Monday, 2 April 2007

Chapter 32: The Somme April to October 1918

April to October 1918

After leaving Flanders on 8 April, 1918, the 4th Australian Field Artillery Brigade returned once more to the Somme. Gargoo was transferred to the Reserve Brigade Australian Artillery (RBAA) on May 1, 1918. He arrived at the Heytesbury (near Warminster, Wiltshire) camp on 6 May 1918 and remained there until embarking for Australia on 2 February 1919.

However, the Second Division 4th Artillery Brigade remained very active, taking part in the major battles from May to October as the allies advanced on the Hindenburg Line. These battles are covered in following chapters - Le Hamel, Villers-Bretonneux, Mont St Quentin and Peronne.

8 April 1918
2am left Vieux Berquin, entrained at Strazeele Railway station, arrived St Roch Rway Stn (outside Amiens), disentrained then by road to Villiers Bocage, arrived same day.

9/10 April Left Villers Bocage, arrived in Querrieu (?) (outside Frechencourt)

10 April – 14 July Quarry. Guns in action near Bresle (May 14)

Photo of Field Artillery Brigade soldiers camouflaging blast marks scorched on the grass by an 18 pounder gun. Bresle, 21 April 1918 )church spire in background) [AWM E04783]

1 May

GARGOO TO RBAA

7 May Wagon Lines shifted back to Frechencourt

14 July Left Bresle, Wagon Line to Glisy, guns to near White Castle (Villers Bretonneux)

Watercolour sketch by Louis McCubbin of horse lines at Glisy. 1918 [AWM ART03074]
"Watercolour sketch depicting a view of horse lines and tents for stores and men near Glisy with observation balloons visible in the skyline. AIF Headquarters were located at Glisy during 1918. Louis McCubbin enlisted with the 14th Battalion AIF in 1916, serving in France from November 1917 with the 10th Field Ambulance. He undertook a camoflage course and was appointed as an Official War Artist working as Officer in Charge of Camouflage for 3rd Division AIF in 1918. His appointment was terminated in 1920, in which year he returned to Australia and joined the staff of the Australian War Memorial to paint backgrounds for dioramas and to perform a variety of other duties. McCubbin remained in the position until 1930."

Photo of dugouts for horses, Glisy [AWM P00098.004]

4 August Guns taken out of action

5 August Guns recalibrated

6 August Guns in position Villers Bretonneux [See Chapter 33]

8 August Advance commenced. Limbers and wagons went forward to old gun positions, the limbers going from there taking guns forward and the wagons following later. In the afternoon the guns took up position on the NE side of Bayonvillers with the wagon lines about 400 yds in the rear, on the outskirts of the village

10 August Moved forward the gun pits being between Harbonniers and Rosiers and the wagon lines in a sunken road south of Harbonnieres

20 August The guns moved across to Vauvillers

28 August Advance to Maricourt

29 August Guns into action near Clery. Supported attack on Mont St Quentin [See Chapter 35]

04 September Moved back to Cappy. Rested til 12 September. Artillery positions held.

12 September Wagon Lines established at Buire.

18 September Attack on Hindenburg Line defences. Successful. Battery moved forward to valley in front of Templeux. Wagon Lines to Roisel.

27 September
Again moved forward to Harpicourt

28-30 September Took part in attack on Hindenburg Line covering 30th Division American troops

1 October Guns moved forward to Bellicourt and kept advancing

11 November Moving through Peronne and received news of the Armistice being signed.

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