Finsbury Rifles: Away from the Western Front. 17th July to 2nd August 1916.

Work on defences

The defence posts by the Suez Canal included a network of communication trenches.

Q57788

© IWM (Q 57788) Suez Canal Defences. Trench system, Ashton Post, December 1916. BYRNE STANLEY CESNOLA (COLONEL) COLLECTION.

Maintaining these trenches was a never ending task involving an immense amount of hard physical labour by the men. The trenches were lined with sandbags and boards but these gradually rotted away because of the heavy night dews and had to be replaced. The shifting sands of the desert gradually built up around the barbed wire defences and filled up the trenches despite their matting cover. It all had to be dug out and thrown at least 12 foot away.

 

Q57749

© IWM (Q57749). Suez Canal Defences. Fatigue party 1/11th London Regiment, 162nd Infantry Brigade, 54th East Anglian Division, repairing the revetting of a trench which had given way. Ashton Post, 1916. BYRNE STANLEY CESNOLA (COLONEL) COLLECTION.

 

The working day lasted 6 hours –usually split into a very early morning and a late afternoon session to avoid the heat of the day. In summer the temperature could reach 50 degrees Celsius.

 —————————————————————————————————————————————-

Date 17/7/16

Work on defences as usual. B Coy training. GOC 161 Bde visited the Post.

Date 18 to 19/7/16

Work on defences as usual. Battn finding usual guards and outposts.

Date 20/7/16

Work on defences as usual. Battn finding usual guards and outposts.

Date 21 to 22/7/16

Work on defences as usual. GOC 162 Bde visited the post.

Date 23/7/16

Divine service under Battn arrangements.

Date 24/7/16

Work on defences as usual. Remainder of Battn training 2nd Lt Gethy Bridge (13th Sherwood Foresters) returns to duty from hospital.

Date 25/7/16

Work on defences as usual. Remainder of Battn training.

Date 26 to 27/7/16

Work on defences as usual. Lt Gibson returned from duty with 162 Bde.

Date 28 to 29/7/16

Work on defences as usual.

Date 30/7/16

Divine service under Battn arrangements. Routine as usual.

Date 31/7/16

Routine as usual. 2nd Lt Lawrence rejoined for duty from Alexandria. C Coy commenced training.

Date 1 to 2/8/16

Work on defences. Training and usual routine. Lt WS Owen rejoined from English leave.

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