Published By Ben Hillidge
Poperinghe. 8 Bn South Lancashire Regiment. July 1917
In June 1917 8 Bn South Lancashire Regiment was in the line at Messines Ridge. On 23 June 1917 the battalion was withdrawn from the front area and marched back to Beaumetz les Aires arriving there on 27 June. They spent the next week training – musketry, bayonet practice and bombing as well as lectures and specialist training. They also went on a tactical route march but it was cut short due to very heavy rain. There were also football matches and ‘rides out’ for the officers. Some activities were curtailed by the heavy rain. On 8 July they left Beaumetz les Aires by bus and headed for Ypres. They arrived at Poperinghe at 1.30pm on 9 July and then marched to Dominion Camp at Busseboom.
They spent the rest of the month on working parties going up to the lines at night to do construction work and carrying supplies in preparation for the forthcoming Third Ypres Offensive. Journeys up to the front were undertaken at night walking on duck board tracks across the damaged landscape. Not only was their danger from enemy action but also the prospect of coming off the track ways and becoming stranded in the mud or tripping and falling on the uneven and broken surface. The work involved carrying everything needed for the battle – especially ammunition. Lorries or wagons would bring stores as far forward as allowable but for the final distance everything had to be man handled to the forward dumps and stores. Casualties were relatively low, between 11 – 21 July ORs- 4 KIA, 32 wounded, of whom 2 died, and 2 missing. On 22 July they moved back to Reninghelst where they had specialist training in preparation for the coming battle. They returned to the Salient on 30 July ready for offensive action.
References and Sources WAR DIARY 8 Bn Sth Lancs.
B&O 1917. Ypres. Third Ypres. Poperinghe. 8 Bn South Lancashire Regiment. July 1917.