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1st May 1916 - 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 May 1916

On this day:

  • 5th January 1916 Mining Party training

  •    Arriving at the Somme was a huge tonic for the men. It was not nearly so wet and a very pleasing area with quite a few civilians around. The 24th Battalion were billeted at Dernancourt. On the 20th of May, Brigadier Cameron attended a conference at Divisional Headquarters and was warned to prepare for 103 Brigade to carry out a series of trench raids on the enemy in opposite trenches. This taking place near the village of La Boisselle. This village is near the soon to be famous Tara and Usna Redoubs astride the Albert-Bapaume road. The battalions were warned to put together and start training raiding parties. The parties from 24th and 26th Battalions were selected to carry out the operation.


  • 10th Loyals return to the front.   The 10th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashires, left the billets at Warluzel marching three hours to Pommier.

  • A Flight, 36(HD) Squadron move   Edinburgh was attacked by Zeppelins on 2nd/3rd April 1916 and 13 people had been killed. In May 1916 a detachment from 36 Squadron was dispatched from Cramlington to Turnhouse, Edinburgh to provide an independent Home Defence flight covering the Forth. A second detachment was sent to cover the Tees area and 'A' Flight from Cramlington went to the newly built RFC Seaton Carew I airfield, near Hartlepool. The airfield occupied 72 acres and provided two HD pattern airplane sheds in coupled formation and two Bessonneau hangers.

    Due to the comparative lack of enemy activity, No 36 Sqn was given the task of training night flying aircrew for other squadrons as well as its patrol work.

  • NTF Coulthards Lane, Gateshead opens.   National Tool Factory Coulthard's Lane, Gateshead started in May 1916 for the Production of spade-cutters. First output was August 1916. It was under the direct control of the Ministry of Munitions.

  • NFRF Phoenix Factory opens.   National Fuse Rectification Factory at Phoenix Factory, Gray's Inn Road, London stared in May 1916 tasked with rectifying and repairing fuses. It was under the direct control of William Cubitt Ltd.

  • NFF Parkgate Street, Dublin opens.   National Fuse Factory Parkgate Street, Dublin started in May 1916 for the production of fuses. First output was Mar 1917. In 1918 they also produced aeroplane bolts. It was under the direct control of the Board of Management.

  • Enemy Active   6th County of London Brigade RFA at Carency report The enemy was very active between 1730 and 1830 with a very large minenwerfer (mortar) firing about 20 rounds into the Centre Battalian Zone. At 1400 the enemy fired 10 rounds of 5.9s on the light railway between 15th London Battery and the Carency station getting 5 direct hits. Everything else was all quiet.

    War Diaries

  • Railway Activity   16th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles - Pioneers.

    Railway Candas to Acheux.

    The arrival of May still saw elements of the Battalion involved in railway work. New sidings and crossings were being constructed and the track was being raised and packed in marshy areas near Rosel. Steel tanks and platforms along the route were still under construction. No.1 company from Candas to Punchevillers and No.3 Company from Punchevillers to Acheux. Other Companies were presumably in the trenches The work was completed on the 31st May 1916 and the Battalion was then ordered to Aveluy Wood.

    Summary: Candas to Acheux Line.

    • The work completed in the 5 month period is listed as follows.
    • Survey and construction of 19 miles of broad gauge railway over terrain
    • which included large sections of swampy ground.
    • Construction of 13 ˝ miles of sidings.
    • Construction of two terminals at Candas (including junction with
    • existing main line) and Acheux.
    • Built all necessary platforms, offices, station buildings and signal
    • boxes at the two main terminals and four intermediate stations.
    • Built engine inspection and repair facilities.
    • Built a number of steel tanks for petrol along the route.
    • Constructed two cement 100,000 gallon water tanks.
    • Installed numerous points and crossings throughout the system.

    Starting on the 29th December 1915, the last spike was driven on the 18th February 1916. (Candas to Belle Eglise) Opened the line to traffic on the 20th March 1916 (Candas to Belle Eglise) and completed the entire system on 31st May 1916.

    This was a remarkable achievement since some of the work at Acheux was just within enemy heavy artillery range. It was reckoned at the time to be the best section of railway in the whole of France and continued in use long after the war and the decommissioning of the Battalion.

    It provided an excellent tribute to the Battalion’s expertise and determination in fulfilling their task on time.

    The Terrors by SN White

  • 1st May 1916 3rd Canadian Tunnelling Coy War Diary

  • Move to new billets   9th Queens Royal Lancers

    1st May 1916 - Billets HQ Merlimont Plage - The regiment paraded at Enquin at 0800 and marched to Merlimont Plage. The march was carried out on three parallel roads, one squadron moving along each road and communicating with Regimental HQ (the centre of the advance) at previously fixed points by signal or orderly. On arrival at Merlimont Plage the regiment went into bivouac between the sand dunes and the foreshore. 1 remount horse to MVS.

    war diaries

  • 1st May 1916 Enemy Raiding Party

  • 1st May 1916 Under Shellfire

  • 1st May 1916 Houses Searched

  • 1st May 1916 Fishing

  • 1st May 1916 On the March

  • 1st May 1916 Bathing

  • 1st May 1916 Reliefs

  • 1st of May 1916 Battery Locations

  • 1st May 1916 Reorganisation

  • 1st of May 1916 Relieved by Inniskillings

  • 1st May 1916 Rifle range available

  • 1st May 1916 

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?

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Want to know more?

There are:23 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. William Francis Barry. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers 8th Battalion Read their Story.
  • Pte. John Howard Chatter. Machine Gun Corps 140th Bde Read their Story.
  • Sgt. Arthur Parker. Kings Liverpool Regiment 12th Battalion
  • David George Richings. Royal Field Artillery 63rd Battery
  • Pte. Alexander Stephenson. Northumberland Fusiliers 13th Battalion 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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