1 July 1916

Extract from the war diary of Joseph Norton, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

We moved up to the reserve line in reserve to the two divisions who went over the top before us and as we marched up the ground fairly shook beneath us from the vibration of the guns and at night we came back and rested in a field and slept in holes, or rather graves that were made to bury the dead in.

Extract from the official war diary of 9th Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

Albert

10am

Tools and bombs were issued in the Assembly trenches

The Battalion took up its allotted position in the TARA-USNA line being the right front Battalion of the 58th Brigade.

7pm

Orders were personally dictated to the Commanding Officer which were to take up a position from LOCHNAGAR  St. to INCH St to carry out an attack at 10.30 pm, the direction of the attack being given as N.E.  The Battalion proceeded via NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE  SCOURINBOURNE  ST., LOCHNAGAR ST. in the following order D, C, HQ, B and A Coys.  On arrival at DUNDEE AVENUE conflicting verbal orders were received resulting in part of B Coy and D Coy under Lieut A.V. Ward and Lieut C.F. King occupying the line as ordered, the remainder of the Battalion making its way to BECOURT WOOD where they were assembled by Capts T.L. Jackson and G.G. Symons. The Commanding Officer after attending the conference at the H.Q. 58th Brigade, proceeded to the front line to meet the Battalion.  Here he could only find parts of the two Coys above specified

At 9.40 pm he ordered this portion of the Battalion to reinforce troops of the 34th Div. who were holding the GERMAN line adjacent to the new crater.  Capt. Jackson ordered the Battalion to proceed from BECOURT WOOD to the front line where they arrived at about 3.30 am on 2nd inst. where the Commanding Officer came in touch with them and set them to work repairing the line.

Extract from the diary of Lt B H Gregg, 5th Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

[Lt Gregg joined up in August 1914 in Chester. He survived the war and died aged 102 in Canada.]

gregg

On this early calm hot summer morning Major Churton (2nd in com. of Bn) & I saw from a point beyond SAILLY the distant line enveloped in gun fire & gas. The enemy had information that zero hour was 7.30 a.m. & were putting down a barrage in advance. Heavy casualties occurred in the assembly trenches.

We returned to SOUASTRE & through the long hot day in reserve heard nothing until evening. The attack had failed from a variety of causes, the chief of which was the severity of the enemy artillery barrage. The Cheshires lost six officers & 197 other ranks. The 56 Div. casualties were 4,202. Extend this through Corps & Armies on the British Front & consider the loss. These were volunteers not conscripts

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