Biography of Corporal Charles Richard Creek (201401)
4th battalion Lincolnshire Regiment
Died 2nd May 1917
- Name: Charles Richard Creek
- Date of birth: 1891
- Place of Birth: Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
- Date of Birth Registration: July – September 1891
- Place of Birth Registration: Sheffield, Yorkshire West Riding, England
- Name: Richard Creek
- DOB: 1858
- Place of Birth: Ely, Cambridgeshire, England
- Occupation: Farm labourer
- Name: Elizabeth Ann Canham
- DOB: 1862
- Place Of Birth: Stretham, Cambridgeshire, England
- Marriage: 1886 Sheffield District
Siblings: (Name), (DOB), (POB)
- Ida Elizabeth Creek, 1887, Sheffield
- Dora Alice Creek, 1889, Sheffield
- Charles Richard Creek, 1891, Sheffield
- Carrie Creek, 1893, Sheffield
- Harold David Creek, 1895, Sheffield (Died 1896)
- Percival Creek, 1897, Sheffield
- Lily Creek, 1899, Sheffield
- Walter Evelyn Creek, 1903, Stretham
- 1901: Charles is living with his parents at Green End, Stretham, Cambridgeshire
- 1911: Charles is living with his parents at The Laburnums, Upware, nr Swaffham Fen, Cambridgeshire. The census gives him an age of 19 and he is listed as a farm labourer.
- None found
- Name: Flora Walker
- Date of birth: 1886
- Place of Birth: Hilgay, Norfolk
- Date of Marriage: 1913
- Place of Marriage: Newmarket District
- Percy E Creek, 1914, Bourne
Vincent B C Creek, 1916, Bourne
Mona A Creek, 1917, Bourne
- Father: John Walker
- Mother: Rose Anna Scott
- Cambridge Daily News Wednesday 30th March 1917 and
Cambridge Independent Press Friday 1st June 1917
Official information has been received that Corpl. C. R. Creek, of the Lincs Regt., was killed in France on May 2nd. Corpl. Creek, who was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs R Creek, of the Laburnums, Upware and son-in-law of the late Mr J. Walker of Ten Miles Bank, Norfolk, joined the Army on May 7th 1915 and he had been specially mentioned for bravery on the field. His lieutenant, writing to Mrs Creek says; “It is with deep regret I write to inform you that your husband, Corpl. C. R. Creek, was killed a few days ago whilst on duty. I am not able to supply you with full particulars except that he was severely wounded and expired within a short time. His loss is keenly felt by me and N.C.O.’s and men of the platoon, but it may be some consolation to you to know that he performed his duty in a splendid way and was likes very much by us all. The N.C.O.’s and men of the platoon join with me in expressing our deepest sympathy for you in your great loss.” Corpl. C. R. Creek leaves a wife and two small children to mourn their loss.Cambridge Independent Press Friday 13th July 1917
CORPL. C. R. CREEK, eldest son of Mr and Mrs R Creek, of Upware, Killed in action. Corps Creek who had been specially mentioned for bravery, leaves a widow and two little children.
- The Times Friday 8th June 1917
DIED OF WOUNDS
LINCOLN R. – Creek, 201401 CPL C. R. (Dyke)
- None found
- These records show that Corporal Charles Richard Creek, 201401, 4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment was killed in action on 2nd May 1917 in the Western European Theatre in France and Flanders.
Effects Left To
- Widow Flora
- The British Medal
The Victory Medal
The 15 Star
- Bourne, Roll of Honour in Bourne Abbey Church
Bourne War Memorial in the Memorial Gardens
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
- In memory of Corporal C R Creek, 201401, 1st/4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 2 May 1917
Remembered with honour, Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe.
© Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials
© Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials
- Charles joined the Army on the 7th May 1915, enlisting into the Lincolnshire Regiment in Bourne.The official army records for Charles are believed to be part of the records lost in the bombing of the London warehouse in the blitz and therefore we can only assume certain dates with regards to his movements during the war.Charles first saw a posting abroad on the 27th October 1915 (according to newspaper sources), where he would have been posted to France to Join the 4th battalion (1st/4th – First Line Battalion). It is uncertain of the exact date that Charles would have joined the battalion over this period. The 1/4th Lincolnshire Regiment fought in the 46th (North Midland) Division and within that the 138th Brigade which consisted of the 1/4th Lincolns, 1/5th Lincolns as well as the 4th and 5th Leicestershire Regiment.
The battalion had earlier in the month (13th October) been involved in the attack on the Hohenzollern Redout. On this day alone the 4th Battalion casualty list numbered 10 officers killed, 4 officer wounded, 3 officers missing, 385 other ranks killed, wounded or missing. Drafts of men totalling over 300 were received by the Battalion in the middle of October.
During November the Battalion were at Verquin and then Robecq, Parading daily and then by the middle of the month were providing working parties for the Royal Engineers before haeding back into the trenches on the 18th November until the 22nd, whilst at some times still providing working parties. On the 26th they went back into trenches until the 2nd December before finally getting 6 days rest.
On December he 20th The Battalion was moved to Thiennes and on the 22nd they received another 106 reinforcements from the 3rd/4th training Battalion.
The prospect of a long winter in the trenches was dispelled during January 1916 by orders to the 46th Division to embark for Egypt at an early date, and on the 7th January both the 1/4th and 1/5th Battalions left Marseilles in T.S.S. “ Anchises.”
The vessel reached Alexandria on the 13th and they left by rail for El Shalufa, two miles south of the Bitter Lakes, where, after detraining, they crossed the Suez Canal by ferry, and bivouacked to the east of it.
By day the desert to the east was patrolled by Indian Lancers, but by night each battalion, in turn, furnished an outpost line round the camp. The days were very hot, and the nights cold; any wind that blew carried clouds of dust; nevertheless a fortnight passed very pleasantly.
This peaceful existence ‘came to an end when the 46th Division received sudden orders to return to France, and on the 4th February the 4th Battalion embarked at Alexandria on the “ Minnewaska,” and the 5th on the “ Megantic,” disembarking
in Marseilles on the 9th February 1916.
The evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula set free a large number of troops for service in Egypt and the 46th Division was, in consequence ordered back to France.
Both battalions went by rail to Pont Remy (south-east of Abbeville) and after several changes of station eventually reached Doullens, in heavy snow, on the 2nd March. The 46th Division was then ordered to relieve French troops in the sector south of Souchez (five miles west by south-west of Lens), and on the 10th
March the 1/5th Lincolnshire took over front-line trenches near Villers-au-Bois, the 1/4th moving into the support line in the Talus des Zouaves.
The 4th Battalion went into the front line on the 14th and lost two officers during the tour: Second Lieutenant H.B. Newland’ on the 16th, and Second Lieutenant E.L. Stephenson on the 17th.
On the 20th April the enemy blew a mine nearly under the frontline trench, and Second Lieutenant W.R. Wright, and fifteen other ranks lost their lives, being buried eight feet or more.
Both battalions were sent to the north of Arras for carrying duties with the 51st Brigade, until the 9th May, and then, at Sus-St. Leger, were employed in making fascines and similar work until the 21st From Sus-St. Leger the 1/4th Battalion moved to Fonquevillers, and the 1/5th to Bienvillers, both being strenuously engaged in digging communication trenches and other work in preparation for the contemplated attack on the German positions. Lieut.-Colonel Gardener, of the 4th, was seriously wounded in the head whilst watching the work, and
Lieut.-Colonel C. J. Barrel took command on the 8th June 1916.
BATTLES OF THE SOMME
The situation of the Allies by the end of May 1916 was such that the combined French and British offensive which had already been decided on, in principle, could not be postponed beyond the end of June, was three-fold :
The object of that offensive
- To relieve the pressure of the Germans against the French at Verdun. The heroic defence of our French Allies had already gained many weeks of inestimable value, and caused the enemy very heavy losses; but the strain continued to increase.
- To assist our Allies in other theatres of war by stopping any further transfer of German troops from the Western Front.
- To wear down the strength of the troops opposed to us.
Preparations for the offensive were on an elaborate scale, and every officer and man on the Somme during the months which preceded the attack, spent strenuous days and nights in maintaining the defences when in the line, and in digging communication and assembly trenches and dug-outs, collecting huge stocks of ammunition and stores into dumps, assisting in the construction of many miles of railways and trench tramways when back in the so-called rest areas.
All this additional work had to be performed as well as constant training and practising the attack. And to the eternal glory of the British soldier, let it be said that the very heavy strain imposed upon him was borne with a wonderful cheerfulness.
The enemy’s position to be attacked was situated on a high undulating tract of ground, which rises to more than five hundred feet above sea level, and forms the watershed between the Somme on the one side and the rivers of south-western Belgium on the other. The German defences along their front, were of a very powerful nature. There were two main systems each consisting of several lines of deep trenches, well provided with bomb-proof shelters and dug-outs, of such, depth as to provide immunity from the heaviest shell-fire.
Until we saw the German dug-outs on the Somme in 1916, we did not know how to build them: nothing we had hitherto constructed compared with those wonderful shelters, often thirty feet below ground level. In, and between, the enemy’s system of trenches, villages and woods had been converted into veritable fortresses: salients in his front-line trenches had been turned into self-contained forts, from which he could sweep No Man’s Land with a murderous machine-gun and rifle-fire, whilst behind his front line strong redoubts and concrete emplacements had been built, from which he could sweep his own trenches should these be taken. Finally, barbed-wire entanglements, constructed of iron stakes interlaced with wire, often almost as thick as a man’s finger, the belt in places forty yards wide, protected the front line of each system.
To add to the difficulty to be encountered by troops attacking the German trenches, the latter between the Somme and the Ancre were sited on higher ground than ours: We had good direct observation on his front’ system, but, speaking generally,
his second system could not be observed excepting from the air. North of the Ancre the command of ground was practically even, but our direct observation over his ground was not so good as farther south.
The preliminary bombardment opened on the 24th June. No less than one thousand five hundred and thirteen guns were concentrated on the enemy’s trenches, to cut his wire entanglements and generally render his defences useless; With awe, not unmingled with satisfaction, the troops watched thousands of shells burst over and upon the enemy’s lines, throwing up clouds of earth and debris.
Day after day, with relentless fury, our guns continued to pour a stream of shells upon the trenches across No Man’s Land, until they resembled a mere rubbish heap : but below ground the enemy’s troops, sheltered in deep dug-outs, were safe even from the enormous shells of our “heavies.” In no less than forty places gas was discharged on the hostile trenches.
In the air every German observation balloon was destroyed and driven to ground: the enemy’s sight was blinded. Raids were constantly made and patrols sent out to reconnoitre the condition of the enemy’s defences: all returned with the same information-the wire was well cut and the German trenches in an appalling condition. To all the shelling the enemy replied fitfully: he had only approximately two hundred and forty guns on the Somme front at this period and was unable to reply adequately to the fierce fire of his opponents.
On the 27th June the 1/4th went into front-line trenches opposite Gommecourt, where No Man’s Land was wide. The attack was originally intended for the 29th June but zero hour was postponed until 7.30 a.m. on the 1st of July.
A raiding party, Lieutenant C.N. Bond, and Lieutenants E. Elliott, Quantrail, and thirty-four other ranks “ went over ” on the night of the 29th /30th to take prisoners, and ascertain the condition of the German trenches. The raiders reached the enemy’s wire, then they were discovered by a German listening post, and hostile German infantry in force swarmed out of the trenches, attempted to surround them, but were beaten off by rifle-fire and bombs. For an hour there was a desperate fight in No Man’s Land, but at 12.30 a.m. the signal for withdrawal was given.
Lieutenant C N Bond was wounded in the neck, and died on the way to the dressing station and one other rank was slightly wounded. No prisoners were taken by either side.
Throughout the night 30th June / 1st July, there was a great activity along our front. Movement during daylight on the 30th June was restricted to a minimum, but as soon as darkness fell every section of the line became as busy as a bee-hive, troops moving to their assembly positions, stores being carried forward for the formation of dumps, artillery ammunition collected in huge quantities near the guns, ration parties and medical units moving to their allotted positions, while the roads, railways and tramways behind the lines were crowded with transport of every description, Altogether a wonderful sight were it possible to see it by daylight.
The 1/4th Lincolnshire (Lieut.-Colonel G. J. Barrell), though they made no attack, were in ‘the front-line trenches, for on the night of the 30th June / 1st July they dug a false trench in front of our line, to draw the enemy’s fire next day when the attack took place south of Hebuterne. At 10.45 p.m. every man, with the exception of two per Lewis gun, began to dig the false trench in front of our wire. As much show as possible was made of the digging, though the trench dug was very shallow. The parapet was, however, made as obvious as possible, The diggers were back in their trenches by 1.30 a.m.
Throughout the hours of darkness the guns continued their bombardment of the enemy’s lines with unabated fury: no bombardment had ever equalled it up to that time on the Western Front. Ammunition was plentiful and the gunners revelled in the fact that they could use as much as they wished without question from higher authorities.
Zero hour for the attack was to be 7.30 a.m. 1st July, but long before that hour most of the troops had reached their assembly trenches and were waiting with whatever patience men waiting to attack possessed
In the subsidiary attack at Gommecourt on the 1st of July, the 56th Division was to attack the salient from the south and the 46th Division from the north, the two attacks converging. At this period Gommecourt formed a salient in the enemy’s trench system north of Hebuterne. The village itself was protected by defences of great strength: west of the village was Gommecourt Park, similarly protected by powerfully defended trenches. The whole salient was a position very difficult to assault. The objects of the attack in this part of the line were to draw the enemy’s artillery fire and, if possible, his reinforcements to the salient, and generally to distract his attention from the main operations farther south.
All ranks were in a state of great excitement, and the utmost enthusiasm prevailed, for from patrol reports, it was evident that the enemy’s trenches had been terribly knocked about and it was hardly credible that any living object could survive the terrible destruction created by our guns. It was anticipated that the going across No Man’s Land would be easy and that the enemy’s first system and possibly the second system of trenches also would fall rapidly into our hands.
Dawn broke with a slight mist over the battlefield. Just before Zero mines were exploded and smoke was discharged at many places along the front. As the final intense bombardment opened at 6.25 a.m., ladders and trench bridges were placed in position, ready for the infantry assault.
At 7.25 a.m. (five minutes before zero) the leading platoons of the two front-line assaulting battalions of the 63rd Brigade, i.e., 4th Middlesex and 8th Somersets, with the foremost platoons of the two supporting battalions, 10th York and Lancaster on the right, and 8th Lincolnshire on the left, left their trenches and attempted to crawl towards the German lines. But they were met by violent machine-gun fire, the volume of which
was an unpleasant reminder that the enemy was still full of fight.
The guns lifted at 7.30 a.m., and the general advance began. But again a murderous storm of machine-gun and rifle bullets swept No Man’s Land and tore gaps in the gallant troops who were advancing in quick time across the space between the opposing trenches. Staff Officers described that advance as magnificent: there were no checks or halts, excepting those who fell to the ground dead or wounded. Battered and tumbled shapeless masses of earth as were the German trenches, the occupants, sheltered in their deep dugouts while our artillery barrage was on their trenches, rushed up as soon as the guns lifted and, quickly mounting their machineguns on the lips of shell craters or on the ridges of mounds of churned up earth, met our men with terribly destructive fire.
The particular sections of the battle front of interest to the Lincolnshire Regiment on the 1st July were from (and including) Fricourt to Ovillers, and the Gommecourt Salient. The German positions in the first section were to be assaulted by the 21st Division (with attached troops from the 17th Division), 34th and 8th Divisions (in that order from right to left), while in the other section the 46th Division and the 56th Division were to attack and pinch off the Gommecourt Salient. Thus, no less than seven battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment were in the front line on the 1st July.
These being the 1st Battalion, 62nd Bridage, 21st Division; 8th Battalion, 63rd Brigade, 21st Division; 2nd Battalion, 25th Brigade, 8th Division ; 10th Battalion, 101st Brigade, 34th Division; 1/4th and 1/5th Battalions, 138th Brigade, 46th Division, and 7th Battalion, 51st Brigade, 17th Division.
The 138th Brigade of the 46th Division (containing the 1 /4th and 1/5th Lincolnshire) did not attack in the initial stage of the operations, but remained in Divisional Reserve in the Corps Line.
During the operations on the 1st July the 4th battalion lost Second Lieutenant W.H.G. Eliot killed, and Second Lieutenants Gowers and Lee wounded: Second Lieutenant Skinner was evacuated suffering from shell shock. The 1/4th were relieved at night by the London Scottish and moved to the Hannescamp trenches.
On the 13th both the 1/4th and 1/5th Battalions were out of the line, the former at Lacauche and the latter in huts north of Bavincourt.
The 4th and 5th Lincolnshire, in the Bienvillers-Berles subsector, had the unpleasant experience of one thousand two hundred and forty-four gas cylinders installed in the front-line trenches, there to await a favourable wind. The presence of these cylinders was a constant source of annoyance to the trench garrisons, owing to leakage, while the danger from premature discharge of the poisonous fumes by a chance hit by one of the enemy’s shells produced an uncomfortable sense of insecurity. Six of the cylinders were actually burst by enemy shell-fire on the 22nd August. Second Lieutenant Coles and fourteen other ranks of the 5th Lincolnshire were badly gassed, one of them dying later at Berles. Lance-Corporal B. Hill, in the bay next to that in which the cylinders burst, though badly gassed himself, remained in the trench and warned all men in the neighbourhood to put on their gas masks, as well as rousing all men asleep in the dug-outs, His disregard of his personal safety undoubtedly saved several lives and numerous casualties. He was awarded the D.C.M.
The gas was eventually released, with a favourable wind, on the 30th August.
In September more gas cylinders were installed in the front line, to the great disgust of the garrison, and on the 30thAugust a large number of them were damaged by enemy fire. Fortunately the wind was in our favour, and carried the fumes across No Man’s Land to the German trenches. When at last it became obvious that the presence of gas cylinders in the front line was known to the German artillery, their removal was ordered-to the great relief of the troops.
On the night of the 4th October the last cylinder was removed by a fatigue party of the Lincolnshire.
Two raids were carried out. One by the 1/4th Lincolnshire on the 5th October, and another by the 1/5th Lincolnshire on the 8th .
Soon after this the 138th Infantry Brigade had a month out of the line for rest and training.
There is little to record of historical interest of the eight battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment in France at the beginning of 1917, up to the middle of March. All had many moves ;tours in the trenches in great discomfort from mud and wet, as well as danger, from hostile fire, or raids, and periods spent in training camps, or as working parties.
An incident in No Man’s Land whilst the 1/4th Battalion held the trenches in the Hannescamps sector has to be mentioned.
A patrol of C Company under and Lieutenant J.R. Neave, on the Hannescamps-Essarts road, about six hundred yards from their own lines, on the 15th February, was surrounded by strong enemy patrols. Fortunately the Lincolnshires had a Lewis gun under Sergeant Doe, and, with great gallantry, the patrol fought its way through the Germans, and established itself in some old gun-pits, whence the enemy was beaten off and compelled to retire to his own lines. The patrol found the body of a dead German, and brought it back to the trenches.
The 1/4th was congratulated by the General Officer Commanding the Division, and the Brigade Commander ; Second Lieutenant Neave was awarded the M.C., and Sergeant Doe and Corporal Fluke the M.M.
On the 13th March, the 1/4th and 1/5th Lincolnshire being then out of the line, at St. Amand (four miles north-west of Gommecourt) news was received of the enemy’s retirement from Grevillers, and the trenches in front of Achiet le Petit. All existing orders were cancelled, and the Lincolnshire ordered to be ready to march at short notice
On the night of the 13th of March the battalions in the front line, support or reserve, between Damery, on the Roye-Amiens road, and Arras were 2/4th and 2 /5th, south of the Somme, the former in support at Belloy-en-Santerre, the latter in dug-outs in
Triangle Wood ; the and Battalion in the Bouchavesnes sector, north of the Somme, in the front line holding the northern subsector.
1/4th and 1/5th in reserve at St. Amand, but supplying working parties for the Gommecourt-Fonquevillers sector ; and the 1st at Halloy, the 21st Division being then engaged in training for offensive operations.
It will be remembered that on the 13th of March the 1/4th reported that the enemy had evacuated Grevillers and his trenches west of Achiet le Petit, and that the battalion was awaiting orders to march at short notice. That night the 137th Brigade attacked the enemy, but found the Bucquoy Graben strongly held: the attack failed.
On the 16th the 138th Brigade was ordered to repeat the attack. The 1/4th Lincolnshire to be on the left and, after taking Bucquoy Graben, and Hill 155 to pass on to Preussen Graben.
Both the 1/4th and 1/5th Battalions practised the attack on prepared ground at Chateau de la Haie, but late at night on the 16th the operations were cancelled as the enemy had retired.
The 138th Brigade was then ordered to relieve the 139th
The 1/4th Lincolnshire marched off at 3 p.m., on the 17th and relieved the left battalion of the 139th Brigade in posts running roughly east to west through Quesnoy Farm, where preparations were made to continue the advance at dawn as touch with the enemy had been lost.
On the night of the 17th / 18th March 1917 the 1/5th also moved forward to Rettemoy Farm.
Strong patrols, pushed out early on the 18th, failed to get touch with the enemy, who was retiring with all speed to the Hindenburg Line. By the night of the 18th the 1/4th had formed an outpost line from Douchy to Adinfer, the 1/5th (on the right of the 1/4th) holding a spur between Ayette and Moyenneville. Ayette was found to be an absolute wreck, no shelter for the troops or water being found; Of Douchy, the 1/4th record that “The whole village is a mass of ruins. Houses have been demolished, trees cut down and roads damaged by mines. Surrounding villages present a similar appearance and the whole country bears the smear of Hun Kultur.”
Corps troops now took up the pursuit and the 1/4th Lincolnshire moved back to billets in St. Amand, the 1/5th returning to Souastre. They did not, however, stay very long in these villages, for the 46th Division was ordered to join the 11 Corps of the First Army and in stages marched to the Amiens area, where on the 27th the brigade group entrained at Saleux for Lillers, whence the 1/4th Lincolnshire marched to Estree Blanche and the 1/5th to Bourecq, where they settled down in billets for training.
The Attacks Towards Lens: 3rd June – 26th August 1917.
Although these operations were of a minor character they cannot on that account be dismissed as unimportant in the History of the Lincolnshire Regiment, for both the 1/4th and 1/5th Battalions were engaged with the enemy, and were involved in stiff fighting.
It was not until the third week in April that the 1/4th and 1/5th returned to the forward area after a fairly long period of training out of the line.
Apart from the usual patrol work and intermittent shellfire the tour was uneventful, and on the 23rd the 1/4th took over the line from the 1/5th
During May trench warfare was of a strenuous nature. We raided the enemy, the enemy raided us. Patrol encounters in No Man’s Land were numerous. The guns of both sides were seldom silent by day or night. Bombing, sniping, trench mortaring and machine-gunning were constant. The diaries have frequent items such as “Enemy shelling and trench mortaring incessant,”-“Enemy put down heavy barrage.”
To all of which the British guns replied with interest. On the 1st May the 1/4th took over part of the front line between Fosse de Lens and Hart’s Crater.
The next morning German “Stormtruppen” raided a bombing post in Netley Street, and the battalion had sixteen casualties. Whilst visiting his advanced post in Nero Trench, Second Lieutenant J. Rickey was killed by a sniper.
On the following morning the enemy again raided the battalion: at night the 1/5th took over the line.
The story of the 4th Battalion and of Charles Creek’s final month can be told in the following transcript from the 4th battalion Diary.
1st April 1917 – Estree Blanche
We hold church service in the Sucerie (Sugar House). The building makes a spacious improvised cathedral and there is plenty of room even when the 4th Lincs Regt, R.E’s, M.G’s and T.M.B’s have marched in.
We cease wearing the Bose Respirator and smoke helmet, which before, had always been carried on the person whilst on parade.
2nd April 1917
Platoon Training under platoon commanders
3rd April 1917
Platoon and Company drill.
4th April 1917
Reorganisation of sections. Parades are as strong as possible and at 11.15am the companies are ready for inspection by the C.O.
The second in command and one officer per company carry out tactical exercises under the brigadier.
The Brigadier has kindly offered to present a cup, to be called the Febvin Cup for an inter-company football cup-tie. Battalions will play inter-company matches to arrive at the best team.
5th April 1917 – Estree Blanche
We pass the starting point at 10am to take part in a Brigade Route March. We join beyond Cuhem and thence we pass through Laires, Boncourt, Flechin and return to Estree Blanche, having covered a distance of roughly eleven miles.
6th April 1917
The Battalion marches to the training area allotted to the 138th Brigade and carried out tactical exercises. The large wood proves too much for some platoon commanders and readjustment is needed before exit is made on the farther side.
D company prove the victor in a well contested match with A company and have to meet C company, who have already vanquished B Company.
7th April 1917
The Battalion practices the Trench Attack on B training area, men remaining in Estree Blanche march to the mine at Flechinelle where are excellent shower baths.
8th April 1917 – Estree Blanche
Church parade in the Sucerie. Easter Sunday is favoured with a warm bright sun. The first spring day of the year.
9th April 1917
A Divisional route march. The Battalionjoins the 138th Brigade at Flechin and the Division at the cross roads 1 mile South East of Febvin Palfart. They march us then by Westerhem, Auchy, Rely and Estree Blanche. At Rely the whole Division marches past the corps commander, who expresses his pleasure at the marching and general appearance of the men.
10th April 1917
The Battalion spends the day on the training ground. Open warfare, under rules laid down in S.S 144 is practiced.
11th April 1917
The 4th Lincolns take part in a Brigade attack across open country the breaking up into artillery formation by platoons and diamond formation by sections is very successful as is also the extension formation of waves. In the later stages of the attack however, the leadership by platoon section commanders is severely ostracised.
The G.O.C attends and addresses the officers after the practice.
12th April 1917 – Estree Blanche
Companies under company commanders. Specialists at their subjects. 2/LT H.R.Greenwood arrives from the base and is posted to A company.
13th April 1917
The Battalion marches to Le Cornet Bourdois, 2 miles North of Lillers.
Estree Blanche is left at 8am and we arrive at our new billets at 12.30pm. Le Cornet Bourdois is remarkable for the quantity and quality of its waters. There are springs at every house and the doctor is enthusiastic in its praise.
14th April 1917
Parade under company commanders: companies will be ready to move at short notice.
15th April 1917
Church parade is ordered but owing to the wretched weather the parade is cancelled. Very little rain is needed to convert the fields into marshes. The Battalion has the Thresh Disinfector for 2 days and makes full use of it.
16th April 1917 – Vendin Lez Bethune
The Battalion marches to Vendin Lez Bethune a distance of less than 9 miles. The route is by Lillers and Chocques. We leave Le Cornet Bourdois at 9am and arrive at Vendin shortly after midday.
17th April 1917 – Vendin Lez Bethune
Platoons under Platoon Commanders. Special attention paid to small tactical exercises and solutions as laid down in S.S. 143
18th April 1917
Companies under Company Commanders. Bad weather prevents carrying out of tactical schemes on training ground South West of Chocques.
19th April 1917
Starting at 1pm the Battalion marched from Vendin Lez Bethune to Cite St Pierre. The Iron Gates, Maroc, were passed at 7.30pm and the Battalion reached its destination soon after 8pm. The total distance was about 14 miles.
20th April 1917 – Cite St Pierre
A fairly quiet day. Ignorant of the country and of the exact enemy positions we exposed ourselves needlessly.
21st April 1917
The enemy bombarded the place intensely from 2pm until 8pm. Over 200 8” and 5.9” shells fell on the railway just south of billets. It was evident that the enemy were searching for 4.5 inch battery immediately West of our billeting area. He had no success.
22nd April 1917 – Cite St Pierre
On the 22nd, we supply carrying parties to the 4th Leicesters who are the left Battalion on the Brigade front. They are successful in capturing Copper Trench with 10 Prisoners.
23rd April 1917
We relieve the 5th Lincs Regiment in the right battalion sector. The method of holding the line is entirely new to us and most interesting. Trenches serve only as a means of approach and advanced posts are concealed in houses which occupy commanding positions. There is little protection in the way of wire and obstacles, this necessitates a super alertness. The men are helped much by knowing that they are top dog and are ready to seek encounters.
24th April 1917
It is evident that the enemy is very nervous. We are the witness on this night of a magnificent display of red, green and white enemy lights followed by and intense defensive barrage which must have stretched two or three miles to the south.
On this night also NCOs patrol of A company attacked enemy sentries in a strong post and were successful in killing one man.
25th April 1917 – Cite St Pierre
The enemy continues his plan of intermittent shelling with some success. A carrying party under 2/LT Baker, in Corkscrew trench were unlucky with a shell, one wounded and 2/LT Baker half buried.
26th April 1917
We side step to the right and take over the front hitherto held by one battalion of the Staffords and for the last two days by the 5th Lincs Regiment. C and D companies take their place in the line, A and B companies are in support.
A telegram of support from the G.O.C on the good work of A company’s patrol of the night of 24th/25th.
27th April 1917
We do not have our advanced posts in any definite system of trenches and too many visitors during the daytime only invite disaster. We see hardly and movement in the enemy line and it is our intension that he shall see little of us.
With a view to farther operations four battalion scouts rcoonnoitre by night a number of houses beyond our advanced posts.
They return with information that 3 or 4 of the enemy are patrolling these houses. This confirms information already gained by 2/LT B.S.Halliday.
28th April 1917
The early morning of the 28th is marked by an intense enemy bombardment which develops into nothing more serious.
At night 2nd LT B V Halliday takes out a fighting patrol the object being to capture the enemy patrollers seen the previous night, but with no success. The patrol then proceeds to examine a supposed strong point but finds no one there, neither signs of occupation. In returning they are fired on by enemy machine guns but have no casualties.
29th April 1917 – Levin
We are relieved by the 5th lincs Regt and move into billets at Lievin. There is ample cellar accommodation and facilities for bathing of which we make full use.
30th April 1917 – Lievin
The day is spent in cleaning up and interior economy. The men have been 10 days without packs and are much in need of a rest. Since leaving Vendin Lez Bethune we have had particularly fine warm weather, a sudden change from the unpleasantly cold and wet weather up to the 20th April.
2nd LT B V Halliday receives a telegram of congratulation from the G O C on his patrol of the night of the 28th inst.
1st May 1917 – Loos (Harts Crater)
We received orders to relieve the 71st Brigade in the line. But left is the Old German Front Line, North East of Harts Crater and our right is near Fosse 11 de Lens. The relief is completed by night without incident.
2nd May 1917 –
In the early morning of the 2nd a bombing post of A company in Netley Trench raided by enemy Sturmtruppe. We suffer somewhat heavily our casualty list being 1 killed, 4 missing, 11 wounded. The wounded men were bombed whilst resting in the dug-out, the post having been captured or pushed back. The four men on duty on the post were all hit by the first salvo. There is an intense artillery fire on both sides, 2nd Lieut J Rockey was killed by a sniper whilst visiting his advanced post in Nero Trench.
It is this enemy action that took the life of Corporal Charles Creek.
- WW1 Soldier’s Records (www.ancestry.co.uk)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- British Newspaper Archive.