Extract from the Diary of the Chaplain Rev.E.Victor
Tanner September 27th 6am.
“As the shelling had ceased the only danger was from
sniping or machine-gun fire, the idea occurred to me that it
would be a grand opportunity to collect the rest of our
wounded, so I got two stretcher-bearers and started off. It
was heavy walking all the way as there was, of course, no
attempt at a trench or even duck-boards. It was just one big
stretch of shell craters. At last I reached the front line and
our lads were amazed to see me drop down into their
trench, However I found them all in excellent spirits, sitting
quietly in the trench, either cleaning their rifles or making a
“bubble-up.” They had got water from the shell-holes. I
walked the whole length of the trench, the cheeriness of the
men was wonderful.”
The day passed quietly, apart from heavy shelling on the
left around Polygon Wood. Darkness closed in, and then at
7 p.m. the enemy’s guns suddenly opened a terrific fire.
Under that storm of shells the remnant of the 2nd
Worcestershire took what shelter they could find. After an
hour the shell-fire died down and through hour after hour
of darkness men waited for the relieving troops. Most of
the night was quiet, but in the small hours of the morning,
the enemy’s guns again broke out in fury and lashed the
open ground with an intense fire for three hours from 3.30
Through that fire the relieving troops of the 23rd Division
came up and took over the line. Not until dawn at 7.00am
did the last Worcestershire platoon get clear and tramp
back down the Menin Road to rest.
Captain Barker was one of the last to leave the front line.
His gallantry and skill in those three days of heavy fighting
were recognized by the award of the M.C.
During the morning Friday the 28th of September the
Battalion gradually reassembled in camp at Dickebusch.
When the losses were counted it was found they totaled 9
officers and 208 N.C.O’s. and men ; roughly half the
fighting strength of the Battalion.
Killed, Capt. & Adjt. C. A. N. Fox (North Staffords—attached).
Wounded, Lt.-Colonel H. E. Gogarty D.S.O.
(remaining ‘at duty), Capt. F. H. F. Booth, 2/Lts. R. F. High, C. R.
Child, D. V. Monks, G. S. Ashcroft, G. V. W.
Carter and A. Brittain.
Missing, 2/Lt. D. P. Morgan (afterwards presumed killed).
Brigade diary gives, 36 killed, 145 wounded, 29 missing.
The other battalions of the 33rd Division had suffered
almost as severely, and it had now been decided to move
the whole Division out of the line to refit.
Before leaving the Salient, the officers and men of the 2nd
Battalion Worc’s paid an impressive tribute to their
comrades who had fallen in the battle. It had been decided
to bring down the body of the Adjutant (Captain C. A. N.
Fox) for burial in the cemetery at Dickebusch, and the
funeral was made a commemorative ceremony for the
others who had fallen. The whole Battalion attended the
Burial, then, headed by the Drums, the 2nd Battalion Worc’s
took a train to Ebblinghem and then marched to
Reninghelst and to billets at Sercus, south of Cassel, where
the weary troops settled down to a short period of quiet.
While the 2nd Battalion was moving back, the 10th
Battalion of the Regiment was moving up into the battlearea
The 57th Brigade had rested and cleaned up for three days
in their camps at Locre, then orders had come for the
Brigade to move back into the Salient.
On Wednesday the 26th of September the 10th Battalion
Worc’s had marched forward from Locre to a camp near
Vierstraat, and on the following day the companies
marched up across the Ypres-Comines Canal and took over
a reserve position around Hill 60. Further forward the other
battalions of the 57th Brigade took over the front line, but
the 10th Battalion Worc’s remained in that reserve position
under intermittent shell-fire until the evening of Monday
the 1st of October, then the Battalion moved up through the
devastated ” Shrewsbury Forest ” into the forward positions
relieving the 8th Gloucestershire. The line taken over was
about a mile to the northward of the ground over which the
battle had been fought ten days before, and ran round the
front of Bulgar Wood with outposts close to the line of the
To the left, the line held by the rest of the Brigade crossed
that stream. Still further to the left the 37th Division
continued the line up the sharp slopes to Tower Hamlets.
On October 3rd came news that a fresh attack was to be
made. The main weight of the new attack was to be put in
around Polygon Wood, but the front of attack was to be
extended northwards to Poelcappelle and southwards to
Tower Hamlets, where the 37th Division was to attack. The
line of the 19th Division lay outside the front of attack, but
arrangements were made for the 19th Division to co-operate
Unknown Worcestershire Soldier WW1.