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Webmatters : War Diary: 13th (S) Bn Royal Irish Rifles -- 1st July 1916
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War Diary

13th (S) Bn Royal Irish Rifles


Company narratives

A Coy

From narratives received from the survivors it appears that A Coy on the right reached A1 German trench with 1 & 2 Platoons with very few casualties, then advanced into A2 Trench. During this time 3 & 4 Platoons were held up outside A1 trench and lost a great number of men by machine gun fire from the direction of ST PIERRE DIVION, also bombs thrown from A Trench which was not cleared. The remaining men of 3 & 4 then advanced and reinforced No 1 & 2 in A2 Trench.

They then proceeded to bomb their way to B line where they joined up with an officer of 11th R. Ir. Rifles as we had lost all our officers. This trench was held for a considerable time but owing to our bombs giving out & not getting any reinforcements we were ordered to retire back.

B Coy

No 6 & 8 advanced to A1 Trench but suffered very heavily before reaching it, most of the casualties being due to severe machine gun fire from the left. In this trench they found a large number of the enemy who surrendered & were sent back without escort to our own trenches. They then proceeded to A2 Trench but met with determined opposition & had to retire to A1 again. They blocked the A1 Trench on the left as they found the enemy advancing from that side & they succeeded in holding this against the enemy. Subsequently a party from these platoons advanced up communication trench to A2 line & held a position of that line by blocking the trench both to the right & left. Bombing parties of the enemy continued to harass them continually until they were withdrawn in the evening.

No 5 & 7 Platoons lost very heavily near the sunken road but the remainder went on and entered the A1 Trench. They then went on & entered communication trench near the point where it enters A2 Trench. They found considerable opposition at this point from the enemy bombing parties & were driven back to the A1 Trench.

They subsequently succeeded in bombing the enemy back up this communication trench into the A2 lines & put up a barricade at this point, which they held until after 8 pm when they received orders to retire to our own trenches.

Capt Johnston who was in command of No 5 & 7 Platoons was seriously wounded near A2 Trench early in the proceedings.

C Coy

No 10 & 12 Platoons went in support of A Coy & No 9 Platoon was following as a carrying Platoon. No 12 Platoon crossed the first line and almost reached the wire of the 2nd line trench, when they were held up by a strong point on their left, which appeared to be a bomb store & also a machine gun post. Just about this time Lieut Rogers was mortally wounded after having given the order for bombers to go to the left flank. The Platoon Sergt, Sergt Love was also killed and the platoon was commanded by Sergt Burns who got them into the 2nd line up the communication to the right. Here they met Capt Davidson who took command of this section of trench until wounded for the 2nd time, when Sergt Burns and Sergt Pikeman A Coy divided the command between them. They consolidated this sector and kept bombing the strong point on the left and supporting a party of the 13th R. Ir. Rifles until ordered to retire.

No 10 Platoon under 2/Lieut Armstrong followed No 12 but coming under MG fire from the strong point on the left went off to the right (as far as I can ascertain, as there are few survivors) and bombed their way up a communication trench into the 2nd line. 2/Lieut Armstrong was wounded here but continued to control his men & organised a sort of strong point near a dug out. They held this until forced to retire the 1st line again.

No 9 Platoon came on under the command of Capt WH Smyth who was killed almost immediately. They were the carrying platoon and some of them reached the first line with material, which after dumping there or carrying to second line was not required, as all the time was spent consolidating, holding the line & helping the fighting platoons.

D Coy

In the advance 14, 15, 16 Platoons reached the sunken road with few casualties but from there to the A1 line we lost very heavily. I (2/Lieut Fullerton) arriving there with about 16 men, we then proceeded to bomb dugouts from there to the left for about 150 yards & we took about 70 prisoners. Then we were held up by a bombing party of the enemy, but held on & succeeded in gaining another 50 yards. Owing to our bombs giving out we had to barricade ourselves & signalled for bombs & reinforcements but the enemy started to bomb us & we withdrew up the trench & barricaded ourselves again, but the enemy still continued to bomb us & I having only a few men left we had to withdraw back to our own lines.

Wm. Savage Col
Comdg 13th R. Ir. Rifles
7th July 1916