The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
1st October 1917On this day:
- Somme and Cambrai
16 RIR view of Canal du Nord.
16th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles - Pioneers.
October 1917 was devoted almost entirely to improving defensive positions on the whole divisional front including work on a switch line which carried on well into November. This included deepening and widening the original cut, wiring in front, grading and draining.
When finished it was considered to be one of the finest examples of trench construction and was called the Lurgan Switch in honour of the Pioneers home town roots.
Other work included sandbagging parapets and fire bays, construction of 9 flying traverses, revetting of fire steps and construction of sumps and drains.
Smaller works also took place including improvements to huts and drainage at Velu Woods.
On the 11th October No. 3 Company moved to Ruyalcourt to improve winter quarters and No. 4 Company to Metz for similar work. No. 2 Company started on winter quarter improvements in Bertincourt.
October finished with double apron wiring and screening work in Harsincourt Wood and Ruyalcourt.
Battalion Statistics October 1917
Strength 1st October Officers 39 Other ranks 795
31st October Officers 40 Other ranks 789
Casualties. Killed/Died from Wounds. Wounded.
Officers. nil. 3
Other Ranks. 2 6
- Daily Activity 9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.
Parades, working parties and sports carried on as normal.
Brigadier-General R.J Kentish DSO visited the Battalion.
- Gotha Night raids Following on from the 30 September 11 Gothas raid London, on 1 October 18 Gothas took off, eleven reaching England. On both nights over 14,000 rounds were fired by the anti-aircraft guns, without scoring a single hit. By now shells were in short supply, and many of the guns had fired so many rounds that their barrels were worn out.
Alarmed, the Government reallocated new 3 inch guns from their intended use of defending merchant shipping against submarines to the defence of London.
The barrage was also proving hazardous to those on the ground as that week eight people had been killed and another 67 injured by falling fragments.
During this period the RNAS and RFC carried out a series of bombing raids on the German bomber's airfields at St. Denis-Westrem and Gontrode, forcing the squadrons to relocate to Mariakerke and Oostakker, with the staff headquarters moving to Ghent.
- 1st October 1917 Further moves
- 1st Oct 1917 Heavy Shelling
- 1st Oct 1917 Attack made
- 1st Oct 1917 At Rest
- 1st Oct 1917 Counter Attack
- 1st Oct 1917 In Position
- ECURIE CAMP
The Battalion was relieved by 11th EYR in L2 (ARLEUX) Sector. Relief complete at 3.15pm. Some slight shelling of TIRED ALLEY on the way out but no casualties. The Battalion entrained at DAYLIGHT RAILHEAD at 6.30pm for ROCLINCOURT and reached ECURIE CAMP about 6.30pm. ECURIE was shelled about mid-day by 24 cm gun 3 shells in camp but no casualties. B Co ( ½ in LONG WOOD and ½ in SUNKEN ROAD ) left behind for working parties.
- 1st Oct 1917 Air Raid
- 1st Oct 1917 Reliefs Completed
- 1st Oct 1917 Training
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