1/1st Cheshire Field Company R.E.
Day was spent preparing for attack on 16th. A guard of 1 NCO and 6 men which was on the pontoon bridge was relieved by 56 Company. As they were returning through Ypres a shell burst on the square and wounded 5 of the sappers and 1 sapper suffered from shell shock. Company left billets at 8 p.m. to take their place in the line of march into assembly trenches. No 1 section was attached to 1st Lincolns, No 3 to Liverpool Scottish, No’s 2 and 4 to Royal Irish Rifles for the purpose of digging a CT (Communication Trench) from our present front to the captured trenches.
At 2.50 a.m. our bombardment began. At 4.15 a.m. the attacking troops advanced and took the first line trenches. The supporting troops then advanced - with them 1 and 3 sections- who were to help to consolidate the captured positions as quickly as possible. The attack had meanwhile progressed to the German second line and in some places as far as the third line.
No’s 2 and 4 sections were told by the CO of RIR to standby and await orders. A digging party of 150 which was at our disposal had advanced with the attack! The situation appeared uncertain on our left and it was not until 2 p.m. that the officers of 2 and 4 sections were sent for with ref. to CT. An officer went to reconnoitre and found that the sunken road leading forward from our old line to the captured first line was covered from view and rifle fire for anyone going up. At 3 p.m. a minor assault on the left was contemplated, the question of the CT was therefore left in abeyance, as the sunken road afforded good communication. At dusk the company was relieved by 56 Company and returned to billets.
Total casualties for that day - 6 NCOs and 12 Sappers wounded, 2 Sappers killed, 1 NCO and 1 Sapper missing.”
Transcription and contribution by Terry Reeves
WO95 / 1403