March 1918

3rd Grenadier Guards – War diary

1 Mar 1918 Batt billeted on LEVIS BARRACKS Training confined to steady drill.
2 – 3 Mar 1918 Relieved 1st Bn Coldstream Guards in the left part of the Divisional Sector. Dispositions No 4 Coy Right front No 2 Coy Centre No 3 Coy Left front No 1 Coy Reserve.Quiet relief. Work concentrated on wiring & improvement of trenches. A hostile attack was expected but apart from intermittent shelling of the strong point line & front posts the tour was uneventful.
7 – 8 Mar 1918 Relieved by 1st Bn Scots Guards, became Intermediate Bn. No 1 Coy in HUDSON, No 3 Coy in HUDSON & HARRY, No 2 Coy in HARRY & No 4 Coy in CHICKEN RESERVE. Bn found about 120 men daily for fatigue, chiefly employed by N.Z.E.T.C. otherwise work was concentrated on improvement of CIVIL AVENUE & Intermediate line.
12 Mar 1918 Personnel to be left out in accordance with SS135 were sent to AGNES LES DUISANS (Reinforcement Bn) under Lt BEDFORD. Lt. PAULING M.C. posted to No 3 Coy. Lt E.N. DE GEIJER to No 4 Coy.
12 – 13 Mar 1918 Relieved by 1st Bn Scots Guards. After relief Bn less No 1 & 3 Coys proceeded to ST LAURENT BLANGY by march route as no trains were available. No 1 Coy & No 3 Coy remained in TRIPOLI & LEMON respectively as a hostile attack was expected the following morning. No 2, 4 Coys were accommodated in dugouts in railway cutting G.13.b.d & Bn HQ at G.18.b.5.0.The Battn was ordered to remain in a state of readiness from 5.0 am on the 13th. Every man had an 2 extra bandoliers & bombing section were supplied with bombs.
13 Mar 1918 No attack developed. Coys cleaned up. Baths at ATHIES allotted.
14 – 15 Mar 1918 No 1 Coy was withdrawn from TRIPOLI & No 2 Coy relieved No 3 Coy in LEMON.Training was confined to steady drill, Box respirator drill & Lewis Gun instruction. The Bn was to relieve 1st Bn Coldstream Guards on night 16/17th but relief was put off for 1 day owing to a raid being carried out by the Division on the left.
17 Mar 1918 Voluntary  services held in morning. Bullet and Bayonet competition took place on 15th Div’l range. Won by No 11 Platoon with No 10 Platoon second.
17 -18 Mar 1918 Relieved 1st bn Coldstream Guards in front line. No 4 Coy on Right No 2 Centre No 1 Coy Left No 3 Coy in support. Lt. Col. A.F.A.N. THORNE D.S.O. rejoined Bn from leave.Tour was very quiet. Hostile attack was still expected. Enemy trench mortared our wire.
19 – 20 Mar 1918 Div. Relief – Bn relieved by 1st King’s Own Regt & returned to LEVIS BARRACKS by march route. Battn in billets by 3.30 am. Change in weather. Very heavy rain fell.
20 Mar 1918 Kits inspected & Coys cleaned up.
21 Mar 1918
The German attack began at 5.15 am and ARRAS was bombarded. During the morning the Battn recieved orders to be at 2 hrs notice to move. Several shells fell near LEVIS BARRACKS and No 1 Coy suffered 4 casualties as they were marching to the training area. It was decided that as little movement as possible should take place, and training was confined to musketry & gas drill which was done in barrack rooms.At 5.30 pm orders were received to move to ?MERCAVEL? (M291) area. Battn marched off at 6.50 pm, and was accommodated at CARLISLE ???? (M226) in a hutted camp.
22 Mar 1918 Reveille at 5.0 am Breakfast at 6.0 am. ?Davies? cooked immediately after breakfast were eaten, in case Battn received further orders to move at short notice. Coy Commanders regrouped at BHQ at 5.55 am to reconnoitre with Commanding Officer the 3rd system of front of NEVILLE VITASSE & N of HENIN SUR COJEUR (N27). Training was carried out in huts.At 2.30 pm Coys marched off and day is as follows. No 1 Coy M362 (in front of ?MERCATEL?) No 4 Coy M306 on left & No 3 R reserve, No 2 L reserve BHQ in ?huts? at M23 central. Only such kit as could be actually carried was taken from CARLISLE Camp. Greatcoats were taken. Front Coys were ordered to keep in touch by patrols with 1 C.G. & 1 S.G. who were in front occupying the 3rd system remaining in rear of HENIN SUR COJEUR (T26).
23 Mar 1918 At 3.0 am the Commanding Officer received verbal orders from the Brigadier (Colonel Follett, general Brooke having gone to hospital gassed) to move at once to relieve remnants of 93rd Bde in line T14c80-T21c45, S of line held by 1 C.G.; 2 Coys to be NE, 2 Coys SW of Railway. On reaching BO YELLES it was found that the 93rd had only just taken over the line and required no relief. The Commanding officer at once withdrew No 1 & 4 Coys by small parties from the front line, as the West Yorks were already in the position to be occupied by these Coys. No 1 & 4 Coys accordingly withdrew to trenches in S24C.No 2 & 3 Coys dug in at T20a.34 & T20.c.3.o. No 2 with left on railway. BHQ at S19.a.2.9, but moved during the day to sunken road at S30a.7.8. Lt G.W. Seymour was wounded.

That evening No 2 & 3 Coys relieved the West Yorks in the front line. No 1 & 4 Coys moved into trenches vacated by them in T20a34 & T20c.3.0..

24 Mar 1918 HQ of No 2 & 3 Coys moved back from railway cutting to support line in No 4 Coy area as cutting was heavily shelled. dispositions were now No 2 Coy in R No 3 on L from BANK Copse T21c24 – junction with 1 SG T14c62.Enemy were seen advancing by twos and threes but were scattered by rifle fire from No 2 & 3 Coys. They turned right handed below the crest where they dug in.

Patrols were sent out at night to find dead or wounded, but there had been attacked and no identifications were obtained.

25 Mar 1918 At 3.0 am ERVILLERS was reported to have been captured by the enemy, & the Battn was ordered to dig a defensive flank from T20a58 T19b.8.0. This was done by No 1 Coy but was not marked. Orders were also received that a withdrawal would probably take place to the ADINIER line (purple line). This was reconnoitered by 1 officer per Coy.No 3 Coy reported at 3.0 pm that the Germans were dug in in front of our wire, dressed in pack ?orders?, with their left opposite our right centre platoon about 50 yards away and stretching up to the end of Battn frontage.

About 10.0 pm orders were received, cancelling all previous orders, to retire to a line, which was not yet dug, running from S27b.6.8. – S23a.22. Order of Coys were 1 2 3 4 from right. Withdrawal was successfully carried out, Coys leaving at ½ hour intervals. Lewis Gun sections remaining till end.

Slits were dug in new position, & were completed just before daylight. Lt Pauling M.C. & 2/Lt Dunbar were killed. Lt N. De Geijer took command of No 3 Coy.

26 Mar 1918 BHQ established at S21b.5.6. Intermittent shelling all day. Germans were seen in large parties in HAMMELINCOURT and MOYENNEVILLE.
27 Mar 1918 Relieved at 2.0 am by 2 C.G. and came into Div Reserve. Dispositions were 1 2 3 4 Coys from left in old German ***’HINDENBURG line’ crossed through*** line from S26.d.83 – S23C. BHQ at S26950.At ?11.0? pm West Yorks who were in front of Battn were attacked and surrounded so that 2 I.G. who were on their right were forced to retreat.

This attack was accompanied by a heavy bombardment of valley where BHQ was situated. The Battn became front battn again. East Yorks also returned and formed up in valley. Enemy were occupying slits left by West Yorks opposite our No 2 Coy and endeavored to continue their advancement onto this Coy but were driven off by Lewis Gun and Machine Gun fire.

At 3.40 pm a further attack took place on the right area of 31st Div. Enemy were checked in S10a.0.b & S4c.

27 – 28 Mar 1918 That night the following allocations in dispositions took place No 3 & 4 Coys were relieved by 2 Coys of 13th York & Lancs up to road at S26c97. After relief No 3 came into reserve about S26a50 & S26b58 (2 platoons at each point). No 4 Coy relieved B Coy Y & L who was between our No 1 & 2 Coys. The Y & L the side slipped to right of No 2 Coy then withdrew into support at work at S26b57 (where HQ had moved to during afternoon but had vacated and moved back to junction of roads S20a50).Finally No 3 Coy moved up to S28c38 to get in touch with 2 C.G. to S22a65. No 3 Coy had 3 platoons in front line and 1 in support. Above dispositions were completed just before dawn.
28 Mar 1918 At 7.0 am a heavy barrage was put down on support Coy (No 2) and at 7.30 am enemy attacked posts of No 4 Coy & of 13th Y & L Regt. Strength of enemy was about 200 advancing in 4 to 5 waves.Our posts gave, but Lt G. Fitzgerald who was Commanding No 4 Coy quickly organized a counter attack from the support platoon of Y & L Regt & having launched this, organized a similar one from No 4 Coy. These counter attacks entirely defeated the enemy, who were ejected from our posts and retired 3 to 400 yds behind. No 2 meanwhile had formed a strongpoint in rear of No 4 Coy. Remainder of day was uneventful except for heavy bombardments lasting for 15 minutes on our front line posts.

Casualties following officers wounded 27th Capt Parke, Capt. Carrington, Lt ?Berwell?, 2/Lt Tate, Lt Van ?Raining?, Lt Fish (Medical Officer). 28th Lt Ellison, Lt Orriss. 30 O.R. killed 98 O.R. wounded 4 OR missing.

29 Mar 1918 Relieved by 1 S.G. and returned to Sugar Factory S19b in Bde reserve, No 3 Coy remained in slits along ridge from S25b76 – S26a58. They were withdrawn the following day. Coys slept the night in huts but moved out at 5.0 am, into trench running round the factory. 5 casualties during these 2 days.
30 – 31 Mar 1918 Relieved 1 ½ Coys of 2 G.G. & 2 ½ Coys of 2 C.G. in front line. Battn became left Battn of Bde & Division was organised on a three Bde front.
31 Mar 1918 A quiet day – but little hostile artillery activity.

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