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A Superb First World War Somme, Military Medal (2nd London Regiment) Second World War M.B.E. Home Guard and Cadet Forces Long Service group, Colonel H. T. Bisgood.

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A Superb First World War Somme, Military Medal (2nd London Regiment) Second World War M.B.E. Home Guard and Cadet Forces Long Service group, Colonel H. T. Bisgood.

M.B.E. (Military) 2nd type; Military medal (Geo V), 3254 Sjt T.H. Bisgood 1/2 Lond. R.; 1914-15 Star, 3254 CplH. T. Bisgood. 2 Lond. R.; British War and Victory medals, 3254  Sjt H. T. Bisgood.  2-Lond. R.(M.I.D. leaf on Victory); Defence medal; 1939-45 War medal; 1935 Jubilee medal; Cadet forces Long Service , with bar, Col. H. T. Bisgood. M.B.E. M.M. (First 8 mounted as worn, last loose) With a Matching set of miniatures, also with the Cadet forces long service medal loose.  Two medals for the Ostend Festival 1938 (Framed)

With the group is a relations General Service mows 1918-62, clasp Malaya, Lt. D. N. Bisgood. R.F.

Harold Tom Bisgood (sometimes T.H.( was born in Bayswater on the 28th September 1884, the son of Thomas George and Alice (Frith)

He enlisted into the 2nd Battalion London Regiment and landed in France on the 28th October 1915.

His Military Medal was announced in the London Gazette 19th December 1916, But his own diary confirms the award was presented in in the field during October 1916, and reading the diary it is likely it is for his actions on the Somme (see extract below)

Discharged due to wounds in 7th May 1918

His Diary has typed out in full on the Great War Forum, follow this link to read in full. Extracts are repeated below:

In the 1920’s he rejoins the 1st (C) Battalion Royal Fusiliers and forms the Hounslow company.

Commission announced in the London Gazette 15th August 1941 as a Lieutenant. Service no 195155

He goes on to command the 3rd Cadet Battalion Royal Fusiliers and during WW2 forms the local home guard, and serves A.R.P. committee and A.T.C.

Appointed M.B.E. in London Gazette of the 13th June 1946 as Acting Lt Colonel A.C.F.

J.P. and County Councillor and army Welfare Officer

Died Hounslow in 1962

With a good file of research and the original award document for his Jubilee medal

The General service medal clasp Malaya was issued to Lieutenant Douglas Norman Bisgood, of the Royal Fusiliers, who was born in Hounslow in 1929.

He graduated RMA Sandhurst in 1949 2nd Lieut Royal Fusiliers.

Promoted Lieut July 1951, and resigns his commission in July 1952.

In 1951 he was on the Electoral roll for Isleworth, living with T.H. Bisgood.  He married Joan Bretherton in 1952

Extracts from the Diary of Sjt T.H. Bisgood:

1916:

12 Jan. – Very rough day, wind and rain; proceeded to Ypres for tunnelling work. Took up our quarters in the Convent of Ypres cellars. Cellars large and quite comfortable, very good furniture and in one even a piano. The Engineers have fitted up an electric lighting plant. No one is allowed out of the cellars during daylight as it means a sure and swift departure from this life. The shells of Fritz of all sizes pound the ruined Ypres continually day and night.

13-15 Janaury 1916 – Battn engaged in making tunnels under German lines, it is now guaged that we are under a line of German trenches. 1 casualty: L/c. Monaghan.

16-18 Jan. – Work going well ahead, sleeping by day, working (12 hours) by night, we are the only troops in Ypres althought here are heaps of our Artillery sheltering around and behind Ypres.

19 Jan. – Shelling getting more fierce but work goes on (2 casualties). The enemy seem to think there is something on as they are directing heavy fire on our sap heads.

 

24 Jan. – I have to go to Poperinghe on business so shall visit our old pal Charlie Chaplin at the cinema. Returned to Ypres and visited sap now 30′ deep and 70 yards forward now well past 1st Line (German) making for 2nd Line. One of the Engineers got wind up badly tonight. While drilling in a side sap he broke through without any opposition, he had evidently struck a German counter sap; and to everyones disgust he yelled that the Huns had broken through, and the message by the time it reached the main gallery was something like the following – “Germans broken through in Gallery No.-” the result was the workings were cleared and maxims brought to bare on the saps, but no followers of Kaiser Bill arrived. Much time had been wasted and the ass who gave the alarm was exceedingly well straffed. Within a few hours of this about 2.30 am the Buffs let us down badly. It happened that they were holding a crater and paying little or no attention to the business, evidently this was observed by our German friends who sent out a small party and quietly lifted 10 of the Buffs rifles off the crater edge and made off with them. A number of our sentries observed this and dropped 6 of the Germans but the others managed to get back to their trench and immediately started bombing the Buffs crater with the result that the section holding same bunked for all they were worth, much to the disgust of our boys who had to send half their number to hold the Buffs position. I went with this party and we did a little bombing of our own thereby preventing the loss of the crater. We had 2 casualties while Fritz had at least the 6 rifle purloiners.

25 January 1916 – After a trying night we had a few hours rest in our dug outs and then rose to start another day. Quite a large number of aircraft about. Our airmen seem to be afraid of enemy aircraft altogether.

26 Jan. – Received promotions to full Corporal and given entire charge of Battn papers and orderly room. Some job! ‘A’ and ‘C’ Companies change with ‘B’ and ‘D’ at Ypres, ‘B’ and ‘D’ returning to front line. 2 pm Heavy shrapnel started.

 

5 Feb. – Very bright sunny day. Enemy reported to be massing on our front, numerous air scouts up. Suffolks sent up to reinforce us. 6 pm Quite dark, a deal of whistling and coloured lights from enemy trenches are being sent up at intervals of every 50 yards. 8 pm first signs of attack. Stealthy forms were seen moving in front of our wire and the click of wire cutters could be distinctly heard, but we held our hand. The forms suddenly disappeared and there were a number of explosions along our front, they had evidently mined our wire. After a silence of about 15 minutes there was a deal of scuffling in the front trench of the enemy and a party of men climbed over the parapet and threw a number of bombs, nearly all of which passed over our trench and exploded in the mud, doing little or no damage. The order to fire came here and a perfect hell of bullets swept our front where Fritz was approaching. Our machine guns and rapid fire soon put an end to his attack and he retired dragging a number of men who were badly hit. The enemy casualties must have been very heavy, ours were only 15. We were standing to all night in case of another attack, which however did not come off.

6 Feb. – Very very tired after preceeding night. 8 am Fine day, many enemy planes up and approaching our lines. 9 am 4 enemy aeroplanes overhead, 3 Taubes and 1 new pattern very large and heavy machine and very swift. This machine dropped several high explosive bombs and we thought we were coming to a sticky end. A number of our aircraft who were up seemed helpless and afraid, our machines do not seem to have half the speed of the Taubes or a quarter of the new German pattern.

 

30 May – Arrived at Hebuterne over night passing many guns on the way, had not reached there many minutes before we received our baptism. Heavy straffing continued all night. 167 Inf. Bde dug a jump trench 200 yards in front of our line, and occupied same. Most marvellous piece of work, for which they were highly complimented. Between night and morning the Germans came after this new trench but were repulsed. Our HQ dugouts are splendid. The Orderly Room is 15 feet below surface and fitted with electric light and telephone, the walls are papered. The first shell over seemed remarkably near our billets, and I went up to see if anyone was hit; was just making for a shattered house when over came another, missing me by about 3 feet, and exploding right over against the wall, where an RGA boy was standing, the poor chap got the full dose and called out for aid, so I had to stop to pick him up, no easy job. Having huddled him up to me I managed to fall into a dugout, at the same time over came a hurricane of shells. I thought the end had come. I was smothered in blood from head to foot yet had no scratch myself. The poor chap I had with me had 3 pieces out of his body, each the size of my fist. I fixed him best I could and waited for ambulance. This chap however only lasted an hour or so.

 

30 June – Have taken over Y Sector trenches directly opposite Gommecourt Wood. All the while, our artillery is at it hammer and tongs and the din is terrible; will it never cease? Tonight the bombardment is intense as the attack all along the line comes off tomorrow. To be quite honestm we expect a “walk-over” as our guns have not been replied to, and barely a German has been seen. Rain is now falling heavily making the trenches very uncomfortable.

1 July 1916 – At last the long looked for day and hour has arrived; broad daylight, the rain has ceased and the day is quite bright. The din now is beyond all imagination, every gun in France seems to be turned on the Hun on our front, surely none can live in this hail of shells and still the German guns remain quiet. Meanwhile all our front line men had been engaged in lighting smoke candles and firing hugh smoke bombs. Now arises a dense cloud of smoke all along our line and the time has arrived when we must show our hands and advance. The Germans as soon as they saw the smoke knew what was to follow and rapid fire was opened at once. Nothing daunted the London boys climbed up the parapet ready for the fray, they advanced in the face of terrible fire, the Germans now found their hidden artillery and belched forth a tornado of shells on the advancing line. Men fell by the dozen, yet nothing daunted the remainder pushed on. When our brave lads were nearing the German front line batches of the enemy were seen to be clambering out of their trenches (minus their equipment) they rushed forwards hands in the air calling out in their bad French “mercy comrade”. Our batt’n alone were responsible for 182 hun prisoners, they were thin and hungry, but quite a decent class and very clean. Only a small percentage of each regiment ever got into the German trenches these few however gallantly hacked their way right into the 3rd line from where they sent us the SOS signal. We, the 2nd London were the reserve batt’n and as soon as the battalions in front sent the signal two companies were up and over despite the fact that all fire was now concentrated on our particular sectors. The reason for this concentration was that the Division on our right (46th Div) let us down and failed to attack. The sight of our boys advancing in the face of this terrible fire was wonderful though terrible; losses in our two companies alone numbered 250. But for the fact of our officers the whole batt’n would have been wiped out. These officers refused to allow the remaining two companies to go over and so saved them. Our trenches were now blocked with dead and dying, only a dozen or so of our lads ever reached Fritz’s trenches at all, hundreds were lying in no man’s land mostly dead, some however alive though badly wounded managed to crawl into shell holes of which there were thousands; later in the day in one shell hole I found four chaps. We held on to the German 3 front lines for a matter of 10 hours using all our own bombs and ammunition besides that which we found in the trenches. At about 7 pm all ammunition ran out and as it was impossible to get any more from our own lines owing to the heavy barrage of fire, we had to retire; first from the 3rd German line, then from the 2nd into the 1st and finally the 100 or so that were left had to retire over the top towards our own lines. What a horrible journey midst a hail of bullets, past heaps of dead and dying eventually (with only 27 instead of the 100 odd that started) covered in mud and blood. 23 of the 27 badly wounded. Suddenly at about 7.30 pm the firing died down to a minimum and looking out I noticed a man had boldly climbed out of the German trench and was holding up a large white board with a brilliant red cross painted on it. This man advanced well into the centre of no mans land and beckoned to us, whereupon one of our stretcher bearers jumped over the parapet and went to meet him. The man with the board was a German doctor who spoke quite good English; he offered an Armistice of one hour and this after much ado was accepted by our people. The Hun doctor then signalled with his hand and immediately a party of about 50 German stretcher bearers doubled out and started attending to the wounded. This was good enough for us and over we went again. I was not quite sure whether they were playing the game or not so I went armed and this bit of caution nearly cost me my life. The German doctor told me to cover my revolver with a mackintosh or I would most certainly be shot. The Germans were real bricks and kept their word to the letter, extending the armistice 10 minutes to allow us time to get into our trenches again. Our people however did not play the game as after we had been out about half an hour they put some shells right into the German lines. We thought our time had come and said goodbye to each other, but still the Hun kept his promise and not a shot was fired, this little episode made us feel awful cads. As may be imagined the sight out there was terrible, there were men in every attitude, dead mostly, many blown to fragments. Most of the wounded we found in shell holes, I found 3 chums in 1 hole all unable to move but cuddled together and it was a hard job to persuade one to leave alone, they decided that age should settle it and the youngest left first. The look of amazement and relief on the poor devils faces when they saw us peering over the shell hole was good to see. One boy could not believe it and asked me amid sobs if he was dreaming. I am glad to be able to write and say that we got all our wounded in. The dead we could do nothing for, as time would not permit I covered over a few of the most hideous cases and returned to the line sick, sad and very fatigued. Wounded were trooping out of all the trenches like the crowd from a football match. The trenches were appallingly blocked here and there with dead men and one could not help but walk over them. Passing along Young St. I came along a tableau of 3 of my chums, 1 standing, 1 sitting (headless) and the other lying, all 3 had been hit by the same shell. In the dusk in Yiddish St. I stumbled over something and bending down to my horror found it was a mans head, so as to save some other chaps a similar shock I tried to pick up the offending napper but found that it was rigid as the whole body was beneath the ground and it remained there the whole night and part of the next day. In Yellow St. I was clutched at and caught by a hand protruding from the side of the trench, all that was visible was a hand and arm, the sleeve showed it to be an officer (1st Lt) of the L.R.B.’s There are many other frightful scenes that go to make up this nightmare, but I will refrain from writing more about them. The remnant of our boys hung on to our sector of trenches all night and have had no sleep for 3 days and nights. We were all knocked to the world when the Kensingtons relieved us at 5 pm. We straggled in penny numbers to Sailley, a small village in the rear of the line and disappeared into cellars hoping for a nights rest. Ere many minutes however over came heaps of big shells both gas and tear. Some pierced the dugouts others hit the church and houses. Several of us crawled out intent on rescue work. I was making for a heap of ruins that had been a house when the doctor grabbed me and insisted on me going to bed. I tried to sleep, but the shells kept coming round with a whizz and crump. Every moment, I expected one to drop through my house (a tin roofed hut). I shall always remember this night, I completely broke down.

 

5 September 1916

I am rather at a loss to know where to begin.

This last awful month has driven us all as near mad as possible, nothing but mud and blood and terrible loss of friends on all sides. Success to our arms, yes, plenty, but at what cost. I will endeavour to take my troubled brain back to the period just before the Somme attacks.

I entered the Divisional Training School for the finishing touches that produce the perfect SM. This school was held at the house of the Baron de Delwar, at Grenas, and might well by styled as a “House of Correction” for young officers ad NCOs. We took lessons in everything under the sun, from A-Z, and every mortal thing we said or did was wrong. We had only one consolation, and that was, no matter how bad we were, the officers were always a lot worse, so said the officer in charge, anyway. Well, to cut a long story short, I had three weeks hard swotting at this show, and returned to the battalion with “very good” marks. On my way to the battalion, I learned to my disgust that they had just moved into the line at Angle Wood, in rear of Combles, and that I should have to follow at once. I set out for Angle Wood some 20 miles off, passing on my way through that awful “Happy Valley” so well known to the lads out here. Happy Valley stretches miles and is composed of myriads of shell holes and tons upon tons of wet and sticky mud. As I neared the edge of the valley, I came across some 200 weird animals, nestling together. I learned these were of the now famous Mr. Tank tribe, and as I knew we were borrowing one of them for the coming attack, I felt very interested. Mr Tank is a most extraordinary person to describe. He is composed of steel plates, rivets, and caterpillar bands. He is able to travel on his head, back, base, or front, can climb any hill, shell hole or trench, can push over any ordinary house or tree, and is a perfect devil for machine gun emplacements. These latter, he simply rolls on and squashes; his weight is only 30 tons. Passing on from Happy Valley I found myself in the small village of Carnoy. Here I rested, and had the usual cafe au lait, etc. Leaving Carnoy I came across the most extraordinary sight; as far as the eye could reach, the ground was torn up into a series of holes, and it was impossible to find a level square, yard, here were the most famous Trones, Bernefay, Delville Woods, almost touching one another, now represented only by holes and sticks of shattered and torn trees, dead lay almost eveywhere, and the smell were beyond one’s imagination. Guns there were by the hundred of all sorts and sizes, regardless of any cover, blazing away for all they were worth. Now one was able to see and realize what the artillery were doing for the cause, it made one pleased they were on the British side; at the same time I knew it was hell up in front where I had to go. However, it had to be done so on I went. It was getting dusk when I reached Angle Wood, and owing to the lack of trees it was hard to find. However, having found it, I reported to Captain Heumann, and was greeted with the remark “Oh! I’m glad to see you’ve come, you’re just in time for the stunt tomorrow.” I knew what that meant, and wished I’d lost my way.

That night amid preparations for the show in the morning, I managed to snatch a few winks in a friendly shell hole (not too muddy). The rumbling of the tanks awoke me at 3.30 am. Fritz was searching the sky with searchlights imagining the noise was aeroplanes. At four, we had to move up to Falfont Farm trenches, our bombardment was intense, the enemy also were replying with not a few, at 6 am just before daylight we moved up to D the “kick off” or to use Army terms the “assembly trench”. We had not been long in these trenches when the captain called a meeting of his officers, during this meeting, the Germans shelled the trenches heavily, and all the officers and Sergt. Major of both “A” and “B” Coys were killed or wounded except one, a young Subaltern, and he was suffering more or less from shells shock. Here it was, that we lost Captain Heumann or “Dickie” as he was better known to all ranks, his loss put a damper on everything, as he was the life of the battn, he was killed by concussion only. I left him seated on the fire platform as though he were asleep. Now came the order to advance to another trench, and I was compelled to leave the Captain and the Major in the hands of the KOSB’s who promised to dispose of the bodies. However, the time to attack “A” had arrived, and there was nothing for it but to go over, so the Sub. took “C” & “D” Coys and I took “A” and “B” Coys. It had been our intention to try for a bit of the Treches de Combles but this was so strongly defended that we had to swing off to the left and make only for our original objective “A” (700 yard front). The Germans here seemed at first awestruck at the Tanks, but they soon pulled round and offered a most stubborn resistance, so much so, that we did not quite get all we wanted to, though we were very successful, we took NO prisoners. I found it terribly hard to keep my end up, we broke into the German line between the points shown by the arrows and biffed Fritz here properly. I then sent a party down trench “B” and took a party along trench “A” and bombed as we went. We reached points A and B and cleared the whole of the loop trench, but we were unable to get any further as we lost many of our best bombers, and also the Germans had strong barricades erected at these points on which were mounted machine guns. We then withdrew a few yards round the corner, erected barricades in a similar manner, placing Lewis Guns in gaps between sand bags. For several hours after this we tried to bomb each other out, we were lucky enough to get hold of some rabbit wire and make a cover or our trench, which spoilt Fritz’s chance, as bombs alighting on the wire would invariably bounce off and explode on side or the other of the trench. After several hours of this hide and seek game, we managed to get up our 2″ Trench Mortar battery, and my word didn’t they shift, 2 shots and they were off, leaving about 20 casualties. We rushed the barricade only to be faced with another; and then our troubles began, as OUR artillery not knowing exactly how far we had advanced began dropping shells in our new line, one shell wiped out the whole of one of my bombing sections. I was simply frantic as shells were coming all ways. I sent runner after runner back to HQ but evidently many of these became casualties; at last however, one got through and the range increased, not however before I lost 2 of my best Sergts and several men (who with myself were all buried with one of these short rangers. Fortunately I was partly visible and was promptly pulled out only receiving a few small pieces of HE in my thigh and hand. Those in my thigh I have not yet had time to remove.

Mr Tank settled down having met with an accident, a Hun shell hit one of the caterpillar bands. You may well imagine how we felt perched in already smashed up trenches receiving the awful shelling which the tank brought forth. However, our friend held his own, firing from his Maxims every shot he had, and using up all his shells in the Hotchkiss gun, the mechanics then set the petrol tanks alight and retired into our trenches.

Early the following morning, I was on the rounds visiting what was left of “A” and “B” Coy, when in the grey mist I observed 2 helmeted figures prowling around the tank, my opportunity had arrived, and I let one have a nice fat piece of lead in the back of his neck, but was not quite quick enough for the other; he however, got a pill in his arm, as he shouted pretty freely when he bunked. My next hour was occupied in staggering (I could not walk) round our captured pieces of trench, counting my wounded and unwounded men of “A” and “B” coy, they numbered “A” 35 and “B” 47 (out of 328). It was useless to count the dead, so we pushed them over the parapet until we could find time to bury them. That evening we were relieved by the LRB and crawled back to a reserve line trench for a few hours rest, bit how could we rest with the incessant shelling. The name of the trench we were in was called Farm Trench, as it was dug just in front of where a big farm had once been; this farm was not 2 wooden gate posts and a large number of various sized shell holes. We remained in this trench for 48 hours and received a draft of 150 Rockies (Derbyites). We then moved up to a trench in front called Q trench. I guessed it meant another do. The next night we received orders to again relieve the LRB and at zero hour “take” position together with the sunken road. I must mention that the LRB together with the QWR had 2 goes for this during our “rest” period, and had failed, hence the call on us. We took up our positions again at “A” that night, and tried to look cheerful until next day, the morning dawned, and it was a lovely dawn. Zero hour this time was at 12 noon, a most extraordinary hour, as every movement could be seen, but of course “ours is not reason why” and so, once more, over we went. We were very fed up, but also very determined, and to show the new men an example. Fritz fought very well, but we were one better and before 1 pm we had 187 prisoners, and umpteen hundred wounded Huns. We were greatly troubled after this by the continued sniping. Fritz is a jolly hot sniper. I discovered a party of 10 men sniping from the fringe of Bouleaux Wood. I took a party of 20 picked men, and a Lewis Gun to point B and told off 2 men to each sniper, telling the men to take careful aim and fire together, while the Lewis Gun was to enfilade from the side. That night we had 8 more German caps. There were helmets and souvenirs by the hundreds, but we could not bother with such things, we were pleased enough to have our lives. Immediately the success of this stunt was reported to Brigade we were relieved and put in the Leuznake trench. This was an old German line and full of smashed dugouts and still containing many a fat German, and the odours in consequence were not of the best. We spent 48 hours in this line and then moved again up into the assembly trenches opposite A close to the Trench de Combles, which by the way, we were to take on the morrow. I sent a party out to discover what strength the Germans were in the trench; the party soon returned minus the NCOs and reported that the trench was crowded and that the 2 NCOs were shot on the enemy wire, this did not seem hopeful. The enemy put up a heavy barrage on us, and I thought they must be going to attack. But when the barrage died down, nothing happened and for the remainder of the night there was dead silence so far as Fritz was concerned. At zero hour next morning (4.30 am) we clambered over the parapet and advanced at a walking pace to the T. de Combles. To our surprise not a shot was fired at us, ony a few stray shells from nowhere in particular. We arrived at the trench and found only a few wounded and dead Germans; the others had hopped it into Combles or elsewhere. Needless to say we were agreeably surprised. We had not been here long before they started lobbing over the hills a few 8″, 10″ and 15″ shells and we had to take cover. I obtained permission from the OC to go out into Combles and see what we could see. I took a decent Corporal with me, and went on right into Combles without any opposition. I came across a party of wounded Germans who had been left under the care of a German doctor, and took them over. There were many dark and deep dugouts which we explored. The dead body of a woman was found in one dugout, she had been butchered by a German. After an absence of 2 hours we returned to the Battn and reported, together with the LRBs we then marched into Combles to a bloodless victory. We have since, read and roared at the far fetched and ridiculous accounts in the English papers of the Capture of Combles. Corpl. Williams and myself claim to be the first British troops to enter Combles and don’t care a twopenny what Beach Thomas oir any other newsmonger has to say on the matter. Our Battn now thoroughly scrounged round the town all day. The next day our Division was withdrawn, and our Battn placed between the 4 famous woods High-Delville-Trones and Bernafay. It took us 8 hours to get back here, and when we arrived, we were given a filthy muddy old trench with inches of water and more inches of mud at the bottom, the men whoever, were dead beat, and fell into this trench and slept.

This brings me to the present month (October). that evening Bn orders were published and the following passage was read out: “The CO has much pleasure in making the following announcement Sergt. T.H. Bisgood is awarded the Military Medal which will be presented in due course.” This was quite a surprise to me, but of course, I was very pleased. I was presented to the Corps Commander in Merville Square.

13 April 1917 – In Lion Lane a subaltern and 2 bombing sections were told off to force the Cojeul trench during the night by bombing Fritz out, and then the whole company would come along and consolidate. About 8 am next morning not having heard from Sub. we decided to carry on up Cojeul trench with the remainder of the coy, on the way (I was leading) we were astonished to see the Sub. and his party returning; asked by the Coy Commander if he had done his job, he replied “Sorry Sir, could not get through as they were sniping at us.” I was furious to think that an officer could make so lame an excuse, and at once said, “I would do it for him.” whereupon I called upon the 2 sections of bombers and 1 Lewis Gun Section to follow me, this they did until we reached the barricade across the trench, then to my intense disgust they refused to budge further. I was that wild to think my men would let me down I dashed over the top in a towering rage, revolver in hand. I moved very quickly and so escaped being hit by snipers who were certainly very attentive. I had not gone very far before I found the Sub. and a Corporal following. I then came to a branch trench and posted the 2 here to prevent myself being attacked in the rear, while I proceeded up the main trench. I had not gone many yards before one of Fritz’s stick bombs came hurtling into the trench well behind me, evidently Fritz had no idea I was so near, scooting round the bays I came suddenly upon a party of 10 Bosch creeping towards me, quick as lightning my revolver was up and I was shouting the odds so loud that the enemy at once lost their nerve and up went their hands, I fired a couple of rounds over their heads to let them know I was in earnest and then backed down the trench beckoning them to follow, which they did without hesitation. I then relieved the first man of his revolver (a topping German automatic), glasses, and trench dagger, as far as I could judge, this was an officer or a very senior NCO, anyway he seemed very fed up and took off his Iron Cross and gave it to me with the words in bad French “Kaiser no bonne, souvenir comrade” needless to say I at once grabbed it. I did not bother to straff the remainder as I knew the men would do the necessary. I ordered the whole batch into a little side trench and they fell down on their knees and started crying and begging for mercy. I found out afterwards that they thought I was going to shoot them whereas I only wished to keep the main trench clear. Placing this bag in charge of the men I again proceeded up the trench in direction of the Bosche and saw 2 of them go up over the top and make off across country I was up and after them like winking, when some blithering idiot opened a Lewis gun on them (1 of our Captains) both men were hit, luckily I escaped. One of the fellows hit was a very decent chap indeed, well educated spoke splendid French, about 18 to 19 years old, I collared him and carried him in (he was hit in the leg), fed him and later gave him some rum to keep the cold off. I almost wished I could have kept him for a souvenir he was so decent. Making further along the trench I again came upon a T branch and here met the LRB coming from our left. “B” Coy halted here while “A” and “D” coys passed through us into Heninal and we watched them chasing Fritz across the country beyond. I had never seen so many live Germans running before. Spent the night shifting to another position more to the right, and thought we were to be relieved, but no such luck as we found ourselves in the front trench opposite to Cherisy, a brute of a place. About 12 midnight I was sent for by the Captain and told that we were to take Cherisy in the early hours of the morning, this was bad news and I was astounded and explained to the Captain that it was impossible as another village Guimappe by name which lay to the rear and left, had not yet been taken, he agreed but said “orders are orders.” We moved over the top at once and advanced with spades under cover of darkness a matter of 200 yards and dug ourselves in holes all that day waiting for the word “Go” and hoping it would never come. Those of us who knew the ropes also knew that the word “Go” would be the finish for the lot of us. 24 solid hours we were crouched up in these holes waiting for the fatal word which for us never came owing to the 14th Div. not advancing. We were relieved and the 2 other Battns of our Bde were put in, while we were put 500 yards back in a shallow ditch, the feeling of relief was beyond description; we also felt very sorry for our pals the QVRs and QRWs who had the job.

Condition – GVF to NEF