49th Inf. Bde., 16th Irish Division
WAR DIARY, 21-31 March 1918
|Place||Date||Time||Summary of Events|
|St Emilie||21 March||4.30 a.m.||Intense hostile bombardment opened on main battle positions, support lines,
St EMILIE, VILLIERS FAUCON & as far back as MARQUAIX. Mainly gas shell on forward lines and Brig. H.Q.
|.||.||4.35 a.m.||All wires were cut. Communication by visual & pigeon impossible owing to dense mist. No S.O.S. signals were given.|
|.||.||7.a.m.||Right battalion (South Irish Horse) reported by runner "All Coys in battle position by 5.a.m. All lines "diss" but up to then Coys reported O.K."|
|.||.||9.45||Barrage on RED LINE ceased. Left bn. (2 Roy.Irish Regt) H.Q. attacked.|
|.||.||10.a.m.||Attack on Left Bn H.Q. repulsed. Roy. Irish in ROSE Trench attacked from both flanks and rear. They resisted all attacks until 1.30 p.m. when ammunition gave out.|
|.||.||11.30||Bn. H.Q. 7/8th R. Inniskillings F. in position at F.21.C.3.g. fired on by M.G.s from N.E. & S.|
|.||.||12 noon||H.Q Inniskillings took up position astride St. EMELIE-RONSSOY Rd.|
|.||.||11.50||South Irish Horse report enemy in BASSE ROULOGNE SOUTH.|
|.||.||12 noon||B Coy. Inniskillings reported they were holding posts, 8,9,& 11 RONSSOY DEFENCES but being fired on from both flanks.|
|.||.||12.20 p.m.||Enemy at F.20.d.b.3 & F.20.d.8.5 with M.G.s|
|.||.||1.10 p.m.||Enemy in RAFERIE|
|.||.||1.15||Enemy in ESCLAINVILLIERS Wood in considerable numbers.|
|.||.||1.30||Enemy outflanked ROSE Tr. Remainder of 2nd Roy. Irish withdrew to IRISH Tr.|
|.||.||1.40||48th Inf. Bde report having withdrawn to BROWN Line.|
|.||.||1.45||1st Roy. Munsters ordered to hold BROWN Line|
|.||.||1.55 p.m.||6th Connaught Rangers ordered to hold BROWN Line.|
|.||.||2.15||Enemy barrage on BROWN Line astride the road.
2nd Roy. Irish Regt. cleared a hostile M.G. & team out of S. end of IRISH Trench.
|.||.||2.20||1st Roy. Munster Fus. & 6th Conn. Rangers ordered to counter attack and retake RONSSOY & RAPERIE.|
|.||.||2.30||Remnants of 2 Roy. Irish Regt. retired from RONSSOY. Fired on by M.G.s from flank at 300 yds range|
|.||.||3.30||Divl. order received to cancel counter-attack. Munsters stopped in time but Conn. Rangers were already attacking.|
|.||.||3.30 p.m.||Brig. Major 47 Inf Bde. arrived to take over.|
|VILLERS-FAUCON||.||9 p.m.||49th Brig. H.Q. established VILLERS-FAUCON E.22.b.1.1
Present known strength. H.Q. 5 off. Regtl. off. 2 O.R. 50 - 1 off & 40 O.R. in BROWN Line under 47 Inf. Bde.
|TINCOURT||22 March||3.a.m.||Brig. H.Q. received orders to withdraw to TINCOURT arriving there(J.17.b.) at 5.a.m.|
|.||.||9.a.m.||2 Coys (including drafts and stragglers) organised under Major M.C.C. Harrison R.Irish Regt took up position in support of Green Line. Transport moved to BUSSU|
|.||.||1.15 p.m.||Brig.H.Q. established J.11.C.1.g. Low flying E.A. active otherwise quiet day. Enemy shleed TINCOURT.|
|.||.||7.p.m.||49 Inf Brig. consists of 2 Composite Coys under Major Harrison & 17th Entrenching Battalion.|
|Battalions of 39th DIV. took up positions in support of GREEN Line.|
|.||23 March||7.30 a.m.||In accordance with orders received, withdrawal of 49th Brig. commenced, covered by 47th Brigade.|
|.||.||10.a.m.||Took up position in KARKOS Tr. covering withdrawal of 47th Brig.|
|.||.||10.40||Brig. H.Q. at I.24.c.0.5.|
|.||11.a.m.||Took up positions S. of BOIS de FLACQUES, 47th Brig. on our right, 39th Div. on left.|
|.||.||11.15||Transport moved from BUSSU to CLERY|
|.||.||1.p.m.||39th Div. on left withdrew. Enemy close up in left flank|
|.||.||1.p.m.||Provisional instructions received that in case of forced retirement 47th & 49th Brigades were to move via St. DENIS & reform W. of BIACHES on Divl. Reserve. - 17th Entrenching Bn to cover crossing of River on high ground W. of PERONNE on E. side of River.|
|.||.||1.30||Right flank of Brigade also "in the air".|
|.||5.30 p.m.||Brigade had crossed river via LA CHAPELETTE bridge. Positions taken up on high ground W. of BIACHES|
|.||.||8.p.m.||Divl. Commdr. ordered move of Brigade to CAPPY area. Arrived about 11 p.m.|
|.||24 March||2.30.a.m.||Ordered to move across river to point N. side of BRAY-CAPPY road 1 mile W. of CAPPY.|
|.||.||10.45 a.n.||Brigade reorganised into 3 Battns., 2nd Roy. Irish Regt., 7th(S.I.H.) R. Ir. Regt. & 7/8th R. Inniskilling Fus. of about 150 men each.|
|.||.||5.p.m.||Divl. Commdr. ordered Brigade to move via BRAY & ETINEHEM towards & across Canal at MERICOURT.|
|.||8.p.m.||Brig. H.Q. & 2 Roy. Irish Regt. at K.29.c.9.1 guarding canal crossings.
7/8 R. Inniskilling Fus on right across river in touch with 47 Inf. Bde at MORCOURT
7(S.I.H.) R. Ir. Regt. on left in touch with 48th Bde on PROYART-FROISSY road
|.||25 March||4.40.a.m.||16th & 39th Div. transferred to XIX Corps.|
|.||.||3.45.p.m.||Order received that 16th Div. was to guard SOMME River & CANAL from attack from N.|
|.||.||4.30.p.m.||Brigade concentrated on MERICOURT-CHUIGNOLLES road and marched to CHUIGNOLLES|
|CHUIGNOLLES||.||7.p.m.||Brig. H.Q. at CHUIGNOLLES
7/8 R. Inniskillings held the line with posts from L.21.b.5.6 ti L.28.C.7.2 & patrolled to L.36.A.7.9 & L.33.C.0.8
2 R. Irish Regt & 7(S.I.H.) R. Irish Regt. in support in R.4.B & d.
|.||26 March||12.5 a.m.||Message add-d to Lt. Col. VESEY R.E. from VIIth Corps, timed 8.p.m. 25tg comes into our possession odering all bridges over SOMME CANAL to be destroyed at once.|
|.||.||1.10.p.m.||Boundary between III Army & XIX Corps in River SOMME(inclusive to III Army)|
|.||.||2.21 a.m.||C.R.E. VIIth Corps orders N.C.O. i/c Section 157 Coy. R.E. at FROISSY Bridge to blow the two bridges at ECLUSE at 6.a.m.|
|.||.||2.40.a.m.||Div. orders all crossings to be held so long as 39th Div. remains E. of them. To keep touch with left Battn. of 39th Div. & as latter falls back to concentrate at MORCOURT.|
|.||.||8.20.a.m.||Div. orders that, in case of withdrawal of XIX Corps to ROUVROY-FROISSY line, 16th Div. will hold from R.21.C to FROISSY. 39th Div. on right. VII Corps on left(N. of SOMME). 49th Brig. to hold frpm R.4.C.0.0. to FROISSY. 47th & 48th Bdes. on right and centre respectively. 49th Brig. to occupy allotted section when withdrawal commences.|
|.||.||9.55.a.m.||Div. reports withdrawal of XIX Corps begins.
Brig. H.Q. provisionally fixed at Q.12 central
|.||.||11.15.a.m.||116 Brigade reports "withdrawal of 117 & 118 Brigades. Enemy not coming fast but enemy cavalry reported through to our right."|
|Q.12 Cent. .||.||2.30.p.m||Brig. H.Q. Q.12 Central.
2 Roy. Ir. Regt. R4.C.3.0 to L.34.C.5.2 7(S.I.H.) R. Ir. Regt L.34.C.5.2 to L.33.b.5.5
7/8 Roy. Inniskilling Fus. about R.3.d.1.5.
|.||.||4.p.m.||Enemy on high ground L.34.b.cent. attacking our advanced posts W. of FROISSY-PILLER.
Enemy reported on N. bank of SOMME.
|.||.||5.p.m.||Large numbers of enemy about R.5.b & continual movement N. to S.|
|.||.||5.40.p.m.||Large numbers of enemy at L.34.b.1.9 & L.28.d.0.2. Enemy cavlary were reported later in L.34.a. No cavalry attack materialised & as trench mortars were fully used later on this flank, it is presumed that the animals seen were pack animals carrying T.M.s|
|Our left flank enfiladed from N. bank of SOMME & also heavily attacked frontally. Our line was finally reorganised in old French trenches 3000 yds. E. of MERICOURT with 2 Roy. Irish on right, Inniskillings on left, 1 Coy. 11 Hants. in centre & 7(S.I.H) Roy. Ir. Regt in support.|
|.||27 March||7.20.a.m.||Enemy formed up in R.5,11 & 17|
|.||.||10.a.m.||Enemy attacked in force. Held off frontally but managed to get along our left flank by the valley. Inniskillings on left heavily trench mortared.|
|.||.||10.a.m.||A Field Coy. R.E. sent up to hold high ground N. by E. of MERICOURT .|
|.||.||12.45.p.m.||Division on right commences withdrawing. Large numbers of men, unorganised, moving W. along AMIENS Road. Enemy M.G.s very active in rear of our right flank.|
|.||.||1.30.p.m.||48th Inf. Brig. H.Q. moved to Q.22.a. establishing a defensive flank to cover withdrawal.|
|.||.||2.5.p.m.||Orders issued to withdraw to MORCOURT Line. Retirement to begin on left, covered by unit on right. Field Coy. R.E. to cover withdrawal of remainder and then itself withdraw.|
|.||.||3.30.p.m.||Site of MORCOURT Line heavily enfiladed by M.G.s from CERISY - from ridge S. of CERISY.B
Enemy artillery then enfilading position from N. of River.
Enemy in force advancing in force from CERISY
MORCOURT Line untenable. Withdrawal continued to LAMETTE-en-SANTERRE
|.||.||5.p.m.||Brigade reformed in LA MITTE & placed in position in line N. of LA MITTE|
|.||.||6.30.p.m.||At request of ???? Section(CAREY'S Force) Brigade was withdrawn from line to make room for American troops. Brigade moved to FOUILLOY & AUBIGNY to billets.|
|28 March||8.a.m.||Brigade moved back to HAMEL & together with 47th & 48th Brigades, 155,156,157 Coys R.E. & 11th Hants
Pioneers formed support to CAREY's FORCE in HAMEL-MARCELCAVE line.
47th,48th,49th Brig. H.Q. in CHATEAU in HAMEL
|.||.||2 p.m.||Remnants of 16th Div. temporarily organised into one Brigade under Brig. Gen. F.W. Ramsay.C.M.G. D.S.O. Capt H.L. Bowen, 49th Brig. to act as Brig.Major to composite Brigade.|
|.||.||4.p.m.||Brig.General P. Leveson-Gowen
C.M.G. D.S.O., & Major Crothers sent to 112th Field Ambulance
Capt. Attwood, a/Staff Capt 49Inf. Bde., sent to PETIT BLANGY crossroads with transport to organise supplies for composite Bde.
|.||.||4.30.p.m.||HAMEL heavily shelled|
|AUBIGNY||29 March||.||Drafts for 16th Div., men returning from leave & stragglers being collected & re-equipped at AUBIGNY under Lt.-Col Moore, 1st Dublin Fus.- 130 men refused to carry wire up to the line.|
|.||30 March||.||Brig.General P. Leveson-Gowen
C.M.G. D.S.O., & Major Crothers returned from Fd. Ambulance.
49 Brig. H.Q. established at AUBIGNY School House
HAMEL-MARCELCAVE line heavily shelled by enemy.
Composite Brigade ordered up to counter-attack. Enemy repulsed with heavy casualities.
Strength at AUBIGNY:
- Brig. H.Q. ............. 3 off. ..30 O.R. 49 Inf. Bde.
- 2 R.Ir Regt..............1 off... 31 O.R.
- 7(S.I.H.)R. Ir. Regt.. 1 off. .34 O.R.
- 7/8 R. Innis. Fus. ... . nil ..... 86 O.R.
|.||31 March.||11.a.m.||130 O.R. paraded & marched off i/c of A.P.M.(Assistant Provost Marshal)|
Return to 16th Irish Division Website