Finsbury Rifles

Away from the Western Front : 25th August – 31th August, 1917.

Back into the Front Line

shells bursting at dawn Gaza McBey 1506
Shells Bursting at Dawn on the Trenches round Ali-el-Muntar, on the outskirts of Gaza. James McBey © IWM (Art.IWM ART 1506)


In order to allow soldiers to cope with the stress of trench life and fighting,  British army practice was to rotate divisions between the front and rear lines for rest periods. However, although the troops were away from direct shelling or carrying out trench raids, these  ‘rest’  periods often included working on defences and intense training. Neither activity was welcomed by the soldiers who often complained in letters or diaries.

The 1/4 Cheshire Regiment were part of the 53th (Welsh) Division – hence the naming of the Flint, Merioneth and Caernarvon Redoubts along the defences facing Gaza.

This start of this period in the front line was relatively quiet for the Finsbury Rifles  but worse was to follow…


Date 25/8/17

Battn training. CO and Adjutant visited HQ 1/4 CHESHIRE RGT to arrange re relief. Reciprocal shelling of front line.

Location RIGHT SECTOR (Coastal section) LEES HILL Date 26/8/17

Holy Communion 0800 (Battn HQ) Bttn preparing to move into front line. Bn proceeding by companies commencing at 1830. Coys take over respective areas and front line trenches. Relief of ¼ CHESHIRES completed by 2330. CAPT the REV MARRIOTT reported for duty.

Date 27/8/17

Battn engaged settling down and squaring up generally. Trench improvement work carried out under direction of company commanders. Line quiet all day. Slight rifle and machine gun fire at night. Patrols found by coys in front line.

Date 28/8/17

Battn engaged on trench work. Repairs and general trench improvement. Small night time patrols sent out.

Date: 29/8/17

Trench work. Slit trenches being dug. Traffic trenches being improved. No Man’s Land patrolled by our Patrols. 2nd Lieu MACKAY and 2 Lt HOLLANDBY re-joined from hospital.

Date: 30/8/17


Work on traffic and.

Date: 31/8/17

Trench improvement work being carried out. The trench forward from front line commenced with a view to advancing our line. In the first place our two platoons post moved forward on much of land connecting LEES HILL and OUTPOST HILL about 200 yards in advance. Slight reciprocal shelling. slit trenches. PATROL under 2nd Lieu Driver found telephone wire and attacked our barbed wire. Our artillery active. Located enemy M GUN emplacement. Patrol heavily fired on. 2nd Lieut Driver and many slightly wounded. LT W S OWEN proceeded on English leave



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