Grandad's War

In August 1914 the 1st Bn. was in Londonderry, Ireland. At the outbreak of War it became part of 15th Brigade, 5th Division.  The War Diary was begun on the day War was declared, 4th August 1914, and is transposed below as written at the time by the C.O.

Cheshire Regiment Colour
1st Battalion War Diary - August 1914

©Copyright: G E Conway, 2009
Details of Entry
4th August
4.0 p.m.  Received order for General Mobilisation

5th August
1st Day of Mobilisation

6th August
2nd Day of Mobilisation.  100 Reservists joined from Regimental Depot, Chester

7th August
3rd Day of Mobilisation.  406 Reservists joined from Regimental Depot, Chester.  3 Officers and 15 N.C.O.s proceeded to Chester in connection with formation of new units.

8th August
4th Day of Mobilisation.  48 Reservists joined from Regimental Depot, Chester

9th August
5th Day of Mobilisation

10th August
6th Day of Mobilisation.  Mobilisation complete

11th August

Awaiting Embarkation for active service abroad

12th August

13th August

14th August
6.0 a.m.  Lieut. Col. D C Boger, 13 other Officers & 489 other ranks entrained for Belfast at Foyle Road Station, G.N.R.

6.30 a.m. Major B H Chetwynd-Stapylton, 12 other Officers & 491 other Ranks entrained for Belfast at Foyle Road Station, G.N.R.

9.15 a.m. Arrived at Belfast, marched to York Docks awaiting embarkation.

3.30 p.m. Embarked on Anchor Liner S.S. "Massilia", and put to sea under sealed orders.  

15th August
At sea on S.S. "Massilia".

16th August
4.0 p.m. Disembarked at Havre, France and moved out to rest camp.

17th August
11.0 p.m. Marched back to Havre and entrained. Sgt. Pilgrim and Pte Jarvis admitted to Hospital.

18th August
8.30 p.m. Arrived at Le Cateau. Detrained and proceeded to POMMEREUIL.

Lieut. C de W Woodyer remained at Le Cateau sick

19th August
                AT POMMEREUIL
Remained in billets at Pommereuil. Route marching under Company Commanders.

Privates G Robinson, Swindells, Wood & Armstrong admitted to Hospital

20th August

21st August
5.45. a.m.  Battalion paraded and marched to Commegries at which place Battalion was billeted.

Eight N.C.O.s and men admitted to Hospital

22nd August
6.30 a.m.  Marched to Bois de Boussu arriving at 2.0 p.m.  Billeted in this town.

Eleven men admitted to Hospital.

23rd August
At noon   'A' & 'B' Coys moved out and entrenched a position 1½ miles East of  Bois de Boussu facing North & North West under Lt Col Boger

At 8 p.m.  'C' & 'D' Coys moved to Hornu under Major Stapylton and took up and commenced to entrench a position facing North East astride the Mons Road.

24th August
At 3 a.m.   'C' & 'D' Coys rejoined 'A' & 'B' Coys

At 8 a.m.   The Manchester Regt. relieved us.

At 10 a.m. The Battalion marched to Dour Station arriving there at 11.45 a.m.

11.45 a.m. The G.O.C. 5th Division gave Col Ballard, Norfolk Regt, orders to take the Cheshire Regt, Norfolk Regt and 119th Battery and take up a position N. West along the Elouges - Audregnies road and act as a flank guard to the Manchesters and the troops entrenched round Wasmes in their retirement.

1.00 p.m.   In position Norfolk right on the Railway Embankment. Cheshire right on the 4th Kilo stone.  'D' Coy Cheshire left, 'D' Coy holding the village of Audregnies - Order of Coys 'B', 'A', 'C' 'D'.

Masses of the enemy were seen moving out of Quievrain and their artillery and machine guns opened a very hot fire on the Infantry and Cavalry and R.H.A. who were operating against the German Cavalry in the valley 1¼ miles to the S.E. of Quievrain.

2.30 p.m.   I am informed Col Ballard gave orders for all troops to retire in an Easterly direction - these orders never reached the 2 front platoons of 'D' Coy under command of Capt W S Rich, who held on to the position he had reached in front of the line till 4 p.m. by which hour all troops had retired.

Lieut W G R Elliot behaved with great gallantry in returning during the retirement and carrying away a wounded man under intensely hot fire, he being shot through ankles when within 3 yards of the sunken road to which he eventually took this man - Lt Elliot was left on the field (witness Corporal Oford,  1/Cheshire Regt)

4.45 p.m.   About 100 men were collect in Athis

1.00 p.m.   At roll call in Bivouac at Les Bavay there were 6 Officers, a Warrant Officer and 199 men - The strength marching out at 7.30 a.m. on the morning of 24th inst was 27 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer and 933 men - A loss of 78% most of which was caused in the withdrawal.

Attached is Field Return A B 213 giving names of Officers Reported Killed, Wounded or Missing in the actions of Aug 24th & 26th.

25th August
2.0 a.m.    Left Les Bavay and marched to Le Cateau thence to bivouac at La Sotiere at 3 p.m. (24 miles).  ‘A’ Coy in the trenches till 3.30 a.m. 26th inst.

26th August
3. 0 a.m.   Stood to arms at 3.0 a.m. – reserve Battalion to the15th Brigade in position ½ mile East of Troisville

6.0 a.m.    Action commenced – Battalion used in reserve and covered the retirement of the remainder of the Brigade and the K.O.S.B.s – Heavily shelled in the withdrawal in the direction of Marets – shooting of the German Artillery magnificent though few casualties.

5.0 p.m.    Retirement ordered.

27th August
5.0 p.m.    Reached  Eaucourt and bivouacked – a 38 mile march from the battlefield done in          hours.

28th August
6.0 a.m.    Left Eaucourt reached Pontoise at 6 p.m. (17½ miles) a very hot march

29th August
6.40 p.m.  Left Pontoise halted for 2 hours at Charlepont

30th August
10.0 a.m.  Reached Crontcy at 10 a.m. 30th inst

31st August
7.30 a.m.  Left Crontcy and marched to Crépy arriving at 6 p.m.

J.L. SHONE Capt.

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Key:       Bde. = Brigade;  Bn. = Battalion;   Coy. = Company                              = Casualty list for that day

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......... the 1st Battalion in action during August 1914.