Early Days in France.


The 19th battalion endured a none to smooth Channel crossing and arrived in the port of Le Havre at Midnight on the 8th November. The men disembarked at 7.00am the next morning and went to Number 5 rest camp. In the late evening the Battalion entrained, for Pont Remy and marched to Beaumetz, where it was billeted until remained training until the 17th, when it moved to Flesselles. Only one day was spent there and on the 18th they moved to Coisy, where it remained training until the 28th. The next move was to Canaples and here the saty lasted until December 8th.

On the 9th, the battalion moved to Berles-au-Bois, where it was attached to the 110th Brigade. Here, the Officers and N.C.O’s went into the trenches for the first time for instruction under Officers of the 6th Leicester’s. Part of the Battalion also went into the trenches, whilst the remainder underwent instruction by the Royal Engineers in wiring, revetting and digging. The tour lasted until the 17th when the Battalion left and marched to La Herliere where it supplied working parties. The battalion moved to Halloy on the 24th and on Christmas day marched to Boisberques, where it remained in training until the 3rd January 1916 when they marched to Naours.

The next day, the Battalion marched to Pont Noyelles and the following day to Sailly Laurette.


On the 6th January the Battalion marched to Bray where it was met by guides and taken to Bronfay farm. Three Companies were billeted in Billon wood and the battalion supplied working parties. On the 8th, the Battalion took its place in the line, relieving the 14th Warwick’s in the Carnoy trenches.. They remained there until the 12th when they were relieved by the 19th Kings Liverpool Regiment. The Men marched to Bray where they were billeted until the 16th when they were once again back in the trenches. The enemy were more active around this time and a good deal of shrapnel started to fall on the front line trenches. It was during this tour that the Battalion suffered its first battle Casualty when, on the 19th January, 12599, Private Matthew White of A Company was killed by what the Battalion War Diary Described as a “chance bullet”.


Matthew White was the Son of Harry and Amelia White of 14, Louisa Street, Miles Platting. He is buried in Carnoy Military Cemetery.


The Battalion alternated between billets at Bray and the Carnoy trenches until the 7th March. There was intermittent shelling during most of this period and the Battalion lost over 20 Men killed and a good number injured. The men spent most of their time cleaning and improving the trenches which were in a particularly bad condition, the mud being indescribable. On the 7th March the Battalion moved to Bois des Tailles where it remained until the 14th when it moved to Corbie. The following day, the Battalion moved to Frechencourt where it remained until the 29th providing working parties for the light railway being constructed for the approaching battles.

For the next month, the Battalion alternated between Corbie, Bray and the Carnoy defences providing work parties and carrying out training.


 On the 24th May the Battalion left the Carnoy defences and marched to Maricourt, the enemy keeping up a brisk machine gun and rifle fire on the Men as they marched. On arrival, the Battalion, along with the 2nd Wiltshire’s and the 2nd Bedford’s helped in the construction of an advanced trench which was being dug. During this spell, the enemy livened up the situation with artillery. There were numerous casualties.


The first few days of June were uneventful. On the 5th the Battalion relieved the 2nd Wiltshire’s and took over the Maricourt defences. Mining and working parties were supplied by the Battalion. On the 11th, the 17th Manchesters relieved the Battalion and the Men marched to Bois de Celestins. The next day found the Battalion at Briquemesnil where a model of the Battalions objective for the forthcoming battle had been constructed in great detail. It was studied in great detail by the Officers and in the afternoon the Men went over it in attack formation.



It was obvious to the Men that an attack was imminent and preparations gathered pace. By the 21st June, the Battalion was at Bray making its own preparations for the forthcoming battle.

On the 29th June, the greater part of the Battalion moved up to the trenches leaving behind a reserve of Officers and Men. In the Evening a party consisting of Lieutenant Higgins and Second Lieutenant Craston with 37 other ranks undertook a raid on the German front line with the objective of securing a prisoner. The party left the trenches at 11.20pm after a 15 minute bombardment. They returned at 11.40 without a prisoner stating that the front line had been levelled and no enemy were to be found. One man was killed on the return journey.

 During the Night of the 30th June the Battalion took up Battle positions in the valley in front of the objective-the Village of Montauban 3000 yards distant.



Part Three

The Battle of the Somme- The assault on the Glatz Redoubt