Reinforcing the Redoubts
Reinforcing the Battalion
By summer 1917, the drafts of men sent out to join the 54th Division were no longer drawn automatically from the training battalions of the Finsbury Rifles and the other battalions in the division. Conscripts rather than volunteers were replacing men who had a local or regional link to their unit. Once they had arrived at the lines around Gaza, new drafts trained separately at first so men could develop the level of fitness needed for the harsh conditions and unforgiving climate.
However, each battalion still kept up its own ‘regimental identity’ which gradually focused on the achievements and history of each unit as local ties weakened.The Finsbury Rifles certainly had an active ‘Old Comrades Association’ for many decades after the end of the war.
Battn finding working parties of 1 officer and 50 other ranks each for work under orders of LADLE HQ OC WELSH Redoubt OC FLINT REDOUBT. Remainder of Battn training. Specialist classes as usual. Night working parties of 2 officers and 200 OR found for defence works (1930-0045). Battn engaged on musketry in afternoon. Slight reciprocal shelling during day DRAFT training separately.
Battn finding working parties of 1 officer and 50 other ranks each for work under orders of BURY HQ (Suffolk) Flint and WELSH REDOUBT and LADLE HQ. Remainder of Battn training. Specialist classes as usual. DRAFT training separately. TEMP/RSM C A KING left the Bn for ALEXANDRIA for passage home for checking on Home establishment. Our artillery active during the morning shelling TURKISH position.
Battn engaged by companies on rifle ranges (0600 to 1230).Night working parties of 2 officers and 100 other ranks for work under authority of OC Welsh and Merioneth Redoubts respectively. Men of draft inoculated against cholera. Orders received regarding move into reserve area.Belah.
Battn training in morning and engaged in the rifle range during afternoon. Eight working parties found (1930-0015) of 1 officer and 50 other ranks. Each to Welsh and Flint redoubts. 2 officers and 100 other ranks to Caernarvon Redoubt. Reciprocal shelling.
Battn engaged packing up and clearing area generally preparatory to moving tonight on relief by 2/4th WEST KENTS (53rd div) 2300 Battn relieved by 2/4th WEST KENTS and proceeding to new bivouac DEIR-EL-BELAH.
Location DEIR-EL_BELAH Date 4/8/17
Battn engaged squaring up new bivouac area.
Holy Communion at Battn HQ at 0800. Battn bathing and resting.
Company inspections and usual routine. Orders received for Bn to move to DORSET HOUSE (WADI REUBEN) in relief of Fife and Forfar Yeomanry.
Battn engaged in packing up and preparing for move tonight to new area. Battn moved off 1715. Relief supported in new area 2300. Lieut Sanderoff HG and 2nd Lieut Hockloney rejoined for duty.
Location DORSET HOUSE (WADI REUBEN) Date 8/8/17
Battn engaged in settling down and generally improving dugouts. New area very precipitous and dusty. Dugouts in good condition and well built. Front line quiet. Slight reciprocal shelling during morning.
Battn training under coy arrangements (9-1200). Specialist classes as usual.
Company and specialist training.
Company and specialist training. Preparations being made for all officers and NCOs D and C Corps with a proportion of Bn HQ to proceed to 54th Div Training Camp (Gaza and Shellal Maps 5 30 C) for training. Our guns shelling enemy positions. (2315 to 2400)