October 1915

3rd Grenadier Guards, 2nd Guards Brigade, Guards Division – October 1915

1 October 1915 Came out of the Trenches and arrived at VERQUIGNEUIL at 6am after a very tiring tour of duty. Col Corry returned and took over command of the Battalion. 115 other ranks joined today
2 October 1915 Resting at VERQUIGNEUIL
3 October 1915 Moved forward again to so-called billets in the ruined village of VERMELLES. Terrific noise from our own guns with occasional bursts of shelling from enemy. ??? ???? in reserve to the 2nd Gds Brigade.
4 October 1915 (night) Took over first line Trenches from 5 K.O.L.W. ***KOYLI – Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry*** regt. Very wet dark night. Took 10 hours to get into our places. Very complicated plan of ½ finished Trenches: In some places within 30 yards of enemy and our left in a long finger actually resting on the HOHENZOLLERN redoubt. dug day and night – but difficult to make position even reasonably secure.
5 October 1915 In front line trenches left resting on HOHENZOLLERN
6 October 1915 In front line trenches left resting on HOHENZOLLERN
7 October 1915 In front line trenches left resting on HOHENZOLLERN
8 October 1915 In the afternoon we were heavily attacked all along the line. The enemy bombers rushed our left flank and came bombing down the line. They surprised and surrounded our own bombers killing most of them including Anson. A machine gun commanded by Lt R. Williams from 2nd Battalion was also killed and 3 successive machine gun sergeants. The two companies who occupied the finger nos 2 and 3 were ordered to retire down the communication trench and make way for bombs and bombers who were rushed up the support companies. The bombers of the 3rd Bn: Coldstream Guards who were on our right in the advanced line managed to stop the rush and our bombers coming back by various communication Trenches assisted in clearing the enemy out and the Trench was re-occupied. After the attack was over. (It was repulsed along the whole line with great loss to the enemy) two companies of the 1/Scots were sent to relieve our 2 forward companies. Captain C. Walker and Lt Agar Robartes was wounded. also Lt. ???Athnern???
9 October 1915 Same position – heavy shelling but no further attack was made. Relieved at 7pm and returned to VERMELLES. Capt. ? ? Stewart. Lts Hon R. Stanhope and P. M. Walker. 133 other ranks joined today.
10 October 1915 – do – 2/Lt RW ???? joined today
11 October 1915 In billets at VERMELLES. At night sent up 4  parties to carry gas cylinders into the trenches. 63 other ranks joined today
12 October 1915 Whole Guards division relieved and went into billets near VAUDRICOURT. Batt is a small village called DROUIN. Bad billets but fine weather.Capt George Powell had a bad cerebral attack and was sent home. 65 other ranks joined today
13 October 1915
The Battalion was in reserve and under two hours notice to move. Major G. Powell to England
14 October 1915
15 October 1915 Paraded after dinners and marched back through VERMELLES to take up a line of Trenches opposite BIG WILLIE & HOHENZOLLERN REDOUBT. The relief took a very long time and the communication trenches were shelled. Began a sap from K1* towards 1st Bn Coldstream Guards who were holding the line to just short of Point 60 /W/ *Ref: Trench map App: I
Capt Lord F. Blackwood and Lt O. Lyttleton joined this day. The latter took over duties of adjutant
16 October 1915 Trenches heavily shelled from 7-8 a.m. by guns of medium calibre. Received orders to complete sap, join with Coldstream and bomb down BIG WILLIE to meet 2nd Bn Scots Guards. Attack to start at 5 a.m. 17th. Were unable to complete sap and were unable to attack in consequence. Casualties* 5 killed 12 W 1 Missing. approximately. *Casualties from 8 p.m. of previous day throughout
17 October 1915 Very heavy and accurate shelling from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. by guns of all sizes. Capt Lord F. Blackwood was blown up by a shell and concussed. Soon after 12 noon Capt. Dowling and Lt. Hirst were buried in their dugout and had to be evacuated. No. 1 Coy had far the largest proportion of casualties.At night Major Montgomeries took out No. 4 and finished the sap. 11 K 33 W 1 Missing.2/Lt. P. walker went sick suffering from heart attack. The Battalion was relieved by 1st Bn Scots Guards and went into rest Trenches behind VERMELLES railway. (SUSSEX TRENCH) a smooth relief which finished at 2 a.m. Capt. Dowling, Capt Lord F. Blackwood, Lt. G. Hirst, 2/Lt. P. Walker casualties
18 October 1915 Resting
19 October 1915 do
20 october 1915 Paraded at 3 p.m. and went back into the line relieving 1st Bn Scots Guards. Started a fire trench parallel and close to BIG WILLIE (afterwards called KAISERINE TRENCH)
21 October 1915 Improved fire trench and continued sapping on KAISERINE TRENCH. Enemy snipers active. We accounted for 3. Major Montgomerie (the author of this diary) was shot through the head and killed on the night of 21/22 whilst superintending work on KAISERINE TRENCH under heavy fire. K 4 W 9 M -Sap completed to join with 1st Guards Brigade Major G.F. Montgomerie killed this day.
Buried at VERMELLES MIL. Cemetary
22 October 1915 Improved work of previous day. We sniped successfully with telescopic rifles from KAISERINE TRENCH but enemy’s fire from BIG WILLIE continued. Casualties 3 K 2 W M –
23 October 1915 Relieved by 4th Bn Grenadier Guardsent into billets at SAILLY-LABOURSE 26 other ranks joined this day
24 October 1915 Resting
25 October 1915 Paraded 9 a.m. marched to BETHUNE and entrained to LILLERS. Went into billets at NORRENT FONTES. Very wet. Capt E.N. Vaughan Lt R. Asquith joined this day. 5 other tanks joined today.
26 October 1915
27 October 1915 Dug practice trenches for bombing.
28 October 1915 Paraded at 12 noon for review by Colonel in Chief and marched to LILLERS. The review was however cancelled owing to an accident to H.M. the King.
29 October 1915 Training. Bombing etc. Lt Hon H.G. Eaton, 2/Lts I.F. Yorke (29th) A.E. Worsley joined this day
30 October 1915 Col N.A.L Corry D.S.O. on leave
31 October 1915 Major M. Maitland joined and took over command temporarily.

Appendix 1

Map of Trenches October 1915 following battle of Loos

***Note by Transcriber: Transcript of Report or Letter inc. in appendix***

2nd October

Many thanks for your letters of 27th, 28th, also two from father which I got yesterday. I will now try and give you a slight account of our doings during the last few days but as they have been so varied it will be rather difficult. As I think I told you in my last letter I went up to the trenches on the night of September 29th to take over command of the remnants of No. 1 Company. I started off from the transport field with the cookers at 5-30, in the rain. We had to go about 2 miles along the main road and then turned off to the left to get into LOOS. Just before we got into the village a Jack Johnson exploded about 15 yards from the loading wagon but none of us were hit. The Battalion were holding a disused German communication trench running straight out on the left of Loos, and the lines were roughly as follows:-

Hand drawn map of position on 2nd Oct

When I arrived at 7-30, No 4 with remnants of No.1 had just come in from digging trench B. This they had been doing all day under heavy fire and they were very exhausted having had no food for 24 hours. We soon got them some food and settled down for the night.

As you see by the diagram the trench we were holding was the second line. The ground slopes down slightly from Trench A and then up again to Trench B. It was over this ground that the Attack was made on Monday, one company having attacked the farm and wood.

September 30th, Thursday.

Stood to arms at dawn. Did not sleep in the night as it was so wet and cold. My company hold the part marked in black and with several machine guns in it. The Trench is very shallow in parts but we cannot dig down as it is full of dead, no our only hope is that they do not shell us. The men are trying to scoop holes for themselves underneath the wall of the trench. I went round and talked to them about the attack, they were in extraordinary good spirits and quite ready for another go.

During the morning I started reorganizing the Company, which was no easy job with only two Sergeants left. We also started to dig a trench behind a bit of the line, as there were about 15 dead Germans lying there who badly needed burying as they were beginning to get high.

Thank goodness it is a nice sunny day and the men can dry their kit a bit, what there is is very much torn but as there is any amount lying about they can make theirs up a bit.

About 12 the C.O. came round and told me to take half of the Company to trench A and get in touch with our 2nd Battalion, which I did. The new trench was much deeper and safer.

Nothing doing much in the morning but after lunch the Bosches began shelling a bit, but most of their attention was directed at the mine head at LOOS which I suppose they thought was an observation post.

About five of our aeroplanes came over and were heavily shelled but without success. I have seen no Taubes yet and I believe they hardly ever go up now.

We were to have been relieved at 7 p.m. by the Suffolk’s but they never turned up till 12.

1st October. (Complete my first year’s service).

Started off 2 a.m. and marched back about 6 miles to a village about 3 miles S.W. of B. Got in at 6 absolutely dead beat. Slept till 3 in the afternoon, when I got up and had breakfast. They had just finished calling the roll call and our casualties in No 1 as follows:

Officers: Killed 0, Wounded 2, Missing 1
NCO’s and Men: Killed 8, Wounded 55, Missing 39

The officers wounded are vivian and Ritchie but neither of them are bad. Poor Crabbe is missing but I am sure there is no doubt he was killed whilst getting over the wall of the farm, as I have asked those who were near him.

Fifty men came up from base this afternoon for No.1, so I have got quite a good Company now.

I am messing with No 2 Company as they have only two officers left and I am by myself.

What a joy it is to have a bed again and not such a bad one either.

October 2nd

Paraded 9 and read out various things to the men, one thing especially worth repeating:- “An English Officer who was in A ——– on the 25th reports that the Germans when they recaptured on of their trenches collected all the British wounded, placed them between two traverses and there bombed them to death.”

I think this will help our fellows know what to do when their revenge comes.

I had to collect the names of those who had done well in the attack. the only means of finding out as all the officers are casualties was to ask the men. They were all unanimous about Ritchie, I believe he did splendidly. Several of the men were also specially mentioned.

How long we remain here I don’t know, but don’t think for long.

The enclosed are two buttons off one of the aforementioned Bosches. I believe he was a Bavarian – Give Ru one, I got a letter from him today. When you write please thank him for it. Tell him I have not been able to find one of the helmets he mentions, but will do my best next time I am up.

Our casualtion in officers killed were extraordinarily light considering – only one – and six wounded, but I am afraid 1st Coldstreams ans Scots took a bad knock. In our 4th battalion I hear Miles Ponsonby died of wounds, and Tommy Thorne killed.

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4 thoughts on “October 1915”

  1. Roger Blinko said:

    September diary missing, here are casualties at the battle of Loos for period 27-30 Sept.

    001 ALLMAN F 11452 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    002 APPS W 14215 3RD BN 30/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    003 ARCHER S 19094 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    004 ATHERTON J 21661 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    005 BARR CE 21337 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    006 BENNETT A 21374 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    007 BERKIN ST 19060 3RD BN 29/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    008 BROOKS AJ 19072 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    010 BUCKLAND HC 20216 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    011 CHARD F 15897 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    012 CLARKE ES 20267 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    014 CROFT E 12129 3RD BN 28/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    015 CURTIS EA 12803 3RD BN 28/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    016 DAVEY J 10819 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    017 DOUTHWAITE GR 19619 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    018 FRANKTON WF 21537 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    019 HEWITT CE 21592 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    020 HIND J 16152 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    021 HUCKIN WH 21352 3RD BN 30/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    022 JOHNSTON WA 17849 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    023 JONES WJ 21114 3RD BN 29/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    024 JONES S 12539 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    025 JUDSON WT 18573 3RD BN 28/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    026 KING GH 11396 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    027 LAW R 19021 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    028 LAWS JJ 21335 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    029 LEARS J 20675 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    030 LILLEY EG 16841 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    031 MILLICHAMP BN 19123 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    032 MORLEY H 19155 3RD BN 29/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    033 MOTTERSHEAD A 13800 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    035 POUNCETT A 11256 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    036 SIMONS WC 16865 3RD BN 29/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    037 SNAILHAM CH 15156 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    038 STOKELL ER 20455 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    039 TANNER F 20409 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    040 THOMAS AC 19171 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    041 THOMPSON F 11083 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    042 UPPERTON W 14261 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    043 VAGG C 19865 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS
    044 WOOD F 20213 3RD BN 27/09/1915 GRENADIER GUARDS

    • Hi Roger, are these all casualties or just killed? My own relative (William Upfield Heathcote) was wounded in either September or October and it has been a mystery as to the specific date. Let me know if you find anything on him?

  2. Roger Blinko said:

    Sorry Jason should have made it clear they are the Commonwealth War Graves Commission deaths collated from Geoffs website at http://www.hut-six.co.uk/. I will keep a look out for William Upfield Heathcote.

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