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                     The First Battalion 1914 - 18


From February to July of 1916 the 1st Battalion saw trench duty at Les Bais. They took no part in the opening of the battle of the Somme, which began on 1st July 1916. On the 4th they moved to billets at Bruay. The next day they were ordered to the Somme. On the 6th they marched to Chocques and entrained for Doullens. On the 10th they reached Albert and went into billets.

On the 14th the battle of Bazentin Ridge began. At noon on the 16th the 1st battalion was ordered to attack. After a barrage the Glosters and the Munster Fusiliers attacked. The first line German trench was taken but the British barrage prevented the assault from pressing on and the Germans regrouped in the second line. The Glosters lost 3 killed and 25 wounded. On the 18th 3 more were killed and 6 wounded, another 20 were gassed. That night the battalion was relieved and moved back to Scott's Redoubt and then to Becourt Wood. On the 20th they moved to billets at Albert and on the 22nd moved back to the front east of Becourt Wood. On the 24th they relieved the 2nd Royal Sussex Regiment. The Germans counter-attacked the Australians who had captured Pozieres, and the Glosters helped repulse the attack. They were then relieved and marched back to Millencourt. There they remained until the 15th August, when they marched to Railway Copse. (between Fricourt and Mametz Wood.) On the 20th they relieved the 2/60th Rifles west of High Wood. For the next 7 days they endured severe shell fire and on the 27th were relieved back to Becourt. In those 7 days they lost 46 killed and 141 wounded.

On the 4th September the battalion moved to the front line north of Bazentin-le-Grand. On the 7th they took part in the attack on High Wood. When the preliminary bombardment began the British shells fell short and Lieutenant J. Peate and C.S.M. Hird were both killed. When the attack succeeded in taking the German trenches there were too few men left to hold them and they were ordered back to the British line. The wounded going back to the dressing stations were caught in German shell fire and some killed. At 3am, on the morning of the 9th September the Germans attacked. They were repulsed and the Glosters were relieved back to the Quadrangle. The battalion had lost 5 officers killed, 8 wounded and 84 men killed and 122 wounded.

On the 11th the 1st Division was relieved by the 47th and the Glosters marched to Franvillers. On the 15th they moved and by the 29th were near Henencourt Wood. On the 3rd October the 1st Division was transferred to the IVthe Corps and the Glosters moved to billets at Feuquieres, near Abbeville. From the 14th July they had lost 546 officers and men on the Somme battlefields.

31st October they were returning to the Somme and by the 10th November were back at Mametz Wood. They were employed in road-making until the 27th when they moved into the front line facing the Butte de Warlencourt. The trenches were poor, muddy and very cold. 1st December they were relieved by the Cameron Highlanders. The camp at High Wood was in 6 inches of mud and rain and snow fell. On the 14th they relieved the Munsters in the front line . On the 31st they moved into an excellent camp east of Becourt Wood.