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Webmatters : War Diary: Royal Newfoundland Regiment, 1st July 1916
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War Diary

1st Bn Newfoundland Regiment


Saturday 1st July 1916

Trenches St John’s Road, Clonmel Avenue

July 1 1916

General attack all along the line.

0600 – 0730

Intense bombardment

0730

86th and 87th Brigades attacked 1st system of enemy trenches. 88th Bde under prearranged orders were to move forward at 0840 to attack 3rd line system of trenches. About 0820 received orders not to move until further orders. Presumably the first attack not having been successful.

0845

Received orders on telephone to move forward in conjunction with 1st Essex Regt and occupy enemy’s first trench — our objective being point 89 to just north of point 60 and move forward to Station Road clearing the enemy trenches — and move as soon as possible. Asked Brigade if enemy’s 1st trench had been taken and received reply to the effect that the situation was not cleared up. Asked Brigade if we were to move off to attack independently of Essex Regt and received reply in affirmative.

0915

Reported to Brigade that Newfoundland Regt was moving off. It was subsequently found that the Essex Regt did not attack until 0955 i.e. after our attack had failed.

The Regiment moved off in previously arranged formation i.e. A and B Companies (A on left) in 1st line in lines of platoons in file or single file at 40 paces interval and 25 paces between sections – followed by C and D Coys (C on left) in similar formation at 100 yards distance. C Coy had been specially detailed as consolidating company and therefore carried additional equipment.

The advance was made direct over the open from the rear trenches known as St John’s Road and Clonmel Avenue. As soon as the signal for advance was given the regiment left the trenches and moved steadily forward. Machine gun fire from our right front was at once opened on us and then artillery fire also. The distance to our objective varied from 650 to 900 yards.

The enemy’s fire was effective from the outset but the heaviest casualties occurred on passing through the gaps in our front wire where the men were mown down in heaps.

Many more gaps in the wire were required than had been cut. In spite of the losses the survivors steadily advanced until close to the enemy’s wire by which time very few remained. A few men are believed to have actually succeeded in throwing bombs into the enemy’s trench.

A report by Capt GE MALCOLM commanding D Coy 1st KOSB’s which formed part of the first attack carried out by the 87th Bde is attached.


The CO reported personally at Bde Battle HQ 100 yards behind our firing line that the attack had failed. Shortly afterwards enemy opened an intense bombardment of our trenches with heavy artillery which was kept up for some time.

During the night and evening unwounded survivors managed to crawl back to our lines and by next morning some 68 had answered their names, in addition to stretcher bearers and HQ runners. During the afternoon the 10% reinforcements under Capt FORBES-ROBERTSON arrived in the trenches and orders were received to occupy the support trench in the right sub-sector known as St James Street, where we remained on July 2nd.


July 3

Moved to support trench in left sub-sector known as FETHARD STREET. At night brought in some dead and equipment. Orders received to be prepared for counter attack and gas.

July 4

Much rain.

July 6

Regiment moved out of trenches to billets in ENGLEBELMER, strength 168 OR. During the afternoon the village was shelled.

A L Hadow Lieut Col
Cmdg 1st Newfoundland Regt.


Summary of casualties on July 1st 1916

  Officers Other Ranks
Killed 11 66
Wounded 12 362
Died of wounds 2 21
Missing believed killed 1 209

 

The ground across which Newfoundland Regiment advanced

The ground across which the Newfoundland Regiment advanced