Saturday, 7 November 2015

2nd Battalion in Action Again Near Givenchy

Second Lieutenant Anns 

Sunday 7th November 1915: the adjutant of the 2nd Battalion tells us that the Battalion went into action again near Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée yesterday. They are just north of the la Bassée Canal and close to an area known as the Duck’s Bill in front of which are a number of old mine craters. Their position extends from a trench named Willow Road on their right to one called Shaftesbury Avenue on their left.

At 11.30 a.m. while the Battalion was relieving the Yorkshire Regiment in the front line, verbal orders were received from the Brigadier to the effect that a mine would be exploded at 3 pm if possible and that the lip of the resulting crater must be occupied, at the same time the near edges of the other craters in front of the Duck’s Bill were to be occupied and also that of another, detached crater on the left towards which there was already a sap. As it was expected the Battalion’s trenches would be filled with debris, parties were to de detailed to clear and hold them. All men within 200 yards of the mine were to be withdrawn.

Orders were accordingly issued, and by 3.45 pm the battalion was ready. The Companies detailed to go forward were B Company under Captain R B Gibson on the left, C Company under Captain R O Wynne in the centre and A Company under Captain H de Buriatte on the right, D Company under Captain P C Cavan being in support. The companies were to send out small parties of three Riflemen and three bombers to occupy the crater edges, each party to be followed by a consolidating party of ten men with shovels.

At 4.10 pm the mine was exploded, all the parties went over the parapet and the near edge of the lone crater on the left was occupied and made good and the sap to it completed. The new crater was just in front of the two old ones, these were occupied and observation and communication saps were dug out to them. One party got across the new crater and for a short time established themselves on the far edge of it, they were however bombed out, losing Second Lieutenant H C Lovely, wounded and three other ranks also wounded by bombs. A fairly heavy rifle fire was developed by the enemy on the lips of the occupied craters and Second Lieutenant F Anns was killed whilst superintending a digging party in one of them. Work was continued all night, and by this morning the position, which was required for observation only, was secure. The enemy had thrown a large number of bombs but they all fell just short of the craters occupied.

Source: X550/3/wd

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