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1st December 1917 - The Great War, Day by Day - The Wartime Memories Project

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The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day

1st December 1917

On this day:

  • 1st Dec 1917 Football

  • Retreat from Cambrai   16th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles - Pioneers. (Guidance Note: Next entry on 18th December 1917)

    More wiring work continued into December and the Battalion camp was shelled leaving 5 killed and 22 wounded. The German counter attack was successful and had driven back the southern front of the British salient so the 36th Division were ordered back into action. The 16th Battalion re-joined the Division and moved to Dessart Woods. There were no tents available so the men had to sleep in the open with freezing temperatures. Next day they were moved to Harvincourt Wood and their work was about a 2 hour march away in very bitter wintry conditions. The Battalion was in a very poor state of health and large numbers were sent to hospital. Finally the decision was made to evacuate a large portion of the British salient including Bourlon Wood, Cantaing, Noyelles, Graincourt and Marcoing. The 36th Division were left holding on to a small salient astride the Couillet Valley with strong enemy counter attacks leaving it in a touch and go situation. On the 17th December the Battalion moved to a camp at Etricourt, to re-join the 36th Division which had been withdrawn two days earlier. Thus ended a period of hard work, under very trying conditions, with enemy shelling, drenching rain and driving snow. The men were in no fit state for further heavy exertions. Never since it landed in France had the troops of the 36th division been reduced to a physical ebb so low. The men became indescribably dirty; lungs, throats and hearts were affected. High as the battle casualties were the sick wastage was higher still which had not been the case at Ypres in August because the weather, if wet, was warm.

    The Terrors by SN White

  • 327th Siege Battery, RGA join 23 HAG.   327th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery was resubordinated to 23 Heavy Artillery Group (HAG) from 14 HAG on 01 December 1917.

  • 21st Londons relieve 15th Btn   at 9.30 a.m. Orders received for 21st Btn London Regiment to be ready to move at once to reinforce either 140 or 141 Inf. Bde. Reconnaissance made of possible supporting positions W & E of Anneux.

    3 p.m. Warning received of probable relief of 15th London Regt in Boulron Wood. 5 p.m. Orders received to reinforce 141 Inf Bde E of Anneux. Battalion prepares to move. C.O. reports to 140-141 Bde Hqrs for orders. 6 p.m. Orders cancelled & new orders received to proceed with the relief of 15th London Regiment already prepared for.

    War Diary

  • 200 Siege Bty on The Somme   200th Siege Battery move from Verbrandenmolen down to the Somme in December 1917, where they served in a further 20 locations ending up in Pont a Pierre shorty before Armistice day.

  • Daily Activity   9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.


    The Battalion left Gomincourt at 1200 for Rocquigny and arrived at 1930.

    War Diaries

  • SS Euphorbia lost   SS Euphorbia, Gross Tonnage 3,109, defensively-armed merchant ship, travelling from Bassein to London with cargo of rice on the 1st of December 1917, when she was torpedoed without warning and sunk by submarine U75 (Johannes Lohs) 14 miles E by S from Royal Sovereign Lighthouse Vessel, with 14 lives lost.

  • 1st Dec 1917 Training

  • December 1917 

  • 1st Dec 1917 Under Attack


    Enemy artillery very active in the early morning until 2.45am with gas shells & HE on WILLERVAL, RED LINE and vicinity of ARLEUX SUGAR FACTORY ROAD. Several HE falling near SEVERN ALLEY, TOMMY ALLEY ad ARLEUX LOOP SOUTH near Battalion HQ. During the day ARLEUX LOOP NORTH, OAK ALLEY & NOVASCOTIA TR also received considerable attention, especially in the vicinity of the AA Vickers Guns at the junction of OAK ALLEY ARLEUX LOOP NORTH. Our artillery fairly active against FRESNOY, FRESNOY PARK, FRESNOY WOOD, NEUVIREUIL and BOIS VILAIN.

    The National Archives Reference WO95/2361/1

  • 1st Dec 1917 In Action

  • 1st Dec 1917 Shelling

  • 1st Dec 1917 Counter Attack

  • 1st of December 1917 Constant Lookout Kept

  • 1st Dec 1917 Holding the Line

Can you add to this factual information? Do you know the whereabouts of a unit on a particular day? Do you have a copy of an official war diary entry? Details of an an incident? The loss of a ship? A letter, postcard, photo or any other interesting snipts?

If your information relates only to an individual, eg. enlistment, award of a medal or death, please use this form: Add a story.

Want to know more?

There are:16 articles tagged with this date available in our Library

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

Remembering those who died this day.

  • Pte. Leo Francis Banville. Hampshire Regiment 2/4th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. John Coady. Royal Irish Regiment 3rd Btn. Read their Story.
  • L/Cpl. Thomas McDermott. Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) 11 Sqdn. Read their Story.
  • A/Capt. Allastair Malcolm Cluny McReady-Diarmid. VC. Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own) 17th Battalion Read their Story.
  • Capt. Allastair Malcolm Cluny McReady-Diarmid. VC. Middlesex Regiment 4th Btn. att. 17th Btn Read their Story.
  • Gnr. F. Meiners. Royal Field Artillery 173rd Brigade, B Bty Read their Story.
  • Pte Henry Pate. Cheshire Regiment 1/5 Battalion Read their Story.
  • Cpt. George Henry Tatham Paton. VC MC. Grenadier Guards 4th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Rflmn. George Henry Perry. Rifle Brigade 1st Btn.
  • Rflmn. Charles Percival H Proud. London Regiment 18th (London Irish Rifles) Battalion Read their Story.
  • Mjr. Robert Lloyd Thompson. MC Royal Field Artillery 173rd Brigade, C Bty Read their Story.
  • Pte. John Tibbatts. Welsh Guards 1st Battalion Read their Story.
  • Stwd. George Ross Heron Wales. SS Euphorbia Read their Story.

    Add a name to this list.

  • Items from the Home Front Archive

    Do you have any letters, photos, postcards, documents or memorabilia from the Great War? We would love to include copies. Please use this form to submit diary entries and letters or photographs for this new Section: add to this archive.

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