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Webmatters : War Diary: 9th (S) Bn Royal Irish Rifles -- 1st July 1916
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War Diary

9th (S) Bn Royal Irish Rifles


Narrative

07.30 am

The Battalion moved off from SPEYSIDE in column of route, the locality had proven a well chosen one.

A check occurred on the way up owing to the bridges allocated to the Battalion being used by other troops, advanced to SANDY ROW and ELGIN. The bridges over slits and fire trench were intact having been repaired just previous to the Battalion advance by 2/Lieut Haigh and the Battalion pioneers.

07.45 am

Scouts reported rear Battalions 109th Brigade moving off.

8.0 am

Whole Battalion in position for advance lying down east of sunken road in line of close column of platoons in fours.

About half a Company 15th Royal Irish Rifles and Captain Tate crossed into NO MAN’S LAND by our bridge; after crossing Sunken Road they moved half left to clear the Battalion.

8.5 am

Noticed 10th Royal Irish Rifles formed up for advance but could not see or hear of Colonel Bernard, who was to give pre-arranged signal for the joint advance of both Battalions.

Gave order for whole line to advance.

A good number of prisoners coming in across NO MAN’S LAND unarmed with hands up, these were chased down the ride alongside ELGIN AVENUE.

Immediately on passing GORDON CASTLE R.E. Stores were picked up by rear platoons.

On reaching WHITCHURCH STREET it was obvious that THIEPVAL VILLAGE was still occupied, machine gun fire was being brought to bear from this locality and trench mortars were at work from the same place but were not reaching our column.

Captain Byrne, 2/Lieuts Pomeroy, Jackson and McKee and two Company Sergeant Majors became casualties near the Sunken Road, about 40 men were also hit in NO MAN’S LAND.

8.10 am

Proceeded to Battle Hd. Qrs. With Adjutant.

8.50 am

Received a report from OC Left Company that they had passed ‘B’ Line and that he was mixed up with 108th Brigade (11th Royal Irish Rifles).

9.0 am

Left Centre Company reported arrival at ‘C’ Line and were mixed with 11th Royal Irish Rifles.

9.15 am

Scouts reported machine guns from THIEPVAL causing considerable casualties.

Communication with Companies by cable to being established and linesmen went out to repair line where possible; cable communication was never established with Companies owing to lines being cut, 7 linesmen were killed or wounded in endeavouring to repair the line.

9.50 am

Right Company arrived at ‘C’ line. The runner stated trenches much knocked about and advised that runners sent to Companies should go by way of A.10 and A 17 to B 17 to avoid enfilade fire from THIEPVAL.

10 am

The Battalion in the open between ‘C’ and ‘D’ lines, machine guns in action also Lewis guns,
Companies re-organising preparatory to advance on ‘D’ line.

When barrage lifted onto ‘D’ the two platoons as arranged went forward but it was difficult to keep the remainder of the Battalion back. Captains Berry and Sinclair were hit at about this time.

The loads of wire etc. had to a great extent been dropped by this time but the Lewis gun magazines were carried forward.

Major Gaffikin reported the wire to his front at ‘D’ line was sufficiently cut to allow the passage of troops but the wire in front of the Right Company was reported not so well cut.

About 35 men got into the ‘D’ line from the two Right Companies; they found ‘D’ line strongly held and a great number of them casualties through hand grenades. The trench had also evidently been held by Machine Guns and these had been moved to the flanks.

10.20 am

The left of the Battalion went back and started to consolidate B14 – B16 – C9.

On the right of the Battalion Lieut. Saunderson, Brigade Machine Gun Company, and late of this Battalion was in action in the open, taking advantage of shell holes, the Lewis guns were also in
action. The Stokes guns were not in action. A catapult carried by the Right Company was doing good work outside the Divisional area down the trench running from C6 to ‘D’ line.

10.40 am

A portion of the Right Company was still in ‘D’ line under Corporal Shortt, ‘A’ Company, he was subsequently killed.

2/Lieut. Gould and 2/Lieut. Norton who were in charge of the amonal torpedoes were hit in front of ‘D’ line and had to be left there.

10.50 am

A message was received at Battle Hd. Qrs. from Major Gaffikin asking that any spare Lewis gun magazines might be sent up, Lieut. Garner sent 5 buckets of magazines up and proceeded to
‘B’ line with a small party to search for discarded magazines and incidentally to look for a suitable Battalion Hd. Qrs. And Signallers dug-out.

Sergeant Moore (Signalling Sergeant) proceeded to CRUCIFIX and endeavoured to establish visual communication with Brigade O.P., but was unable to do so owing to Machine Gun fire, he reported one gun in action close to the CRUCIFIX but concealed.

At this time trench mortar activity became very general from THIEPVAL and the enemy shelled our own front line considerably with heavies.

10.55 am

A belated message received at Battle Hd. Qrs. From Left Company (Captain Berry) saying that he was badly enfiladed by machine gun fire from between D10 and D11 and could not get on and that he proposed to dig in where he was, half way up between ‘C’ and ‘D’ lines.

11 am

A runner brought in a message from Major Gaffikin saying that our front line was badly enfiladed from direction of BEAUCOURT on the left side and from THIEPVAL on the right.