Report of raid carried out by 1/5th Battalion
Sherwood Foresters on December 11th 1917
At 3.40pm 11th December 1917 the 1/5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters raided the enemy’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd line trenches between the following points :-
H.7.c.10.05. to H.7.c.50.12.
All objectives were reached, except on the extreme left where the LEFT COMPANY were held up by heavy machine gun fire, and were unable to reach enemy 3rd line.
The raid was carried out by four Companies in depth, total strength – 9 Officers and 260 other ranks.
The assembly was carried out without casualties and according to plan. At ZERO (3.40pm) the barrage opened and the raiding Companies in three waves advanced across “No Man’s Land” and closed up under our barrage in perfect order. “No Man’s Land” was about 200 yards across.
On reaching enemy’s front line it was found unoccupied and wire in bottom of trench in several places. The second line similarly was found unoccupied.
Only on reaching the third line were any of the enemy encountered. The opposition was slight; such opposition as was encountered was satisfactorily dealt with. Five of the enemy were sent back prisoners – one died on our wire and one proved to be a stretcher case.
Several of the enemy were seen running away from their 3rd line towards FOSSE 13 (Puits No 13) whilst the raiding party were waiting the lift of the barrage. Two Lewis Guns were turned on them.
Twelve dugouts were blown up with mobile charges by R.E.s, several of which undoubtedly contained Boche, who refused to come out. One trench mortar emplacement and two machine gun emplacement were blown up and destroyed. One light machine gun was brought across to our lines.
The wire in front of the enemy front and third lines had been satisfactorily cut, except South of HAWK ALLEY where no gaps were found. This, however, did not stop the Right Company, which passed up HAWK ALLEY and reached all objectives, and in addition, reached the CRATER at H.7.c.55.00. This was searched and found unoccupied.
Bombing parties proceeded up HAWK and HOMER ALLEYS as far as our barrage would permit.
The raiders remained in their objectives for 30 minutes, after which their task was completed and they withdrew, commencing with the 3rd wave from third objective, followed by 2nd wave from second objective, and lastly the 1st wave from first objective. Each wave being covered during retirement by the wave in rear.
As soon as possible after dark, “No Man’s Land” was searched by a strong patrol, and wiring commenced to fill gaps made in out wires.
After careful enquiry, I am satisfied that all Boche inside the Box Barrage were encountered for.
Our Casualties were:-
Both dummy raids appear to have attained their objective and the enemy did not put down a barrage on the real raid front until ZERO plus 32′ This consisted of a barrage on our front line followed by one on his own front line. The smoke on the dummy raid fronts was certainly influential in driving down the enemy barrage.
- 200371 L/Sergeant William Edward Burton aged 22 missing in action
- 201674 L/Cpl Richard Cartwright aged 22 missing in action
- 200324 Cpl Harold Dunnicliffe aged 22 missing in action
- 201195 Pte Charles Henry Newton aged 19 died of wounds in 43 CCS
- 203670 Pte John Henry Crofts aged 22 died of wounds in 43 CCS