Title - War Diary of the 1st Barnsley Pals

June 30The Battalion strength 23 Officers 698 Other Ranks under command of Lt. Colonel Wilford left BUS at 7.40PM and marching with the rest of the 94th Bde. proceeded to our Assembly Trenches West of SERRE. Transport, Details & Reinforcements left behind amounted to 10 Officers and 174 Other Ranks.
July 1 
5AMBattalion formed up in Assembly Trenches ready to advance.
7.30AMAttack on German Lines and village of SERRE commenced the Battalion being Right Reserve Bn. and following in close support of the 11/E. Lanc. R. Two Platoons of A Company under Lt. Maleham (Clearing up Party) followed the 2nd wave of the 11/E. Lanc. R.
7.40AMB Coy under Major Guest followed their 4th wave, with orders to advance to the 4th German Line while the remaining 2 platoons of A Company under Capt. Gurney advanced over our trenches into our Front Line. The advance was carried out in perfect order under a terrific hostile artillery bombardment and Machine Gun fire; Major Guest and all his Officers, as well as those of the "clearing party", being killed or wounded before reaching the First German line.

Although this advance had to be carried out under a perfect tornado of fire all ranks advanced as steadily as if on a drill parade. Major Guest, Lt. Heptonstall and three men of B Coy reached the German front line - Major Guest and the three men were killed and Lt. Heptonstall was wounded in the side but fell into a shell crater where he remained till nightfall when he managed to crawl back to our lines with information as to what had occurred.

9AMOrders were received for C Company (Capt Currin) and D Company (Capt Smith) to advance to & hold the 1st & 2nd German Lines respectively, as a support to our first 4 waves who were then thought to have succeeded in reaching the German 4th Line. While these two Companies were moving forward they were stopped by verbal orders from the Brigadier who had now received information that all our preceding waves had been Decimated and had consequently not reached their objective. C & D Companies were then ordered to re-organise in MONK TRENCH and Lt. Colonel Wilford was ordered to collect what men he could of any units and organise the defence of this trench as our second line as a German counter-attack was feared.
11AMThe situation at 11AM was as follows:-
A few men of A Company under Captain Gurney assisted by stragglers from other units holding our original Front Line Trench which had been practically levelled to the ground while C & D Companies and small parties of other units were holding MONK TRENCH as a second line, the 92nd Brigade which had been in Divisional Reserve in SACKVILLE STREET and HITTITE TRENCH having just received orders to withdraw from the line into Corps Reserve.

All afternoon and evening our trenches were subjected to a very heavy bombardment with heavy HE & Shrapnel which lessened at dark.

5PMC Company was sent to relieve the survivors of A Company who had been holding our Front Line and they were withdrawn to MONK TRENCH. The available strength of the Battalion at this time was about 280 all ranks.

The night was spent in collecting wounded & dead within our line and from NO MANS LAND, and in repairing our much battered trenches and consolidating our position.

Captain Currin and volunteers from C Company did splendid work in rescuing wounded from NO MANS LAND under continual fire. Several wounded & unwounded managed to return from NO MANS LAND under cover of darkness from shell craters in which they had been hiding.

July 2Reinforcements consisting of 5 Officers and 45 men arrived from those left behind at BUS. The day & night was spent in repairing our trenches, clearing the battlefield, bringing in dead & wounded and burying the dead.
July 3Similar to the 2nd.

Crown copyright: The National Archives. This document may be copied and downloaded for personal and research use only. You must apply to The National Archives for permission for any other use.

Email: andrew.jackson@btinternet.com

Top | Barnsley Pals | Accrington Pals | Sheffield City Battalion | Site Map