Monday, 30 October 2017

Coolness and Courage

183rd Infantry Brigade Order No. 151, dated 23 October 1917 was for ‘A’ Company of 2/6th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment to “raid the enemy’s trenches”. The objects of the raid were:

(a) To kill the enemy and take prisoners
(b) To destroy dugouts and emplacements
(c) To obtain identifications

The trenches in question were located close to the French village of Fampoux, east of Arras. The battalion had spent October at Hull Camp, St. Nicholas, near Arras and in support and front line trenches.

Key map for trench raid of 29/30 October 1917 

Trench detail
Specific orders for the raid were written by Captain C.H. Carruthers, the Officer Commanding ‘A’ Company. Carruthers was to lead the raid, with 2nd Lieutenant Schutze and Beale, and 60 other ranks.

The orders identified six parties with specific targets (provided by co-ordinates) within the German trenches. Some were to destroy dugouts, while others were to form stop gaps and protection. A parapet party was to cover retirement of all parties and “do anything possible to facilitate their exit.” Two Lewis guns with two men manning each gun accompanied the parapet part to deal with any enemy movement overland.

Dress for all parties was – “Rifles and 30 rounds in right-hand pocket. Two bombs per man. Additional bombs in bomb buckets. Wire-cutters and electric torches and P. bombs (No.27) will also be carried by parties concerned.”

‘D’ company were to be utilised to place a tape from point of exit in the British lines to point of entry in the enemy lines.

The raid commenced at 3 a.m. after a three minute intense bombardment.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Cadet Class, Cairo

T.B. Minshall,
Langley Park, Norfolk
Thomas Minshall, of Northwich, Cheshire, enlisted with Cheshire Yeomanry at Chester, on 27 August 1914. The Cheshire, Denbighshire and Shropshire Yeomanry constituted the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade. In September the Brigade was posted to Norwich to join the 1st Mounted Division, the division being formed in August for the purpose of home defence.

The period September 1914 to March 1916 was spent on the Norfolk Coast. On 3 March 1916 Cheshire Yeomanry sailed from Devonport, arriving at Alexandria, Egypt, on 14 March 1916. The regiment comprised 25 officers and 451 men.

During his time in the UK, and later in Egypt, Thomas gained the following promotions:

- Appointed Lance Corporal - 17 February 1915
- Appointed Corporal - 21 February 1916
- Appointed Lance Sergeant - 22 October 1916

Through 1916 the regiment took part in operations against the Senussi, and in the Baharia Expedition. At the end of the year Cheshire Yeomanry learnt it was to be formed into an infantry battalion.

As the establishment of an infantry battalion was so much greater than that of a cavalry regiment it was necessary for some amalgamations. On 1 March 1917 Shropshire Yeomanry arrived from Sherira at Helmieh Camp, Zietoun, near Cairo. The following day Cheshire Yeomanry arrived at the camp from Alamein. Here the regiments amalgamated to form 10th (Shropshire & Cheshire Yeomanry) Bn. King's Shropshire Light Infantry.