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War Diary

Regiment 1st Royal Berkshire
Location Belgium, Molenaarelsthoek
Entry Col Graham badly wounded by a stray shell about 8am. A French attack on GHELUVELT by 9 battns was timed for 9.30am. (Message received from 1st Bde). The right of this attack passed through our reserve dug outs about 11.30 am, but owing to subsequent events never got more than about 200yds beyond. About 11.45 am an urgent message was received for support for a detachment of Coldstream Guards at the barrier on the YPRES - GHELUVELT road, the Germans having worked round their flank. As the French attack had already passed through our lines Major Finch thought it inadvisable and unnecessary to send up his two companies in the middle of the French line. (D Coy had on the previous night taken over some trenches on the right of the 60th S of the YPRES - GHELUVELT road.) Shortly afterwards some men of the Coldstreams came running back through our dug outs, saying their officer had been killed and that they had been driven out of their trenches. At the same time a number of men of the 60th were observed surrendering on the S side of the road some 5 or 600yds to our right post. The two companies at once turned out. Major Finch almost immediately received a shrapnel bullet in the heel but was able to carry on for the time. It was now discovered that only one weak French battn had come through us and that they were holding some enclosures just to our front. 1/2 A Coy under 2/Lt Cruise were sent up the left of the road facing S in the vicinity of the French battn. Shortly after the other half of A Coy under Lt Woods were sent up to try and retake the trenches N of the road, but could not get beyond some hedges about 400yds from the trenches. Major Finch then advanced with the whole company and 40 men of the Gloucesters whom he had collected. This party reoccupied the trenches, with the exception of the one immediately N of the main road, which was still occupied by a number of Germans when the order was received about 9.30pm to withdraw to our original dugouts. When the 2 companies turned out at midday one platoon of B Coy under 2/Lt VESEY was sent to hold the cross roads just S of the V in VELDHOEK where they remained mixed up with some of the French infantry. The rest of B Coy under Capt Lucas occupied some trenches immediately S of these crossroads in front edge of the wood, the other battn of 60th prolonged to their right, and stray men from various units also jumped into the trench. Here they remained till dusk when the order to advance was given. The line advanced with a feeble cheer which failed to arouse the Germans. About 30 men of B Coy pushed between the trenches and the road (moving up the S side of the road) without knowing it, and came upon the Germans turning out of the houses all round. This party then formed in a semicircle and opened fire on the Germans some of whom were running across their rear into the trench they had passed on their right. This party could make no further headway. Genl Fitzclarence then came up with a party of about 40 stragglers he had collected. These men were sent forward against this trench from the front but could not be got to advance further than a ditch about 100yds from the trench which was now strongly held. The order was received at 9.30pm to withdraw. D Coy under 2/Lt STOKES held the trenches on the right and next to those abandoned by the 60th throughout the day and were at times subjected to a severe enfilade fire. When the withdrawal had been completed the line was readjusted to run just E of the wood at VELDHOEK, the battn taking over the section immediately N of the main road. The GOC 1st Bde thanked the battn for their work during the day. Major Finch went back to the dressing station about 10pm. Lt FRIZELL wounded. Lt KNOTT wounded. The machine guns were at this date detached to the 3rd Bgd.