John Duesbery (Sherwood Foresters) killed on Somme, item 78
- November 1, 2018 10:34:43 Zafiro Marti
7th. 1.30 p.m. Balin left and marched to a Camp about 1 mile S.E. of MEAUTLE at about F.19.B. took over a
very few tents, majority of the men rig up bivouacks. Sheet 620 FRANCE.
8th. Companies at usual training. Weather quite warm.
9th. Usual Training.
10th. Battn attend Brigade Church Parade. Brigadier General Leverson-Gower and Capt. H.B.D. Willcox paid a
visit to the Battn and stayed to dinner.
11th 7.30 am. The Battalion paraded and left Camp, after a march across countiy in a North Easterly direction
arrived at a point North’of CORNOY arriving there about 1 p.m; en route all packs were left at the transport
line. Several Heavy shells dropped close to the Battn while resting here but no casualties. After having
dinners and tea the Battn paraded and marched ofF at 7 p.m. and took over trenches South West of
GUILLEMONT. 3 A B and C Companies with Bn. H.Q. being in position about ARROW HEAD COPSE (S.30.b.3.2. SHEET. LONGUEVAL 57c S.W.3) and D Companies reported being in position by 11.10 p.m. The u/m Officers were left at the Transport line. Major E.R. Street. D.S.O. Lieut G.S.Taylor. Lieut FJ. MeDor.
ARROW HEAP COPSE.
12th. About 5.30 p.m. operation orders were received from the Brigade for the Battn to attack at 6 am. tomorrow
13th inst with 2 Companies in front line on a platoon front. 1 Company in support and one in reserve, the C.O. Adjutant and Company Commanders went up to the front line held by the 9th Suffolk Regt. to view the position to be attacked. After which the C.O. and Adjutant went to Brigade Head Quarters at the request of the Brigadier. Definite orders as to the details of the attack etc were received from the Brigade about 9.45 p.m. Verbal orders were then issued to Company Commanders and written orders later. Lieut V Jackson to Hospital sick.
ARROW HEAD COPSE - GUILLEMONT
13th. At 3 am. B and C Companies moved off to take up position ready to attack at 6 am. A and D Companies in
Support Reserve trenches West of GUILLEMONT. About 4.30 am. Battn Head Quarters moved to the
Quarry West of GUILLEMONT at about S.24.D.8.3. 7 am. No news having being received from B and C
Companies, a Patrol under Capt J.G. Gibbons was sent forward to tiy and clear up the situation.
8.20 am. One of the Patrol returned and reported our Right Company (C Coy) was held up by Enemy Machine Gun fire from its right. 8.30 am. Capt. Gibbons returned and reported Right Company digging in on its objective from both Right and Left fronts. 8.55am. A message was received from O.C. Left Company (Captain G.F. March "B" Coy) stating that after an advance of about 500 yards, his Company were digging in under Enemy Machine Gun fire which he was unable to locate. Objective seems to have been gained 10 am. A message was received from O.C. Right Company (Captain W.S. Holden "C" Coy) stating. Objective gained but being worried by Enemy Machine Gun tire and Snipers. Company was digging in after advancing about 500 yards. Message was dispatched at 7.40 am. Both runners had a job to get back on account of Machine Gun and Shell fire. 12 noon Casualties reported "Slight". 4.15 p.m. Operation orders were received from the Brigade for the Battalion to attack again at 6 p.m. in conjunction with the 9th Suffolk Regt. on our right and one Company of the 2nd Guards Brigade on our left.
4.45.p.m. Orders dispatched by runner to all Companies. On account of the orders being received so late, it was thought impossible to get "A" and "D" Companies up into position to attack and to allow' "B" and "C" Coys to be in Support Reserve. So "B" and MC" Companies were ordered to attack with "D" Coy in support and "A" Coy in Reserve.
5.5 p.m C.O. asked Brigade to put the attack off from 6 p.m. to 6.30 pm. Brigade replied "Too late now to alter operation order". 5.15p.m. Battn. Head Quarters moved up to an enemy dugout under the railway at about T.20.b.2.8. South EastofGINCHY.
5.55 p.m. On arrival of Head Quarters at point of assembly for attack, "B" and "C" Companies were not to be found, but "D" Coy were in position, as Support Company. (It was afterwards discovered that orders for "B" and "C" Companies were never received). So the attack was made with "D" Company who advanced about 700 yards but suffered heavy casualties from Enemy shells and Machine Gun fire and could not get beyond the German wire which was found to be strong and untouched and enfiladed by Machine Guns. They made a most gallant attack and very few got back. "B" and "C" Companies were found in the position gained by them during the morning. After dark "A" Company were ordered up and dug in on a position as far advanced