War Diaries of Harry's Battalion August 6th

I've just discovered and downloaded the "War Diaries" of the 9th Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment, Harry's Unit. These astonishing documents are available online from the Public Records Office, Kew website.

They give a day-by-day account of the activities of the battalion. I now have to decide how to deal with the information. It is fascinating to put the "official" account against Harry's letters. In the future, I'll publish the entry in the battalion's war Diary alongside the letters but I'm left with the problem of dealing with the retrospective material.

PLAN I'll publish several days worth each day, starting with the beginning of June. I'll insert a second copy in the correct chronological place in the blog. Then, as time goes on, I'll withdraw the bits that are in the wrong time slot.

PLEASE. Use the comments to help me decide if I'm doing the right thing. I have collated comments into one post that should be available in the next week or so. If you wish to have a comment included, all you have to do is write it.

1st Extract

War Diary 9th Bn York and Lancs. Regt.

June 1st Bn was relieved in the early morning in the BUND by the 12th D.L.I. There were two casualties on the way to camp owing to enemy shelling back areas with gas shells. The Bn arrived in P camp at 3.30 am, but moved in the evening to bivouacs at S24 b4.5

June 2nd to June 5th Bn at S24 b4.5 Coys were inspected by the C.O. and thorough organisation of coys for the for the coming offensive was carried out.
On the evening of the 5th the Bn moved via Vlamertinge, Hruistraat and the N end of BUND to the following dispositions. Bn H.Q. HALFWAY HO. A, B & C Coys WELLINGTON CRESCENT
and D Coy MAPLE TR.

The sketch map from 1915, although out of date, shows the location of Halfway House and Maple Copse. (Maple TR Above?) Click on the map for an enlarged view.

June 6th On the evening of the 6th Bn moved to assembly positions previous to the attack. Bn front being from N end of CANADA St to dead end of front line. There were no casualties whilst the Bn was assembling.

The battalion is nominally around 1000 men, split into 4 Companys. Harry was in "C" Company.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Firstly, I think this is excellent. I first heard about it on Five Live a few weeks ago and have been checking in every day since, after getting up to speed with the ealier material. I'm only in my late thirties, but have always been fascinated by the World Wars, particularly the First, when the sacrifices ordinary people made was incredible. I have a young son and intend to ensure that he continues to remember them. I visited the Thiepval Memorial in the Somme a few years ago, and intend to take my son there one day when he is old enough to start to understand.

With regard to the war diaries, why not upload all of them to date in one place so that we can "catch up" and include a copy in the right place chronologically to date and from now on. Provided you refer to them occasionally, people can go to find them. I know I went back to the beginning when I first visited your site.

Please keep this going. I think it is hugely important. The last surviving British soldier who served in the trenches is 109 years old and once he's gone it will be harder and harder to keep people interested in what is one of the most important times in our history.

All the best.

Ed Quarmby, Cornwall