top of page




53rd and 54th Brigades

26th September 1916…In Brief…

Zero 12.35pm

8th Suffolks and 10th Essex out of assembly trenches before preliminary bombardment had lifted and dashed forward right on the heels of the creeping barrage sweeping over the German line

Many Germans surrendered without arms

Schwaben Trench overrun, enemy resistance giving way under the fierce attack

On the Left the Essex found dispirited Germans wishing to surrender, the attacking tank putting an end to a normally stubborn resistance

Both German Regiments here sustained heavy casualties

Suffolks and Essex pushed on to occupy Zollern Trench with little loss

Still many obstacles towards final objective, German resistance toughened, after 250m Suffolks faced frontal and enfilade fire and took cover

Essex too came under fire from martins and Bulgar Trenches

8th Norfolks joined ‘Moppers up’ in Schwaben Trench

11th Fusiliers and 12th Middlesex well forward from assembly trenches at Zero, the Fusiliers quickly engaged in close combat at the junction of the original and new German front lines, a bitter struggle using every weapon available, bombs, Lewis Gun, rifle and bayonet, many Germans killed, 25 Prisoners

Original German front Line Trenches damaged but many deep dugouts, clearance was taking longer than planned, creeping barrage getting ahead, 1 or more dugouts set on fire due to established MG’s within, Germans perishing in fire, being shot as they rushed out, remaining taken prisoner

Fusiliers had a hard fight all the way up the German front line, Germans waiting for them, Lewis Gun proved successful throughout the whole advance

Middlesex moving forward through centre of village, but held up from fire from the ruins of the Chateau, again clearance of dugouts and resistance was slow

Reduced numbers of Fusiliers now in centre of village, Middlesex struggling to get to the NW corner of the village

Mg nests and snipers taking a toll of both Battalions

British and Germans laying down defensive barrages, inflicting casualties within the 6th Northants whom were moving up in support

At dusk units reorganised, new line on right just N of village consolidated, efforts made in the NW of the village to silence isolated pockets of resistance

Germans in Church not surrendering, until overwhelmed

Germans still in control of NW of the village, Middlesex and Fusiliers exhausted, no further forward movement up towards the Schwaben Redoubt

Germans holding strong in the Yellow Section South od 2nd Objective, the 7th Bedfords finally clearing this area on the 27th

Many acts of heroism this day, by small groups and individuals, each dug-out, stronghold represented a separate target, each demanding imaginative and enterprising action

German defenders not inclined to surrender, close quarter fighting was decided solely by the death of one of the antagonists

Next day, 27th, orders given for continuation of attack by 11th Division on the right sector

Meanwhile, 53rd Brigade progressing well, Essex bombing up Bulgar Trench, 50m secured

Front of 54th Brigade taken over by 7th Bedfords and 5th West Yorks tasked to take the stubborn NW corner of village, 70 Prisoners taken, dug in just past the Church

Leading Battalions for day before, Fusiliers, Middlesex and supporting Northamptons (whom had been hit hard moving up) withdrawn for well-earned respite

Beaucourt Sur Ancre (63rd Naval Div.)

63rd Royal Naval Division

188th & 189th Brigades, 13th/14thNovember 1916. Attack towards Beaucourt sur Ancre, a brief summary..

Overview of info based on maps and corresponding nfo …

189th Brigade , just West side of the River Ancre,

188th Brigade to the left of them

Both had 2 leading battalions, 2 in support and 2 attached from 190th Brigade.

The Divisions first engagement on the Somme. All officers and men were well briefed.

Casualties caused by enemy shell fire waiting for Zero Hour.

Zero Hour, Hood and Drake Battalions were on Their way, both battalions suffered losses from enfilade fire, advance continued with success, German front line taken with 300 prisoners.

Advance continued despite fog and water logged trenches and trench holes.

Advance continued to Station Road and Trench towards Beaucourt station. Approx. 400 prisoners taken.

Whilst Hood and Drake reached objectives, Hawke and Nelson Btns (left side of of 189th) met heavy MG fire on advance to German front line. Officer casualties heavy, small groups of Men formed. Trench was entered where bomb and rifle fighting lasted for hours.

Howe Btn and 1st marines led the attack to the left, Anson and 2nd Marines in support. Again held up by accurate MG fire losing its momentum.

Mixed Troops from Howe, Anson and Nelson fought their way to next objective. On the left the marines lost all 4 Company Commanders before reaching front line. 2nd Royal marines had a similar fate. A few reaching contact with 51st Division Troops on the far left. German Mg’s in Medieval Tunnels, out of site prevented a good section of German line being captured.

188th Brigade organised bombing on the tunnels. 190th Brigade (attached) ordered to continue advance.

A mixed force of Hood and Drake Btns, headed towards 2nd objective, collecting some HAC on route. Headed up Railway Road and up Railway Alley, reaching the edge of Beaucourt. Friendly and hostile fire caused a withdrawal they moved forward after and took over the shell holes.

Communication lost, no reinforcements to attack Beaucourt. Too risky! All 63rd Units busy engaged and with bombing attacks and fighting throughout the day.

Attack ordered on 3rd German line but Troops could not be organised. During this time, the left flank now included Redoubt Alley with support from 111th Brigade due to a depleted 63rd .

Fighting continued over the ridges and on the full attack front.

Objectives were to be secured the next day with a pleasing outcome somewhat on the 13th.

Troops attached to 63rd Div, the 111thBrigade advanced from Station Road, 1st objective 900m ahead, advanced under heavy fire from Muck Trench and Beaucourt Village.

On the far right the 190th Brigade, 93rdDiv, with mixed units form HAC and Fusiliers advanced from Beaucourt Station towards the village and joined other 63rd Div units near the village.

Attack Mounted, center of village entered, village captured with little difficulty, 500 prisoners taken and a substantial amount of Germans killed. Due to the village falling, Beaucourt trench was also captured, many prisoners again.

Tanks called in, to clear, one damaged by shell fire, one two stuck in mud, although one opened fire with its Hotchkiss and which broke down any enemy resistance. Hundreds of prisoners taken, 63rdDivision were the relieved.

bottom of page