found for work under C.R.E. 20th Division.
17th: Battalion moved up to GUILLEMONT Camp.
18th: Battalion relieved 6th KSLI in the front line trenches. Hard frost enabled a good deal of work to be done and good advantage was taken of the opportunity. During the relief we were further worried by our artillery, practising on us, but luckily they fairly soon changed their mind and left us alone. Shelling during this tour was fairly heavy but casualties were not really serious.
20th: The Battalion was relieved by the 12th KRRC, the relief was carried out in a very quick and efficient manner and thanks to that Battalion were settled in the CARNOY Camps by 11.0pm.
22nd: The Battalion started back into Corps Reserve. Arriving at Plateau Railhead at 4.30pm we found the 11th R.B. in possession, however boarding the same train, we waited for an hour to get steam up, to then took us 6 hours to get to MERICOURT – an interesting journey at an average speed of under 2 miles an hour.
23rd: The Battalion moved back to CORBIE, there to spend its Xmas.
25th: A draft of 80 O.R. was received (all riflemen from 1st Battalion).
25th-31st: The Battalion spent its time cleaning up and doing necessary repairs.
28th: The GOC 59th Brigade inspected the Battalion by Corps.
2nd: The Battalion moved by bus from CORBIE to BRONFAY FARM.
4th: The Battalion moved up to the BOULEAUX WOOD area, near COMBLES. The 2-group system again coming into force. One of the Corps in BOULEAUX Wood was heavily shelled, losing 3 O.R. killed, 5 O.R. wounded.
“A” Company BOULEAUX WOOD; “B” Company BOIS DORE; “C” Company MUTTON TRENCH; “D” Company BOULEAUX WOOD. Battalion HQ and Battalion Bombers in sunken road near COMBLES.
5th: On the night January 4/5 the Battalion moved up to the Front Line in the SAILLISEL Sector, with 2 Companies in the Front Line, one Company in support and 1 Company in Reserve.
6th: Dispositions:- “A” Company in Reserve, North Copse; “B” Company in support; “C” Company in Left Front. “D” Company in Right Front. Battalion HQ in Chateau SAILLY-SAILLISEL. A great deal of work was done revetting trenches laying duck boards and generally fighting the ravages of the weather.
7th: The Battalion was relieved by the 12th KRRC. Casualties 1 O.R. killed, 5 O.R. wounded and went back to BRONFAY FARM. Much salvage was done during this time of duty.
Large permanent parties were taken for Brigade and Divisional Work. Column B subsequently rising up to 250 O.R.
8th: Large working parties were found by the Battalion, every available man being employed.
9th: The Battalion moves up to the BOULEAUX WOOD AREA.
10th: The Battalion was in the front line, work in the trenches and patrolling were the chief features of the time, unless the cold and perpetual snow takes precedence. Battalion HQs were moved back to the Quarries.
On January 12/13 the Battalion was relieved and went back to BRONFAY FARM.
15th: Battalion move up to BOULEAUX WOOD area.
16th: Battalion moves into the Front Line. Work done was mainly repairing trenches, draining, wiring, we again struck bad climatic conditions. The duckboards up to the front line being extremely slippery and treacherous; we were lucky in only having 2 or 3 casualties from falling off.
18th: The Battalion was relieved in the front line and returned to BRONFAY FARM.
21st: Battalion found large working parties in the Back Area.
22nd: Battalion moved up to BOULEAUX WOOD area.
23rd: Battalion moved up to the front-line. Again the weather was our greatest foe. Patrolling, thawing our petrol & water, reclaiming trenches and revetting, together with a certain amount of wiring filled up the time.
25th: The Battalion was relieved by 12th KRRC and returned to BRONFAY FARM.
26th: The Battalion moved by bus to FRANVILLERS again coming under Command of GOC 59th Brigade.
27th: The Battalion reorganised by platoons under Divisional arrangements.
31st: Specialists such as Bombers, Lewis Gunners, Signallers, Stretcher-Bearers were put under training. 1 Officer and 80 O.R. were despatched to Point Relief to go through a Musketry Course.
1st: In the Field: Acting Brigadier inspected Battalion in full marching order.
3rd: Battalion moved to HEILLY.
5th: Battalion moved into Camp at GUILLEMONT. B.C.D. & HQ at GUILLEMONT. “A” Company at BOVRIL TRENCH.
6th: Battalion relieved 1st Essex Regiment in front line of left LES BOEUFS sector. “A” Company reserve. “D” Company Right Front; “B” Company centre, “C” Company left front.
8th: Battalion relieved by 12th R.B. and went back to No.1 Camp CARNOY.
11th: Battalion moved up to GUILLEMONT.
12th: Morning of February 12th a draft of 119 Other Ranks joined the Battalion, 70 marked “Trained” and 49 untrained. On closer inspection it turned out that the 49 marked “Untrained” were all old soldiers. The majority having 2 year’s service and few as much as six.
Relieved 10th/60th Rifles in left LES BOEUFS sector in front line.
14th: Battalion relieved by 12th R.B. and went back to No.1 Camp CARNOY stayed in camp for 6 days. 2nd Lt J.C.J. Tunstall killed in action shell head.
20th: Battalion moved up to trenches via GUILLEMONT where they stopped for tea and drawing of Gum Boots (thigh). Ground thawed and lot of rain fell during the day, trenches in a very bad state. Relief not completed till 10.45pm. Many men of “C” Company losing their boots.
21st: Early this morning 2nd Lt C.W. Fry took out a large Patrol (fighting) and encountered no opposition from enemy about 4.0am. As this patrol passed out through our wire, enemy opened bombardment on right Company’s trench, casualties: 4 killed including 2 NCOs, 5 wounded.. This shelling continued for a quarter of an hour and then ceased till the patrol returned to our lines as they came in through the wire enemy reopened bombardment, no damage being done.
Work done: revetting, deepening and cleaning up trenches which were in some places 1½ feet in water.
22nd: Battalion relieved by 12th R.B. returned to GUILLEMONT Camp. Bad relief, 2 companies only arrived before midnight. “A” Company at 5.0am, “C” Company at 7am.
23rd: Large carrying parties requisitioned in spite of Corps orders to the contrary.
24th: Carrying parties again requisitioned this time within their rights.
25/26th: Relieved 12th R.B. in the trenches good relief, trenches much drier, completed by 9.45pm. Considerable shelling during night, 2/Lt E. Newton wounded right wrist and 2 other ranks also wounded. Patrol of 20 men of 12th/60th went out from ‘Laudsturm’ and investigated HELF trench (found unoccupied) and moved on to Ersatz trench which was found occupied. Lewis Detachment left in Hail trench till daybreak.
26th/27th: 2/Lt Bogle took out a similar patrol with same results.
27th: Battalion relieved by 10th Battalion 60th Rifles good relief over by 9.30pm. Trench in good state very little trouble with feet. Went back to No. CARNOY Camp.
28th: Small box respirators issued to Battalion.
2nd: Battalion moved to GUILLEMONT from CARNOY. Usual working party. Capt C.G. Rocad left for Company Officers course at LE TOUQUET.
4th: Battalion moved into trenches. “D” Company Right Sector; “B” Centre; “C” left Company; “A” support company and relieved 12th R.B. Fairly quiet time.
5th: 2/Lt Readbitter was killed. Cpl Pollard wounded and 2 NCOs wounded at duty. LANDWEHR reported occupied – patrolled and found unoccupied. Attack on left post dispersed. Trenches good.
7th: 2/Lt C.W. Fry and H. Barr and 4 NCOs went to Divisional School of Instruction. Battalion relieved by 10th KRRC and returned to GUILLEMONT cleaning duty in trenches weather fairly good. Good relief.
8th: 2/Lt J.G.J. Hutton (attached from 6th Sherwoods) invalided to UK.
10th: Battalion moved up to trenches. Dispositions “D” Company and ½ “B” Company in Right Company Front. “B” Company centre; “C” Left company; “A” Reserve Company Right of 10th. 2/Lt W.T. Stephens took out patrol to investigate and keep under observation HAIL TRENCH. Found to be occupied.
11th: Similar patrol to that of night before by 2/Lt E.H. Sherwin. Same result!
12th: Relieved by 10th KRRC. Good relief. General work done in trenches was cleaning and revetting BENNET TRENCH. Improved enormously. Fairly quiet time but a certain amount of trench mortaring at intervals.
15th: Lt C.N. Barlow rejoined the Battalion and posted to “D” Company.
16th: Battalion moved up to the trenches. Disposition “C” Company and ½ “A” Company right front; “A” company centre; “D” company left; “B” company support. Good relief. (2 patrols taken out, 1st by 2/Lt G.K. Pirset at 11am. 2nd by Lieut F.W. Crouch at 4am both for the purpose of keeping MAIL TRENCH under observation – 2nd to take HAIL if possible – HAIL discovered not to exist at 6am (17th) Bosche found to evacuating position in front of LE TRANSLOY. “D” company ordered to advance which they did. Advance proceeded to line parallel to BAPAUME – TRANSLOY – SAILLY SAILLISEL road, about 800 yards in front of it. Touch kept with 11th R.B. and battalion on right and left respectively.
18th: Battalion relieved, most of this was done in daylight and went back to GUILLEMONT and for two nights. Led a working party and then on 20th went back to CARNOY.
21st/22nd: Fatigues and practising advance guards and outposts.
22nd: Lt A.F. Nutting returned for duty and to up his duties of adjutant on 23rd.
23rd: Reinforcement of 5 O.R. received – sick and wounded returned.
24th: 2/Lt A.E. North rejoined from hospital. 2/Lt W.R. Pedwell having proceeded to the Battalion for duty is taken on strength and posted to “D” Company. Reinforcement of 34 O.R. including 9 wounded returned and 21 sick returned received. Battalion moved to BULLET CROSS ROADS near SAILLASEL into Brigade reserves.
25th: Battalion relieved 6th Ox & Bucks Light Infantry in front line near LE MESNIL with two platoons and 1 Lewis Gun at LECHELLES and 1 platoon and 1 Lewis Gun at FOUR WINDS FARM. Work done was of a defensive nature i.e. digging trenches and making shelters against cold and rain.
Dispositions 25th March:
Battalion HQ V.3.A.4.7.; “A” Right Front; “B” Left Front. 1 P.Land; + Lewis Gun FOUR WINDS FARM; “C” Centre Front; “D” Reserve with 2 platoons and 1 Lewis Gun in LECHELLES
26th: Major J.M. de Pasavicini left for UK to attend the Senior Officers Course at Aldershot.
27th: Battalion moves forward to a new line with HQ at LECHELLES and advanced Company on other side of VALLULART WOOD.
Dispositions 27th March:
Battalion H.Q. LECHELLES; “A” MOUETTES TRENCH; “B” FOUR WINDS FARM; “C” VALLUIART WOOD (P.26.D); “D” LECHELLES
28th: Battalion moves forward to beyond VALLULART WOOD with Battalion HQ in the wood at P.32.D.9.5½ the line taken up running from P.27.a. to P.34.B. with an outpost Company from P.23.C.3.4 to P.29.C.2.4.
Dispositions 28th March
Battalion HQ – P.25.c.6.4.; “A” Company MOUETTES TRENCH P.34 C&D; “B” Outpost Company P.23.D to P.29.D; “C” P.27.A & D with bombing post at P.22.0.1; “D” P.28.C
29th – 30th: Battalion remain on some line as part of Brigade frontage. Much useful patrol work was done, chiefly locating Machine Guns and snipers who were very busy. Work done digging a new trench behind the wire formerly protecting MOUETTE TRENCH with the assistance of the 11th R.B.
11th R.B. in conjunction with 10th R. Brigade passed through this Battalion (which then became Brigade Reserve) and established a new frontage in P.24. & P.25.
This Battalion assisted in various small ways such as carrying, liaison and evacuating wounded.
31st: Battalion remain in present line in Brigade Reserve. Royal Engineers working parties for road repair found.
Casualties, 1 O.R. killed and 4 wounded. The Regimental Transport location is hard to fine – the whole being split into small units and used by Brigade. They also carried rations, water etc up to the front line. In view of the enormous distances covered. Lack of organisation and damaged state of the roads, the work they have done has been excellent. Our rear H.Q. are still unmoved at CARNOY. During the period 25th-30th March, much salvage work has been done, particularly of telephone wire – without which no communication would have been established at all.
3rd: The Battalion moved by march route to CAMPS-EN-AMIENOIS. There the remainder of our transport joined us.
4th – 10th: Reorganisation and training carried out. 2nd Lt. W.T. STEPHENS 6th Battalion Notts & Derby struck off having rejoined his Battalion from Army Signals.
6th: Lieut G.N. MONTGOMERY RAMC ceases to be R.M.O., his place being taken by Lieut R.E. BLEY, M.O.R.C. Reinforcements 398 O.R. received mostly from the under age depots.
1-2nd April: Battalion remained in Vallulart Wood, working on wire in front of new lines established by the R.B. also digging. Road repair also received attention.
Report on operations of the 4th. (Ref. Map, France Sheet 57C, S.E.)
On the evening of the 3rd April at about 8.15 p.m. the battalion were relieved in Vallulart Wood by 12th King’s Liverpool’s and proceeded to FINS to wait there until the time came to attack METZ. The night was spent in fetching water and rations sufficient to carry us through till after the attack was over. At 1 p.m. on the 4th the battalion left FINS by Companies to take up their positions at the assembly posts P.35.D.82 to V.6.a.72.
Dispositions:- A Company on the right, C Company on the left, D Company in support on the left, B Company in reserve, battalion HQ being established at V.6.c.99
At 2 p.m. the two leading Companies A and C left the Assembly Point and advanced on the objective METZ in extended order at 5 paces interval in two lines at 50 yards distance.
The 10th Battalion King’s Royal Rifles were operating on our right.
We advanced under moderate shell fire to the road running through Q.25 Central, where we obtained liaison with the 10th King’s Royal Rifles who were directing.
2 Vickers guns attached to the battalion for the attack moved over with the last line. The advance continued towards the objective under moderate shell fire, slight machine gun fire being brought to bear on the leading Companies from P.30 Central and onwards to about 500 yards from the village where the leading Companies came under intense machine gun fire.
At 2.35 p.m. the first line Companies, D Company in the meanwhile having come up on the left of C Company, had to lie down until our artillery barrage lifted at 2.40 p.m.: here the enemy machine gun fire and sniping caused many casualties, including Captain Meredith, 2nd Lts. Mason and Robinson.
During this period Battalion HQ moved forward to Q.31.a.47.
At 2.40 p.m. the advance was recommenced, the left Companies being stopped for a time by two strong systems of wire. However, this obstacle was overcome, ways through the wire being cut or discovered, and both Companies soon had detachments making for the village, the left Company however having to move to a flank, viz: the right, in order to get through.
Leading Detachments of the two Companies entered the village and started the work of clearing the houses of enemy, the enemy however did not wait long after the leading troops entered and started retreating leaving behind them a few dangerous snipers. During this operation some thirty prisoners were taken, together with 1 Trench Mortar and 1 Machine Gun. At 3 p.m. the enemy were still holding the left of the village in Q.19.b.
At 2.45 p.m. the left flank was being held up by machine guns in a trench, strongly wired, running towards the western corner of the village; a detachment of Lewis Gun worked its way up this trench and cleared it and captured a Machine Gun.
In the meantime heavy fire was brought to bear on this flank from a trench at about Q.19.C Central, the second line then swung round to the left and doubled up the hill with their Lewis Guns, captured the trench and killed about 6; about 30 Germans then evacuated the trench and ran towards Mill Farm, the Lewis Gun immediately opened on them and about a dozen fell. 4 Prisoners were also taken from this party.
This Company then came under a very heavy Machine Gun fire from the N.W. corner of METZ and from the Wood between MILL FARM and the S.W. corner of the Wood.
2nd Lts Pirrett and Davis and a few men worked their way up to the machine guns, both officers being killed; Captain Smyth then took up small reinforcements, the Machine Guns were silenced and the left started consolidating on the forward slope about Q.19.a Central, 1 Lewis Gun being knocked out. At 3.15 p.m. Lt. Barlow, who had worked his way through the left of the village, rejoined his Company on their right with two platoons, collected from the village party, and the clearing party of the trench at the western corner of the village mentioned above.
3.30 p.m. This Company saw thirty or forty Germans retiring in groups to the wood near Mill Farm, and brought rifle and Lewis Gun fire to bear on them, some fell. When the R.B’s came up to the edge of the wood, this Company recommenced their advance simultaneously with them on to their final objective, reaching it at about 6 p.m., and consolidated thereon.
4 p.m. Battalion HQ established itself at Q.25.b.18 with a line to Brigade which was broken three times before being opened for use. Telephone communication was established with the front line Companies by 9 p.m.
The centre Company worked its way through the village in Q.2.a, etc as mentioned above, systematically clearing all houses, cellars and other places of concealment. It was this Company which captured the main body of prisoners. Having cleared the village of all resistance, the Company began consolidating on their objective at about 5.15 p.m.
At 2.40 p.m. the right Company continued its advance simultaneously with the left Companies and the 10th K.R.R.C. temporarily checked by the wire, the leading detachment entered the village at about 2.50 p.m.
The enemy retreating before the advancing troops; however, snipers and well placed Machine Guns in the houses many casualties, including Lt. Everett, and had to be ejected by circumventing movements; this Company’s right was in the main street and kept communication with the 10th K.R.R.C., the whole way through. During this operation about a dozen prisoners, 2 Trench Mortars, 1 Machine Gun were taken. A German Doctor and his Staff, who after gave valuable assistance to our wounded, were also captured. This Company started consolidating on its objective at about 5 p.m.
The reserve Company moved up in extended order at about 300 yards behind the front Companies and consolidated in rear of the village.
The village of METZ was very heavily shelled by the enemy with 4.2’s, 5.9’s and 8 inch from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
The artillery barrages were good, but had the time for lifting been 5 minutes earlier in the first and second stages, some casualties would have been saved and probably more prisoners taken.
The RAMC stretcher bearers were numerically insufficient to cope with the number of casualties.
Final dispositions after the objective had been occupied were: 3 Companies from Q.19.a.9.3½ to Q.20.c.14; 3 platoons in Q.19.c, 1 platoon in Q.25.b, Battalion HQ at Q.19.d.11.
The work of consolidation extended until 6 a.m.
Total captures:- 3 M.G’s and 1 extra M.G. carriage, 3 Trench Mortars and 60 odd prisoners, prisoners were taken from 229th and 230th Regiments.
Our casualties were:- 2 Officers, 28 Other Ranks, killed; 4 Officers, 96 Other Ranks, wounded.
5th April: The battalion were relieved by 12th King’s Liverpools and went back to a camp at LECHELLS.
Captain E.S.A. Baynes struck off establishment to date 23/2/17. (Authority M.S. to C. in C. 9510 dated 29th March 1917.
Lt (A.Cpt) C.G. Reed evacuated to England and struck off strength to date 29/3/17/ (Authority D.A.G.’s list 717 dated 23/3/17)
6th April: Training of specialists, such as Lewis Gunners, Snipers, Scouts, etc., carried on. Also open warfare practice.
9th April: R.3736 Rifleman 3736 Parker J.T. (“B” Company) awarded the Meritorious Service Medal to date 26/10/16. The battalion gets one leave allotment per week.
11th April: Reinforcements received of 45 Other Ranks including 16 old battalion men rejoined.
13th April: The battalion moved up into the front line relieving the 12th R.B. as the right battalion of the left brigade.
Reinforcements of 4 Other Ranks received. (Sick and wounded returned).
The battalion remained in this sector till the evening of the 25th, when they were relieved by the 12th King’s Liverpools.
During this period the outpost line was advanced, just under 2,000 yards though the wood and finally established slightly beyond its furthest outskirts, whilst the line of resistance was also advanced about 1,800 yards. Quite a pleasant time, though mainly through the vast improvement in the weather. Our first few days were somewhat spoilt through the uncertainty caused by a hostile attack on the Australians on our left. The calm serenity of our position was also rudely disturbed on occasions by certain noises on the right.
26th April: The following awards were made by the Corps Commander in connection with the operations on the 4th inst:-
R/2344 Sergeant J. Williams
R/811 Sergeant R.G. Elkington.
R/682 L/Cpl P.H.Aldrige.
R/735 L/Cpl R.J. Fryer
Reinforcements of 31 O.R. (all old battalion men – sick and wounded returned) received.
27th April: The following officers joined the battalion for duty and were taken on strength accordingly:-
2nd/Lt H. Etterley “A” Company
W. Slade “A” Company
H.R. Beal “A” Company
W.P. Morris “B” Company
E.C. Harris “C” Company
P. Hughes “D” Company
C.T. Browne “D” Company
E. Charleston “D” Company
28th April: A circular letter was received from 15th Corps appreciating the work done during the recent advance.
30th April: 2nd Lt. N.H. Mason (wounded 4/4/17) rejoined battalion for duty.
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