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17th 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

17th December 1916

On this day:

  • Poor visibility.   236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery record a very quiet day and poor visibility.

    War Diaries

  • 33rd Bn AIF prefers pea soup   cf Intelligence Summary dated 18 /12/1916. Night firing positions 2 for machine guns selected on front line. Enemy machine guns replied with energy to burst fired. Found that men prefer pea soup to Oxo after stand down in morning. Relief of Battalion postponed one day on account of visit of Lieutenant-General Sir WR Birdwood to area. Front particularly quiet all day.

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

  • 33rd Battalion AIF Intelligence Report No.13   Intelligence summary No. 13
    33rd Battalion A.I.F.
    Period 6 am 17/12/1916 - 6 am 18/12/1916


    Our artillery: 12:40 pm three rounds fired – enemy parapet opposite I-10-1 3:30 pm 11 rounds fired in retaliation enemy medium trench mortar.

    Machine guns: our machine guns fired several times during the night each burst being replied to by enemy with energy.

    Lewis guns: fired occasional bursts.

    Patrols: I-16-4 - I-10–1. Patrol went out from I-16–4 proceeded to extreme right. Thence patrolled to the left of I-10–1 then returned by same route as they went out. No enemy encountered. Went out at 5:30 pm returning 8 pm. Second patrol went out from the left of I-10–1 at ??? advanced straight across to enemy wire. Machine gun opened on them and a number of flares were fired. They patrolled to the right along wire which was found to be strong and returned at about ??? by the same route.

    I-10–2 – I-10–3 First patrol at 7 pm from mushroom sap removed 15 foot south thence straight across to enemy wire. No enemy encountered. Moved south heard two enemy working parties on their parapet. Our wire south of mushroom in good order returned 9 pm same way as went out. Second patrol went out 9 pm from north of mushroom cord through mushroom thence 400 foot north. Encountered no Enemy reported all quiet at 11 pm except they that they had been fired on by enemy machine gun.

    3rd patrol left at 11:30 pm halfway along Mushroom sap. Moved north along No Man's Land for some distance. No enemy encountered. Scouts believe that there is a gap between railway and Mushroom salients in enemy garrison. The wire here is very strong and he shows no activity. Requires confirmation. I-10-4 – I-10–5. Patrol of 35th Battalion left I-10-4 11 pm patrolled towards enemy line returning 1 am. Report machine gun on south of railway salient very active on our machine gun position I-11-a-3-3.

    No.2 patrol 35th Battalion left I-11-a-3-3 at 1:15 am returning the same place 3:15 am report all quiet on the front. About six verey lights were fired by enemy.

    No. 3 patrol 35th Battalion left I-11-a-3-3 at 3:30 am. No enemy seen. Machine gun on railway salient still active returned 5:30 am.

    No.4 patrol 35th Battalion left I-11-a-0-6 at 1 am report hearing enemy working party I -11-a-6-6 but could not see them. Verey lights were fired here by enemy showed no activity. Patrol returned at 3 am.

    No. 5 Patrol 35th Battalion left I-11-a-1-8 at 3:15 am returning at 5:15 am, report all quiet.

    Our patrols on front I-10-6 from 7 pm to ? pm report all quiet, no enemy encountered.

    Enemy activity: Artillery nil. He threw 35 bombs from medium trench mortar into A company front without doing any damage at 3:5 pm.

    Machine guns: enemy machine gun showed great activity during the night and showed even greater accuracy than before. Three guns between the railway and the Mushroom traversed our parapets and played on our wire continuously at one time or three guns were firing at the same time.
    Our machine gun from left of Mushroom fired on LC said to be in No Man's Land. It did not fire after this again.

    Enemy defences: nothing new could be observed. Patrols report this wired to be very strong practically all along his front.

    Communications: enemy still fires a great number of verey lights at night. He also used to searchlights throughout the night.

    Wiring: about 50 foot of new wire was put out north of Mushroom chord during the night.

    Sniping: snipers claim three hits for the day.

    Enemy bombed his wired during the night.

    Wind: about 3 mph west north west.

    33rd Btn Australian Imperial Force War Diary

  • 33rd Battalion AIF Operations Order No. 5   Appendix No.14
    33rd Battalion, A.I.F.

    Operation order No. 5
    Lieutenant-Colonel LJ Morshead

    Reference map Sheet 36 N.W. 1/20,000
    Battalion headquarters. 17th December, 1916

    Owing to the visit of Lieut.- General Sir WR Birdwood, the relief of this Battalion as detailed in 33rd Battalion operation order No. 4 of 16th inst. para 1 is postponed to Monday, 18th December, 1916 commencing at 2 am.
    Time of relief to be amended and read accordingly.

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

    33rd Btn Australian Imperial Force War Diary

  • 33rd Battalion AIF Routine Order No.138   NOT TO BE TAKEN IN FRONT LINE TRENCHES
      33rd BATTALION A.I.F.
    Lieutenant-Colonel LJ Morshead,
      Chappelle d'Armentières, 17th December, 1916

      Ration parties for Sunday, 17th inst. will report at SQUARE FARM at 8 pm.

      The undermentioned will report to D.A.D.O.S. Divisional Armourer Shop on Monday, 18th inst.  He  will be attached to D.A.D.O.S. for rations, duty, etc.

      No.1064, Pte. HL Cutcher

      Cases have recently occurred of loaded bombs and grenades having been found in the kits of officers and other ranks proceeding to and from France. This practice must cease.

      Attention is drawn to regulations concerning the disposal of Field Conduct Sheets  (A.F.B. 122).
      When a soldier leaves his unit his Field Conduct Sheet will accompany him.
      All Field Conduct Sheets of soldiers, killed in action, missing, evacuated to casualty clearing stations, soldiers committed to military prisons, or transferred to other units must be at once sent to Battalion Headquarters for disposition in accordance with above.

      S.A.A. SUPPLIES 1340
      The establishment of ammunition laid down by Mobilisation Store Table  (220 rounds per rifle) must be maintained intact, all ammunition expended in front line being replaced by daily indent on Battalion reserve.

      The following points concerning German Cylinder Hand Grenades with handle (percussion) have been brought to notice and all ranks should be warned.
      As the grenade is percussion and is similar in general appearance to the ordinary 51/2 secs. time German grenade with which all ranks are now familiar, special care will be taking in handling such grenades if found.

    All ranks will be warned of possibility of the enemy using this new type of grenade with which to lay traps for our patrols in No Man's Land such as in shell holes, abandoned saps or posts, etc.

      POSTAL 1342
      Mail matter is not to be retained by Companies longer than is necessary for purposes of identification, etc.  Empty mailbags are to be returned immediately. Every letter, parcel, etc. returned is to be marked "Not 33rd Battalion", "Hospital", "Not in Co." and dated and initialled.
      Whilst the Battalion is in the trenches, returned mail is to be handed to the Postal Corporal, who accompanies the ration transport each evening. Whilst Battalion is in billets such mail is to be handed in to Postal Room, Quartermasters' store.
      OUTWARDS MAIL.  After being censored, all outwards mail is to be handed in to Battalion Orderly Room for censor's stamp.
      All postal matter exceeding 4 ounces in weight must have stamps affixed.  Fee for registration Is 9d.

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

    33rd Btn Australian Imperial Force War Diary

  • 17th December 1916 Ongoing training

  • 17th December 1916 Move to trenches

  •    SAILLY

    Wet & cold. Enemy quiet – very little reply to our bursts of artillery fire.

    The National Archives Reference WO95/2361/1

  • 17th Dec 1916 On Leave

  • 17th Dec 1916 On the March

  • 17th Dec 1916 Still Cold

  • 17th Dec 1916 Church Parade

  • 17th of December 1916 Enemy Active

  • 17th of December 1916 Hunting a Pineapple Mortar

  • 17th Dec 1916 Inspection

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Want to know more?

There are:15 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. Charles Graham. Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment Read their Story.
  • Pte. Charles Graham. Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment Read their Story.
  • Pte. Millard Fillmore Jones. Welsh Regiment 16th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. Albert Miley. East Yorkshire Regiment 2nd/4th Btn. Read their Story.
  • Cpl. Robert Russell. Northumberland Fusiliers 1st Btn. Read their Story.

    Add a name to this list.

  • Items from the Home Front Archive

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