The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
1st December 1916On this day:
- 12th Jan 1916 Not such a Merry Christmas
- Covering 23rd Division 236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery at Ypres record:
All map references on Zillebeeke Bund.3.E 1/10,000 and sheet 28 1/40,000
236th Brigade RFA still covering the 23rd Division. A236 and B236 Batteries registered for special operations. Heavy mist made general observation impossible enemy artillery and trench mortars were very quiet. At 1230 a raid was attempted by the 11th Sherwood Foresters on sap at I.30.b.15.20, which was not successful.
- Messines Sector - Flanders 16th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles - Pioneers.
Decemberís work continued as in November with the emphasis now on Mortar Emplacements, Saps and Trench Railways. Again the Division moved slightly southwards creating similar maintenance work in new areas. (Note: Saps are small trenches beyond the front line towards the enemy usually for advance listening posts)
As a relief to the heavy ongoing workload, Sundays were set aside for infantry training giving the men some respite whilst brushing up on their combat skills in case an enemy attack might take place though weather condition probably reduced its likelihood.
On the 21st December the Battalion received a most complimentary letter from the GOC. 36th (Ulster) Division expressing appreciation for work done during the four month period with special mention of joining up Calgary Avenue with the Front Line under wet and difficult conditions.
The 16th Battalion's CO also had his Adjutant issue a statement congratulating the men for their efforts in earning such recognition from the GOC. It is rather unusual that he did not sign the letter himself as most Commanding Officers would normally have done.
There is no record of how Christmas 1916 was celebrated. Money was raised in Lurgan to ensure that all the men got their Christmas pudding. One can only hope that the gap in the War Diaries implies a quiet and uneventful period.
Other Ranks 2 wounded.
- 200 Siege Bty move to Annequin 200th Siege Battery move to Annequin in December 1916.
- 33rd Bn AIF see enemy action during night Our artillery quiet all day. Enemy trench mortar put over five Minnie's which did no damage.
Enemy machine gun active during night. He has a machine gun laid on the end of Central Avenue causing 1 casualty and causing the route be closed for the night. Enemy used more Verey Lights and seemed to be more active than previously. Patrols reported that wire was in good condition around railways salient (reference WEZ Macquart Trench Map). Parapet being repaired but in poor condition. Patrols also reported wire round mushroom in good condition being mostly supported on knife rests (?). Apparently large numbers of the enemy could be heard working behind the parapet. Trains could be heard moving behind enemy lines during the night.
- 1st December 1916 Kit inspections and cleaning
- 1st December 1916 Ongoing winter training
- 1st Dec 1916 Baths
- 1st Dec 1916 Ground Frozen
- 1st Dec 1916 Football
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