The 11th Battalion, The Suffolk Regiment
Excerpts from the Battalion War Diary
1st April 1917 to 30th April 1917
Battalion moved to Arras. St Catherine and St Nicholas billets.
2nd April to 6th April
Working party of 10 officers and 450 men. Carried ammunition and cut wire in front of the trenches.
"T" today with attack scheduled for "Z" day. D Company raid under 2nd Lieutenant Pullyn and 12 other ranks. No prisoners and no casualties.
Tuck comes back from course in England. 2nd In Charge. "Z" day postponed for 24 hours - now to be 9th April.
A & D Co's relieve 16th Royal Scots in the front line. Relief disturbed by 3 raids on 34th Division front.
Into position for attack. Battalion HQ at junction of Victoria Street and Falkland Street. Hot tea and rum for the attack. Zero hours now 5:30 a.m.
Barrage commenced. 16th Royal Scots on right. Advanced to attack first German trench.
5:50 a.m. Message received saying attack going well. Prisoners in large numbers.
6:05 a.m. O.C. "C" company - German 2nd line reached. Only slight casualties.
6:30 a.m. Enemy barrage on communication trench with 5.9s.
7:00 a.m. Black line captured. Report from O.C. "A" company. No casualties.
8:10 a.m. Bn HQ moves forward into nomansland in the vicinity of Kate Crater. Held up by enemy barrage. HQ established in dugout in German 2nd line. 2 officers and 8 other ranks.
8:45 a.m. 20 German prisoners captured by 10 men. Germans showed no will to fight.
9:30 a.m. Bn HQ moved to Blue line. End of attack. "C" company below the Bois de la Maison Blanche. "B" and "D" co's forward in the railway cutting. Digging trench 50 yards in front of the railway. "A" co in sunken road at the western end of the valley. Bn HQ in a German dugout. Conference held with O.C. of 10th Lincolns & O.C. of 16th Royal Scots.
10th April - Blue Line
Heavy snow storm.
13th April - Blue Line
First Light. Bn moved forward relieving 15th & 16th Royal Scots. Took over Brown and Green lines and Tony trench.
9 p.m. "A" company instructed to move along the Point Du Jour Road to a point H468.5 on the Bailleul Road. Patrols sent forward to see whether the enemy were holding the Gavrelle - Oppy line.
14th April - Brown Line
Bombarded with guest shells.
Into action. 20 officers and 606 other ranks. 9th April.
Out of action. 12 officers and 465 other ranks. 14th April.
To billets in Auxiliary Hospital in Arras.
Bus to rest at Moncheaux then Monts en Ternois.
Bn told it must be ready to move at 15 minutes notice. At 6 p.m. moved off to a position in the railway cutting on the Blue line. Bivouac under tarpaulins.
24th April - Hermaville "Y" Huts
34th Division to relieve 51st Division. Were to be at the front of 101st Brigade from the railway to the River Scarpe. Opposite the Chemical Works at Roeux in position by 2 a.m. 25th April.
25th April - Fampoux
Support line heavily bombarded. 2 killed, 10 wounded.
Bn moved into attack position.
"C" company on left of front line.
"B" company on right.
"A" company support in open.
"D" company in reserve in open.
3 a.m. ready to attack.
4.25 a.m. Barrage commences.
4:27 a.m. Bn advanced to attack. The Bn was held up and driven back by very considerable hostile machine gun fire from a trench which had been entirely missed by our barrage. What was left of our Bn formed up in our front line.
5:30 a.m. Major G.L.J. Tuck went up to our front line to reorganise our defenses. In the front line were 5 officers, 300 other ranks (including 2 officers and 60 other ranks from 16th Royal Scots.
9:45 a.m. Enemy counter attack from Roeux captured Mount Pleasnt Wood and part of Ceylon (communication) trench.
10 a.m. All communications with the front line cut off. Enemy driven out of Ceylon Trench and out of Mount Pleasant Wood.
10 p.m. Bn moved out of front line trench & support line to enable the heavies to bombard the chemical works. Moved back into the front line at midnight.
23rd Northumberland Fusiliers - unsuccessful attack on the chemical works.
9 p.m. Defense of front line trench reorganised. 11th Suffolks from north wall of chateau to junction of Corona trench and Ceylon trench.
Relieved - Camp at St Nicholas.
Into Action. 17 officers and 610 other ranks.
Out of action. 7 officers and 325 other ranks.
(Above) Shop and Station on the site of the old German Front Line at Roeux. Picture taken winter 2001.
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