Finsbury Rifles

Away from the Western Front : 1st – 13th June 1917

Training opposite Gaza

Gaza from Samson Ridge
A view of Gaza from Samson Ridge. George Westmoreland collection. © IWM (Q 12585)

More time was now being allocated for training now that the system of communication trenches had been dug along and behind the new front line facing Gaza. New officers and other ranks were joining the division and it was important that high standards were kept in up in all areas.

The 54th Division provided some of the specialised instruction. The signal sections attended a demonstration and lecture about carrier pigeons. The divisional veterinary section gave several lectures to officers about the management of and diseases in horses and mules. Camels were still used for bringing supplies up from the railhead on the coastal plain south of Gaza but mules were suited better to the rocky terrain ahead.

Conditions in the trenches deteriorated as the summer heat set in. It was recognised that well-trained and informed officers were key to managing good camp hygiene and thus keeping down the sickness rate..Lectures on sanitation were provided by the divisional medical sections

Following the boot and clothing inspection, new supplies reached the battalion. Greatcoats were needed at night when the temperature dropped.

Location DORSET HOUSE  Date: 1/6/17

Platoon and specialised training during morning. Reconnaissance by Commanding Officer of the Apex of SHEIKH ABBAS position for best route of approach in the event of a move by night from the battalion present position at Dorset House.

Date: 2/6/17

Platoon and specialist training till 1100. 1100-1200 Inspection by Company Officers of Men’s Clothing Boots..half holiday. Reciprocal shelling at intervals throughout the day LT WYNN EVANS  2013 arms (?) reported to B Coy CTC for  course of instruction  in Camel Management.

Date: 3/6/17

Divine Service under Rgt arrangements. Voluntary ……Servicing. LT H MA Goldschimdt reported to HQ 54 Div for instruction  in duties of Liaison Officer.

Date: 4/6/17

Early morning parade. Physical field TC. 9-12 Company Training. Battn finding working party 2 officers and 80 O/Ranks. Road marking under orders of Eastern Force RE. Officer.

Date: 5/6/17

Early Morning parades 9-12 Company training. 2 officers and 137 other ranks (3 platoons) attached to the Battn for instruction in various subjects connected with the operation in Palestine. One platoon of Devons posted to A.B&D companies respectively. The Battn innoculated against cholera.

Date: 6/6/17

Early morning parades 9-12 company training. Commanding Officer and adjutant visited 156 Inf Bde H.Q with a view to new position to be taken up in forthcoming move by the Battn.

Date: 7/6/17

Company training, Lieut HHA Goldschmidt returned from 54 Divis (Liaison Course) commanding officer proceeded to Nantern subsection as president of G.C.M Convened for 9th inst.

Date: 8/6/17

Commanding officer. 2 /LT W.Evans returned from 4 days course with Camel Transport Corps. Major T.S.Hammond (2nd in command) visited 1/4  R.Scots with regards to taking over on 13th inst.

Date: 9/6/17

Company training and nil inspections. Orders received in respect of the Battn relieving the 1/4 R.Scots at Marina View – Half Holiday.

Date: 10/6/17

Brigade Church Parade. Reciprocal shelling.

Date: 11/6/17

Company and specialised training. C.O. returned by night train from KANTARA. Heavy night reciprocal shelling. Successful raid by 52 Divs on an enemy strongpost. Garrison of 30. 45 man all captured or killed by us. Further we captured…(?) Lewis gun and 20 rifles. We sustained no casualties.

Location DORSET HOUSE Date 12/6/17

Company and specialist training. CAPT PRIDHAM 1/5 DEVONS all 1/11 Londons proceeded to Leiturn for Range finding course.

Date: 13/6/17

Early morning parades. Remainder of day spent on striking Bivouacs and clearing camping area preparatory to morning to relieve 1/4 Royal Scots of 52 Div in left sector, Marina View. Battn moored independently by companies starting at 1800. Relief completed by 2045. Battn area at Dorset House together with area stores taken over by 1/5 KOSB.

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