July 1917

3rd Grenadier Guards – War diary

1 – 2 Jul 1917 The Battn was at WYLDERS in very scattered billets. The first three days were taken up in making practice trenches for the proposed ??? ??? offensive.
3 Jul 1917 Owing to the billets being so scattered, the Battn moved then to HERREEZE close to where the training area was.
4 – 5 Jul 1917 The attack of the Blue and Black lines (the first two objectives) was practiced. The actual lines etc. were considerably ??????? with a view to the inspection by H.M. the King.
6 – 9 Jul 1917 The inspection took place on the 6th, after which training continued on more definite lines, & the advance to the green line (which was to be our objective) was practiced.
10 Jul Battn training continued till the 10th when Bde training began. This consisted of the Battn advancing in artillery formation and passing through the 1st Battn Scots Guards.A plan of the Bde area of the attack on BOESINGHE sector was made at BHQ with all the prominent objectives marked. Coys had the use of the plan about 1 hour daily & their ?leader? all the principal features of the com??? area which the attack was to be made.
12 Jul 1917 Lt. Col. Thorne D.S.O. rejoined the Battn from England and resumed the command of the Battn. Major G. Rasch DSO (who had been Lt Col during Col Thorne’s absence, went to his ????. HERZEEZE
13 Jul 1917 The Battn moved to the FOREST AREA (All Coys) Bivouac 16 where it stayed for the night. BELGIUM 28 N.W.
14 – 16 Jul 1917 On the 14th the Battn moved to A12d17 with HQ in a farm house & the Coys in bivouacs round two fields. There great attention had to be paid to camouflage, as German aeroplanes were constantly flying over, & there was a certain amount of shelling neighbouring guns.During the stay at A12d, fatigue was done nightly. About 300 men were on average were employed nightly. fatigues consisted chiefly of carrying T.M. ammunition to front line & sandbags, wire etc. to various places.

The Battn suffered a few casualties during this period. After the Battn had been here a few days the camp was shelled by 5.9” but only the good frontline little damage was done. The ??? training done was ??? ???? of signallers and stretcher bearers.

18 Jul 1917 2 Lt G. Roper joined the Battn.
21 Jul 1917 On the night of 21/22 the Battn relieved the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards in the Right Bde sector of the BOESINGHE area.Dispositions were:

No 1 Coy 3 platoons in the right front line, 1 in WALL PRANTZ (this had to be evacuated due to very heavy shelling).
No 2 Coy 3 platoons to left front line, 1 in S line.
No 3 Coy in X line
No 4 Coy 1 platoon in Y line (which was also evacuated) Y 3 platoons at BILLIEP FARM.

There was a great deal of shelling during this tour in the line & the Battn suffered the following casualties in the five days up:- 27 killed; 11 Died of wounds, wounded 45 O.R. gassed 10 O.R. Concussion 7 O.R. Wd & D at 2 Officers & 2 O.R.

25 Jul 1917 On the night of 25/26 No 4 Coy relieved No 1 Coy in the front line owing to the latters heavy casualties. No 4 Coy was to have carried out a raid across the canal on this night to ascertain what enemy were holding the  opposite front and to discover if the YPER LEE was a serious obstacle.On the previous night (24/25) 2/Lt W.G. Webster had made an excellent reconnaissance of the canal + had marked four places on which the canal could be crossed without the men getting very wet, as in many places the water reached well up their middles.
26 – 27 Jul 1917 On the night of 26 – 27 the Battn was relieved by the 3rd Battn Coldstream Gds during daylight. The relief was carried out without any trouble, & the Battn returned to Bivouac 10 (???? Area). Here the final arrangements for the offensive were carried out; the attack expected to be daily & was eventually settled to be the 31st zero at 3.50 AM.
27 Jul 1917 Major G.C.C. Rasch D.S.O. rejoined the Battn from hospital.
29 Jul 1917 50% of the details remaining out of the attack moved to HERZEEZE under Captain J. Cragie & 2 Lt G. FitzGerald. Remainder stayed in bivouacs.
30 Jul 1917
At 9.30 pm on the 30th the Battn moved off to go to the assembly area. Major G.G.C. Rasch DSO remained in command of the details, of which there were approximately about 40 a company.5 pm
Administrative arrangements completed.

9.30 pm
The Bn (less No 4 Coy under Lt Heasman detailed for carrying parties marched off from No 10 Bivouac forest area moving by infantry Track II & Railway St. (Picketted by Bn Police).

Bn Rendezvoused S.W. of PILLS DUMP where Battn had hot tea & rum.

31 Jul 1917 12.40 am
An advanced Bn Headquarters party to-gether with Platoon marchers moved off under 2/Lt L.HOLBECH to the assembly area in open Between WAALKRANZ-ROTHERHAM Rd RAILWAY ST and X Line.Disposition of Companies in assembly area.

No 1 Coy {No 2 Pn  No 1 Pn  No 6 Pn  No 5 Pn} No 2 Coy
No 1 Coy {No 4 Pn  No 3 Pn  No 8 Pn  No 7 Pn} No 2 Coy
No 3 Coy {No 9 Pn  Bo 10 Pn  No 11 Pn  No 12}

As soon as the marchers were in position the Bn advanced party moved forward crossing the canal just at zero hour and joined the 4th Wave of the Scots Guards.

1.15 am
Bn recommenced march to assembly area.

3.30 am
Bn in position. Bn H.Q. in X line. No shelling at all up to this time.

3.50 am
Zero. Slight German shelling but on trenches and not in assembly area.

5 am
No 1 Coy moved off followed by No 2 and No 3. All were in artillery formation. Bn H.Q. moved at same time from X line.

5.30 am
All the Battn across the canal. The crossing took place S. of Railway Bridge.

5.40 am
The Battn pushed on towards the Blue line & the first casualties were incurred S.E. of artillery wood.

5.50 am
No 2 Coy disengaged & came up on left of No 1 Coy. BHQ established at PALLISADE FARM. Hostile machine gun fire from about TAMBOUR HOUSE caused about 20 casualties but was silenced by Lewis Gun fire and No 1 Coy.

6 am
Nos 1 & 2 Companies finding very few Scots Guardsman in this front available for the capture of the BLACK LINE deployed into two waves. No 3 was in support in artillery formation. The Battn then moved forward close up to barrage & captured the BLACK LINE halting at Right angles to STADEN RAILWAY and 50 x

6.40 am
N.W. of Wood House. A party of Scots Guards under Capt BRADSHAW moved up between 1st + 2nd waves and No 3 Coy. This party then went through our line & halted 50 yards in advance of it. B.H.Q. established with 1st Bn Coldstream Guards at C1.B.6.7.Aeroplane ground sheets were put out & we communicated our position to our contact aeroplanes by means of the ???? flapper. Machine gun fire from the railway (dealt with by No 1 Coy) and indirect machine gun fire from about the STEENBECK.

7 am
Companies were reformed in preparation for advance to GREEN LINE.

7.14 am
The advance commenced. There was a considerable amount of opposition here from casemate Block Houses along the Railway in the 38th Divisional area. This necessitated the extension of No 1 Coy to the right and reinforcing the 2nd wave. The right of the Battn began to check but reinforcements from No 3 Company carried the line forward. At the same time No 2 Company captured a Block House on the left containing 4 machine guns. 3 Officers and 50 OR. This was just short of the Green Line. No 2 Coy also assisted No 1 Coy with covering fire (Rapid Lewis Gun).

7.55 am
The GREEN LINE was captured and consolidation commenced. No 2 Coy here got in touch with 1st Battn Coldstream Guards on the left. VULCAN CROSSING was captured by No 1 and 3 Companies. Covering fire from No 1 Company was brought to bear on to the enemys machine gun at about U27c & d central which enabled 38th Division to continue their advance to the GREEN LINE where they commenced to dig in and to where they were in touch with No 1 Company.

Two (2) platoons No 3 Coy assisted No 1 Coy to dig in. The remainder of No 3 dug a support line about 300 yards in rear of Green Line. The Germans put down their barrage on road (VOLCAN CROSSING-KORTEKEER ????). Battalion Headquarters established at C2.a.8.9.

1 Platoon 2nd Bn Grenadier Guards assisted No 3 Coy to capture a M / gun post on right of Railway.

8 am
Covering patrols (2 lewis Guns from each front Company) went out up to the Barrage.

8.40 am
2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards commenced moving through The 3rd Battalion held their lines as above until after dark when No 1 Company came back and dug a line on the left of GRAND BARRIERE House. No 2 Company continued to hold the Green Dotted Line, No 3 Company the Support Line and No 4 Company the BLUE LINE. Exceptionally heavy rain fell all the evening & all night.

10 pm
Lt. M. ?Dacqumoy? brought up Pack animals as far as the GRAND BARRIERE House with water, ammunition and rum which was issued to companies on animal.

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