1st Battalion War Diary – August 1914
In August 1914 the 1st Battalion was in Londonderry, Ireland. At the outbreak of War it became part of 15th Brigade, 5th Division, structured as in the diagram below.
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.
Key: Bde. = Brigade; Bn. = Battalion; Coy. = Company
…. Casualties for that day
Details of Entry
4.0 p.m. Received order for General Mobilisation
1st Day of Mobilisation
2nd Day of Mobilisation. 100 Reservists joined from Regimental Depot, Chester
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.
4th Day of Mobilisation. 48 Reservists joined from Regimental Depot, Chester
5th Day of Mobilisation
6th Day of Mobilisation. Mobilisation complete
Awaiting Embarkation for active service abroad
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.
At sea on S.S. “Massilia”.
4.0 p.m. Disembarked at Havre, France and moved out to rest camp.
11.0 p.m. Marched back to Havre and entrained. Sgt. Pilgrim and Pte Jarvis admitted to Hospital.
8.30 p.m. Arrived at Le Cateau. Detrained and proceeded to POMMEREUIL.
Lieut. C de W Woodyer remained at Le Cateau sick
Remained in billets at Pommereuil. Route marching under Company Commanders.
Privates G Robinson, Swindells, Wood & Armstrong admitted to Hospital
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
6.30 a.m. Marched to Bois de Boussu arriving at 2.0 p.m. Billeted in this town.
Eleven men admitted to Hospital.
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.
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 a.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. [Not available]
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.
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.
5.0 p.m. Reached Eaucourt and bivouacked – a 38 mile march from the battlefield done in hours.
6.0 a.m. Left Eaucourt reached Pontoise at 6 p.m. (17½ miles) a very hot march
6.40 p.m. Left Pontoise halted for 2 hours at Charlepont
10.0 a.m. Reached Crontcy at 10 a.m. 30th inst
7.30 a.m. Left Crontcy and marched to Crépy arriving at 6 p.m.
J.L. SHONE Capt.