21 April 1916

Extract from the official war diary of 15th Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

FERME du BOIS

Little sniping on either side. Our L.G. with hyperscope eventually used during the day. Artillery and T.M. bombarded enemy front line trench at 5.30 p.m. drawing immediate reply. Enemy shelled our lines at BUTE Street, GUARDS STAND, PALL MALL, COPSE and BOND Street trenches. Also 70 shells fell along RUE de BOIS between FACTORY corner and PLUM Street. Four 5.9s fell around Bn. H.Q. 3 were duds. Enemy M.G. and rifles very active at midnight for about half an hour.

Officers Patrols examined enemy’s wire along line BOARS HEAD salient – S.10.C.9.3½. Enemy put curtain of bombs and grenades about 20 yds in front of his wire at 11.55 p.m. 21/4/16. Enemy very carefully searched EDWARD Road with M.G. at frequent intervals 7 p.m. to 12.30 a.m. 22/4/16. Our right battery fired during afternoon on DISTILLERY at S.17. and on cross roads S.17.a. Our L.G. dispersed work party on enemy parapet.

Considerable aerial activity by both sides in morning. Shrapnel from A.A.Gs fell in our lines. One Sergeant struck but not hurt being undoubtedly saved by his steel helmet. Noise heard in dugout S.10.c.4½.3. Sounded like a suction pump underground. At first attributed to mining operations later to rats.  Direct hit by enemy shell on Coy H.Q. BOTE Street. Did no damage. “No mans LAND” in front of centre Coy in fair going condition. Some shell holes and useful details with very little water in them. Enemy does not appear to hold his front line strongly, little noise or movement of sentries heard or seen. Enemy holds salient opposite our left strongly. Patrol reports sentries frequently fire from this position. Enemy wire outside edge is knife rests and concertina. Behind this stacked wire for a depth of 20-30 feet.

Enemy sniper at S.16.a.5.8. silenced by L.G. with hyperscope. Flash from T.M. observed at S.10.d.2.6. Enemy very busy about S.11.b.2.8. appears to be constructing large redoubts. Enemy M.G. at about S.22.d.2½.4½. Enemy very nervous without any apparent reason. He put up a curtain of bombs and grenade about 20 yds. In front of his wire at midnight 21/22.04.16 and swept our parapet and “NO MANS LAND” with M.G. & rifle fire, also roads behind RUE de BOIS. Enemy’s firing seems to have improved in rate as regards rifles. Enemy working on parapet S.16.a.6.2. dispersed by L.Gs.

Consolidation of front line continued. 3 dugouts on left Coy front constructed, parados raised and revetted, new fire steps. Wiring parties strengthened and filled gaps in our wire on flanks of centre coy. Another party casting upearth outside parapet. 3 new loopholes being constructed. New dug out in BUTE Street. Drains cleared. Parados completed. Water tank fixed . Rivetted parados in RIGHT GUARD Trench. Trench boards relaid. New bomb store COPSE KEEP. General improvement in all lines.

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