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22nd 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

22nd December 1916

On this day:

  • Hostile Battery in Action   236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery report front was very quiet all day. Considerable activity took place on our right. At 1430 a hostile 77 mm battery was seen in action from St Peters Street, 176.5 (true) from I.24.d.6.1. The battery shelled Yeomanry Port and Observatory Ridge.

    War Diaries

  • 33rd Bn AIF reviewed    Billets. Supplied working parties for AE Composite CO commanded by Capt Linklater Reviewed by C in C British Army in France at Erquinghem.

    33rd Btn Australian Imperial Force War Diary, La Chapelle-d'Armentières

  • 33rd Battalion AIF Operation order number No. 7   33rd Battalion A.I.F.
    Operation order no. 7
    Lieut-Col LJ Morshead

    Map reference sheet No. 36. N.W. 1/20,000
    Armentières, 22nd December 1916

    1. The 33rd Battalion will be relieved in the L'Epinette sector by 44th Battalion and will move back to reserve in the Steenwerck area, becoming "H" Battalion. Relief will commence and be completed on 23rd inst.

    2. Troops will pass starting point at I.1.d.30.65. according to timetable below, and will follow the road along Rue Nationale, Rue de Dunkerque, thence to cross road B.36.a.90, 5 thence south west to Railway Crossing B.28.b.20.65, thence south west to road intersection G.6.d.25.6 thence north west by Le Soquemeau (?) to Steenwerck. Timetable
    3. Unit: "D" Co., Scouts, Stretcher Bearers pass starting point: 9 am
    Unit: "C" Co., Signallers, Pioneers pass starting point: 9:6 am
    Unit: "B" Co., "A" Co., Bombing Platoon pass starting point: 9.17 am
    Unit: HQ Lewis gun section pass starting point: 9:24 am
    Unit: Regimental transport pass starting point: 9:30 am

    Order of March
    4."D" Co. will pass the starting point at 9 am and will be followed by "C", "A" and "B" Co.s in that order., at intervals at five minutes thereafter. This must be maintained between by using connecting files, which will close up when a rear Company disengages to its billets.

    5. Every precaution must be taken against hostile observation, both aerial and from ground line. Companies must give way to parties of the 11th Brigade moving to Armentières.

    6. There will be no halt for midday meal. A halt of 10 minutes before each hour will be made. When Companies are halted steps must be taken not to impede any other traffic.

    7. Companies must arrange to have synchronised at Battalion headquarters at 8:15 am on 23rd inst.

    Officers' Kit
    8. These must not exceed the regulation weight of 55lbs each, and the kits must be stacked at company billets by 7 am on 23rd inst.

    Mess kits ATC
    9. All men's kits and field kitchens to be ready for transport at 8 am. The latter to be placed so that teams can be hooked in without delay.

    10. Blankets will be rolled in bundles of 10 and stacked at company billets where they will be collected by regimental transport and dumped at QM store from whence motor transport will remove same to billets.

    11. Transport officer will arrange to collect Officers kits, mess gear, kitchens and water carts. Kits and officers mess gear will be dumped at QM store, No. 36 Rue de Lille by 9 am on 23rd inst.
    Kitchens and water carts will move in rear of "B" Co. and pass the starting point at 9:30 am.
    One kitchen will be left at each company's billet and one water cart left for use of "A" and "B" companies, and the other for "C"and "D" companies.

    12. Full marching order, greatcoats in pack with waterproof sheet under the flap. Steel helmets will be carried between supporting straps on pack. Mess tins on top of pack.

    13. A midday ration will be carried in the haversack, but must not be eaten until arrival at new billets. Water bottles must be filled before the march. Tea dixies on the kitchen must be filled and fires kept burning so to provide hot tea for the men on arrival at billets.

    14. Before marching out company commanders or senior officer in charge will render to billeting officer a certificate as to cleanliness of billets and extent of damage (if any) which has occurred during occupancy of billets.

    (Signed) RC Jones. 2/Lieut.
    Adjutant. 33rd Battalion AIF

    Copy No. 1. 9th infantry brigade
    2. CO
    3. "A" Co.
    4. "B" Co.
    5. "C" Co.
    6. "D" Co.
    7. Lewis gun officer
    8. Signalling officer
    9. Regimental medical officer
    10.Transport officer
    13.War diary

    33rd Btn Australian Imperial Force War Diary

  • 33rd Battalion AIF Operation order number No. 6   

    List of articles to be carried by raiding party

    Operation order No. 6
    Lt.-Col LJ Morshead,
    Commanding 33rd Battalion, Chapelle d'Armentieres
    Reference map: Vez Macquart (part of sheet 36) 22nd of December 1916.
    Aero-photograph: 42 B 365 - 36.I.11.a-9:11:16.

    1. A silent raid will be made on the part of the enemy's trench known as the Railway Salient at a date and time to be notified later.

    2. (i) To take unwounded prisoners.
    (ii) To inflict casualties.
    (iii) To destroy machine gun emplacements and dug-outs.
    (iv) To capture material and equipment.
    (v) To gain information.

    Strength of party:
    3. 4 officers, 50 other ranks. Reserves: 1 officer 20 other ranks, (including eight stretcher bearers.)

    4. (1) Commander: Capt WH Douglas. 2 runners. 2 telephonists. (1 officer, 4 privates)
    (2) Scouts: 2/Lt. RC King. 1NCO. 4 scouts. 2 telephonists. 1 linesmen. (1 officer, 1 NCO, 7 privates.)
    (3) Right party: Lt. LCB Smith. Two NCOs. 4 bombers. 4 Bayonet men. 2 demolition men. 1 carrier. 1 intelligence man. (1 officer. 2 NCOs. 12 Privates.)
    (4) Left party: 2 NCOs. 4 bombers. 2 bayonet men. 1 carrier. 1 intelligence man. 2 NCOs, 8 privates. )
    (5) Centre party: 1NCO. 3 bombers. 2 bayonet men. (1 NCO, 5 privates).
    (6) Supports: Lt. WW Stockham (OC (officer in charge) Assault. 2 NCOs. 3 runners. 8 men. 4 stretcher bearers. (1officer, 2 NCOs, 15 privates).
    Total: 4 officers, 8 NCOs, 51 privates.
    Reserves: Lt. TW Tollis. 2 NCOs. 10 men. 8 stretcher bearers. (1officer, 2 NCOs, 12 Privates).

    Preliminary measures:
    5. (1) Dress
    (a) All ranks will wear British pattern service dress from which will be removed all badges (except those denoting rank) and distinguishing marks.
    (b) Faces and hands will be blackened.
    (c) Balaclava caps will be worn.
    (d) Body shields will be worn.
    (e) Gas respirators will be carried.
    (f) A strip of white cloth 15" x 3" will be worn on the arm 6 inches above each elbow and will be covered by a piece of sandbag loosely tacked on which will be torn off before entering the enemy's trench.
    (e) identity disc, blotters, maps, documents or anything which could lead to an identification will not be carried. A piece of cardboard giving the regimental number, rank and name only will replace the identity disc.
    (ii) Arms and equipment.
    See appendix B.
    Bayonets will be sharpened and blackened.
    All marks giving a clue to the unit will be obliterated.
    (iii) Reconnaisance.
    All ranks will go over the approach across No Man's Land before the night of the raid.
    The Scout officer will have No Man's Land specially patrolled on the night of the raid, and will see that the wire is cut.
    (iv) Communications.
    Port Egale Avenue will be kept clear of all traffic from two hours before zero until the raiding party is clear of the trench.
    (v) Watches.
    All ranks will wear luminous watches.
    Watches will be synchronised that battalion headquarters at 9 am and 6 pm on the day of the raid, and that two hours before zero on the night of the raid.
    (vi) Parade.
    The raiding party will report at Battalion headquarters two hours before zero, when a nominal roll will be handed in by the officer in charge raid. (VII) Countersign.
    The countersign will be notified when the raiding party reports the battalion headquarters.

    Artillery cooperation.
    6. (i)"Box" call. (a) If required the Artillery will form a barrage on the call "Box" being sent and a golden rain rocket being fired from I.10.b.9.4.
    (b) the inner line of this barrage will extend along the enemy's front line from I.11.c.30.? to junction of the salient and chord (keeping within safe range of the limits set down in para. 9 subpara 4) ad then along the front line and then along the front line to I.5.c.62.10.
    see appendix A
    (ii) "Gun" Call. If enemy machine guns north of the salient open heavy fire the Artillery will open fire on the enemy's front line from I.11.c.57.40 to I.5.c.62.10.
    (iii) OC assault will decide whether the barrage as stated in subparagraph (i) or the bombardment as stated in sub-para (ii) is needed and whether such support is required
    (a) to enter the hostile trenches.
    (b) while in their hostile trenches, or
    (c) to cover the withdrawal.
    (iv) OC raid will wire "Chase"when artillery support is no longer required.

    Stokes mortars.
    7. OC 9th ALTM (Australian Light Trench Mortar) battery will open fire when artillery barrage begins. Two guns will fire on hostile machine guns in front line between salient opposite the mushroom and I.11.a.6.0, and two guns between I.11.a.6.8. and I.5.c.7.0. Fire will cease when artillery barrage ceases.

    Machine guns.
    8. OC 9th Machine gun company will have Vickers guns ready to traverse enemy's parapet and engage enemy's machine guns. Two guns will fire between salient opposite mushroom and I.11.a 6.0. and two guns between I.11.a.6.5.and I.5.c.7.0. Fire will not be opened until
    (a) hostile machine guns opens fire, or
    (b)when artillery barrage commences
    Fire will continue until artillery barrage ceases.

    Position of Raiders.
    9. (i) OC raid will be stationed near I.10.b.9.4. The artillery liaison officer will be with him.
    (ii) OC Assault will direct operations from a point near the place of entrance after the enemy's trench has been entered.
    (iii) A reserve officer and party will be in the vicinity of I.10.b.9.r. ready to take over the duties of OC Raid, should Capt. Douglas become a casualty.

    Plan of action.
    10. (i) Scouts will leave our trenches at ?? One hour 30 minutes before zero time and will precede the party to the place of assembly at I.11.A.30.35. The approach will be along the north side of the Armentières-Lille railway line.
    After the Raiders have entered the hostile trenches at I.11.a.36.30 the scouts will breach the parapet and make a ramp to facilitate exit, and will lay a tape to guide the party back.
    (Ii) The Raiding Party will leave our trenches at 1 1/4 hours before zero time and will enter the enemy trenches at zero hour.
    (iii). The order of entrants will be:
    (a) Right Party.
    (b) Left Party.
    (c) Centre Party.
    (iv) Tasks.
    Tasks allotted are shown in the attached map (Appendix A)
    The Right Party will clear the trenches from the point of entry to point "A"and endeavour to capture the machine gun and destroy the emplacement at I.11.a.36.15.
    The Left Party will clear the trenches from point of entry to point B, a distance of 30 yards, and on no account will they advance further.
    The Centre Party will advance 25 yards along the communication trench to point C, and no further.
    (v) Bombing stops will be established at Points A, B, and C in order to prevent the enemy from rushing. Bombs will not be used unless absolutely necessary.
    (vi) Each demolition man will carry a charge of 10lbs of guncotton and two Lotbiniere bombs to destroy machine gun emplacements and dug outs. Machine guns are to be removed and brought in; if this cannot be done they are to be destroyed.
    (vii) Intelligence men will search the trenches and enemy dead for documents and information.
    (viii) Supports will close up to parapet and cover point of entrance. O.C. Assault will be responsible that prisoners are quickly escorted back to our lines.
    (ix) Previous to the Raiding Party leaving our trenches a telephone line will be laid as far forward as possible. The two telephonists and linesman of the Scout Party will be attached to O.C.Assault.
    The following codes will be used:
    In…… Have entered trench.
    Prisoners…… Prisoners are being escorted back.
    Box…… Require box barrage immediately.
    Gun.....Bombard from I.11.a.57.40 to I.5.c.52.10.
    Empty…… Trench not garrisoned.
    All clear......We have left enemy's trench.
    Cease..... Cease barrage.

    11.(i) Parties will remain in the trenches not longer than 10 minutes. The signal for withdrawal will be given by the O.C. Assault and will be the passing along of the word "Cut", convoyed by his runners. The withdrawal must be rapid, but congestion must however be avoided.
    (ii) Supports will cover the withdrawal of the parties and will return on orders of O.C. Assault.
    (iii) If it is not advisable to return to our trenches immediately, O.C. Assault will call out "Disperse" when men will move quickly to shell holes and return independently. They must report to Lt Duncan immediately on their return.

    Roll Call.
    12. A roll call station under the charge of Lt. WJC Duncan will be established at the junction of Support Trench and Port Egale Avenue . After answering their names the party will return to Battalion Headquarters at Square Farm. On dismissal they will return to billets.

    13. Prisoners will be dealt with as follows:
    (i) They will be disarmed when captured.
    (ii) On reaching our trenches they will be under the charge of Lt. TW Tollis who will be responsible that they are at once escorted to Advanced Battle Headquarters.
    (iii) They will be kept separate from each other and not allowed to converse.
    (iv) They will be searched immediately on arrival at advanced Battle Headquarters and relieved of all papers, books, badges and shoulder straps.
    (v) Each prisoner's papers, etc. will be kept separate and marked so that he may be questioned concerning them.
    (vi) Lt Tollis will arrange for their escort to the A.P. M. who will be at Headquarters, 9th Infantry Brigade, Rue Sadi Carnot, Armentières.
    (vii) There must be no crowding round the prisoners.

    14. Advanced Dressing Station will be established at 5 Dug-Out.

    15. Reports to Advanced Battle Headquarters, Headquarters Left Centre Company.

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

    Copies No. 1-2 9th Infantry Brigade AIF.
    3. C.O.
    4-8 O.C. RaID.
    9. "A" Co.
    10. "B" Co.
    11. "C" Co.
    12. "D" Co.
    13. R.M.O.
    14. Right Artillery Group
    15. 9th LTM Battery, AIF
    16. 9th Machine Gun Co. A.I.F.
    17-20 11 th Infantry Brigade AIF
    21. 35th Battalion AIF
    22. 36th Battalion AIF
    23. 10th Infantry Brigade AIF
    24. 103rd Infantry .brigade, AID
    25. File
    26. War Diary
    27-30 Spare

    33rd Btn Australian Imperial Force War Diary

  • 22nd December 1916 Weather very bad

  • 22nd December 1916 Training and inspections

  • 22nd Dec 1916 Change of Group

  • 22nd Dec 1916 Changes

  • 22nd Dec 1916 Patrols

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Remembering those who died this day.

  • Cpl. William Form. West Yorkshire Regiment 1st Battalion Read their Story.
  • Dvr. William Brabazon Mitchelhill. Read their Story.

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