Published By Ben Hillidge
Thiepval, Authuille and Ancre Heights
- Somme, Authuille Wood. 10 Bn Cheshire Regiment. 24 August 1916.
- Somme. Ancre Heights. Schwaben Redoubt. 118 Machine Gun Company. 14 October 1916
- Somme, Thiepval & Ancre Heights. 2 Bn South Lancashire Regiment. October 1916.
Thiepval is a village to the north of Albert on the eastern side of the River Ancre valley. Authuille is about 2kms to the south whilst Ancre Heights are to about 1 km to the north west above the River Ancre. On the opening day of the Somme Offensive all the assaults failed. Thiepval would be captured in late September and the Ancre Heights in November.
It is now the site of the Thiepval Memorial to all those killed on the Somme and have no known grave.
GOOGLE MAPS Satellite view centres on Thiepval Memorial – Authuille to the south west, Ancre Heights to the north west and location of the Ulster Tower the memorial to 36 (Ulster) Division.
Somme, Authuille Wood. 10 Bn Cheshire Regiment. 24 August 1916.
The 10 Bn Cheshire Regiment had spent the first part of August in the rear areas. On 18 August they moved into dug-outs at Authuille. They spent the next 4 days on carrying parties taking supplies and materials up to the lines at Authuille Wood; they also spent time on working parties repairing trenches. On 23 August they moved up into the front line relieving the 3 Bn Worcestershire Regiment for a 3 day tour. Throughout the time there were frequent artillery exchanges with very heavy bombardment of the Wood and the vicinity, these would go on day and night. On 24 August they were working on repairs, casualties were 8 ORs killed and 19 wounded. The next day was similar, but with no casualties, that night they were relieved and moved back to Hedauville.
Ancre Heights. Schwaben Redoubt. 118 Machine Gun Company. 14 October 1916.
GOOGLE MAPS – Satellite view centres on the Schwaben Redoubt. Lucky Way ran along the D 151 road
The village of Thiepval had been captured on 30 September 1916. The battle then continued to capture the Ancre Heights – an area of high ground between Thiepval and the Ancre Valley to the north. The Schwaben Redoubt was a complex of enemy trenches and fortifications that guarded the Ancre Heights. Part of the Redoubt had been captured during the battle of Thiepval; 118 Brigade, including 118 Machine Gun Company, was tasked with capturing the remainder. The attack would be made from the direction of Thiepval with the start line about midway to the Redoubt.
Zero hour for the attack was set at 2.46pm on 14 October. The attacking battalions were 4/5 Bn Black Watch and 1/1 Bn Cambridgeshire Regiment. At zero hour 118 MG Coy mounted their machine guns on the parapet in the British front line – they were to provide covering fire to enfilade the northern and north eastern face of the Redoubt and along Lucky Way. Four machine guns were also to be taken forward with the last wave of infantry. The tack was successful and at about 6.00pm support troops were sent forward to consolidate the gains.
Thiepval & Ancre Heights. 2 Bn South Lancashire Regiment. October 1916.
2 Bn South Lancashire Regiment had been heavily engaged during the fighting for Ancre Heights, the actions after the Battle for Thiepval Ridge. In October they had occupied the old German lines in Stuff Trench to the south of the River Ancre and had been involved in the taking of Regina Trench and Stuff Redoubt on 9 October. Both actions were successful capturing 400 prisoners for only 188 casualties. The battalion was taken out of the line on 22 October and moved back to Doullen in the rear area where they remained until the end of the month.
WAR DIARY 10 Bn Cheshire Regiment. War Diary 118 Brigade. WAR DIARY 2 Bn Sth Lancs
B&O 1916. Somme. Thiepval, Authuille and Ancre Heights