WAR DIARY

1/8th (ARDWICK) BATTALION MANCHESTER REGIMENT

NOVEMBER 1918


NOVEMBER 1 1918 - BEAUVOIS
During the morning a Battalion Tactical Scheme was carried out - Assembling on tapes & initial attack under barrage with two objectives. Afternoon football & games.

NOVEMBER 2 1918 - BEAUVOIS
The whole of the morning was devoted to musketry - range practices - and every man fired.
Afternoon football & pool shooting.
In the evening information was received that the Battalion would move forward the next day.

NOVEMBER 3 1918 - BEAUVOIS
At 1920 the Battalion marched off to SOLESMES, the move being made at night to ensure secrecy, as there were a number of civilians in the town. During the night a few high velocity shells were fired into SOLESMES but did not cause any damage.

NOVEMBER 4 1918 - SOLESMES
At 1230 hrs. the Battalion left SOLESMES and after a difficult march owing to road congestion & the bad state of the roads, was accommodated in crowded billets in BEAUDIGNIES.

NOVEMBER 5 1918 - BEAUDIGNIES
The march was continued at 0845 hrs. to HERBIGNY where a halt was made for dinner after which the Battalion marched into FORET de MORMAL towards FORESTERS HOUSE. At one spot the road was entirely blocked by a large crater, and the Battalion was held up about three hours. Eventually the Lewis Guns were unloaded from the limbers and manhandled forward - crossing two large craters en route. As it had been raining all day the men were wet through. The Battalion then relieved the 2nd Bn. Canterbury Regt. in the front line. This was a very difficult operation as the night was extremely dark, and the tracks which had not been reconnoitred, were in a very bad condition.
The line then ran approx. O26 d4.6 to O14 a3.0 with an isolated post on the Brown Line (BAVAI - PONT sur SAMBRE Road). Orders were received that the Battalion as part of the 126 Inf. Bde. would form up on the Brown Line & carry out an attack on the enemy position. As the 62nd Division on the left was some 3000 yds. behind and as the wood had not been cleared up this presented some difficulties both in forming up and in the actual carrying out of the attack. Although there was little time left before the time ordered for the attack (0630), the company commanders had such slight information of the general situation that it was decided to hold a conference. This was done and the Company Commanders rejoined their Companies in barely sufficient time to assemble their companies on the "kick off time".

NOVEMBER 6 1918 - FORET DE MORMAL
The section of machine guns attached to the Battalion - later reinforced by a complete M.G. Company - was disposed in the scrub in O20 b & O21 a to protect the left flank whilst the battalion proceeded to the assembly positions by shooting the southern portion of the wood, along the road running North East through O26 a & b, O27 a, O21 c and d. The assembly was however successfully completed just before zero - D right front, A left, C Right Support, B left.
The attack was made with little or no artillery assistance although the enemy position was strongly held by machine guns particularly on the left flank from which a strong enfilading fire was catching our men in the rear. On the right D Co. succeeded in advancing several hundred yards before being held up by the intense machine gun fire which was causing heavy casualties. On account of the left flank being entirely exposed & the enemy using his machine guns with great effect only a short advance was made and eventually when there were signs of an enemy counter attack materializing from this quarter, the left flank was reposed back to the edge of the wood.
In the meantime the rations had arrived (about 0800) but as it was impossible to deliver the rations to the Companies - the movement of a single man at once drew heavy fire - rations dumps were made in the houses along the brown line so that the men could reach them easily at dusk. The remainder of the day the men were compelled to be out in the open in the rain without food or shelter - their last meal was at 1700 hrs the previous day.
Although there was not sufficient artillery to afford an effective barrage, very useful work was carried by them in firing on such enemy field & machine guns as were located.
In the evening orders were received for the Battalion to resume the attack early next day. As it was decided that the Bn. would not again attack until the division on the left (62nd Div.) had reached our kicking off line - the Brown line, the Zero hour could not be fixed and the Battalion was to advance as soon as the Barrage fell.

NOVEMBER 7 1918 - FORET DE MORMAL
The Battalion was however to be formed up ready by 0700. Again there was little time to issue orders & the men were withdrawn & formed up on the Brown line only a very short time before 0700. The barrage which was quite light fell at 0845, and the men despite their great fatigue & the fact that they were wet & cold advnaced with great spirit & determination and reached their objectives - the road running N. & S. through HARGNIES - without more opposition than a solitary machine gun in VIEUX MESNIL. Patrols were at once sent forward into VIEUX MESNIL which they reported clear of the enemy. The advance was continued with the 1/5 East Lancs. on the right & 1/10th Manchester R. on the left - this Unit was now in reserve in HARGNIES.

NOVEMBER 8 1918 - HARGNIES
As the 62nd Division was not so advanced as the 42nd Division A & B Cos. were sent forward to fill the gap & defend the left flank. In the evening the Battalion concentrated in billets in VIEUX MESNIL as the enemy was now retiring quickly and no serious fighting was expected.

NOVEMBER 9 1918 - VIEUX MESNIL
The Battalion rested during the morning & in the afternoon moved to Billets in HAUTMONT. The accommodation was very good and the Battalion very comfortable.

NOVEMBER 10 1918 - HAUTMONT
The Battalion spent the day in reorganisation & cleaning up billets. The men were still very tired.

NOVEMBER 11 1918 - HAUTMONT
Day spent in cleaning up, washing equipment, etc. Afternoon Football.
At 11 am Armistice with Germany came into force. The Bugles of each brigade in the Division sounded "The Stand Fast" followed by the "Dismiss". There was little excitement about the Armistice even among the civilians.

NOVEMBER 12 1918 - NOVEMBER 16 1918 - HAUTMONT
Training commenced - chiefly drill for the purpose of smartening up the men & tightening up the discipline. Arms & saluting drill, close order drill, P.T. & B.F. Afternoon football and games.

NOVEMBER 17 1918 - HAUTMONT
Sunday. Church Parades were ordered but were cancelled on account of the Influenza Epidemic.

NOVEMBER 18 1918 - HAUTMONT
Morning Battalion Route March - NEUF MESNIL, VIEUX MESNIL, BOUSSIERRES. Afternoon football & games.

NOVEMBER 19 1918 - NOVEMBER 22 1918 - HAUTMONT
One company on range daily. The remainder of the Battalion carried out smartening up training & musketry, followed by an hour's route march in full marching order so that the Battalion might be gradually hardened for the expected march towards the Rhine.
All men not inoculated during the past twelve months were again inoculated.
Afternoon football & games.

NOVEMBER 23 1918 - HAUTMONT
Battalion Route March in Full Marching Order via FONTAINES - ST. REMI MAL- BATI - BOUSSIERRES.
Afternoon Football & games.

NOVEMBER 24 1918 - HAUTMONT
Sunday. Church Parades for all denominations.

NOVEMBER 25 1918 - HAUTMONT
Battalion Parade. Company Inspections, Close Order Drill, Musketry, P.T. & B.F.

NOVEMBER 26 1918 - HAUTMONT
Brigade Commander's Inspection of Battalion including Transport Q.M. stores. All orderly Rooms & Regimental Institutes.

NOVEMBER 27 1918 - HAUTMONT
Brigade Route March - Route P15 b85.10 - LA LONQUEVILLE - I36 a55.60 - BOIS DELHAYE - HARGNIES - VIEUX MESNIL - BOUSSIERES - HAUTMONT. Afternoon - games and football.

NOVEMBER 28 1918 - HAUTMONT
Smartening up drill - arms & saluting drill, close order drill, Musketry. Afternoon - games.

NOVEMBER 29 1918 - HAUTMONT
Brigade Route March via Q13 d1.1 - Q19 b7.5 - LES GRAVETTES - Q26 a3.2 - ST. REMI MAL-BATI - BOUSSIERRES - HAUTMONT.

NOVEMBER 30 1918 - HAUTMONT
The whole battalion spent the morning in salving & cleaning up the old battle area O24 b, P19.


No Casualty listings for the month.

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