The War Diary of Lieutenant William L Hayes M C


Home References Contacts

1916 and the Somme

Battle of Courcelette 24 Sept—5 Oct

The Battle of Courcelette did not end with the push into enemy lines on 15 September. It continued for some months as an attack/counter attack that pushed the allied line northward in enemy area, past Courcelette toward the Regina and Kenora trenches.

The matter of the missing prisoners: (archive item 193, Sept 1916) ' O.C. 28th Battalion (copy to O.C. 29th Bn for information)

'The 28th Battalion reported that on the evening of the 27th there were about 40 Germans in the open and that they were going to round them up. Afterwards they reported that about 20 of these had surrendered or were taken by the 29th Bn Patrols.

The Corps Commander mentioned to the Division this morning that only 11 had been admitted to the Corps Cage. As soon as you have settled down and have an opportunity, would you kindly make enquiries.' Signed Jukes, Captain, Brigade Major, 29/9/16'

Side handwritten note: '6th Can Inf Bde

The enemy party mentioned ran into bad luck and after a misunderstanding with one of my L G crews they were too dead to be used as prisoners.

Signed J ? Ross, Major, OC 29 Bn'

(2ND Div WD) Dark humour at least!

Fighting went on and on. It was dirty and dangerous requiring constant planning and adapting.


28 Bn War Diary: ‘On the 24/25 Sept the Battalion will take up a line BAUPAME ROAD to (1000 yds). D Coy will go in on the right with C Coy in support. B Coy on the left, with A Coy in support.’

25 Sept '8.20 am Enemy attempted attack on 28th line in front of cemetery, but was repulsed. 12.35 A bombing party established a block… 10am approximately 100 yards in advance of trench taken over by us from 3rd Bgde. Heavy retaliation shelling by enemy on us for our artillery bombardment which preceded attack of dugout on right flank.'

25/26 Sept 28th ‘Bn continued to hold from BAUPAME ROAD TO QUARRY’

26 Sept 2 am. ‘Further heavy bombardment. 12.35 (noon) further intense bombardment until 2 pm preceding general attack… Attack scheduled for 28th Bn at this hour cancelled owing to Tank being put out of action in our sector prior to advance.'

26Sept 2 pm - 5 pm. ‘Enemy occupied trenches opposite, resulting in call for artillery.’

27 Sept 2;30 pm 'attack was made along SUGAR trench … found to be unoccupied….For remainder of day no enemy visible opposite our front.'

27/28 SeptBn pushed out towards BAPAUME ROAD and COURCELETTE Trench’

29 Sept 3 am- 5.30 am. ‘Bn relieved and moved to Bivouac at  SAUSAGE VALLEY’

1 Oct ‘Order rec'd to move up at night. Day spent in getting stores together.’ 'Each man carried 2 days ration, 4 bombs and 220 rounds of S.A.A. [small arms ammunition] Water was picked up at Brigade HQ.' ‘Position taken up after move was approx West Miraumont Road to Twenty-three Road, including Kenora Trench 28th Bn WD) Much action in the line for other Div’ (2nd Div WD)

2 Oct. ‘9.15 am Some confusion as to conditions of trenches and relief (2nd Div) 'ntermittent shell fire fairly heavy especially in Kenora Trench which was held by D Coy.' (28th Bn WD) 12.10 noon, 'The company in NW end of Kenora trench must be withdrawn at once sufficiently far to ensure that they are 200 yards from junction of KENORA and REGINA trench. This is to allow heavy artillery to shoot. Wire at once when this is completed.' (2nd Div. Reports throughout the battle every few minutes)

2.40 'The whole of REGINA trench may now be shot at.' (2nd Div)

7.10 pm 'Patrol going up to junction of KENORA and REGINA will go out at 7.30 p.m. and will require cessation of artillery fire on REGINA trench between TWENTY_THREE Road and N. and S. line through 23 centre.' (2nd Div)

11 pm ‘heavy rain and sodden ground’ (6th IB)

3 OctHeavy Rain. digging ordered but delayed due to shortage of shovels.’ (28th Bn WD)

Oct 4 ‘relieved and Bn returned to BRICKFIELDS. Hot meal and bivouacs ready. Moved out at mid day to WARLOY into tented camp.’(28th Bn WD)

Oct 5 'Parties of the 27th, 28th and 29th Battalions cleared the field of all wounded, both of the 6th Brigade and those who had unavoidably been left behind by the outgoing Brigade. Parties of these three Battalions also buried many dead found on the field, but were unable to make a complete clean-up in the time in this respect.' (6th IB WD item 28)

Battalion was relieved and over the month of October, it was reinforced, re-equipped and in stages, moved to Souchez, at the north end of Vimy Ridge.

By late Oct 24,029 Canadian casualties (killed, wounded and missing)

WLH/D Coy In the trenches

14—16 Sept

24—30 Sept

1 Oct in reserve

2— 3 in Kenora trench

4 Oct relieved and returned to Brickfields

Other References