Published By John Davies
Somme. Courcelles le Comte. 7 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 20-24 August 1918.
The Battle of Albert was a general advance by VI Corps over the Somme battlegrounds lost during the Kaiser Offensive. Zero hour was 4.55am on 21 August 1918. The 7 Bn Kings Shropshire Light Infantry was to be one of the two lead battalions in 8 Brigade. The Battalion objective was a sector along the Arras-Bapaume railway (Map A – A) just to the west of Courcelles le Comte.
During the evening of 20 August 1918 the 7 Bn KSLI moved up to their assembly position to the east of Adinfer Wood. They arrived there at 11.00pm, they had a hot meal and stores were issued. Early on the morning of 21 April they moved forward to their start line in front of Ayette. The attack went over at 4.55am , they passed over Aerodrome Trench and Coffee Redoubt and skirted the village of Courcelles to reach their first objective at the railway line. By 7.30am the objectives had been captured. The final assault was made with bayonets – ‘the enemy driven out with great slaughter’. They remained in this position on the railway embankment for the following day, beating off 2 enemy counter attacks.
On the 23 August the advance would continue. At 4.00am A & D Coys advanced to capture enemy posts in the area Map B – inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy and capturing 70 prisoners. B & C Coys then advanced through them and made good the next objective – the road at Map C. At 11.00am troops from 2 Division came up and passed through to attack Ervillers. The battalion consolidated their gains and remained in the position until they were relieved on 24 August and went into Corps reserves. Battalion casualties for 20-24 April were: Officers 2 KIA (Second Lieutenants WH Benbow, CWGC, and IP Davies, CWGC) and 8 wounded, ORs 232 KIA and wounded.
GOOGLE MAPS satellite view centres on Courcelles le Comte – the railway line to the west of the village.
References and Sources WAR DIARY 7BnKSLI. Regimental History KSLI.
B&O 1918. 100 Days. Somme. Courcelles le Comte. 7 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 20-24 August 1918.