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12th April 1918 - The Great War, Day by Day - The Wartime Memories Project

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

12th April 1918

On this day:

  • 9th Btn. Royal Irish Fusiliers near Wulverghem   At 0200 9th Btn. Royal Irish Fusiliers moved to near Wulverghem with Headquarters at N Midland Farm. Enemy attacked, pressing back our line. Counter attack completely restored position. Casualties heavy, including Medical Officer, Lieutenants Hamilton, Hardy and Miller killed. Captain Dean, Lieutenants Turner and Orr wounded.

    War Diaries

  • Zeppelin Raids on Britain   A third airship raid took place on 12 April: again the altitude and weather caused navigational problems, and although attacks were claimed on a number of towns in the Midlands most of the bombs fell in open countryside. Seven people were killed, 20 injured and 11,673 damage was caused.

    John Doran

  • 59th Heavy Artillery Brigade Relocate   59th Heavy Artillery Brigade are ordered to move back to Army Line positions, except 185th & 145th SB's who were to move to Siege Park with 1 section of 30th SB. 37th & 350th SB's to move back to Army Line complete, 335th SB moving 1 section today and the remainder tomorrow.

    War Diaries

  • Establishing a Line   Breakfast was served at about 8am by two cookies and situation seemed very quiet. At 0945am. orders were received to push out a patrol to AC arc and A2d (map references) to verify presence of enemy in strength at Blanc Maison and to clear up the the situation, which was very obscure, and to report what troops of ours were in the vicinity. 2nd. Lieutenant Thackery and 15 O. R.'s including Corporals Gibson and Green went off and reported that various parties, under officers, were withdrawing. The patrol arrived back near the position of our bivouacs at about 11.45am. and reported that the enemy could be seen at about A14a (map reference) and that we held the cemetery in A7b (map reference) but that our defences and outpost line were practically non-existent.

    At about 12.15pm orders were received to establish on the Becque de la Flanche (thought to be a stream). 'B' Company remained in reserve and the other three companies were sent off to establish the above line. 'A' Company was on the right, 'C' Company was in the centre and 'D' Company was on the left. Eventually, some tome later, 'A' Company established their right post just astride the railway on S25c, Sheet 28 (map reference)about 800 yards west of Bailleul Station and got in touch with the troops on their right. 'C' Company, on the left, and 'D' Company were in touch with the 16th. Royal Scots. There was a small party of 11th. Suffolks under an officer between 'C' and 'D' Companies. Our 7th. Battalion (1/7th. D. of W.) were also a little mixed up with 'D' Company. Roughly, the line of the Becque was established and dug in during the night. During the early afternoon of the 12th., Captain Ogston was seriously wounded in the thigh by a machine gun bullet. Throughout the afternoon of the 12th., the line was continually shelled and trench mortar & heavy machine gun fire was put down on it; it was particularly intense on the left.

    Casualties on this day for 6th Battalion West Riding Regt were Major S. C. Brierly (Wounded at Duty), Captain K. Ogston (Wounded & died of wound), 2nd. Lt. H. Armitage (Wounded), 2nd. Lt. J. W. Probyn (Killed in Action), 2nd. Lt. J. H. Sunderland (Wounded)Sergeant T. D. Eagles (Wounded), 265395 Sergeant G. Harding (Killed in Action), 265883 Corporal W. Emmott (Wounded), 265576 Corporal J. Hogan (Wounded), 265267 Corporal G. Page (Killed in Action), 235503 Corporal W. Severs (Killed in Action), 265932 Lance Corporal W. H. Best (Wounded at Duty), 17038 Lance Corporal R. Piggott (Wounded), 267567 Lance Corporal W. E. Robertshaw (Wounded), 242825 Private S. Baker (Wounded), 267437 Private H. Briggs (Killed in Action), 303003 Private J. T. Britt (Wounded), 300159 Private M. Brown (Killed in Action), 17915 Private T. Caine (Wounded), 15580 Private R. H. Coleman (Wounded), 265717 Private J. E. Core (Wounded), 268074 Private N. F. Fletcher (Killed in Action), 267785 Private A. Garnett (Wounded), 17033 Private W. Grant (Wounded), 26566 Private H. Haigh (Wounded), 265746 Private J. Hayhurst (Wounded), 267863 Private G. Hill (Wounded & died of wounds 14/04/1918), 267549 Private F. Holmes (Wounded), 24125 Private J. Kennedy (Wounded), 41165 Private H. Leonard (Wounded), 41161 Private W. R. Lewis (Missing), 242621 Private H. Loyndes (Killed in Action), 242622 Private A. Lund (Killed in Action), 41176 Private T. W. Marriot (Wounded), 41175 Private S. Marsh (Wounded), 41177 Private H. May (Wounded), 14895 Private A. V. Nalson (Wounded at Duty), 41187 Private A. V. Nicholls (Killed in Action), 267474 Private A. Pearson (Wounded), 41191 Private T. Purshouse (Killed in Action), 267883 Private C. Puttergill (Wounded), 267922 Private C. J. Rooney (Wounded), 265483 Private J. Scott (Wounded), 242814 Private G. H. Smith (Killed in Action), 29889 Private H. Stead (Wounded), 26147 Private T. Stordy (Wounded), 242835 Private A. Sugden (Wounded), 41178 Private A. A. Taylor (Wounded and missing), 41151 Private J. Thorneycroft (Wounded), 240786 Private W. H. Thornton (Wounded), 267832 Private C. Threadgale (Killed in Action), 267431 Private N. Thwaites (Wounded), 242751 Private C. R. Weddle (?) (Wounded), 12695 Private L. Whitehead (Wounded).

  • 12th April 1918  

  •    LA BECQUE

    Second Phase THE WITHDRAWAL

    At about 7.30am messages received from A,B, & D Coys and a telephone message from C Coy to say that enemy were massing in front of them. 2nd Lt FREER reported to OC C COY that troops of 13th Y & L were retiring. OC C Coy held on for about 15 minutes after left of Y & L had withdrawn. He reported patrol coming through GRAND BEAUMART. D Coy on the left held on for some time longer than other companies and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. B Coy also inflicted casualties before retiring. The 15th W YORKS retired on the left of D Coy 20 minutes before D Coy moved. Orders were issued to Coys to hold on to line of the original first objective in the previous nights attack. 3 officers were wounded (seriously & left behind in the withdrawal) Coys retiring had (approx) the following casualties: A Coy 70, B Coy 80, C Coy 60, D Coy 60. Coys held for a short time this first objective but again withdrew. The CO and Adjutant attempted to form a line 200x SE of the RAU DU LEET and all Coys were at the same time warned to hold at all costs the road running along the RAU DU LEET. About this time our own artillery shelled us very heavily. The CO and Adjutant were only able to get a certain number of men as the front upon which the withdrawal was taking place was a large one and men had retired too far back, but with what men they could get at they formed a line. CO sent Adjt back to get into communications with Bde HQ at the FARM (originally Battalion HQ) near CEMETERY in F.12.a. Instructed all Coys in event of being forced to withdraw from line RAU DU LEET to form a strong point at the CEMETERY. All Coys did not receive this order in time to do so. D Coy Commander with 15 men held on to the line RAU DU LEET to the NW of BLANCHE MAISON. B Coy Commander with a few of his own men & some of 15th W YORKS held on near the CEMETERY holding up the enemy advance after the main body had retired well back from the line RAU DU LEET. Battalion HQ also covered retirement of the main body by holding firm on line at FARM F.12.a.7.4. to F.11.a.9.9. Retirement to line of railway from F.5. central to S of OUTTERSTEENE. Whole Brigade collected along railway which was a difficult position owing to necessity of men exposing themselves while watching dead ground in front and owing also to the exact fire of enemy machine guns on the railway line. Strength of Brigade on railway about 400. On right 15th W YORKS, centre 13th YORK & LANCS, left 18th DLI. This line was held for over an hour when message was received from 15th W YORKS saying that their flank had been turned and that enemy were across the railway and were enfilading us. 15th W YORKS retired. Major LOWE held right half Battalion while Adjt withdrew with the left half through very close country and thick hedges. After withdrawing about 50x Adjt took up new position facing E in open ground. On right half Battalion withdrawing, it was seen that they were under fire from farms on high ground to the SOUTH 300x away. Right half Battalion formed defensive flank to the right while left half took up position facing SE on N side of BAILLEUL OUTTERSTEENE ROAD where we held for some time until right half of Battalion joined us. After a conference of Maj LOWE MC, Maj NUTT 13th Y & L and all officers it was decided that we were likely to be completely surrounded in a few minutes and decided to work round N & NW to our Brigade HQ at MERRIS. Putting out advanced guard, left flank guard, and rear guard we worked up behind hedges & after going about 400x came into contact with Lt Col TILLEY 15th W YORKS. COs conferred together & Lt Col TILLEY & Maj NUTT voted reporting to 33rd Division which were occupying position defending METEREN. Maj LOWE wished to work round and report to our own Brigade. Whole Brigade moved back and took up position with the 18th MIDDLESEX BATTALION on 33rd Divisional line facing S & E midway between BAILLEUL and METEREN. Arranged with OC 18th MIDDLESEX to take over a line of a few small rifle posts facing SE. Improved these trenches. Very little shelling.

    The National Archives Reference WO95/2361/1

  • 12th Apr 1918 Hold at all Costs

  • 12th Apr 1918 Moving Back

  • 12th Apr 1918 Defensive Action

  • 12th Apr 1918 Training

  • 12th Apr 1918 On the March

  • 12th of April 1918 The Enemy Advances

  • 12th Apr 1918 Under Fire

  • 12th Apr 1918 Under Shellfire

  • 12th Apr 1918 In Action

  • 12th Apr 1918 In Action

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: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. William Arnold Arkins. 33rd Btn.
  • Pte. George Ewart Bishop. Royal Fusiliers 17th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. Frederick Bond. Durham Light Infantry 5th Battalion Read their Story.
  • L/Bmbdr. Raymond Wright Boulton. Royal Field Artillery 165th Brigade Read their Story.
  • Pte. Thomas Darling Bowran. Durham Light Infantry 18th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. Samuel Charles Bridgett. West Yorkshire 15th/17th Btn. Read their Story.
  • L/Cpl. William Soutter Burgess. Durham Light Infantry 18th Battalion Read their Story.
  • Pte. William Henry Cooper. Lancashire Fusiliers 1st Battalion Read their Story.
  • Pte Andrew Coulson. Northumberland Fusiliers 19th Btn Read their Story.
  • Pte. James William Dinsley. MM Durham Light Infantry 1st/8th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. Joseph Fullwood. South Staffordshire Regiment 2nd Btn.
  • Corporal William Frederick Gill. Durham Light Infantry 18th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. Dougald Graham. Northumberland Fusiliers 1st Btn. Read their Story.
  • Spr. John Hayes. Royal Engineers 104th Field Company Read their Story.
  • Pte. Robert Hubbard. Northumberland Fusiliers 4th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. William Hughes. South Wales Borderers 6th Bn Read their Story.
  • Pte. John Kenny. Durham Light Infantry 9th Battalion Read their Story.
  • Pte Albert Edward Lowe. Monmouthshire Regiment 2nd Btn. Read their Story.
  • L/Cpl Edward Arthur March. Worcestershire Regiment 4th Battalion
  • Pte. Edgar Walter Matthews. Monmouthshire Regiment 2nd Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. Frederick Henry Middleton. Lancashire Fusiliers 1st Battalion
  • Pte. Thomas Henry Moss. Wiltshire Regiment 6th Btn.
  • Cpl. Peter O'Brien. Welsh Fusiliers 9th Btn.
  • Pte. William Henry Pidgeon. Middlesex Regiment 20th Battalion
  • Pte. Ellis Ratcliffe. Durham Light Infantry 18th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. Frank Shaw. Royal Scots Fusiliers 1st Battalion Read their Story.
  • Pte. Joseph Harle Southern. Durham Light Infantry 18th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. Richard Straw. York & Lancaster Regiment 14th Btn.
  • Pte. George Thomas. Suffolk Regiment 12th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Capt. Hurleston Vesey Wells. Royal Fusiliers 2nd Battalion Read their Story.
  • Gnr. John Wilson. Royal Garrison Artillery Read their Story.

    Add a name to this list.

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