Draft copy of report to Brigade Major 54th Brigade
7th (S) Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment
The Beds. of 54th Brigade attacked to the left of and immediately
adjacent to the 6th Berks of 53rd Brigade. This report is reproduced
as written - the handwriting is not legible in places and this has
been clearly indicated where appropriate.
copy in 7th (S) Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment duplicate War Diary.
Bedford and Luton Archive & Record Office.
herewith report on operations 1/2 July for information of G.O.C.
I beg to forward herewith report on the operations carried out by
the Battalion under my command on 1/2 July 1916.
report of this nature, in order to arrive at a clear understanding
of the various incidents that took place, where the advance was
held up and where it progressed - it appears advisable to divide
the ----- ----- ----- ? Batt'n into right and left attack. The dividing
line between the assaulting Coy's can roughly (be drawn) through
the triangle and left of Pommiers Redoubt. The right started on
Bay Point then swung half right on to Popoff Lane, keeping in touch
with the 53rd Brigade. The left was directed on Austrian Junction
to a point about 80 yds west of Pommiers Redoubt.
Right attack - B Company - under Capt Bull.
Coy's Left attack - C Company - under Capt Clegg.
Company D Company - under Capt Floyd.
A Company - under Captain Percival was kept in Battalion Reserve.
Formations The Bat'n was formed up in four forming up trenches each
Coy of the assaulting Coys on a two Platoon front of 175 ----? -
with one Platoon in
support and one in Company Reserve. No 3 Company acted as support
to the two leading Coy's - No 4 Coy in Bat'n Reserve.
phase waves of each Coy moved in extended order the first ----?
in sections. No 3 Coy moved in sections- in Artillery Formation.
No 4 Coy moved in Platoons in Artillery Formation.
I would (---?) call attention to the fact that although No's 3 &
4 Coy's moved in what would appear to be close formations, yet their
losses while remaining in these formations was extremely small.
Their losses really began when called into the final stages of the
As this formation is more mobile and infinitely more under the control
of their leaders, it is one that might be adhered to on future occasions
and the fact that they are not so vulnerable as would appear at
first light, might with advantage be made more widely known.
Touch was maintained from rear to front - The result was good especially
as regards the 3rd & 4th Companies - and permitted the leaders
of the assaulting Coy's to devote all their attention to the forcing
of the enemies position, in addition to -------? the ------? number
of rifles in the front waves.
The ---? no possibility of keeping touch with units on right and
left -------? with the leaders of the assaulting Coy's.
Attack At 7.28 the Right Attack started to move out. Zero being
7.30. I considered this most necessary - as it had some distance
to traverse before reaching the first line German trenches- 2nd
ly - in order to get straight on its first line of advance, it had
to move half left before the right of the Company could rest on
Bay Point- 3rd ly previous to the intense bombardment enemy machine
guns had been particularly active and I wished to get the men through
our wire whilst this bombardment continued. 4th ly it seemed of
vital necessity not to run any risk of being late for the pre arranged
barrage up to Pommiers Redoubt.
As the machine gun fire - even on cessation of intense bombardment,
was still very galling- The waves hurried through the gaps in the
wire and doubled down the slope - it was on the gaps and the top
of the slope that the machine gun fire was principally directed
- There was practically none at foot of slope.
Here the right attack formed up in deliberate fashion - making absolutely
certain of its true line of advance. It then advanced as if on parade,
the waves were perfectly dressed - intervals and distances as it
seemed to me from our trenches - kept extraordinarily well.
The machine gun fire still continued - very active and casualties
were sent to rear before Austrian Trench was reached, but the waves
still continued on their way, seemingly without a check.
Between the Austrian Trench and Emden Trench the Company was practically
leaderless as regards officers - all having been either killed or
wounded - There was practically no opposition except from machine
gun fire - This principally came well away from our right flank.
Which from the early commencement of the fight, was most exposed
owing to the Battalion of the 53rd Brigade on our right, being unable
to advance at the same rapid rate as our right attack. Severe machine
gun fire seemed to come from Popoff Lane which did considerable
----------? It was not until reaching the ground between Bund and
Pommiers Trench that a real check occurred - here the wire in front
of Pommiers was not cut and a mixed party of the right attack, with
men of the Berkshire Rgt, proceeded to cut the wire in a most methodical
way. In the words of Capt Bull, in a letter to me, " the 1/2
hour outside that trench will be a nightmare for years to come and
this was our expensive time - there were about 20 Berkshire and
about the same number of my lot - were splendid - the way they cut
the wire just as if there was nothing doing"
The Comp Serg Major of the right attack states that the German front
line where he crossed it was filled with barbed wire and spiked
stakes - From previous reports it would appear as if the Germans
hold only parts of the front line - and those parts are defended
with machine guns only.