THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12th

Our show came off early this a.m., but alas was unsuccessful. Three officer casualties—two serious. About 25 men, half serious. I found it waiting for me on my return and has been worrying me much since. Can’t give you details. I’m grieved about the loss. Bright moonlight, and fine. Time 2.00 a.m. A very harassing night. Of course, as usual, Padre a tower of strength. The M.O. [medical officer] did splendidly. Shill was delightful. Jimmy Shepherd, in charge of trollies for wounded, did splendid service. One officer, though hit in the eye and arm quite soon, went on all the same and didn’t fall out till the party was back in our trench. Bosche put up a stiff barrage on our front line. We didn’t effect an entrance. Weather still very pleasant, dry and pleasant breeze. Trenches rather knocked about. A good deal more Art’y and T.M. activity on Master Bosche’s part, but less M.G. fire. Not a M.G. was fired by him whilst our men were out. He is being stirred up properly and given no peace. Naturally he’s getting stuffy. Will try and send you names of locals wounded. Very good performance bringing in all the wounded last night.


Footnote

The raid against La Petite Douve Farm began at 2.00am with a preliminary artillery, trench mortar and machine-gun barrage. The raiders then dashed across the 200 yards of no-man’s-land along the slope of the hill to the wire that protected the objective. Although they fought hard, they could not penetrate to the enemy trenches. All of the officers were wounded. Second Lieutenant Matthew Buchanan was severely injured in one eye and in his arm early in the attack, but he reached the German parapet and bombed the enemy until he was forced to retire, and he remained with his party until they were all back in their trenches. Second Lieutenant Patrick Kiely was also severely wounded in the arms and legs but he also continued to lead his party until they were back in the lines. Second Lieutenant Richard Miles remained out until the last moment, under fire, helping to extricate the wounded from the German wire. He was aided by Lance Sergeant Dick Wolfe who, having got close to the enemy’s position, hurled bombs at very short range until it became necessary to help the wounded back. As the wounded were brought in, the enemy quickly put up a heavy artillery barrage on the 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers’ front line trenches. The flying shrapnel greatly hindered the evacuation of the wounded by the unwounded raiders and the stretcher-bearers from A, B and D Companies under the command of the medical officer, Lieutenant Burrows, and Company Quartermaster Sergeant James Shepherd.

Four men were killed in action or died of wounds and 26 others were wounded. Those killed were:
18559 Private Robert Lockhart died of wounds on 12 October 1916; Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension.
23947 Private Robert William McGivern died of wounds on 12 October 1916; Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension.
18070 Private Robert Reaney killed in action on 12 October 1916; Ration Farm (La Plus Douve) Cemetery.
22749 Private Alexander Hollywood died of wounds on 18 October 1916; Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension.

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