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Battle of the Lys in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- Battle of the Lys in the Great War -

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Battle of the Lys

   The Battle of the Lys began on the 9th of April 1918 when the German army launched an attack on Allied lines near Armentieres. It was a carefully planned attack, in the aftermath of Operation Michael, the German offensive on the Somme which had begun on the 21st of March. Many of the Allied units who had been exhausted by the fighting withdrawal had been moved north to the quieter sectors of Flanders. The German troops first targeted a section of the line held by inexperienced Portuguese troops and broke through rapidly, this was followed by a sustained attack which pushed the Allied lines back all along the Ypres Salient, south of the city of Ypres, which held firm against the onslaught.

8th Apr 1918 Gas Shells

9th April 1918 

9th Apr 1918 Evacuation

9th Apr 1918 Shellfire

10th April 1918 Defense  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse), Royal Irish Fusiliers travel by motor lorries to Kemmel and set up to man Kemmel defenses at Lindenhoek Corner.

War Diaries

10th Apr 1918 Orders to Move  Orders were received by the 6th West Ridings at 12.15am to move off from Reninghelct in buses; the buses moved off about 3am. and we arrived at Le Creche at about 5am. We then proceeded to march to the vicinity of Le Veau (map reference B14a, Sheet 36) where the battalion halted and their packs were stacked. Tea was made for the men and the orders for the next moved were issued. Our transport proceeded by road from the Busseboom area to vicinity of Neuve Eglise (map reference T14b, sheet 18).

The battalion moved off a little after 9am by platoons at 100 yard intervals and took up an assembly position about L'Epinette cross roads (map reference B27b, sheet 36. 'A' and 'B' companies were to the south and 'C' and 'D' companies to the north. The 1/4th. D. of W. were on our right and the 1/7th. D. of W. were on our left. From 10.30am onwards, Erquinghem-Lys was heavily shelled. Orders were received at about 1pm. and the battalion moved across to the Nieppe defences, which consisted of a strong line well wired. Our left rested on Armentieres Road (map reference B16b, sheet Croix du Bac) after readjustement with 1/7th. Battalion. 'B' Company were on the right with the right part of the railway (map reference B28a)and 'D' Company was on the left with the left part on the Armentieres road. 'C' Company was at first in support but later was pushed in to assist 'B' Company.

'A' Company remained in reserve but sent one platoon to be in close support to 'B' and 'C' Companies. Our trenches filled up all day with stragglers from the 22nd. and 25th. Northumberland Fusiliers and the 15th. and 16th. Royal Scots. One complete company of the 23rd. N. F.'s crowded into the left of our line and came under our C. O.'s orders. A fairly quiet night passed with some shelling on Nieppe and Pont du Nieppe. Gas shells were prevalent.

Casualties on this day for 6th Battalion West Riding Regt were 10964 Private H. Kilburn (Killed in Action), 19550 Private W. Marsden (Wounded), 24765 Lance Corporal H. Spink (Wounded), 267843 Private C. Sprigg (Wounded) and 267555 Private A Stocks. (Wounded accidentally)

10th April 1918 

10th Apr 1918 Evacuation

10th Apr 1918 Enemy Advance

10th Apr 1918 4th South Staffords withdraw to The Catacombes  Taken form the 4th Battlion South Staffords diary: at Ploegstreet wood. Enemy Attack opened at about 3.30am by heavy shelling of the back area with Gas shells. At 5:30am opened his barrage on the front and support lines, lasted about an hour, then lengthened to the reserve on about the line of grey farm. C. company in the front Line wiped out. Withdrew to Watchful Post owing to severity of shelling. Ordered to reoccupy position but was unable to do so. Battalion withdrew to the catacombs at 2pm. Ordered to reoccupy old positions and re-occupied at 5pm. Bosche attached at 7pm. Grey Farm garrision held, remainder of the battalion withdrew to hill 63 - position isolated - battalion withdrew to Neuve Eglise.

11th April 1918 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers endure shelling  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers defend Kemmel to Messines Ridge. Headquarters at Stinking Farm. Heavy enemy shelling.

War Diaries

11th Apr 1918 5th South Wales Borderers in action  On this date B Coy of the 5th South Wales Borderers were fighting in the area of the Wytschaete- Messines Road in the Ypres sector. During the action they lost 13 men killed. On this very day Haig issued his " backs to the wall" special order.

11th Apr 1918 Minnenwerfers in Action  During the early morning, the Bosche established his machine guns in the outskirts of Pont du Nieppe and became very active. Also his Minnenwerfer trench mortars opened up on us about 11am., assisted by field guns at close range.

At about 1pm., a party of enemy approached the trench of 6th West Riding Regt 'B' company, working up an old trench and sunken road. Owing to disgraceful behaviour on the part of some N.F.s, who ran out to meet him with their hands up, the enemy entered our trench. Captain Clough was wounded through the face and 2nd. Lieutenant Shaw was killed in attempting to turn out the Bosche. Two platoons of 'C' Company were despatched along the trench from left to right but, having no bench, were not able to dislodge the enemy, as it was impossible to get out of the trench owing to incessant machine gun fire. A block was established and a refused(?) right flank was made by a platoon of 'C' Company, who kept in touch with the 2nd. East Lancs. on the railway, some ground being given by them. Shelling and trench mortar on our line continued to be very intensive, especially in support and back areas. During morning and early afternoon, 2nd. Lieutenant Stewart was killed by rifle fire and Lieutenant Bain was wounded by a machine gun bullet.

At about 4pm., some No. 5 Grenades were secured and plans were made to drive the Bosche out of our trenches. While these plans were being, the enemy commenced to work his way further down our trench. He was therefore attacked across the open from the rear and finally ejected, leaving about 20 dead and 1 prisoner in our hands. 2nd. Lieutenant Baker was seriously wounded and Sergeant Burrows was killed in this enterprise. A machine gun team of the 34th. Division rendered valuable assistance and 71064 Private Womersley, 'B' Company, 34th. Machine Gun Battalion, behaved particularly well and, although wounded severely in the arm, remained at his gun and tried to continue firing. The C. O. rallied the men and went forward at the head of the attacking party. Captain Ogston, 2nd. Lieutenant Baker and 2nd. Lieutenant Whitehead led their men splendidly.

At 7pm., orders were received to withdraw platoons down the Bailleul road. By 11.30pm., the battalion was successfully withdrawn and bivouacked at crossroads just south of Bailleul (map reference S27 centre, sheet 28.) Groups(?) were pushed out.

Casualties on this day for 6th Battalion West Riding Regt were Captain S. H. Clough (Wounded), Lieutenant P. H. Bain (wounded), 2nd. Lt. H. F. Baker (Wounded), 2nd. Lt. C. R. Shaw (Killed in Action), 2nd. Lt. G. Stewart (Killed in Action), 2nd. Lt. A. M. Whitehead (Wounded at Duty), 300189 Sergeant J. W. Booth (Wounded), 266723 Sergeant G. W. Burrows (Killed in Action), 266083 Sergeant H. Smith (Killed in Action), 265298 Sergeant A. Stott (Killed in Action), 265924 Lance Sergeant H. Lowcock (Missing), 268049 Lance Sergeant L. Swallow (Wounded), 267558 Corporal J. Goldsborough (Wounded), 265092 Corporal H. Leach (Wounded), 242534 Corporal W. Nicholson (Missing), 265195 Corporal H. Swinden (Wounded), 267793 Corporal H. H. Whitehead (Wounded), 8673 Lance Corporal C. Bailey (Wounded), 265502 Lance Corporal D. Bamforth (Wounded), 24878 Lance Corporal G. Falconer (Wounded), 268276 Lance Corporal L. Hartley (Wounded), 268475 Lance Corporal W. Keeley (Wounded), 24408 Lance Corporal F. Metcalfe (Killed in Action), 267495 Lance Corporal E. Sayer (Killed in Action), 14911 Lance Corporal H. Whittaker (Missing), 16695 Private J. Adamthwaite (Killed in Action), 26487 Private G. F. Alfred (Missing), 18896 Private J. A. Bailey (Wounded), 266677 Private H. A. Barker (Wounded), 16986 Private H. Barraclough (Killed in Action), 11333 Private N. Bates (Wounded), 267901 Private J. F. Batley (Wounded), 268430 Private F. Battye (Wounded), 26502 Private S. H. Bell (Wounded), 267917 Private C. Bennett (Missing), 202424 Private J. H. Berry (Wounded), 23867 Private H. Bolton (Wounded), 242578 Private H. Booth (Missing), 306412 Private W. Boyle (Wounded), 266129 Private F. Bracewell (Wounded), 265680 Private W. G. Briggs (Killed in Action), 26677 Private W. Brittle (Killed in Action), 241458 Private N. Broadbent (Missing), 265143 Private A. W. Brooke (Wounded), 265977 Private J. W. Brown (Wounded),26666 Private P. Brown (Wounded), 200365 Private W. Bussey (Wounded),240023 Private F. Cartwright (Killed in Action), 267444 Private J. Caunt (Wounded), 242585 Private W. Chambers (Wounded), 23879 Private T. Charles (Wounded), 265299 Private F. Clarke (Wounded), 206325 Private Connelly (Killed in Action), 267899 Private H. Cook (Wounded), 267554 Private W. W. Cooper (Wounded at Duty), 26134 Private F. Cox (Killed in Action), 263012 Private J. Darby (Wounded), 201388 Private G. R. Dillon (Wounded), 267534 Private C. A. Emmott (Killed in Action), 267369 Private F. Evans (Missing), 10924 Private H. Foster (Wounded), 26668 Private E. Gamblen (Wounded), 242618 Private J. C. Garner (Missing), 267506 Private J. Gilfoyle (Wounded), 265775 Private H. Gooding (Killed in Action), 267335 Private E. Grazier (Wounded), 267860 Private W. S. Greasley (Missing), 267861 Private J. W. Greaves (Wounded), 267358 Private E. R. Green (Missing), 25504 Private W. Green (Wounded), 26556 Private J. Haley (Wounded), 26550 Private G. Hardcastle (Missing), 267420 Private S. Hardy (Killed in Action), 17077 Private G. Harper (Killed in Action), 242614 Private G. Harwood (Wounded), 265796 Private W. E. Haxby (Wounded), 306230 Private H. Hill (Killed in Action), 241325 Private F. Hinchliffe (Wounded), 265537 Private F. Hird (Missing), 267867 Private H. Holland (Killed in Action), 242915 Private G. E. Holliday (Killed in Action), 265054 Private J. Hollingdrake (Wounded), 266596 Private W. Horsman (Killed in Action), 242172 Private P. Howe (Killed in Action), 240079 Private P. Ingham (Killed in Action), 267422 Private H. R. Jackson (Wounded), 267469 Private N. Jackson (Missing), 41156 Private R. E. Johnson (Wounded), 41154 Private A. Jeffery (Wounded), 303005 Private A. Jowett (Missing), 41160 Private R. T. Lamb (Killed in Action), 26575 Private R. Lawson (Wounded), 242185 Private H. Lee (Wounded), 242387 Private F. Long (Missing), 26593 Private W. E. Maycock (Killed in Action), 267527 J. R. Merry (Wounded), 265176 Private F. Miller (Wounded), 17050 Private J. Milne (Wounded), 265014 Private J. Moore (Wounded and missing), 41185 Private T. C. Mudd (Wounded & died of wounds 13/04/1918), 241106 Private W. Naylor (Killed in Action), 266967 Private H. Newhouse (Wounded), 41190 Private F. Newton (Wounded), 26717 Private A. Nicholson (Missing), 266498 Private E. Oversby (Wounded),26604 Private J. R. Parker (Killed in Action), 17065 Private J. Patterson (Missing), 41193 Private F. Pemberton (Missing), 265056 Private C. R. Pinder (Missing), 265446 Private D. Powell (Wounded), 242934 Private J. Priestley (Wounded), 265010 Private T. Ralph (Wounded at Duty), 267733 Private H. Rawnsley (Killed in Action), 266409 Private L. Ream (Missing), 26141 Private C. Redshaw (Wounded & Missing), 267579 Private M. Riley (Wounded), 267584 Private H. Roebuck (Missing), 266136 Private M. Rogers (Missing), 41199 Private W. F. Rowe (Killed in Action), 267568 Private W. Rushworth (Killed in Action), 242856 Private J. H. Shields (Wounded), 24433 Private G. W. Simpson (Wounded), 266554 Private R. S. Smith (Wounded), 267723 Private G. Snowden (Wounded), 267834 Private G. Spencer (Wounded), 41208 Private W. R. Spencer (Wounded and missing), 26631 Private B. Steel (Killed in Action), 266669 Private P. Taylor (Wounded), 26665 Private W. Thomson (Killed in Action), 267897 Private F. Tomlinson (Wounded), 22934 Private G. Vowles (Wounded), 24419 Private J. J. Warren (Missing), 268324 Private L. Waterworth (Missing), 266934 Private J. E. Whittaker (Wounded), 267833 Private W. Wilcock (Wounded), 267551 Private I. Wilshaw (Wounded), 202959 Private J. A. Wilson (Wounded), 305454 Private J. W. Wilson (Wounded).

11th Apr 1918 Evacuation

11th Apr 1918 Fighting Withdrawal

11th Apr 1918 Dressing Station

12th April 1918 9th Btn. Royal Irish Fusiliers near Wulverghem  At 0200 9th Btn. Royal Irish Fusiliers moved to near Wulverghem with Headquarters at N Midland Farm. Enemy attacked, pressing back our line. Counter attack completely restored position. Casualties heavy, including Medical Officer, Lieutenants Hamilton, Hardy and Miller killed. Captain Dean, Lieutenants Turner and Orr wounded.

War Diaries

12th Apr 1918 Establishing a Line  Breakfast was served at about 8am by two cookies and situation seemed very quiet. At 0945am. orders were received to push out a patrol to AC arc and A2d (map references) to verify presence of enemy in strength at Blanc Maison and to clear up the the situation, which was very obscure, and to report what troops of ours were in the vicinity. 2nd. Lieutenant Thackery and 15 O. R.'s including Corporals Gibson and Green went off and reported that various parties, under officers, were withdrawing. The patrol arrived back near the position of our bivouacs at about 11.45am. and reported that the enemy could be seen at about A14a (map reference) and that we held the cemetery in A7b (map reference) but that our defences and outpost line were practically non-existent.

At about 12.15pm orders were received to establish on the Becque de la Flanche (thought to be a stream). 'B' Company remained in reserve and the other three companies were sent off to establish the above line. 'A' Company was on the right, 'C' Company was in the centre and 'D' Company was on the left. Eventually, some tome later, 'A' Company established their right post just astride the railway on S25c, Sheet 28 (map reference)about 800 yards west of Bailleul Station and got in touch with the troops on their right. 'C' Company, on the left, and 'D' Company were in touch with the 16th. Royal Scots. There was a small party of 11th. Suffolks under an officer between 'C' and 'D' Companies. Our 7th. Battalion (1/7th. D. of W.) were also a little mixed up with 'D' Company. Roughly, the line of the Becque was established and dug in during the night. During the early afternoon of the 12th., Captain Ogston was seriously wounded in the thigh by a machine gun bullet. Throughout the afternoon of the 12th., the line was continually shelled and trench mortar & heavy machine gun fire was put down on it; it was particularly intense on the left.

Casualties on this day for 6th Battalion West Riding Regt were Major S. C. Brierly (Wounded at Duty), Captain K. Ogston (Wounded & died of wound), 2nd. Lt. H. Armitage (Wounded), 2nd. Lt. J. W. Probyn (Killed in Action), 2nd. Lt. J. H. Sunderland (Wounded)Sergeant T. D. Eagles (Wounded), 265395 Sergeant G. Harding (Killed in Action), 265883 Corporal W. Emmott (Wounded), 265576 Corporal J. Hogan (Wounded), 265267 Corporal G. Page (Killed in Action), 235503 Corporal W. Severs (Killed in Action), 265932 Lance Corporal W. H. Best (Wounded at Duty), 17038 Lance Corporal R. Piggott (Wounded), 267567 Lance Corporal W. E. Robertshaw (Wounded), 242825 Private S. Baker (Wounded), 267437 Private H. Briggs (Killed in Action), 303003 Private J. T. Britt (Wounded), 300159 Private M. Brown (Killed in Action), 17915 Private T. Caine (Wounded), 15580 Private R. H. Coleman (Wounded), 265717 Private J. E. Core (Wounded), 268074 Private N. F. Fletcher (Killed in Action), 267785 Private A. Garnett (Wounded), 17033 Private W. Grant (Wounded), 26566 Private H. Haigh (Wounded), 265746 Private J. Hayhurst (Wounded), 267863 Private G. Hill (Wounded & died of wounds 14/04/1918), 267549 Private F. Holmes (Wounded), 24125 Private J. Kennedy (Wounded), 41165 Private H. Leonard (Wounded), 41161 Private W. R. Lewis (Missing), 242621 Private H. Loyndes (Killed in Action), 242622 Private A. Lund (Killed in Action), 41176 Private T. W. Marriot (Wounded), 41175 Private S. Marsh (Wounded), 41177 Private H. May (Wounded), 14895 Private A. V. Nalson (Wounded at Duty), 41187 Private A. V. Nicholls (Killed in Action), 267474 Private A. Pearson (Wounded), 41191 Private T. Purshouse (Killed in Action), 267883 Private C. Puttergill (Wounded), 267922 Private C. J. Rooney (Wounded), 265483 Private J. Scott (Wounded), 242814 Private G. H. Smith (Killed in Action), 29889 Private H. Stead (Wounded), 26147 Private T. Stordy (Wounded), 242835 Private A. Sugden (Wounded), 41178 Private A. A. Taylor (Wounded and missing), 41151 Private J. Thorneycroft (Wounded), 240786 Private W. H. Thornton (Wounded), 267832 Private C. Threadgale (Killed in Action), 267431 Private N. Thwaites (Wounded), 242751 Private C. R. Weddle (?) (Wounded), 12695 Private L. Whitehead (Wounded).

12th April 1918  

12th Apr 1918 Moving Back

12th Apr 1918 Under Fire

12th Apr 1918 Under Shellfire

13th April 1918 9th Irish Fusiilers relieved  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers are relieved by Sherwood Foresters at midnight.

War Diaries

13th Apr 1918 Enemy Attacks  The early morning of the 13th. was very quiet. Rations were delivered to the companies of the 6th West Riding Regt by 4.30am. and the C. O. and the Intelligence Officer went round the lines at about 5am. and found everything in good order and the line well s....ted. It was found that in the readjustment of the line during the night of 12th./ 13th. 'B' Company was in support to 'A' Company and a little behind was their left flank. At about 3pm., the enemy commenced shelling the line and also roads and farms in the rear.

The enemy attacked on 7th. D. of W.'s front and also on the 16th. Royal Scots on their left and further to their left again. The enemy was also active on our right about the railway but any contemplated attack was dispersed by rifle and Lewis gun fire, The troops on the battalion's left gave ground and 'D' Company were left with their flank in the air. The Bosche approached to within 100/ 150 yards and suffered very heavy casualties from 'D' Company's rifle and Lewis gun fire. They were held up for some considerable time. Eventually, the enemy worked round both flanks of 'D' Company and forced them to withdraw. It is certain that 'D' Company killed a very large number of the enemy and themselves suffered severe casualties. Sergeant Berry and Sergeant Harding were killed and 2nd. Lieutenant Armitage and 2nd. Lieutenant Sunderland were wounded. [NB. Both these officers, on the casualty list compiled on 21/05/1918 which I have used, are shown as wounded on 12/04/1918).

'B' Company were sent up to reinforce the troops in front and, in spite of heavy machine gun fire, they pushed into a forward position and assisted to hold up the enemy, who had made an advance of about 500 yards. After this, our line remained firm and, at about 9.45pm., orders were received to withdraw in accordance with attached. This withdrawal was carried out without incident and the line was duly established. [NB. No details of where this new line was have survived but the battalion H. Q. was established at Bailleul].

Casualties on this day for 6th Battalion West Riding Regt were Major G. Tanner (Wounded at Duty), Lieutenant A. C. Stalman (Wounded), 2nd. Lt. F. V. Mellors (Wounded at Duty), 265485 Sergeant J. Bury (Killed in Action), 265069 Sergeant A. Davis (Missing, but since rejoined)266754 Lance Sergeant A. Gregson (Wounded), 266537 Corporal J. W. Tillottson (Killed in Action), 265139 Private J. Appleby (Wounded), 20385 Private J. Armitage (n. Y. D. N.), 241737 Private W. L. Beeson (Wounded), 242760 Private H. Bennett (Missing), 203417 Private F. Burls (Wounded), 24302 Private C. Cahalin (Wounded), 267445 Private R. V. Casson (Killed in Action),23871 Private J. W. Carter (Killed in Action), 242030 Private J. Charlesworth (Wounded), 11883 Private C. Connel (Missing), 267912 Private R. Cooper (Wounded), 25503 Private W. Craig (Wounded), 11299 Private W. Crossland (Wounded), 267396 Private A. Crossley (Wounded), 17017 Private W. Dempsie (Wounded), 267522 Private W. Denby (Wounded), 242604 Private H. Ellison (Wounded), 265238 Private F. Gee (Wounded), 267539 Private A. Gill (Wounded), 23888 Private W. Greenwood (Wounded), 26674 Private A. Griffin (Missing), 242755 Private J. Gunningham (Wounded), 266339 Private T. Hargreaves (Wounded), 268279 Private E. Hawkesby (Killed in Action0, 29375 Private F. Haywood (Wounded & died of wounds 14/04/1918), 267592 Private I. Hillary (Wounded), 12170 Private F. Jowett (Wounded), 242520 Private H. Maddeys (Missing), 24208 Private H. Mounsey (Killed in Action), 14895 Private A. V. Nalson (Missing), 25146 Private H. Roundstein (Missing), 267921 Private J. C. Rymer (Killed in Action), 41204 Private A. L. Shaw (Wounded), 242213 Private J. M. Smith (Missing), 26622 Private W. Stephenson (Missing), 29807 Private J. W. Stringer (Wounded at Duty), 267588 Private A. Thornton (Wounded), 24357 Private F. Wall (Wounded), 11671 Private C. H. Walton (Wounded), 41209 Private T. H. Watkins (Wounded), 265619 Private W. Watson (Wounded), 24165 Private H. Westfield (Wounded), 31742 Private H. Wilkinson (Wounded), 300139 Private A. Wood (Killed in Action).

13th Apr 1918 Enemy Shelling

14th April 1918 9th Irish Fusiliers on Kemmel defences  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers moved back to Kemmel defences.

War Diaries


A Portuguese prisoner being examined by a German Intelligence Officer at Fourmies prison camp. IWM (Q 55260)

The Portuguese Divisions suffered terribly in the initial attack on the 9th of April 1918 with almost 2000 men being killed and around 7000 taken prisoner.

15th April 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

0900. Moved to Regent Street dugouts. C Company manned outpost positions and was attacked. Captain Crosbie wounded and died same day.

War Diaries

16th April 1918 9th Irish Fusiliers move to Clydesdale Camp  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers moved back to Clydesdale Camp at midnight for rest and reorganisation.

War Diaries

18th Apr 1918   It is stated by Mr. J. Henry Lang (national general secretary of the Y.M. C.A.) that the-loss to the association in huts and equipment during the present offensive had already reached a total of 110,000.

18th April 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

0200. Moved to Kemmel as composite Battalion with 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly.

Heavy casualties, while moving into position, from enemy shelling. Captain Despard wounded and died soon after. 2000. Relieved by French troops and marched to Siege Camp.

War Diaries

20th April 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Colonel Kelly evacuated to Hospital with shrapnel wound.

Reorganisation and training parades.

Ration strength: 11 Officers, 489 Other Ranks, 40 horses, 22 mules

War Diaries

22nd April 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Major G.M Forde MC assumed command

War Diaries

23rd April 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Four Officers and about thirty Other Ranks reinforce.

War Diaries

1st May 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Sheet 28 NW E.6.b, 1/20,000. Yellow Line.

Working on defences and training specialists during day. Line manned by skeleton forces by night.

  • Dispositions:
  • Two Corps in line, one support and one reserve.
  • Right boundary Dirty Bucket Corner,
  • left Alexandra Farm.
  • Flanking units:
  • right 12 Royal Irish Rifles.
  • left Belgian Cyclist Battalion.

War Diaries

4th May 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

1700. Moved to Green Line, in relief of 12 Royal Irish Rifles.

War Diaries

10th May 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

1700. Battalion relieved by 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers and moved back to Yellow Line. Billets in (Steentje?) Camp. Headquarters at Fa(?). Work and training continued.

War Diaries

12th May 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

  • Church Parades in evening.
  • Effective strength: 34 Officers, 678 Other Ranks, 33 horses and 21 mules.
  • Ration strength: 39 Officers, 609 Other Ranks, 37 horses and 21 mules.
  • Increase: Lieutenant E.A Godson (MC), Lieutenant K Morrow (TO).

War Diaries

17th May 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Sheet 28NW E.6.b 1/20,000. Yellow Line.

  • 2000. Relieved 2nd Royal Irish Rifles in Brigade Reserve in front
  • system Left Brigade Sector.
  • Dispositions:
  • right front, C Company;
  • left front, B Company;
  • support, A and D Companies with Headquarters in Canal bank.
  • Flanking units:
  • right, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers;
  • left, Belgian Battalion.

Relief completed about 12 midnight.

Working on defences by night only, to avoid observation. Enemy activity confined to shelling, probably meant for batteries west of canal. One fatal casualty in A Company. Brilliant sunshine and intense heat during six-day tour.

War Diaries

18th May 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

  • Effective strength: 34 Officers, 935 Other Ranks, 32 horses, 21 mules.
  • Ration strength: 27 Officers, 646 Other Ranks, 36 horses, 21 mules.
  • Increase: 235 Other Ranks.
  • Decrease: 1 horse.

War Diaries

24th May 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Ref Special Sheet, St Julien 6B 1/10,000.

Right sector front line. Owing to bad observation the day passed very quietly. During the night our patrols investigated the vicinity of Von Hugel Farm and Cheddar Villa. No signs of enemy were encountered. The night passed unusually quietly, probably owing to a suspected relief.

War Diaries

25th May 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

The day passed quietly. At 0330 and 1630 C.22.e was lightly shelled by 4.5 inch howitzers east sector of our lines at 1115 and were unsuccessfully engaged. Nothing of importance occurred during the day.

War Diaries

26th May 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Our own artillery showed increased activity throughout the day without drawing hostile retaliation. A fighting patrol of two Officers and twelve Other Ranks failed to discover any trace of the enemy between Jasper and Rat Farms.

Enemy machine-guns were lightly active during the night on roads and tracks.

War Diaries

27th May 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

At 0230 hostile bombardment commenced on left of Brigade front and spread north where the enemy attempted to raid the Belgians at 0300 on our left. With the exception of a few shells on Wietje at about 0300, hostile artillery inactive on this front. Our own artillery was active during the day and replied vigorously to enemy bombardment in the morning. A fighting patrol failed to discover traces of the enemy west of Jasper Farm. At 2310 the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers on our left raided an enemy post near C.17.c.45.45, but found the garrison had cleared. Our artillery continued the bombardment till 2340. 6" Stokes Mortar assisted. During the operation a fire was observed in Rat Farm.

Absence of hostile machine-gun fire, artillery retaliation and Verey Lights was marked.

War Diaries

28th May 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Right sub-sector front line Hill Top.

At 0530 hostile artillery shelled the Battalion on our left, apparently in retaliation for the raid. Owing to excellent visibility there was great aerial activity during the morning and many observation balloons were up. The day passed quietly.

War Diaries

29th May 1918 Daily Activity  9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

The day passed quietly on this front. The Battalion was relieved in the right sub-sector by the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles, 107th Infantry Brigade, and on relief moved by light railway to Hospital Farm Camp. In spite of hostile shelling on the entraining point, no casualties were suffered during the relief.

Total casualties during this tour: 3 Other Ranks died of wounds, 2 wounded, 1 self-inflicted, 1 W-(?)-D.

Fighting strength: 34 Officers, 974 Other Ranks.

On relief the 108th Infantry Brigade moved into Divisional Reserve.

War Diaries

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Want to know more about Battle of the Lys?

There are:47 articles tagged Battle of the Lys available in our Library

  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Great War.

Those known to have served in

Battle of the Lys

during the Great War 1914-1918.

  • Archbold James. Dvr. (d.7th Apr 1918)
  • Atkinson John William . Sgt.
  • Bannon Thomas. Pte. (d.9th Apr 1918)
  • Blacklock Thomas Edward. Sgt.
  • Bollands Walter. Pte.
  • Bonner George William. Pte. (d.26th Apr 1918)
  • Brennan Charles. Pte. (d.13th May 1918)
  • Bullus Ralph Henry Samuel. Pte.
  • Cartz Louis. Pte.
  • Cleverton Robert. Pte.
  • Cree John Wyse Scott. Sgt.
  • Cronin Samuel. Rflmn. (d.10th April 1918)
  • Davies Frank Vivian. Pte.
  • Dinsley James William . Pte. (d.12th Apr 1918)
  • Eldridge Albert John Walter. Cpl. (d.22nd Apr 1918)
  • Fogg George William. Pte. (d.11th Oct 1918)
  • Fox John. Pte. (d.17th April 1918)
  • Grocock Albert Ishmael. Pte. (d.9th Apr 1918)
  • Hazell Oscar Reginald. Sgt. (d.19th Apr 1918)
  • Kettlewell George. Pte. (d.15th Apr 1918)
  • Mansfield Harry. Pte. (d.17th Apr 1918)
  • McMullen John. L/Cpl. (d.5th Sep 1918)
  • Morley Henry. Pte. (d.13th April 1918)
  • Morse Daniel Albert. Gnr.
  • Moss William. Pte. (d.30th April 1918)
  • O'Boyle John. Pte. (d.11th Apr 1918)
  • Parr Harry William Charles. Pte.
  • Ratcliffe Ellis. Pte. (d.12th Apr 1918)
  • Riley Thomas. Sgt. (d.24th Apr 1918)
  • Theobald Reginald. Lt. (d.10th Apr 1918)
  • Tulip Robert. Pte. (d.10th Apr 1918)
  • Waters ernest. Pte. (d.9th Apr 1918)
  • Watmough Walter. Gnr. (d.9th Apr 1918)
  • Weir Thomas Henderson. Mjr. (d.8th May 1918)
  • Wilkin George. Pte. (d.27th Sep 1918)

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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Want to know more about Battle of the Lys?

There are:47 articles tagged Battle of the Lys available in our Library

Recomended Reading.

Available at discounted prices.

The Battle for Flanders: German Defeat on the Lys 1918

Chris Baker

Chris Baker occupies an iconic status in the world of Great War historians. Few can have done more for their fellow travellers: a former chair of the Western Front Association, founder of the Great War Forum and the man behind the outstanding Long Long Trail website. Now he has produced his first book and I was eager to review it! I purchased a copy from the man himself - then lost it! As at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915 delays multiplied and it is only now that I have bought a replacement copy from the good folks at Amazon! So here goes! First impressions are good! The assessment of the lead up to the German attacks in the Spring of 1918 is well-judged and reflects Baker's sound grasp of the realities of warfare on the Western Front. When the storm bursts on the Portuguese sector he avoids casual racism and points out why they did so badly - it wasn't anything to do with national characteristics or culture, but was rather more to do with men trapped in an unpopular war


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