Monday, 2 April 2007

Chapter 26: The Somme including Bullecourt April - July 1917

The battlefield, Bullecourt , 2005

Photo of trenches and battlefield looking towards Bullecourt, 1917. [AWM H12360]

Looking towards Bullecourt, May 2005

From 11th Battery, 4th F.A.B Brief History

“On March 20th we went forward to Beugnatre and next day took over from the 12th battery in a position in rear of Vaulx Vraucourt. In this position we remained until April 2nd and then moved forward to Noreuil Valley, staying there until May 11th. While in this position we were subjected to very heavy shell fire. Moving from Noreuil to a position in rear of Lagnicourt and to the left of the main road we were again subjected to heavy fire, having many casualties and all the guns hit and out of action in one morning.

From this position we moved about 500 yds to the right and remained there until May 28th. *

On May 29th* we left the WL at Beugnatre and moved back to Ovillers stayed there one night and next day moved to Aveluy where we camped until July 9th.”

* Original transcribed as April – should be May (as per document Positions occupied by the 4th A.F.A Brigade in France”

Photo of artillery on the Bapaume road near Le Sars, on the way to Bullecourt. 20 May 1917. [AWM E00464]
Photo of artillery using an 18 pounder at Noreuil during the Battle of Bllecourt. May 1917. [AWM E00600]
Photo of Australian soldiers bathing in a shell hole after Bullecourt, 12 may 1917. [AWM E03925]

“Second Bullecourt” (5 – 17 May 1917)

The attack (unlike the first attempt) would be made with the preliminary assistance of artillery. (p. 413)

Field Artillery supporting the “Second Bullecourt” plan :

From CEW Bean Vol IV The AIF in France 1917 p 414

Behind Ecoust-Longatte "P" Group
4th Division Artillery, under Lieut-Col GHM King
10th Brigade: 37th, 38th and 39th Batteries
110th How. Battery
11th Brigade: 41st, 42nd and 43rd Battteries
111th Howitzer Battery

Noreuil Valley "Q" Group
2nd Division Artillery under Lieut-Col R.L.R. Rabett. After May 10, Lieut-Col H.W. Lloyd
4th Brigade: 10th, 11th, 12th Batteries
104th Howitzer Battery
5th Brigade: 13th, 14th and 15th Batteries
105th Howitzer Battery
12th (Army) Brigade
45th Battery (relieved on April 28 by 47th)
46th Battery

Lagnicourt Valley "M" Group
1st division Artillery under Lieut-Col G.I. Stevenson
1st Brigade: 1st, 2nd and 3rd batteries
101st Howitzer Battery*
2nd Brigade: 4th, 5th and 6th Batteries
102nd Howitzer Battery
* behind Noreuil

Morchies Valley "R" Group
Part of 5th Division Artillery under Lieut-Col O.F. Phillips
14th Brigade: 53rd, 54th and 55th batteries
114th How. Battery

May 1st (p. 415-6)

Much labour and reorganisation had taken place in the month after the Germans had fallen back on the Hindenburg Line. Destroyed roads and railways had been reconstructed. By 30th April the 5th Division 5th pioneers had relaid light railway rails as far as Vaulx-Vrancourt. On May 1st the rations for the 2nd division were brought there by the 1 Anzac Light Railways, and the 2nd Division’s horse-transport was thus set free for carrying engineer stores, material for roads and other supplies.

The whole country beyond Bapaume was being rehabilitated for occupation by troops and for operations, eg dugouts (including 17 for the supports in the 2nd Division’s area, chiefly near Lagnicourt), hutments and camps to replace the destroyed village accommodation and water supply.

[insert pic
awm german shell bursting on bapaume road 4 may 1917]

May 11th - the 4th F.A.B. moved from Noreuil to Lagnicourt
May 27th – moved from Lagnicourt to Aveluy
May 30 – July 8 – camped at Aveluy.

Ben at the Slouch Hat Memorial at Bullecourt, May 2003
Slouch Hat memorial, Anzac Day commemorations, 2005
The 'Australian Digger' memorial, Bullecourt, Anzac Day commemorations, 2005
The Bullecourt Digger memorial plaque, 2005

Anzac Day commemoration, Bullecourt, 2005

Bullecourt Town Hall, 2005

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