October 1916, 10th Battalion RDF

The battalion continues training at Ostreville for the first 3 days of October. They then spend a day preparing to move on.

They then get transport to take them to Transport leaves for La Coutoube, en route for Acheux. Battalion parades and marches to Ligny-St-Flochel where it entrains for Acheux, arriving at the railhead there on 4th October.

After that it is another march to get to Lealvillers. Here they do get paid, but the weather sets in as very bad for the next 4 days. In bad weather they march on via Varennes to Hedauville, billeting in hutments when they get there.

After a night at Hedauville the Battalion proceeds to Mailly Maillet Wood East and take hutments and tents. Weather still continues to be very bad. But after another 2 days of training theweather improves when the time comes for them to go up into the trenches.

On 11th October they march out of billets to relieve the 4th Beds on the front at "White City". The White City is an area near Beaumont Hamel, including the Sunken Road and the Redan Crater.It is on the Auchonvillers (known to Tommy Atkins as"Ocean Villas") to Beaumont Hamel road. Much work had been carried out here in constructing dugouts and tunnels by digging into the extensive chalk cliff of about forty feet in height. The whiteness of the excavated chalk and the extent of the accommodation gave rise to its name. Battalion HQ remained at the White City, the rest of the battalion took over new positions to the east of Beaumont Hamel .

They remain at the front until 17 October, and get stuck in to the round of duties that a Battalion had on front line dury. They suffered 5 killed plus 40 wounded during this stint in the trenches. In addition a Lewis Gun crew under Lt Mount with 3 Other Ranks went missing. Repeated patrols failed to find any trace of the Lewis Gun crew. Lt Mount and Private Boyd were later found to be a prisoners of the Germans

Movement map for 10/RDF Oct 1916

Apart from repairing trenches and sending out patrols on a daily basis, there was a test attack using smoke bombs to see how the Germans would react. A patrol discovered a tunnel leading back from Redan to the German support lines

On the 17th October the Battalion marches back to Lealvillers and from there on to rest billets at Puchevillers for 3 nights. The weather is bad during this time. On to a camp at Hedauville on 21st October, where they remain until October 30th.

Each day around half the Battalion, under 4 or 5 officers were on fatigue duty at Knightsbridge Camp - this would have involved carting and manhandling ammunition or food. It was a major operation to keep the front trenches supplied, at at this point the British Army is gearing up for their next "Big Push" which means that vast amounts of artillery shells have to be position beside the guns.

Brigadier General Hon C J Sackville-West assumed command of the Brigade from Brigadier General Trotman on 23rd October, but his command only lasted 8 days as he was wounded, and command went to Brigadier General Heneker. 190 Brigade did appear to suffer from frequent changes in its Brigadier.

The Battalion moved up to Englebelmer on 30th October. Although they did not know it then, it was part of the preparations for the forthcoming "Push".

 

 

Oct 1916 War Diary

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