Published By John Davies
Bethune. Givenchy. 1/4 Bn Loyal North Lancashire. 9 April 1918.
During Operation Georgette, Kaiser Offensive the 1/4 Bn Loyal North Lancashire Regiment were in the Keeps and trenches in and around Givenchy. They had come into the line on 8 April 1918. The Battalion War Diary records the following events for 9 April –
4.20am. The enemy opened a heavy bombardment on the battery lines and back areas with HE and gas shells.
5.00am. A heavy barrage of gas and HE shells was placed on our front and support lines. The Keeps received special attention.
6.00am. Heavy barrage pf the sap heads (Map), main line of resistance and CT’s. The mining system was prepared for defence.
8.30am. SOS received by wire from the left front coy. The signal could not be seen owing to the heavy mist. Our TMs put down a protective barrage on the CRATER line (Map A). Visibility was very poor, nothing could be seen at a greater distance than 10 yards.
8.40am. Enemy reported advancing on the flanks and against front line. GIVENCHY KEEP (Map B) and MOAT FARM were surrounded by the enemy who broke in on the flanks. Enemy obtained a footing in the front line on the right.
8.50am. The enemy surround Battalion HQ and bombed the entrances. He was forced to retire from the entrances and posts were established to prevent a second attempt to rush HQ. All signal lines held with the exception of A Company. Visual communication was established with them when the mist cleared. HERTS KEEP (Map C) heavily engaged, the enemy in HITCHIN ROAD (Map D) and prevented him breaking through there. The enemy were reported in WARE ROAD (Map E). The MG in UPPER CUT (Map F)was doing good work.
9.00am. The enemy had broken through on the left and our forward posts were captured. MOAT FARM and GIVENCHY KEEP still surrounded. SOS fired again. The enemy entered the concrete MG emplacement in NEW CUT (Map G)
9.30am. NEW CUT occupied by the enemy who was now engaged in the whole of the Battalion area, A defensive right flank was formed along BERKELEY STREET.
9.45am. PICCADILY TRENCH (Map H) surrounded by the enemy.
10.30am. The front line on the left was counter attacked and our posts re-established. NEW CUT was retaken.
11.00am. We were ordered by Brigade to clear up the situation at WINDY CORNER. Major Duggan was sent to take command there, and with the platoons of the Lancashire Fusiliers effectually checked the enemy who eventually surrendered to him.
11.30am. Battalion on the Right reported to be holding the line BAYSWATER TERRACE – GUNNER SIDINGS (Map I). We formed a defensive flank along KING’S ROAD (Map K).
12 noon. Visibility improving, PICCADILY and the front line were re-established. Communication was opened between A, C & E SAPS. Enemy still round battalion HQ but being held off b rifle fire. Bombing parties sent up HITCHIN ROAD and GRENADIER ROAD (Map D). They cleared the trenches and took several prisoners.
12.30pm. Visibility good. Enemy MG captured and one Vickers and one Lewis Gun recaptured and put in action on north side of MOAT FARM. Enemy everywhere repulsed and further resistance was practically nil. Enemy attempting to retire from WINDY CORNER were killed or captured.
1.15pm. Enemy retiring in a north east direction were engaged by MG and Lewis Gun fire and many casualties inflicted.
3.00pm. Battalion on right re-took CAMBRIDGE TERRACE. Large parties of the enemy retiring from round WINDY CORNER and (the enemy) battalion HQ were cut off and captured by our counter attack from BUNNY HUTCH (Map J). The battalion sub sector was “mopped up” and 40 enemy MGs and further prisoners were taken. The REs, TMs and machine gun and Portuguese in the sub sector did exceptionally good work. By about 3.00pm our line had been re-established with the exception of one or two posts on the CRATER which had been badly blown in.
4.00pm. B Company from 1/5 South Lancashire Regiment arrived as reinforcements and manned our left flank from NEW CUT to WINDY CORNER
Casualties – Officers. KIA Second Lieutenant L Brooke MC (CWGC) , 4 wounded and 2 missing (Chaplain LN Forse and Lieutenant WH Jenkins – medial officer) and for ORs, 43 KIA, 100 wounded and 50 missing. The battalion remained in the front line until 16 April when they were relieved and moved back to Lozinghem.
GOOGLE MAPS Satellite view centres on Givenchy
References and Sources War Diary 1/4 Bn Loyal North Lancs.
B&O 1918. Kaiser Offensive. Battle of Estaires. 1/4 Bn Loyal North Lancashire. 9 April 1918.