The 33rd London Regiment

This section of the Long, Long Trail will be helpful for anyone wishing to find out about the day to day activities of the army.

Coverage

This is a transcript of the battalion's war diary covering almost its entire war in France and Flanders..

Diary

July 1918

1 July 1918: Pirbright
Preparation for embarkation overseas

2 July 1918: Pirbright
11pm. Entrained in two parties at Brookwood for Folkestone, where battalion billeted for night

3 July 1918: Folkestone
Embarked for Boulogne in two parties and camped at Ostrohove overnight

4 July 1918: Ostrohove camp
Entrained at Gare Centrale for Marquise, thence by march route to Rety

5 - 9 July 1918: Rety
Battalion training under Company arrangements. Special attention being paid to gas, drill, march discipline and musketry. Specialist training also carried out

10 July 1918: Rety
Battalion marched to Alembon-Sanghem area and billeted overnight

11 July 1918: Alembon-Sanghem area
Battalion marched to Nordausqes and billeted overnight

12 July 1918: Nordausqes
Battalion marched to Les Marais and billeted in immediate vicinity

13 July 1918: Les Marais
Baths and inspections

14 July 1918: Les Marais
Battalion embussed and proceeded to St Sylvestre Cappel area. Battalion drew and pitched tents.

15 - 28 July 1918: St Sylvestre Cappel
The battalion was engaged in improving the Winnezeele line. Gas drill during working hours. Each company, in turn, left off working party (the) company Lewis gunners for instruction in Lewis gunnery, also one platoon for general training. In addition,battalion carried out one hours training each day on completion of work. Draft of 67 OR joined on 18th inst.

29 July 1918: St Sylvestre Cappel
Battalion marched to Les Six Rues area and billeted overnight. Relieved by 29th DLI.

30 July 1918: Les Six Rues
Battalion marched to Tattinghem and billeted overnight

31 July 1918: Tattinghem
Battalion marched to Moulle and billeted in village. Took over billets vacated by 29th DLI. Baths and general clean up

August

1 - 4 August 1918: Moulle
Training. Company and platoon drill, musketry, gas drill and specialist training.

5 August 1918: Moulle
Divisional horse show. Battalion obtained second place in aggregate points to 18yth York & Lancaster Regiment

6 - 10 August 1918: Moulle
Training. Musketry, gas drill, field firing, trench reliefs, extended order drill, advance on counter attack and consolidation of strong points and specialist training

9 August 1918: Moulle
2/Lt D. P. Fox joined

11 August 1918: Moulle
2/Lt Morton and 8 OR attended special Divine Service at Terdinghem. HM the King was present

12 - 17 August 1918: Moulle
Training. Musketry, gas drill, bombing and rifle grenade practice, extended order drill, artillery formations, deployments, advance and rearguards, company in attack, ceremonial drill, night operations (trench relief) and specialist training

12 August 1918: Moulle
2/Lt C. W. R. Shubrook joined

13 August 1918: Moulle
2/Lt E. Smith joined

16 August 1918: Moulle
GOC inspected transport

18 August 1918: Moulle
Divine service

19 August 1918: Moulle
Company drill. Transport moved to Proven area by march route

20 August 1918: Moulle
5.45am. Battalion moved to Watten by march route, thence by rail to Proven and marched to Road Camp (St Jan ter Biezen)

21 August 1918: St Jan ter Biezen
Company drill and inspections

22 - 24 August 1918: St Jan ter Biezen
Training. Musketry, gas drill, field firing, ceremonial drill

25 August 1918: St Jan ter Biezen
Divine service

26 August 1918: St Jan ter Biezen
Company drill and inspections

27 August 1918: St Jan ter Biezen
Battalion entrained at Lancaster Camp for Brake Camp (sheet 28. A.30.C and D)

28 August 1918: Brake Camp
9am. The Commanding Officer [Lt-Col. M. J. Boscawen] saw company commanders relative to front to be taken over. 11am. Reconnaissance of front position by the Commanding Officer, company commanders and specialist officers. The battalion entrained at G.6.a.7.3, detrained at Goderich I.1.c.2.8 and proceeded to relieve the 1/5th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in Right subsector (I.10.c.5.9 to I.16.a.55.85). Dispositions D Company right front, B Company left front, A Company support and C Company reserve. Battalion HQ in Ypres ramparts. Draft of 10 OR joined.

28-30 August 1918: Ypres
Situation very quiet. Work on strengthening of line held. Patrols sent out failed to encounter any enemy.

30-31 August 1918: Ypres
News having been received that the enemy were evacuating the Kemmel area, patrols were sent out to ascertain if enemy were still holding line about Cambridge Road - Leinster Farm. These positions were found to be still occupied by the enemy. There was a slight increase in enemy activity in artillery, machine gun and rifle fire and aircraft. He also appeared to be very alert.

September

1 - 4 September 1918: Ypres
Situation very quiet. Our patrols active. Working parties nightly under RE's for improvement of trenches, erection of battle headquarters and wiring.

5 - 6 September 1918: Ypres
The battalion was relieved on the night 5/6 September by the 16th Manchester Regiment and on relief proceeded to Divisional Reserve in Brown Line near Brielen.

7 - 8 September 1918: Brielen
The battalion was engaged in repairing of sleeper track, erection of bomb stores and digging buried cable trench in vicinity of Brown Line

9 - 10 September 1918: Brielen
Battalion was relieved by 29th DLI on night of 9/10th and marched to Brake Camp A.30.central.

11 - 12 September 1918: Brake Camp
Engaged in work ar 7/8th.

13 - 14 September 1918: Brake Camp
The battalion relieved 6th Wiltshire Regiment in Brigade Reserve on night 13/14th. Disposition of companies: right C, centre D, left B, reserve A.

14 - 15 September 1918: Ypres front
Work under RE in battle area

15 September 1918: Ypres front
A Company moved to Lille Gate and took over Ypres Defences from 10th HLI
B Company moved to Menin Gate and took over Ypres Defences from 10th HLI

16 - 18 September 1918: Ypres front
Work under supervision of RE's in battle area

19 -20 September 1918: Ypres front
The battalion was relieved by 2nd South Wales Borderers and 7th Seaforth Highlanders and entrained for Steenvoorde area

21 - 24 September 1918: Steenvoorde
Company training. Night attacks

25 - 26 September 1918: Steenvoorde
Battalion entrained for Reninghelst

27 - 28 September 1918: Reninghelst
Battalion marched from Reninghelst at 1am on 27th to vicinity of Dickebusch lake in Divisional Reserve for operations

28 September 1918: Dickebusch
A Company moved to I.32.b and came under orders of GOC 43rd Infantry Brigade

29 September 1918: Dickebusch
A Company moved to Spoil Bank and were attached to 10th HLI

29 - 30 September 1918: Dickebusch
Battalion returned to Reninghelst

October

1 -2 October 1918: Reninghelst
Battalion moved by march route to Messines area in vicinity of O.33 and relieved the 15th London Regiment (Civil Service Rifles) in support. Disposition of companies: centre right forward C, left forward B, centre right rear A, left rear (in centre) D

3 -4 October 1918: Messines
Considerable patrolling took place to ascertain enemy's strength and condition of bridges [in the area south west of Comines)

4 - 5 October 1918: near Comines
Battalion relieved the 23rd London Regiment on the night of 4/5th. Disposition of companies: left D, centre C, right B, reserve A.

5 October 1918: near Comines
Lt-Col. M. J. Boscawen DSO MC proceeded on special leave. Major J. G. B. Bosvile took over command of he battalion.

6 -7 October 1918: near Comines
Killed 1 OR. Died of wounds 1 OR. Patrols pushed out to ascertain enemy's position and strength.

8 -9 October 1918: near Comines
Battalion organised on the principle of two main lines of defence with a line of advance outposts

10 - 11 October 1918: near Comines
Battalion relieved by 29th DLI and positions previously occupied by the DLI taken over

11 October 1918: near Comines
1 OR killed.

12 October 1918: near Comines
Major J. G. B. Bosvile wounded. Major C. A. M. van Milligan assumed temporary command.

12 - 13 October 1918: near Comines
Battalion relieved 18th York & Lancaster in right subsector of 41st Infantry Brigade sector. Dispositions of companies: right front D, centre front B, left front C, support A.

13 October 1918: near Comines
Major J. McGaven-Greig (18th York & Lancaster) took over command of the battalion. Killed 1 OR.

13 - 15 October 1918: near Comines
Patrols on both sides very active towards line of River Lys. Enemy patrols located and driven in on one side of river. [An attached operational report mentions Lamlash Farm].

Comines

This extract from the diary is drawn from the original which is held at the National Archives in Kew and is Crown Copyright. WO95/1895. It is reproduced here in memory of Corporal 860940 Albert Edwin Burgess who was killed in action on 13 October 1918 and is buried at Kandahar Farm Cemetery. Crown Copyright.