The 11th Battalion, The Suffolk Regiment

Excerpts from the Battalion War Diary

1st April 1917 to 30th April 1917


1st April

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.

2nd April

"T" today with attack scheduled for "Z" day. D Company raid under 2nd Lieutenant Pullyn and 12 other ranks. No prisoners and no casualties.

5th April

Tuck comes back from course in England. 2nd In Charge. "Z" day postponed for 24 hours - now to be 9th April.

7th April

A & D Co's relieve 16th Royal Scots in the front line. Relief disturbed by 3 raids on 34th Division front.

8th April

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.

9th April

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.

Noon. Consolidation.

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.

Tally

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.

15th April

Bus to rest at Moncheaux then Monts en Ternois.

23rd April

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.

27th April

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.

28th April

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.

29th April

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.

30th April

Relieved - Camp at St Nicholas.

Tally

Into Action. 17 officers and 610 other ranks.

Out of action. 7 officers and 325 other ranks.

(Above) British Front Line looking towards Roeux Station. Picture taken winter 2001.

(Above) Shop and Station on the site of the old German Front Line at Roeux. Picture taken winter 2001.

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