Away from the Western Front : 1st – 14th July 1917

Night Working Parties

The bombardment of Gaza James McBey IWM1508
The bombardment of Gaza: Moonlight from an observation post near the sea. James McBey.© IWM (Art.IWM ART 1508)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working on the defences at night was another solution to the problem of warfare in the searing heat. Needless to say, this was extremely unpopular amongst the men. The work was planned and directed by the division’s Royal Engineers. The 495th (1st Kent) Field Company  who directed the works had served at Gallipoli while attached to another division. and had joined the strength of the 54th Division once in Egypt in 1916.

Date: 1/7/17

Holy Communion by Chaplain 0800. 5 officers and 300 men required for work on defences under orders 163.INF BRIGADE. (0700-1200).

Date: 2/7/17

Battn finding working parties 5 officers and 300 other ranks for night work on defences under orders of 6th ESSEX REGT. H.Q. Range finding commenced also Bombing course under Regimental arrangements (20.15 – 00.45). EL ARISH REDOUBT and UMBRELLA HILL bombarded by 54 Divsl Artillery (15.05-15.25).

Date: 3/7/17

No working parties required. Training of Specialists carried out during morning. Usual Bathing Parades before 1100 and after 1500 for remainder. Slight reciprocal shelling. 2nd LT D. GRAY. SCOTTISH RIFLES ATTcd 1/11 LONDON RGT REPORTED for duty.

Date: 4/7/17

Battn finding working parties 3 officers and 150 other ranks for work on defences under orders of 163 Bde. Orders for relief of 1/5 BEDFORD in Redoubt line cancelled. One company proceeded to relieve 1 Coy  1/4 Northants attached 1/5 BEDFORDS as Company in Reserve. A Coy (Capt HEILGER) rejoined the battn from attachment with 1/10 LONDONS at WART HILL.

Date: 5/7/17

Battn finding working parties 2 officers and 100 other ranks for work on MERIONETH communication trenches. 2 officers and 100 other ranks for work under orders of 163 Bde and 1 party, 1 officer and 50 other Ranks under orders of the 232 Bde (75 Divs).

Date: 6/7/17

Bayonet fighting (6-7) Company and specialist training (9-12) GAS Helmet Drill. 3 Officers and 200 other ranks  work on defence under orders of WESTHAM HQ (1/6 ESSEX) (19.30-00.45).

Date: 7/7/17

Specialised Training during morning. 2 Officers and 200 other ranks working on Merioneth Communication Trench (19.30-00.30).CAPT AT LEWTHWAITE rejoined Bn from Hospital. Orders received for 3 Platoons 1/5 DEVONS attached this battalion to leave and take over portion of Front Line trenches in LEFT SECTOR. 15 other ranks K.R.R attached to this battalion reported for duty. ENGLISH parcel mail received.

Date: 8/7/17

Detachment 1/5 DEVONS left the Bn (0545) and proceeded to front line trenches. Company on detachment with 1/5 BEDFORDS (Capt W.S.Owen) rejoined battalion on relief by 1 Company 2/5 HANTS – Holy Communion by Chaplain – 08.00.

Location MARINA VIEW Date: 9/7/17

No day working parties, Battalion Training (Company and Specialists) Night working party of 2 officers and 100 other ranks for work on Merioneth Communication trenches (7.30-00.30) 13 other ranks rejoined from hospital.

Date 10/7/17

Battn finding working party of 3 officers and 250 other ranks for work on defences under orders of 161 Bde ,495 COY R.E (Kent). Remainder Bn training. Night working party of 2 officers and 100 (7.30-12.00) other ranks  found for defence works under orders of O.C 1/4 Essex (20.45-00.30) – 30 ranks rejoined from hospital.

Date 11/7/17

Battn finding working parties of 5 officers and 130 O/Ranks for work on defence under orders 163 BDE (07.30-12.30) Remainder of Battn training. Small ENGLISH mail rec’d.

Date 12/7/17

Battn finding work parties of 3 officers and 130 other ranks for defence work under direction of 495 Coy RE (KENT). Also 3 officers and 120 of ranks for work under orders 163 BDE (07.30-12.30) night working party of 1 officer and 50 other ranks under orders of OC 1/4 ESSEX RGT (20.30-00.45) Capt Mellor – 1st GARs BN Kings Liverpool RGT attached 1/11 LONDONS reported for duty.

Date: 13/7/17

Battn finding working party of 3 officers and 150 other ranks for defence works at SHEIKH AJLIN under orders of 163 Bde. Party shelled by enemy – no casualties remainder of battn and specialists training.

Date: 14/7/17

Battn finding working parties of 3 officers and 150 other ranks and 2 officers and 125 other ranks for work on defences under orders of 161 Bde and 495 7 Coy RE (Kent) (07.30-12.30) – Capt WS Owen left Bn for temp duties with 54th Divs Successful raid by 1/8 Hants (TF) of 163 Bde on beach post (Left sector) timed for 23.00 under cover of heavy bombardment by our artillery. Our captures 18 Turkish prisoners and 1 MG on sledge mounting. 20 Turks killed and several buried in debris of Post due to our fire, our losses slight, 1 killed, 1 missing, 48 wounded. Later report from 163 Bde. Enemy killed beach post 48 (Sugar Loaf 12. Estimated number killed by our fire 25-30. Further captures 1 man died…and 16 rifles)

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