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3rd December 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

3rd December 1916

On this day:

  • 12th Mar 1916 Dangerous Work

  • Visibility Bad   236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery Batteries did not fire as visibility was bad. Our Trench Mortars were active, both heavy and medium. The enemy did not retaliate. At 0300 in the morning the observing officer reported Trench Mortars were active. At 0230 a successful raid was carried out at J.19.c.15.55. Our barrage silenced the enemy's fire.

    War Diaries

  • More action for 33rd Bn AIF    2 pm Our artillery covered fire of medium trench mortars in Railway Salient from the head of Central Avenue. Enemy retaliated with 5.9 and 77 mm. Heavy retaliation by our artillery silenced enemy artillery at 3.5 p.m. Enemy fired about 175 shells causing practically no damage and 2 very slight casualties. Our artillery failed to knock out enemy machine-gunning placements on Railway Salient.

    Enemy machine gun active along our parapet all night. Machine guns still laid on Central Avenue at night. Enemy snipers active by day. Our snipers inflicted 1 casualty on enemy.

    Patrol reported enemy working party at work on the wire south of Railway Salient. This was driven by Lewis Gun fire. Patrol also reported enemy working behind his parapet opposite Post C. Parapet here very much knocked about.

    Enemy bombed his own wire during night and used many Verey Lights.

    33rd Btn Australian Imperial Force War Diary, La Chapelle-d'Armentières, Right (1) Section

  • 33rd Bn AIF Operational Order    33rd BATTALION, AIF


    By Lt. Col. L.J. Morshead, Commanding.

    La Chapelle-d'Armentières. 3rd December 1916

    Reference Map Sheet 35 N.W. 1/20,000.


    (i) Two Platoons per Company will be relieved in the Right 1 Sub-Sector by two platoons per Company of the 35th Battalion on Monday, December 4th.

    (ii) The relief will be carried out by half platoons at 5 minutes interval.

    2. Each Company will provide 4 guides who will report to Battalion Headquarters as follows -

    A and C Cos. 7.30 a.m.

    D and B Cos. 9.30 a.m.

    These guides will proceed under Lieut. A.H. Fletcher to the Railway Crossing Chapelle-d'Armentières Road at I.i.d.4.9 and meet the relieving Battalion.

    Each guide will have a slip of paper bearing his exact destination thereon, e.g.

    33rd Battalion, A.I.F.

    A Company

    Firing Line. No.1 Locality


    (1) Incoming Battalion (35th Lin. A.I.F.)


    "A" (Right Flank) 8 a.m. Lothian Avenue

    "C" (Left Flank) 8 a.m. Port Egale Avenue

    "D" (Right Centre) 10.30 a.m. Lothian Avenue

    "B" (Left Avenue) 10.30 a.m. Port Egale Avenue

    (ii) 33rd Battalion


    "A" 8.45 a.m. Lothian Avenue.

    "C" 8.45 a.m. Port Egale Avenue.

    "D" 11.15 a.m. Lothian Avenue.

    "B" 11.15 Port Egale Avenue.

    (iii) Specialists.

    50% of Company Specialists and details will move out with their Companies, i.e. Lewis Gunners, bombers, stretcher bearers, sappers, salvage men, sanitary men, cooks, will be relieved with their respective companies.

    (iv) Headquarters.

    50% Headquarters and attached Specialists will be ready to move to billets at 1.30 p.m.


    (i) All ranks will be at their alarm stations during the relief.

    (ii) Two sections or each relieving platoon will be posted to the firing line, the remaining two sections to the support line.

    (iii) No move out will take place until the whole of the two platoons of the relieving Companies are actually in position. The men in the firing line being relieved will stand on the fire step, and as soon as the relieving units are in position they will change places, i.e. 35th Battalion will mount the fire steps and 33rd Battalion the trench walks.

    (iv) Platoon Commanders will report to their Company Commanders when this is done, and orders will then be given to file out.


    (i) "A" and "C" Cos. on relief will proceed to the Subsidiary Line and will remain there until tail of "D" and "B" Cos. 35th Battalion, have passed the Subsidiary Line when they will proceed to billets in Armentières, by half platoons at 5 minutes interval, "A" Co. leading "D" and "B" Cos. will proceed to billets on relief.

    (ii) Two guides per platoon will report to Battalion Headquarters at 9 a.m. They will be under the control of the Billeting Officer (Lieut.W.J.C. Duncan)


    Specialists and Headquarters details will be attached as follows:

    A. Co. Bombing Platoon.

    B. Co. Signallers, Stretcher Bearers, and AMC

    C. Co. Pioneers, Sniping Platoon.

    D. Co. Scouting Platoon.

    Lewis Gunners will remain with their Companies.

    7. COMMAND.

    Company Commanders will remain in command of their sub-section until their units are completely relieved on the 5th inst. Company Second- in-Commands (excepting "A" Co) will proceed to billets on the 4th inst.


    Trench kits of officers being relieved and a proportion of dixies will be dumped at Square Farm. The Transport Officer will arrange to have these collected at night. This officer will also see that officers kits are left at their billets, that Field Kitchens are placed at the Company billets, that companies are informed of the sites of water carts.

    9. REPORTS

    (i) On the completion of the partial relief Company Commanders will wire "Finis".

    (ii) When settled in billets companies will so inform Battalion HQ by runner.

    (Signed) RC Jones S/Lt. Adjutant, 33rd Battalion, A.I.F.

    33rd Btn Australian Imperial Force War Diary

  • 33rd Battalion AIF Routine Order No. 124   Not to be taken in the front line trenches
    33rd Battalion AIF
    Routine order no. 124
    Lieutenant-Colonel LJ Morshead
    Chapelle d'Armentières, 3rd December 1916

    Brigade guard 1217
    The Brigade Guard will mount daily at 4:45 pm.
    Tour of duty will be 24 hours.
    This does not refer to guard over Brigade Stores.

    Brigade runners 1218 Runners now on duty at Brigade Headquarters will not be relieved weekly but will become a permanent duty. If it is desired to change any man the matter must first be referred to Brigade Headquarters.
    The above arrangements are necessary in order to maintain an efficient system of communication.

    Working parties 1219
    The personnel of all engineers working parties should consist of same men as far as practicable while the company in question is providing the party. This will enable better results to be obtained and loss of time to be avoided.

    Return of empty sacks, jars, etc 1220
    All empty sacks, petrol tins, grease, disinfectant, and oil drums and rum jars will be returned without delay by units to their respective Group Supply Officers in the empty supply wagons returning to Divisional Train after delivering supplies.

    Fuel and fire 1221
    Open fires will not be used, as much heat and fuel is thereby wasted. A considerable saving could be effected by using a closed in trench on the principle of the field kitchen. Every effort must be made to economises fuel.

    Rocket signal 1222
    "S.O.S." rocket signal at all Company Headquarters on the Corps front will be tested at 6 pm on the night of the 4-5th December. No artillery action will follow but all concerned should be warned to note the appearance of the signal.

    Leaving trenches 1223
    On no account will any officer leave the trenches to report himself to Battalion Headquarters without orders from the C.O.

    "Q" Branch 1224
    The strictest attention and closest supervision must be paid by Companies to the "Q" Branch. The greatest care must be given to the clothing, equipment, and feeding of men.
    More attention must be paid to the parade states submitted to the Quarter Master.
    Second in Command of Companies will be responsible for their company commanders for the proper working of this department.

    Telephone wire 1225
    In the case of telephone wire of any kind being found in No Man's Land it is not to be cut but to be reported to the Divisional Signal Officer who will communicate with O.C. Wireless before any action is taken.

    Intelligence summaries 1226
    Re R.O. 125. para 1216. the daily intelligence summaries must be sent direct to Intelligence Officer. (Major Massey) and not to Battalion Orderly Room. Runners are to be instructed to deliver these reports as above and they must be handed in by 6:30 am daily. The sentry on duty will direct runners to Intelligence Officer's Quarters if necessary.

    Sick parade 1227
    Whilst in the trenches a daily sick parade will be held at 9:30 am at Regimental Aid Post near Headquarters. Companies must arrange to have men paraded under an N.C.O. and they should be instructed not to allow the men to wander about whilst waiting to be examined. Owing to the danger of an aerial observation they must be instructed to keep close to walls of buildings about.

    Promotion 1228
    The appointment of L/Sgt E.C.P. Thomas to rank of sergeant and to be Platoon Sgt. No. 13 Platoon. vice C.J. Byrne reverted to rank of corporal is approved dated 4-12-16.

    Reversion 1229
    No.1077. Sgt C.J. Byrne reverts to rank of corporal at his own request, dated 4-12-16.

    (Signed) R.C.Jones. 2/Lt.
    Adjutant. 33rd Battalion. A.I.F.

    An acknowledgement has been received from the Lord Mayor of London of receipt of the sum of £36-6-3 which was subscribed to the Lord Kitchener National Memorial Fund by the Officers, N.C.Os. and men of the 33rd Battalion.

    33rd Btn Australian Imperial Force War Diary

  • 3rd December 1916 Rest period

  • 3rd December 1916 Church Parade

  • 3rd Dec 1916 New Corps


    18th Battalion vacated billets and proceeded to take over Left Subsector HEBUTERNE from 18th W.Y.R. Relief complete 3.20pm. C Co. Left Front. B Co. Right Front. D Co. Left Support. A Co. Right Support. Raiding party left out at 7.0pm.

    The National Archives Reference WO95/2361/1

  • 3rd Dec 1916 Letters from Home

  • 3rd of December 1916 Leaving Bulford Camp

  • 3rd Dec 1916 Inspection


    Very wet. Trenches which had been in fair condition, got washed down badly.

    The National Archives Reference WO95/2361/1

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There are:13 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. Michael Behan. Royal Dublin Fusiliers 2nd Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. George Stapley. East Kent Regiment 8th Battalion

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  • Items from the Home Front Archive

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