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                     The First Battalion 1914 - 18

1917

Christmas was celebrated on the 4th January. The battalion was employed in road-making until the 23rd when they moved to Contay. The battalion trained for the next 10 days in the bitter cold. On the 2nd February the 1st Division took over the French lines near Barleux, south of the Somme River. The Glosters moved to Morcourt and on the 6th took over the front line trenches opposite Barleux. The line was very quiet and on the 10th the battalion moved back into support at Flaucourt. On the 14th they returned to the front line and shell fire. On the 18th they moved west of Dompierre to Telegraph Camp. On the 22nd a raid was ordered. Going out to check the ground for the raid, 2nd Lieut. Grainger walked into the deserted German front line. Finding it to be in worse condition than the British lines the raid was cancelled. On the 23rd the battalion moved to Chuignes and on the 7th March back to the front, this time south of Barleux.

On the 17th March the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line began. The Glosters sent out patrols to probe the weakening German lines. The battalion moved into the German lines until the 18th when they were relieved and moved back to Boulogne Wood. A patrol under 2nd Lieut. S.F.M. Forbes, crossed the Somme and advanced about a mile. On the 19th the battalion moved to Chuignes. On the 7th April they marched to Peronne, where they helped to repair the railway. 7th May they moved to Eclusier. On the 19th they marched to Warfusee-Albancourt. The weather was fine and days were spent in training. 26th May the battalion marched to Guillancourt and then by train to Caestre. 31st May the battalion moved to Reninghelst. There they were employed carrying ammunitions and stores up for the attack on Messines Ridge. On the day of the attack, the 7th, the battalion moved back to a camp near Fletre. More road-building was undertaken. On the 15th the march began to Staple, which was reached on the 16th. More training was done and on the 21st the battalion marched to Malo-les-Bains. On the 25th they reached the Furnes Canal where they were put onto barges and taken to Furnes. From there they marched to St. Iddesbalde, 10 miles east of Dunkirk. From there they moved into a camp at Juriac and were to guard the Yser Canal. On the 10th July the Germans attacked Nieuport. The bridges across the Yser were destroyed by German shells and the isolated garrison (of the 2nd Kings Royal Rifle Corps and 1st Northants Regt) were cut off and overwhelmed; only 4 officers and 70 men escaped, by swimming the canal. The Glosters came under shell fire and 2nd Lieut. C.C.T. Clayton was wounded and later died.

'B' and 'C' companies were sent to an 'unknown destination' and the rest of the battalion marched to Petit Synthe.

"HUSH CAMP"

In order to neutralise the German submarine threat, the Allied command planned a coastal landing near to the port of Zeebrugge, where the German submarine fleet was based. The plan was for the 1st Division to land behind German lines while XVth Corps attacked from Nieuport. A secret training camp was to be built 7 miles west of Dunkirk, at Le Clipon. 'B' and 'C' companies were to assist in building the camp. On the 19th the rest of the battalion joined them at Le Clipon. For 3 months the operation was practised and the Glosters were to be one of the leading assault battalions. The whole plan depended on the Vth Army advancing to a position to make the plan feasible, unfortunately this could not be achieved and on the 20th October the decision was made to abandon the plan, to the disappointment of all involved. The Glosters marched to Eringhem and then to Poperinghe.

5th November the 1st Division moved to Houtkerque in suppoer of the attacks neat Ypres. On the 10th the Glosters were ordered to assist the Munsters and the South Wales Borderers. On the 12th the battalion was relieved and moved to dug-outs along the Yser Canal. They had lost 2nd Lieut. C. R. Harman killed and Captain C.L. Priestly died of wounds.

On the 13th they marched to Dambre Camp and on the 23rd to Schools Camp. On the 27th a move to Proosdy Camp and on the 5th December to Eikhoek. On the 7th they moved to Woesten. On the 11th the battalion moved to the front line facing Houthulst Forest. Patrols into the forest met no enemy. On the 16th they were relieved by the Munster Fusiliers. The Glosters moved into camp at Zuidhuis until the 28th when they went to La Bergerie Camp.

1918