Tag: trenches

1 March 1918

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

Italy – front line trenches

Battalion in trenches.

Artillery activity slightly above normal.  No casualties.


23 February 1918

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

I went to dinner at Bn HQ last night, as I had a number of points to discuss with the CO. He is a very genial fellow, but I find it difficult to get any definite orders from him, and I should not call him a good leader of men; he is far too ready to take the ideas of others than to suggest a point himself. Even though I went to Bn HQ to discuss the operations, he would hardly mention the subject and would always branch off into other matters of fact. Tonight I went with him to dine at division, a great honour, and I was very pleased to tell the General what my own ideas were on the ‘stunt’. I found him a ready listener, and he cleared up a number of points I wanted him to know. I was rather alarmed at the thought of food supply and SAA running short, in case we are forced to stay longer than 48 hours on the other side; this was quite likely if the river flooded, which is usual at this time of year. He had not thought about this, and promised to have supply ready by air if required, He also told me that a big German offensive was expected in France, and that two divisions in Italy were under orders to return; however the 5th would not go back, but we were under orders to leave the PIAVE, and go into training for the mountain front, and we should eventually go to the ASIAGO plateau. Altogether, we had an interesting evening, and I was feeling much more confident of a big success when I returned home. I also got to know many of the staff, whom I had not met before. On leaving we noticed a big fire on the enemy lines of trenches in the mountains and thought it must be Austrian gas flares which had been lit. The Italians also have this idea of making a fire along the trench if they smell gas, thinking the heat will send the gas over the line. It might do good but cloud gas is now not much used. The weather is wonderful & the sun is as hot in the daytime as the warmest day we ever get at home, but we still have about 20 degrees of frost at night. The moon is very bright, & the bombing is very bad; each time he comes over, he lets 4 or 5 bombs drop in this village. Last night, I was much disturbed, as the house rocks & bits of the plaster keep tumbling down, also last night the window fell out. I stuck to my bed, but the other fellows got up and went to the funk hole. The nearest bomb last evening was 100 yds away in the fields, and I am told that the total damage done all night was 1 man and 1 horse killed and 4 or 5 wounded; he also hit houses that were unoccupied. The safest spot out here is the front line. With 14 hours sunshine each day, and the beauties of this country and the spring flowers in bloom, everybody is happy & full of ‘bits’[sic].

15 February 1918

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

Having now got a nightly ferry, and the hopes of a future ‘stunt’, British HQ want to know all about the other side. Early this morning, Lt Bradstock Lockett and a sergeant, went across to stop all day with orders to get as near the enemy trenches as possible, and get general information.  It was a very plucky effort; when daylight came, we could see them well up the scrub, near the enemy wall.  They had to use the greatest caution and the weather was not good, with heavy snow showers at intervals. We arranged to have the ferry over at dusk, but by 4 pm, they were so cold that they ran back in a heavy storm, and forded the river.  I consider young Lockett ought to have been honoured for this days work, but I doubt if he even got the thanks of Brigade.  An officer in D Coy got wounded by a splinter in the eye; this officer only joined us last night so I have never seen him.  The enemy have been doing quite an extra amount of shelling today; ‘whiz-bangs’ have been hovering around. No damage has been done and nobody seems to be disturbed by them.

12 February 1918

Extract from war diary of 6th Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

Trenches, WIELTJE

Battalion in line.   Continued artillery activity.   Front lines and C.Ts slightly damaged.   Fatigues engaged making good the damage caused, clearing dug-outs and relaying duck boards.

Enemy was unusually quiet between 6pm and 10-30pm. and as a relief was suspected our Lewis Guns played intermittently on his C.Ts and other points.  115 coils wire put out.

2 OR to hospital wounded.

11 February 1918

Extract from war diary of 6th Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

Trenches, WIELTJE

Battalion in line.   Considerable artillery activity all day.  Enemy retaliated heavily to our barrages and shelling with 77mm.  Generally engaged making good damage caused to trenches and putting out wire.   2 Patrols reconnoitred the front.

10 reinforcements joined.    3 OR rejoined.

10 February 1918

Extract from war diary of 6th Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

Trenches, WIELTJE

Battalion in the line.  Considerable artillery activity on both sides both day and night, enemy replying immediately to our barrages.  Very active with trench mortars, rifle grenades and whiz-bangs.  Front line trenches slightly damaged.

2 OR killed.  5 OR to hospital sick.  8 OR hospital wounded.

7 February 1918

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

Our work here is light, but I am making cover trenches round my houses, in case the Austrian feels like fighting; up to now, he leaves everything to the Hun bombers on their nightly straf. One came down in a field a few nights ago, and the pilot left his plane intact, but was caught trying to get over the PIAVE last night. I have also put in time by visiting the front line with my NCOs who have now all been to the parts they will have to hold. It is again dry here, but one need never use the trench, as the big embankment gives wonderful protection, and hides everything; even ration carts roll up at night, dropping rations at every coy HQ, saving endless fatigue. At present the river is not very wide, and much wire is put out on the shingle bed. The view from the posts on the embankment is perfect, as the opposite bank rises up to the snow-capped hills, and is studded with small white villages and farmhouses. In fact, the line is perfect in every way.