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1st October 1915 - 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 October 1915

On this day:

  • Armoured train stationed at Adeer   No. 1 Armoured Train, from Craigentinny Sidings in Edinburgh, armed with two 12-pdr guns was stationed at the Ardeer to defend the works until additional guns could be installed in the Battery.

  • HMEF Trafford Park opens.   H.M. Explosive Factory Trafford Park, Manchester started refining Toluol in October 1915. First output was July 1916. It was under the control of Hardman & Holden.

  • NSF College Park, Willesden opens.   College Park, Willesden, London was both a National Shell Forge and a National Projectile Factory which started in October 1915 producing Shell components under the direct control of the Metropolitan Munitions Committee.

  • HMEF West Gorten opens.   H.M. Explosive Factory West Gorten, Manchester started in October 1915 producing Synthetic phenol and T.N.T. It was under Direct Control.

  • NSF Vulcan Factory, Carnarvon opens.   Vulcan Factory, Carnarvon, Caernarfonshire was a National Shell Forge started in October 1915 producing 13-pdr. and 18-pdr. shell. It was under the direct control of the Board of Management.

  • NSF Mellor Street, Rochdale opens.   National Shell Forge Mellor Street, Rochdale, Lancashire started in October 1915 producing 6-in. shells. First output was July 1916. It was under the direct control of the Board of Management.

  • NPF Hackney Marshes, London opens.   National Projectile Factory Hackney Marshes, London started in October 1915, producing 6-in. shell and proof shot. First output was February 1916. It was under the direct control of Dick Kerr.

  • NSF Maesglas and Tyne Engine works, Newport opens.   Maesglas and Tyne Engine works, Newport, Monmouthshire was a National Shell Forge which started in October 1916, producing 60-pdr. shell, 4.5-in. and 9.2-in. nose bushes. First output was June 1916. It was under the direct control of the Board of Management.

  • NSF Boston Lodge, Porthmadog opens.   National Shell Forge Boston Lodge, Porthmadog, Gwynedd started in October 1915 producing 13-pdr. and 18-pdr. shell. It was under the direct control of the Board of Management.

  • 6th London Bde RFA move   6th London Brigade RFA moved from Noeux les Mines to Hesdigneul Race Course. Major Gordon rejoined the Brigade from the 141st Infantry Brigade HQ. Capt Cooper brought his 16th London Battery out of action and rejoined the Brigade. Lt Van den Bergh rejoined the Brigade from 5th London Brigade RFA. Lt Woollett brought 2 guns of the 15th London Battery out of action.

    War Diaries

  • Relocations   16th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles - Pioneers.

    The Move to France.

    On the 1st October at 1900 the Battalion left camp at Bordon for embarkation at Southampton but on arrival no one knew anything about it and there was no transport awaiting them. This proved quite a common problem over the next month or so. They had to eat their rations while further food was sought for them and spend an uncomfortable night sleeping at the docks.

    Next day the Empress Queen arrived to take them across the channel. The ship was licensed to carry 600 passengers between Greenwich and London Bridge whereas the battalion was over 1000 strong and the vessel was crossing the English Channel not plying between points in the River Thames. Despite a gale blowing they crossed safely and arrived in Le Havre.

    Once again no one knew anything about the unit but it was eventually sent to tented accommodation and a hot meal organised and the men had to dig trenches around their tents as it was raining. Despite an order to move to entrain for the front Colonel Leader insisted the men had their hot meal first.

    On arrival at the station it was no surprise that no one was expecting them, but eventually Colonel Leader was informed of an incoming train which would be put at their disposal. Again the CO got his men to a Red Cross canteen and fed before boarding the train. Apparently there was a bit of a commotion at the Red Cross Unit as it was run by Miss Lloyd George, daughter of the Prime Minister (the Home Rule instigator) and the men preferred to go hungry rather than give her any business. So they were directed to the girl serving on the other side of the station “same firm but you needn’t tell them that”, was the advice given and the men got their meal.

    At 1000 on the 4th October the train left on a 130km journey to Longueau on the outskirts of Amiens, arriving at 1900. As usual they were unexpected and there was no information regarding their destination. Fortunately the CO met an officer from the Division who gave him general directions to Villers Bocage on the Amiens-Doullens Road. They marched on, passing through Amiens, and arrived at their destination around midnight. The war diaries do not reveal any more details of the journey but they must have met a divisional advance party and perhaps one of their own battalion representative possibly one for each of the 4 companies, Headquarters and Transport.

    They spent the next 7 days (4th to 11th October) in this village giving them a chance to settle after their journey. They were assigned light carpentry work and built a road for the Casualty Clearing Station.

    A Church Service on Sunday 10th October was conducted by Captain A Gibson, appointed by his church in Lurgan as officiating chaplain to the Battalion and who was now billeted with them, but also attended to some other units. The remainder of the time must have been spent sorting out their tools and equipment together with loads for their pack mules and other transport arrangements for their future operations. The sound of gunfire was never far away and indeed the village had already been overrun and occupied by the Germans in the initial onslaught before the establishment of trench warfare brought it back under Allied control.

    The campaign was soon to start and on 12th October the Battalion marched about 8 miles to be based at Raincheval and camped there to work on an army defence line in that area. This was about 7 miles from the firing line and was in a shocking sanitary state having been taken over from the French.

    The village was in a low lying hollow and the men were billeted in barns and other surrounding buildings with an ample supply of straw underfoot. Such was the progress of the pioneer’s work that on 1st November the Battalion regimental canteen, library and reading room were opened. The Officers Mess and Battalion Headquarters were seemingly located in Raincheval Chateau.

    The 20th October marked the first anniversary of the founding of the Battalion and was celebrated by a smoking concert at headquarters and smaller events in other detachments. RSM J Gordon sent a very detailed report on the central event to the Lurgan Mail.

    On the 21st October the unit was inspected by the Second Army Sanitary Officer and although the war diary does not record his report, again RSM Gordon writing to the Lurgan Mail recorded that “he made a most complimentary report on the sanitation and added that our work should serve as a pattern to the rest of the army”. Thus we begin to see evidence of the professionalism and pride in their work by this exceptionally fine Battalion.

    Third Army Defence Line 14th October 1915 to 28th December 1915

    The Battalion was now tasked with work on the Third Army Defence Line which initially covered a length of about 3,600 yards extending from a position south east of Toutencourt to Creftel Wood. Half the Battalion under the command of Major Bowen was moved to Toutencourt to cover work in the area of the Raincheval to Vauchelles Road. It was very hard work and an 8 hour day would have exhausted the strongest of men. It must be noted that they had no excavating or levelling machines so everything was done by hand with manual tools.

    The ground consisted of heavy clay for a few yards then sand, limestone and chalk. Work continued every day in the week except for the odd half day for the very important tasks of washing clothes and bathing.

    At the same time No 2 Company under the command of Captain SJ Platt was sent to Vignacourt about 5 miles west of Villers Bocage to cut down forest and prepare various timber components for use in the construction of earthwork defences by the rest of the Battalion.

    Further sites were allocated on the 20th October.

    Small parties were attached in rota to the 8th Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers who were also a pioneer battalion to give the officers and men experience of operations at the front under enemy fire. This gave them experience in erecting barbed wire defences – Wiring as it was termed.

    The Terrors by SN White

  • Continuing on standby   E Battery 3rd Brigade RHA

    With 5th Cavalry Brigade near Nedon on standby. 1st Oct - standing to in billets ready to move 2nd Oct - 100 men per Cavalry Regiment sent up to Vermelles to clear the battlefield. 6 new remounts arrived (horses). 3rd Oct - Brigadier General Wormsold 5th Cavalry Brigade killed at Vermelles. 4th Oct - Colonel C Campbell 16th Royal Lancers takes over command of 5th Cavalry Brigade. 6th Oct - Brigadier General Wormsolds funeral. Buried in Nedonchelle churchyard. 1st to 19th Oct - continuing on standby at Nedon

    war diaries

  • MGC Training depot at Belton Park   Machine Gun Training Depot was established at Belton Park Camp for soldiers of the newly formed Machine Gun Corps to be trained in the use of the Vickers machine gun.

  • 1st Oct 1915 Plenty of Excitement

  • 1st Oct 1915 10th Essex in Trenches

  • 1st Oct 1915 German Repair Parties Harried

  • 1st Oct 1915 5th Lincs Relieved by 2nd South Lancs

  • 1st Oct 1915 Dressing Wounds

  • 1st Oct 1915 In Billets

  • 1st Oct 1915 Consolidation

  • 1st Oct 1915 On the Move

  • 1st Oct 1915 Reinforcements

  • 1st October 1915 Reliefs Completed

  • 1st Oct 1915 On the March

  • 1st of October 1915 A Basket of Snipers

  • 1st of October 1915 New Troops

  • 1st of October 1915 Engineering Fatigues

  • 1st Oct 1915 Reliefs

  • 1st of October 1915 Unchanged

  • 1st October 1915 

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:30 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.

  • Sgt. Patrick Barry. East Yorkshire Regiment 7th Btn.
  • Cpl. Frederick Billing. King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry 1st Btn Read their Story.
  • Pte. Isaac Brannon. Yorkshire Regiment 10th Btn.
  • Cpl. James Henry Coulson. East Yorkshire Regiment 2nd Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. John Alexander Ferguson. Durham Light Infantry 10th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Fus. John Hodge. Royal Scots Fusiliers 2nd Battalion Read their Story.
  • Pte. J. M. McGugan. Royal Scots 13 Btn., "B" Coy. Read their Story.
  • L/Cpl. Thomas Murphy. Welsh Rgt. 1/6th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Able Sea. F. Nelms. HMS Astraea Read their Story.
  • 2nd Lt. Alexander Buller Turner. VC. Royal Berkshire Regiment 1st Btn. Read their Story.
  • Cpl. John William Wagstaff. Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment 1/7th 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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