Away from the Western Front : 17th – 30th October 1917.

 

 

shells exploding over Gaza McBey IWM 2940

Gaza : the shells on the left are bursting on El Arish Redoubt: a view from the slot of an observation post at shells exploding over Gaza. There are two large explosions on the far left and another two on the far right, with the buildings and minarets of the city visible in the middle. James McBey © IWM. (Art.IWM ART 2940)

 

Training intensified in the lead up to Gaza. In October those skills learned and practised in  platoons and companies during the summer, were developed at  battalion and brigade level. The message for the soldiers of the EEF whether they were peacetime territorials  or wartime conscripts was that  bravery and courage alone would not bring success. The key to victory would come through training as an efficient fighting force being able to put everything they had learned into action whatever the circumstances  .

 

Practice attacks were carried out in the Belah area. A model of the El Arish redoubt was constructed and used by the 54th (East Anglian) Division – nothing would be left to chance!

 

Date: 16/10/17Bn Parade 0745, operations on prepared area 1600-1700 specialists training.

Date: 17/10/17

Bn Parade 0645. For Brigade operations on prepared area. Specialists training 1600-1700

Date: 18/10/17

Specialists and company training (6.15-700)(800-1100) 1100 Kit Inspections.

Date: 19/10/17

Combined brigade operations on prepared area (0700-1200) Specialist training 1600-1700.

Date: 20/10/17

Brigade operations at dawn on prepared area. Bn paraded 0245 returned to Bivouac area 0800. Address by GOC to all officers, W.Officers and sergeants in the Brigade 1645.

Date: 21/10/17

Brigade Parade for divine service 0830 Remainder of day quiet.

Date: 22/10/17

Company and specialist training during morning. Bathing for all ranks during the afternoon. Lt HHA GOLDSCHMIDT entered hospital.

Date: 23 to 24/10/17 (24)

Company and specialist training. Inter platoon competitions in Lewis gun, bombing and rifles, signalling and s(tretcher) bearers competitions. Conference.

Date: 25/10/17

Company and specialist training. Final competitions in various specialist branches. Regt Boxing Tournament during afternoon. GOC and staff of 162 Brigade present.

Date: 26/10/17

Practice attack on prepared position by Bn (0700-1200) Bathing parades during afternoon. 2 LT HORDER attached 486 CORE to hospital.

Date: 27/10/17

Company and specialist training during morning. Regimental sports and concerts. Heavy thunder storm with torrential rain. 1st rain of the season.

Date: 28/10/17

Celebration Holy Communion 0730. Confirm of C.O at Bde HQ. Capt L.H Newton rejoined from Delta and W.Force HC Cairo.

Date: 29/10/17

Company and specialist training during morning. Orders received for Bn to move to Regents Park area prior to operations.

Date: 30/10/17

Company and specialist training (830-1100) remainder of day spent getting ready to move. Bn moved 1800 by March Route to Regents Park area. Enemy lines heavily bombarded by our artillery.

 

 

 

 

Artilley Officer in OP

A young British artillery officer stands within an enclosed and covered observation post, observing British artillery fire through a device positioned on the parapet. He looks through a small loophole, the upper wall of the parapet partly made from sandbags.James McBey © IWM (Art.IWM ART 1451)

 

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Singing for Change: EYFS Sing-a-Long

Back by popular demand! 

Join us for a reprisal for our fantastic Under 5’s Sing-a-Long Session.

Singing for Change

IMG_254610.00-11.30 am, 24th May 2018

Join musician Paul on an imaginative adventure through Islington’s heritage. Let’s

celebrate how Islington’s residents have stood together to fight for their rights, time and time again. Lot’s of dancing, singing, chanting and playing – come along!

FREE. 

 

Away from the Western Front: 30th September – 16th October 1917.

                               The Allenby Effect

Gen Edmund Allenby mcBey 1552

General Sir Edmund Allenby KCB : 1918 James McBey © IWM (Art.IWM ART

 

 

After the failures to take Gaza in March-April 1917,  it was clear that the Egyptian Expeditionary Force needed a fresh approach and a new command structure. General Sir Archibald Murray was posted back to the UK to be head of the army  in Aldershot while General Sir Edmund Allenby took over as Commander-in-Chief of the EEF at the end of June 1918.

General Allenby had served for 3 years on the Western. He had learned the hard way what was needed to fight a modern technological war. One crucial aspect of this was listening to subordinate commanders . General Murray had failed to do this at Second Gaza with disastrous results.

General Allenby re-organised the EEF into 3 corps -2 infantry and 1 cavalry. This allowed heavy artillery units to support the infantry corps more effectively. He moved the HQ to Cairo to Khan Yunis, south of Gaza which was far nearer the front line . He also  introduced relentless and focused training throughout the EEF to bring up  levels of fitness and technical knowledge. Everyone would know exactly what they should be doing for the forthcoming third attack on Gaza.

 

Location CENTRE SUB STATION RESERVE (COASTAL SECTOR)

Date: 30/9/17

Bn: engaged in settling down and generally improving bivouac area. Working parties found of 2 officers and 160 men for works under RE direction, 1430 and 1900 (respectively 40 and 120 men). CAPT G.R.MELLOR attached from 1st (KINGS) LIVERPOOL RGT LEFT today to rejoin his original Bn: under orders from DAG.GHQ. Voluntary Service by Chaplain 1600.

Date: 1/10/17

Bn engaged on Training. Special classes of Bombers and Lewis Gunners formed. 2 officers and 160 men engaged under RE for work on defences.

Date: 2 to 3/10/17

Bn Training. 3 officers and 300 men onward morning training on defence works under orders O.C front line sections. 2 officers and 200 men engaged under direction of RE on defence works vc. Lieut ROBERTSON (transport officer) necessary personnel proceeded for duty to 92b by ASC 75th division.

Date: 4 to 5 /10/17

Bn finding big working parties for Front Line Commanders and RE defence works.

Orders received to move to Northern BELAL area to train for coming operations.

Date: 6/10/17

Entire Bn on working portico and Brigade fatigue work. C.O proceeding along cont. Northwards, by steam drifter for reconnaissance work.

Date: 7/10/17

Communion service 0900. Remainder of day spent in in packing up and otherwise getting ready to move. Bn relieved by 1/4 R Scots at 1800, and proceeded by March Route to new Bivouac area at Belah, there to train for forthcoming operations.

Date: 8/10/17

Day spent in squaring up camping area at BELAH. Kit inspections and bathing under company arrangements. 11 Other Ranks rejoined from hospital.

Date: 9/10/17

Inspection of Bn by C.O followed by company training and battalion close order drill. Conference of C.O at Brigade ND.

Date: 10/10/17

Bn: engaged in training in attack formation based on new organisation (0800-1200) all officers attending C.O conference at 1630.

Location BELAH N AREA Date: 11/10/17

Bn under training 0630-0700. Bayonet fighting 0800-1200. Bn Parade. 1600-1700 Bn classes in bombing and Lewis gun.1800-2000 Night work.

Date: 12/10/17

Bn Parade 0700. Practice attack on prepared positions. Specialist classes as usual.

Date: 13/10/17

Bn practising attack on prepared positions 0700-1200.

Date: 14/10/17

Divine service in conjunction with the 1/10 LONDON at 0830. 2LT G.A. PARRY rejoined from hospital.

Date: 15/10/17

Bn Parade 0700 practice attack on prepared positions. 1600-1700 specialists training – Lieut F HEILGER rejoined from hospital.

Date: 16/10/17

Bn Parade 0745, operations on prepared area 1600-1700 specialists training.

 

 

 

Away from the Western Front: 12th – 29th September, 1917.

Reciprocal shelling, night patrols and anti-gas training

British Small box respirator ww1

The Small Box Respirator was the most advanced and successful anti-gas equipment used by the British and Dominion forces during the First World War. Introduced in 1916, it became standard issue during 1917. The respirator consisted of a face mask with glass eye-pieces connected to a metal ‘small box’ filter (containing  active charcoal and granules) via a flexible hose. Its practical design meant it could be put on and used very quickly in case of a gas attack.

General Murray had obtained permission to deploy gas to increase the striking power of the EEF  in early 1917. However, there were many misgivings about this amongst officers and men. Gas shells were fired quite ineffectively against the enemy during the disastrous second battle for Gaza. As part of the intensive training that followed  this defeat, ‘gas schools’ were set up to train soldiers to cope with gas attacks. The EEF feared  that it was  likely that Germany might provide the Ottoman forces with gas shells of their own and prepared accordingly.

Date 12/9/17

Usual working parties employed on general improvement work. Instructional Demonstration in the Small Box respirator given at H.Q of 54th Divs attended by the C.O.M.O. and 2 Coy Comdrs and 2 cos per company. Slight enemy shelling during the morning. No damage to our line.

Location LEES HILL Date 13 to 15/9/17

Bn engaged on general improvement of front line trenches. Working parties from 1/10 LONDONS engaged (0700-1000) and (1900-2200) on widening and deepening Communication and Traffic Trenches. Usual Night Patrols. Reciprocal Shelling morning and evening, no casualties or damage sustained by us.

Date: 16/9/17

Celebration of Holy Communion at Regtl Aid Post by Chaplain at 0930. No work performed. Front Line quiet during day. Our artillery very active between 2200 and 2300.

Date: 17/9/17

Work on Trench Improvements, small working party from 1/10 LONDONS assisting. Heavy Turkish Shelling of our Front Line. Slight damage to Trenches and wire cut in several places. 4 men wounded of this bn.

Date: 18/9/17

Quiet Day, slight reciprocal Shelling in Evening. Work as usual on Trench Improvements.

Date: 19 to 20/9/17

Work on Trenches, widening and deepening. Line quiet. Usual night Patrol work.

Date: 21/9/17

Continuance of Trench improvement work. Slight reciprocal Shelling at intervals during day. Lieut Sander wick commended by G.O.C. for good Patrol work in neighbourhood of MIDDLESEX HILL. Party heavily fired on by Turks. Lieut Sanderwick slightly wounded, also one rifleman, otherwise Patrol returned to our lines intact. Sergt RALPH recommended for reward for good work performed and coolness displayed on this occasion. CAPT L.M. JONES reported from Hospital. CAPT F.J.F.H. HEILGERS to Hospital. Orders received for relief of this Bn by 1/4 NORTHANTS, this Bn taking over area vacated by 1/5 BEDFORDS who relieve 1/4 NORTHANTS in Redoubt Line.

Date: 22/9/17

Work as usual improving Trenches and communication. Usual Night Patrol work. Slight reciprocal shelling during the day.

Date: 23/9/17

Celebration of Holy Communion in Regt Aid Post by Chaplain at 0930. No work performed. Draft of 26 of Ranks reported from Egyptian BASE DEPOT. Orders for relief cancelled.

Date: 24 to 25/9/17

Work on Trenches and communications as usual. Usual light Patrols. Slight reciprocal shelling morning and evening.

Date: 26/9/17

Work on Trenches and communications as usual. Our artillery active during day. Turkish Positions on Outpost Hill heavily Bombarded early morning of 26/27th (0345) by our artillery. Turkish retaliation during our bombardment and for a short while afterwards caused us no damage and inflicted no casualties.

Date: 27/9/17

Bn: engaged on Trench improvement work. Usual Nightly Routine Patrols. Comdr in Chief awarded MILITARY MEDAL to 450005 Sgt S.C.RALPH for coolness and gallantry on patrol night 21/22nd  Sept 1917.

Date: 28/9/17

Bn engaged on Trench improvement work. Usual patrols. Orders received for relief of 1/5 A and S HIGHLANDERS, (relief by 1/4 Northants cancelled).

Date: 29/9/17

Bn engaged preparing to leave LEES HILL. Relief effected by 1300 and Bn proceeded to temporary bivouac area to await nightfall before moving across Kurd and BORDER VALLEYs to new bivouac area on the LEFT of the coastal section. 1/11 LONDON relieved the 1/8 HANTS.