3 July 1916

Extract from the official war diary of 11th Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

Thiepval

On immediately visiting the Companies the Adjutant found that a considerable number of casualties had occurred during entrance to the assembly positions, that the British trenches were devoid of British troops and that the guides had no instructions other than to lead the companies to some particular spot in the trenches. How much of the trenches each company was to occupy was left to the imagination – no proper relief of troops in fact had taken place. By about 5.30 am the Companies had more or less taken up some portion of the trenches and got in touch with one another. The trenches were exceedingly badly knocked about, affording little cover from fire and in a great many places little cover from view. Steps were taken to organise the Bombers and to ascertain where the dumps were to ensure a supply of bombs and S A A to the Companies. At about 6.20 am the Border Regt on the left of the Battalion (with whom touch had been made) attacked the German position but by whose orders it is not known.

Their right flank of the Borders being exposed, the leading Companies of the CHESHIRE Regt immediately attacked and the assaulting waves passed over “NO MANS LAND” in perfect order. Word to this effect was immediately sent to the Commanding Officer who at once proceeded to the scene of the action. The assaulting troops very soon came under a withering fire from Machine Guns which made the ground at about 50x from the first German line absolutely impassable. Line after line of the troops were mown down. The Commanding Officer who went with the reserve Company was unfortunately killed and Captain Hill, the Adjutant, on whom the command of the Battalion devolved decided to get the men still living back into the trench from which they jumped off and to hold it as a defensive line. The remainder of the day was spent in trench warfare and carrying in of wounded and other casualties. Unfortunately the list of casualties was large and included among every Company Commander.  20 officers, 657 Other Ranks entered the trenches on the 3rd and of this number 6 officers 350 OR came out on the night of the 4th instant.

On the night of the 3rd the Battalion under orders from the Brigade moved further North for about 300x and held another section of trench from STAFFA ST to TYNDRUM St linking up thereby with the 8th Border Regt – the place of the 11th Cheshire being filled by the 1st Wiltshire Regt. During the night of 3-4th The section of trench held by the Battalion was heavily shelled. On the

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