Wednesday 4 January 2017

Retaliation for Mines and a Re-organization

Thursday 4th January 1917

The land around Cuinchy and its northern neighbour Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée is somewhere that presents a face similar to the moon or to the face of an adolescent suffering with acute acne. The ground is covered with craters as the plan above shows. This assemblage was added to today when the army blew another mine close to positions occupied by the 1st Bedfords. With a certain gloomy detachment the adjutant told me: “The enemy retaliated very promptly with his artillery and eventually bombarded our left support trenches with 77 mm high explosive and shrapnel, blowing in a trench and causing ten casualties (three killed and seven wounded)”. He also mentioned that Lieutenant-Colonel F N Butler has gone on leave and that Captain C A S Morris has assumed command of the Battalion(1).

The adjutant of the 7th Battalion mentioned to me today that tey have set up different arrangements for specialist within the battalion: “Major J. H. Bridcutt was appointed officer commanding all specialists with other officers being in charge of their respective detachments such as signallers, Lewis gunners, snipers, scouts and so on. This organisation was started to keep under proper control men who were always away from their own Companies. The Companies continue to pay these men but all other administration is carried on independent of their Companies”.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/8/1

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