10th Battalion patch. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial
10th Battalion – July 1916
SAILLY, July 1 to 22 July
Marched Battn from SAILLY via LE VERRIE + OULTERSTEEN to billets … combined training + organised raiding party … on 9th July … we marched to MT DES CATS where we billeted for night @ midnight next day 10/11 marched to GODEWAERSVELDE RY STN where we entrained for DOULLENS … From there we marched … to HALLOY – next day 12th July we marched … to NAOURS…we remained [there] from 12th to 16th July doing route marches + training
On 16th July we marched to HERISSART where we remained until Tuesday 18th July when we marched to FORCEVILLE – on 19th July we marched to ALBERT where we billeted for night – on Thursday 20th July we marched from ALBERT to SAUSAGE VALLEY where we bivouaced in old British trenches until 2200 on Saturday 22nd when we proceeded via BLACK WATCH ALLEY to attack on POZIERES
POZIERES July 22 to July 25
… At 2200 on 22nd July the 10th Bn left SAUSAGE VALLEY +proceeded via BLACK WATCH ALLEY to trenches running N.W … to support the 9th Bn who finished the first six waves of attack… during our advance to position the Battn was heavily shelled with both poison gas + H.E shell, causing several casualties + rendering it necessary to put on anti-gas helmets which caused some delay in our advance. Immediately upon arrival at position I reported to C.O. 9th Battn informing them that A. + C. Coy of my Battn were in position – the 9th Bn having met with strong opposition … A. Coy 10th Bn under Capn McCann was detailed-, this coy immediately proceeded to the attack Capn McCann worked up the centre of the enemy’s trench with one platoon, having a platoon on both his flanks as supports, this advance was held up by heavy M.G. fire and bombs which necessitated the building of a barrier – Capn McCann, who was wounded reported the matter to the C.O. 9th Bn who thereon asked me for further support. D Coy under Major Giles was then detailed for this duty. – this happened at about 0530 on 23 July – Lieut Blackburn with 50 men from D Coy was detailed by Mjr Giles to report to C.O. 9th Bn and on doing so Lt Blackburn received orders to move up the trench to … drive the enemy out, on arrival he found that A. Coy 10 Bn was suffering heavy casualties from bombs + M Guns he at once pushed the barricade, breaking it down + bombing the enemy back – The Artillery bombardment had almost obliterated the trench + reduced it to a series of shell craters which made our advance more difficult, because advancing troops we exposed to the enemy’s heavy M.G fire – the enemy very stubbornly held his position + stopped, for a time our advance – Lieut Blackburn accompanied by 4 men crawled forward to ascertain, if possible where the M.G fire was coming from, the 4 men who accompanied him were killed + he had to return to his platoon, he then reported the position to C.O. 9th Bn who arranged with the T.M. Battery to bombard the enemy’s position … under cover of this fire Lieut Blackburn + Sgt Inwood crawled forward to reconnoitre the position, they ascertained that the enemy held a trench which cut the one which they were attacking at right angles. Lieut Blackburn perhaps decided to clear this trench + he succeeded in doing so, the trench was abt 120’ long + was blind. It ran at right angles to the main trench … this trench was consolidated + after considerable trouble, communication with the 9th Battn troops on the left established – during the work of consolidating Sgt Inwood – who had done splendidly and 3 men were killed – Having taken this trench another attempt was made to take the strong post… but the enemy’s M.G. fire was still strong and claimed 5 more of his men, he therefore decided to hold + consolidate the trench gained – Lt. Blackburn held the trenches gained until 1400 when he was relieved by Lt. Partridge who held the position until 1800 during which time he had 26 casualties – out of the 35 that he took over the positions with-
At 0330 (‘C’ Coy (under Mjr Shaw) … was ordered by the C.O. of the Bn to reinforce in O.G.2. + assist in making an effort to take strong post … Mjr Shaw experienced the greatest difficulty in getting up trench on a/c of the number of dead + wounded men who were lying about + being brought down to the Aid post., but eventually he succeeded in reaching the head of the trench held by the 9th Bn @ 0630, it was then being held by 1. Officer + 45 O.R. of 9th Bn + a Lewis gun, as it was then broad daylight it was considered unwise to attack + as there were sufficient men of the 9th Bn to hold it Major Shaw withdrew his men to the support trench near 9th Bn HQ.
At 1300 on 24th July N°11 Platoon under Lieut Ingles was detailed to relieve a platoon of D Coy in the North of OG.1. + Platoons 9th were detailed to assist A Coy of the 10th Battn in consolidating OG1 trench from barricade London to 9th Bn HQs
At 6.30pm (1830) on 24th July acting under order from General MacLagan I ordered Mjr Shaw with C + B Coys + the remnant of A Coy to construct a trench… + to hold same. In anticipation of attack to be made by the second Infty Bgde @ 0200 on the 25 inst. Mjr Shaw was also instructed to take strong post … which Lt. Blackburn had on the previous day made such a gallant attempt to capture. At 2200 on 24th July C. + B. Coys men crawled out, each man carrying in addition to the arms and ammunition a pick or shovel + by midnight they had dug a trench 200x X 3’ deep. + by 0145 on 25th the trench had been deepened to 6 ft with sand bag parapet + a fire step.-
A party of 36 bombers + 20 bayonet men … were detailed for the assault on the strong post, arrangements were made for the STOKES gun to fire 5 rounds per half hour into the post + as many as possible during the barrage.- (0158 to 0200) – 40 rounds were fired during these 2 minutes @ 0100 B Coy less 20 men was, by order of the Brigadier, withdrawn and became brigade reserve.- Immediately the barrage lifted the raiding party … rushed forward and took the strong post in magnificent style – the party was shortly counter attacked + sent to Mjr Shaw for help – he detailed II + I2 platoon to assist + they acted as bomb carrier to the fighting then became most desperate, but eventually the enemy was repulsed + in addition to the strong post abt 120x trench North of it taken, held + consolidated-. Subsequently the 120x of trench taken was handed over to the 5th Battn – C + A Coy holding the strong post in addition to the 200x of trench which they had dug during the night, they continued to hold these positions until @2200 on the 25th July they were taken over by the 19th Battn who relieved the 10th Battn
On TUESDAY 25th July @ 0900 I observed a number of Germans advancing over ridge … these men were dressed in a dark coloured uniform. + wore big packs – I at once got 5 Lewis MG + about 50 rifles onto them @ 900x + I saw at least 50 men, they retreated over ridge in a NW direction where they were met by our shell fire which again caused them to return to ridge, where our gun fire drove them back – killing a large number – those of them that were left returned in great disorder
@ 2200 on 25th July the 10th Battn was relieved by the 5th Battn
During these operations 22/25 July our Artillery fire was very effective + constant, the enemy’s shelling as very heavy, but on a/c of lack of observation, rather inaccurate.
All ranks in my Battn worked very hard and many gallant actions on the p[art of individual Officers and men have been brought under the notice of the Brigadier General
The Bombers has a particularly busy time + worked splendidly, the Messengers or Runners did excellent work + altho the shelling was constant + deadly they never hesitated to deliver a message, + not one message miscarried – our own fatigues kept us well supplied with Ammunition, bombs (abt 5,000 were used) water, food, + sand bags – There was a shortage of sand bags + an inadequate number of stretchers + stretcher bearers to cope with the large number of casualties which was suffered.
CASUALTIES during operations
KILLED 2 Officers + 56 OR = 58
WOUNDED 11” + 235 “ = 246
MISSING ———— 46 OR =46
TOTAL = 350
S Price Weir (Col), CO. 10 AIF