Tag: 1st Bn

12 December 1917

Extract from the diary of Capt Ferguson, 1st Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

I only got to bed at 4 .am, so did not see the first train away, i had to be up early, however, in order to get A Coy to the station by 11 am. The men being tired slept late, and billets had to be cleaned, also a number of them had got ‘blind’ before leaving FRANCE, and were not quite recovered. But we were in a jovial mood and got away to time. We bid a fond farewell to our friends at the billets, whom we had got to know well, marching to the station, A Coy singing at the top of our voices. I found that the first train had left one officer behind, 2 Lt Harper of D Coy. It appears that all D Coy officers were having breakfast, when they saw the train departing. All ran, getting into the last truck, but poor Harper missed it, so will be in for trouble. He is a bother to us, as we have not catered for him, nor have we much room; as it is we have only third class carriages. Mills and I share one, and give the subalterns two at nights, but one of these is used during the day for cooking. We soon found that we could climb from carriage to carriage, whilst the train was in motion, so we were not dependent on halts for meals. We started up to time and found it very cold the first night, and I was glad of a petrol stove and tin of juice to warm us up.

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10 December 1917

Extract from war diary of 1st  Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

Hestrus

8-30 to 10 a.m. Physical Training and Bayonet Fighting.

10-30 a.m. Bn practised tactical scheme at HESTRUS.

Lewis Gun Competition held on Bn range, 4 teams per Coy competing.

Result – “A” Coy first; “C”  “D” and “B” 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively.

Equal 1st Nos 2 and 10 Platoons, 3rd No 1 Platoon, last No 6 Platoon.

9 December 1917

Extract from the diary of Capt Ferguson, 1st Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

We have started a fund of fines in the mess to check our language, which has been getting out of hand; the mess is coining money. I was invited to dine at BHQ mess along with Mills, and we both rode up and back. The dinner was excellent, Turkey, Plum Pudding and Champagne. The CO seems an excellent fellow, and was the life of the party. All other OC Coys were present; I also met Rev Lee-Warner, our padre.

4 December 1917

Extract from the diary of Capt Ferguson, 1st Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

We are held up from starting, owing to the situation at CAMBRAl; but as part of 15 Bde have gone, we shall only be used if the situation is urgent. In the meantime, we stop on here doing no training and lots of games. ANVIN station is a busy spot as nearly all new troops pass this way, The 11 Cheshires passed and entrained last evening. Each day we take a trip to ST POL or HESDIN, to buy stocks for the messes and canteen for the journey, and also for after our arrival; for we hardly expect to find the Army Canteen has opened when we arrive. We have got over 20/12s cases of whisky at present in the company mess, stores for the PRI. Scotch whisky is getting a bit scarce, and the canteens refuse to give more than 3 cases to any one bn at a time; but it can be worked, as we have discovered

30 November 1917

Extract from the diary of Capt Ferguson, 1st Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

I saw Col Halford this morning in his office; he informed me that he did not wish to change his company commanders until we arrived in ITALY, or until I had settled in the bn. He therefore asked me to go to A Coy and help Capt Mills down at ANVIN. He was very nice in the way he put things, and is a popular CO. I packed up again, and reported to Mills, finding A Coy a very jolly company. Mills, Lewis, Molyneux Daniels (since killed), Lockett and Kitchenman being the officers. Little work had to be done in the training line, but station fatigue was the order. During the stay in ANVIN, the billets were perhaps the best I ever had in FRANCE. My bed is in an estaminet next to the railway, and our mess is a large one up in PETIT ANVIN

29 November 1917

Extract from the diary of Capt Ferguson, 1st Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

[Captain Ferguson was on a First Army Officers Course at HARDELOT in mid-November 1917 when he heard rumours of certain troops being moved to ITALY. At that time he was on the posted strength of 13 Cheshires. On 27 Nov, he was informed that he was being posted to 1 Cheshires in 5 Div; he was to leave the course, and proceed at once to join his new Bn]

I could get no information re 5th Division, but started for the St POL district. The journey was a good one, soon passing MONTREUIL, the GHQ for FRANCE. Our first halt was at HESDIN where I saw the 5 Div sign. Much packing of limbers, etc, on trains, so I guessed that we were bound, for ITALY; much delighted at the idea, but nobody would tell me the secret. At ANVIN, I was called out of the train, being told that 1 Cheshires were in the village of EPS, but that I would find a party of Cheshires at the station. I went into an estaminet for lunch, finding the CO himself, having lunch with the 15 Bde Staff Captain. I made myself known, and be was very pleasant, directing me to an officer, who would direct me to Bn HQ at EPS. This officer was Captain Mills of A Coy, who informed me that we were under orders for ITALY, but that his company were stationed at ANVIN, loading trains for the brigade. He put me on the EPS road, and I soon arrived at Bn HQ, reporting to Ducker, the adjutant, He was expecting five officers to report, but had not expected a captain. He did not then post me to a company, but finding me a bed, asked me to stop at HQ mess until the morrow. We spent a very jolly evening. I being received most kindly by the following; Lt Col Halford, CO, Major Angus, 2i/c, Lt Ducker, Adj. Capt Forsyth, MO, Lt Okeley (sic) LGO, Lt Simpson, TO and Capt. Sproule, QM. They soon made me feel quite at home, which was an excellent start. During the evening, company officers kept calling in, many of whom I knew before. In this bn, officers find it a pleasure to visit HQ Mess.