Published By John Davies
Beaucourt. Nelson Battalion, Royal Navy Division. 24 January 1917.
The 63 Royal Naval Division, including Nelson Battalion, had arrived on the Somme late in 1916. The battalion had taken part in the last actions of the Somme Offensive at the Battle of Ancre. The action ended on 20 November 1916 and, with worsening weather, the offensive had closed down. Operations though did not entirely cease and particularly to the north of the River Ancre Valley between Grandcourt and Puisieux. During January and February 1917 a series of small offensives took place to capture Miramount, Puisieux and Serre. For the first 2 of these the attacks were successful but not at Serre which would not be taken until late February 1917 when the Germans retreated to the Hindenburg Line.
In early January operations successfully captured Beaumont Hamel and advanced the front line to Beaucourt. This opened the way for further actions eastwards to Miramount and Serre. Nelson Battalion had spent the first part of January at Le Champneuf on the coast between Boulogne and Le Treport. On 13 January they began a 5 day march to Rubempre where they boarded buses and travelled on to Lancashire Dump in the River Ancre Valley. From there they marched to trenches in the left sub sector at Beaucourt. There they relieved 3 battalions from 49 (West Riding) Division. They would remain in the front line until the night of 22 January. During the tour the men spent time working on consolidating their position. Artillery on both sides was very active and the Germans launched a number of counter attacks and particularly on 24 January, all were fought off.
The battalion moved back to the support lines, again, they were employed on working parties going up to the front each night. In the last week of January they moved further to the rear at Forceville. They would return to Beaucourt at the beginning of February for the actions over the 3 – 11 February at Miramount and beyond. The battalion War Diary does not give any casualties for this period.
References and Sources War Diary Nelson Battalion
B&O 1917 Somme. Beaucourt. Nelson Battalion, Royal Navy Division. 24 January 1917.