September 1916



1 Friday and 2 Saturday

No entries

3 Sunday

A terrific arty fire could be from about midnight until midday.  To me it seemed to be in the direction of Peronne.  What it was I have no idea but it was on the French front.

4 Monday

Heavy fighting also going on about Guillmont.

5 Tuesday

Very heavy arty fire went on since early this morning and ceased abruptly about midday.  Heavy firing again from 6 pm until about midnight.  It rained practically the whole day lone and very cold.

6 Wednesday

Fighting seems to be going on near Guillimont and Guinchy according to the sound of our guns.  Very heavy all the morning until just after 1pm.  From 6pm the arty fire all through the night was very intense.

7 Thursday

Our guns still going at it for all they can right throughout the day.  It seems to be on the right of our line and the left of the French line.  I suppose our people are making excellent progress.  Saw 12 of our planes going towards the line today.  This occurs almost daily.  One German plane over today.  The first I have seen here.

8 Friday

Orders last night at 9pm to move off with 5 men.  Left HQ at 6.30am stopped at Henencourt one hour then Lavieville.  Passed through Albert, saw the damaged church with figure of Madonna lying right over the street below. Went over a few of our new lines. 6pm prompt British fired a mine near Foureaux Wood then our guns started.  The noise was deafening.  The SWB[1] + Glosters attacked and gained objectives but were enfiladed out of the position.  About 4 prisoners I saw came back.

9 Saturday

Could not sleep all night, firing was so heavy.  Intermittent shelling all day.  7.30am 12 men, 1 Ofr. of 23 Bavarians, 2 men of 18th —-2 of the 211th Bremen brought back at 2pm.  Got a souvenir from one of them.  Another attack for the same position started at 4.45pm.  One of our planes I saw fall in flames.  Air fights galore all day.  Have heard nothing definite but understand that Bdes. of the 1st and 15th Divs. took and still hold High Wood.  The artillery fire was intense the whole night.

10 Sunday

We took over lines from 15th Div. today.  14GBde went to Mametz Wood 150 Bde in support in front of Mametz Wood.  The usual arty fire but no Inf. actions.  I had a very busy day fixing up Sig Office.  Enemy attempted counter attack at 10pm on High Wood but failed.

11 Monday

Brig-Gen Clifford 149 Bde killed by sniper in High Wood.[2]  I fixed Vis. Station to 150 Bde.  Laid aeroplane dropping stn.  Enemy busy shelling Mametz Wood and vicinity.  While fixing Vis. Stn. I was shelled out of it.

12 Tuesday

Nothing special all day except a German plane I saw brought down by one of our airmen.  The German fell in flames.  The arty still busy but quiet to the last few days.  They have not been able to recover Brig.-Gen Clifford’s body yet after his funeral was arranged to take place in Albert at 11am.

13 Wednesday

Nothing of importance except plenty work preparing for the scrap on Friday.  Gen Clifford was buried this morning.

14 Thursday

Had a distant view of one of our “Land Dreadnoughts”[3] as they are called.  Fixed visual station in case wires go in bombardment.

15 Friday

Firing commenced at 6am.  By 6.50 aeroplane dropped MB stating that the 1st + 2nd lines had been taken.  200 prisoners up to 5am.  Total prisoners at 6pm, 1200 including a Gen. and his staff.  I think there would be a total of about 1500 today.  A few guns and M.Guns captured.  Our troops got through Martinpuich and Flers.  I suppose “Land Dreadnoughts” did well.  A large number of German wounded passed through.  11 ms.[4] by aeroplane.

16 Saturday

Rain during night.  Bombardment started again about 9am.  French on our right are firing very heavily.  Only about 23 prisoners today.  These were brought back about 5pm.  Official report of prisoners yesterday was 2300 including three battalion MORs.  Our field guns and a few heavies moved forward tonight.  11 messages by aeroplane today.

17 Sunday

Situation this morning quiet.  Busy making dugouts near visual and dropping stations.  Nothing all day but the usual artillery fire.  Four messages by aeroplane.

18 Monday

Very miserable wet day.  Nothing of note except mud and that is ankle deep.  Fritzy dropped a few shells near our HQ at about 10pm.  No damage.

19 Tuesday

Weather still very unsettled.  Heavy artillery firing went on all night.  9am left HQ to lay a line from centre of Mametz Wood to near cemetery at Bazenten-le-Grand.  Got back at 8.20pm.  Had neither dinner or tea.  The roads are in a fearful state with mud.  Heavy firing could be heard all day on the French front.

21 Thursday

Weather clear but cold.  Arty fire heavy at times during the day.  Fritzy set something on fire in direction of Albert with his shells. 8pm wires to 149 and 151 Bde down so had to man visual stn.  Another heavy scrap coming off in the morning.  The fire mentioned above was a S.A.A. store near Becourt.  Fritzy had got one of his shells onto it.

22 Friday

Our men of 149 Bde went across at dawn without a shot fired at them.  They found the German trenches empty.  It later turned out that he had fallen back about 5kms to a ridge near Eaucourt l’Abbaye where our planes report him eagerly entrenching.  About 14 of our planes went over and attacked the enemy O. Balloons with five rockets.  It was a novel sight to see the bombs explode.  It is rumoured that 6 O. Balloons were destroyed.  11.6pm airship seen going towards enemy lines.  Believed to be French.

23 Saturday

No very lights on our front during the night.  Patrols did not come in contact with enemy.  German officer captured during night says that no enemy are on this part of the line nearer than Le Sars.  Not so much arty until afternoon.  Splendid weather for aeroplane work.  Numerous air fights between 5 and 6.30pm.  I saw none brought down.

24 Sunday

Nothing special all day but the usual heavy shelling of Fritzy’s lines.  Enemy shelling in vicinity of Shelter Wood tonight.  Weather fine.  Plenty aeroplane scraps.  I fancy the Hun is in for it again the way our guns are pounding away.  I had a bath today in cold water.  It was glorious after so long without one.

25 Monday

New Zealanders attacked at 12.50pm and within 25 mins had gained both their objectives, Geudencourt and Lesboeufs and Morval were also taken this afternoon.  150th Bde were bombing up some German comm. trenches.  Our guns are still firing heavily.  Fine weather for aerial observation.  Numerous short air fights.  About 6 prisoners came through here today.  Seven messages by aeroplane today

26 Tuesday

8am 6 prisoners brought down and a few more later in the day.  Our men are still pushing forward.  Combles has been taken by the French.  Also rumoured that Thiepval has been taken.  Weather still fine.  I saw 40 of our planes in the sky together about 6pm.  Fritzy dare not show his face at all.  Had a very heavy day myself today.  Confirmed that Thiepval was taken at 1pm.

27 Wednesday

Wind changed and blowing strong.  Slight rain.  2.30pm very heavy firing on our front like another attack in progress.  Heavy firing on French front all day.  Firing this afternoon turned out to be a bombing raid up the Hun trenches.  At 10.15pm German aeroplanes dropped bombs in our 2nd Fd. Coy camp killing one and wounding 14, killing 1 and wounding 5 on a 15” gun in the Wood.  4 messages received by aeroplane.

28 Thursday

5 prisoners brought through here early this morning.  Enemy armoured train shelling Fricourt Wood and Circus.  Nothing special all day.  No messages by aeroplane today.  Raining all day.

29 Friday

Still raining and very cold.  Midday bombardment of German lines commenced.  Just after 6pm, 2 Batts of 151 Bde. attacked, one did not reach German lines, the other got into the trench and held it 1½ hrs. Were driven out and had a long scrap in the open.  They retired short of bombs to their own trench.  Only one prisoner through here today.  French 4” gun near burst about 4pm.  Only two wounded.

30 Saturday

Finer but still cold.  Still firing on German lines very heavy.  Nothing special all day.


[1] South Wales Borderers

[2] Brigadier General H.F.H. Clifford 2nd Battalion, the Suffolk Regiment attached to 149th Infantry Brigade was killed in action 11 September 1916 and is buried at Albert Communal Cemetery Extension

[3] Tanks appeared as the new weapon at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette

[4] Ms – messages


Mark 1 Male Tank Elevation Detail

Mark I Male Tank
Elevation Detail

Mk.I C.15 Ready to go into battle for the first time at Flers

Mk.I C.15
Ready to go into battle for the first time at Flers