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The Battalion relieved the 13th K.R.R.C, the first platoon entering at 15:30 and the relief being completed by 18:15. The trenches were found to be in a better condition than on the occasion of the last relief; No 4 (D) Coy sector being almost normal and its communication trench, Collingbourne Avenue’, in fair condition. A new system of reliefs, taken from the 11th Brigade was adopted; the four companies remaining in the trenches for six days, but two platoons of each company being actually in the fire-trenches, and two platoons in support bivouacs. These last had already been constructed by the the 11th Brigade from timber, canvas and corrugated iron.

A system of 24-hour reliefs of half companies was instituted and worked successfully, no cases of trench foot occurring although phenomenally heavy rain began on the 21st (December), continuing at intervals until relief and the trenches were very soon in a worse condition than on any occasion. Lateral communications along the fire-trench was interrupted at many points. By 24th December it was impossible to reach any company without proceeding overground.

Work was devoted to drainage, berms, and to do the formation of new breastworks behind the original line of fire-trenches. Owing to the urgency of this work, no large patrols were sent out, and the parties that patrolled in front of the various Company sectors nightly, reported no enemy about. Germans were seen proceeding overground (and on more than occasion accounted for by Machine Gun or rapid fire). The condition of the enemy trenches probably accounted for enemy inactivity, which was also marked as to make a daily chronicle superfluous.

German artillery however was comparatively active during the whole period, but almost without exception the shells landed well behind the fire-bays, in the neighbourhood of the support trenches.

Casualties for the six days;

  • Wounded in action: Officers: Nil; Other ranks: 9
  • Killed:  Officers: Nil; Other ranks: 1
  • Died of Wounds:  Officers: Nil; Other ranks: 1

There was no fraternizing between the opposing forces on Christmas day. Our men showed their intention at dawn with Machine Gun and rapid rifle fire, and no enemy advances were observed thereafter. Sounds of singing and laughing were heard in the German trenches opposite No 1 (A) Company sector by patrols at 20:00, and 22:00 hrs.

The Battalion was relieved on the 26th December by the 6th Bedfordshire Regiment and proceeded to Bienvillers, in reserve to the Brigade.


Paul McCormick
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