3.00 p.m. A wet night, and raining today. Everything very messy. Since we came in we have had 39 casualties. I didn’t go up in a ‘plane after all. They have been trying to find the elephant all this p.m. with 5.9’s, and some have come within a few yards. A change tonight, and I may win Pak’s bet! G.N. has issued an order of the day—quite good. It has been thick and raining all day. Pres’d ration and bully beef and biscuit, but Fergie brought up bread, tinned milk, etc. So while other Bns. have nothing but rations for a week our men have done well.
1. The poor weather caused a 48-hour postponement of the attack. As a result, the two Battalions north of the River Ancre would swap roles, with 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers moving into support in Mesnil.
2. The special ‘Order of the Day’ was issued on 20 June 1916 by Major General Nugent while the Division was preparing for the attack ahead:
‘On the eve of the offensive for which the Ulster Division has trained and waited for so many months I wish that every officer and man of the Division should know how absolutely confident I feel that the honour of the British army, that the honour of Ulster are in safe keeping in their hands.
It has been my privilege to command the Division in France during the past nine months, during which time I have had various opportunities of seeing that it has been steadfast in defence and gallant in minor offensives.
The time has now come to show to the world the qualities which fit it for the great offensive about to open.
Much is expected of the Ulster Division, and I am certain that the expectation will be fulfilled. Resolution, self-reliance and the spirit that knows no surrender and no defeat are present in full measure in every unit of the Division, and will bear fruit in the battlefield which will redound to the credit of our country.
Nine months ago the King after his inspection of the Division desired me to write and tell him how it bore itself in its first great encounter with the enemy.
I know that I shall be able to write and tell him that the men of the Ulster Division bore themselves like men in the day of battle, and did all that was expected of them.
To every officer and man of the Division I say — Success and Honour.’