The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
18th December 1917On this day:
- 18th Dec 1917 Very Cold
- move to Mezieres 16th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles - Pioneers.
On the 18th December 1917 the 36th Division was on its way back to the Doullens area and although contact with the enemy was broken off a battle with the weather commenced.
The 16th Battalion entrained at Etricourt, detrained at Mondicourt (39 miles) and marched about 7 miles to Sombrin via Saulty, with the war diary stating “ heavy snowdrifts encountered”.
They spent from the 19th to 23rd December clearing snowdrifts on roads radiating from Sombrin to Grand Rulletcourt (1 mile), to Warluzel (2 miles) and to Saulty (3 miles).
Finally after another series of moves the Battalion finished 1917 in billets at Mezieres with the 36th Division taking over from the French 6th Infantry Division in the Corbie, Boves and Moreiul area.
Bathing arrangements were constructed in the village on the 24th December and on Christmas Day the diary entry is again the one word “REST!” with the usual exclamation mark. The troops bathed the next day and on the 27th and 28th partook in Infantry Training.
To 13th December - Officers 1 killed 5 wounded
Other ranks 7 killed 24 wounded
31st December Officers 41 Other ranks 903.
- Daily Activity 9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) the Royal Irish Fusiliers.
Entrained at Etricourt for Mondicourt. Detrained at Mondicourt and marched through deep snow to our billets in the village of Coullemont.
The heavy snow delayed our transport, which did not arrive till midnight.
- New Brigade structure introduced 59th Heavy Artillery Brigade.
18th December 1917. The new system of Royal Garrison Artillery Brigades came into force at 1600. The 59th Heavy Artillery Brigade consisting of: 30th Siege Battery; 37th Siege Battery ; 335th Siege Battery and 350th Siege Battery. One section of the 288th Siege Battery was transferred from the 79th Heavy Artillery Group to become part of the 350th Siege Battery and the 37th Siege Battery also transferred from 79th HAG.
Lt Col. W. Arthy left the Brigade to take command of the 79th Brigade and Lt. Col. T.H. Blew returned from Senior Officers Course (to take command of the 59th Brigade).
Note: Heavy Artillery Brigades were moved from Divisions to Corps and Army Control in 1916 and named as Heavy Artillery Groups (HAG). This was later changed back to Heavy Artillery Brigades. This extract is centered around the activities of the 37th Siege Battery in which the subscriber's ancestor served.
- 18th Dec 1917 Refit Complete
Training under Coy arrangements. Coy’s proceeding on route marches on account of snow.
- 18th Dec 1917 Working Parties
- 18th Dec 1917 Reliefs
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