Tag Archives: HAWK ALLEY

On this day 11th December 1917 – a raid in strength by 5th Sherwoods

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.

H.7.c.17.70. to G.12.d.90.6311-december-1917-raid

 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.

hawk-homer-craterThe 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:-


A party of 18 NCOs and Sappers of the 465th Field Company were attached to the Raiders for the purpose of demolition of dugouts, machine gun emplacements etc.re-raid-december-11-1917richardson-re-december-11-1917

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.

The Casualtiesloos-memorial

  • 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

On this day 13th August 1917 a trench raid by the 1/6th Bn

13 august 1917 raid

The raid was carried out by Captain HH Jackson, 2/Lts SN Deurance, LV Burrows and RW Oakley with 12 NCOs and men of “A” and “D” Companies.

The raiding party began to move out of the assembly position outside our own wire at 9.55pm. Each separate group got out without difficulty and apparently without attracting the enemy’s attention, but owing to the extreme darkness it was very difficult to make certain that each group took up its proper position. The artillery barrage started promptly.

The raiding party got across and got close…….a hostile machine gun firing from the left flank was firing high.

Hulluch trench raid august 1917Unfortunately the parties got mixed up owing to the broken state of the group….consequently the groups detailed to enter to the south of the HULLUCH ROAD lost direction and entered by the HAWK ALLEY gap.

Hulluch Road South (Burrows)

burrows2/Lt BURROWS and six men of the right blocking parts and one sapper with an explosive charge got through the enemy wire about 20 yards south of the HULLUCH ROAD – two of the party at once becoming casualties.

Trench 2He then worked to the left and met some German bombers at whom his men threw all their bombs inflicting several casualties.

2/Lt BURROWS then worked along to the right to a point about H.13.a.12.0. the sapper blowing up a dugout. The group now consisted of only 2/Lt BURROWS, one rifleman, two bombers and the sapper. A German double-sentry post was now met with and the leading rifleman fires, but missed and was at once bayoneted by the enemy.

The Germans then started a bombing attack from both sides and 2/Lt BURROWS now ordered his men to withdraw, he keeping the enemy off with his revolver. While the party was getting through the wire the enemy opened rifle fire and machine gun fire but luckily caused no casualties.

Hawk Alley (Deurance)Dewrance

The group ordered to mop up the first line from the right to HAWK ALLEY found one dugout which the NCO entered but it was empty. This group then lost direction and entered by HAWK ALLEY and failed to get in tough with 2/Lt BURROWS party.

A considerable number of the enemy was met with in the front line from HAK ALLEY to the left; dugouts were found to exist every thirty or forty yards and the moppers-up claim to have killed 8 Germans in the trenches and to have wounded a further 10 by rifle fire.

Second line and Hawk Alley Junction (Oakley)

The blocking parties for the right of the 2nd line and for the junction of HAWK ALLEY and the 2nd Line lost their way and did not reach their objective. 2/Lt OAKLEY and Sergeant HADFIELD went aout 50 yards further finding trenches very much knocked about but no Germans.

3023/240853 Sergeant Samuel Hadfield

Casualties during the raid

Our total casualties were 2 other ranks killed, Captain HH Jackson, 2/Lt KH Bond and 7 other ranks wounded, and 2 other ranks missing. Those of the enemy were about 30 killed and wounded, not including any in the bombed dugouts.

All four men missing or killed have no known grave and are commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the Missing:-

3642/241151 Pte James Brian Pratt aged 20 and son of Mrs L Varo (formerly Pratt) of 98 Victoria St. in Brimington, Chesterfield. James was a horseman from Staveley and enlisted in January 1915. He arrived in France inJuly 1916 with the 13th Reinforcement.

3641 PrattPratt POW

Army Service Record (top) for James Pratt records that he was missing and presumed to have died on or since 13th August. The Red Cross Records (bottom) indicate that James was captured by the Germans, but there is no indication of when he died. James’s grave was lost after the War and he is now Commemorated on the Loos Memorial. Recorded as presumed dead.

2802/240738 Pte Wilfred Buxton aged 21 and son of Harold and Emma buxton of Biggin in Hartington, Derbyshire. WIlfred was a bricklayer and enlisted in October 1914. He arrived in France in August 1915 and was wounded on the 17th July 1916. Recorded as presumed dead.

7800/242588 Pte John Henry Losco Field the son of William Gallard and Ruth Annie Field. John arrived  in France with the 28th Reinforcement in January 1917. A pre-War Territorial who enlisted in 1911 aged 17 he had previously served with the South Nottinghamshire Hussars in the 2nd Mounted Division in Egypt. Discharged time expired in January 1916 and conscripted in 1916. Recorded as killed in action.

3803/241225 Pte James McGuire from Chesterfield enlisted in February 1915 and arrived in France in 1916. Recorded as killed in action.

Gallantry Awards and Commendations

see also 25th August 1917

Captain Humphrey Henry Jackson

Jackson HHCaptain Humphrey Henry Jackson was awarded Military Cross. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in Command of a raiding party. The success of the raid was greatly due to his courage and cheerfulness. The night was exceptionally dark and he showed great coolness in collecting scattered parties under heavy fire and in getting them forward. Later, when very severely wounded, he continued to direct operations until oss of blood compelled him to return to own own lines. His pluck and gallantry under trying circumstances deserved the highest praise.

2/Lt Leonard Victor Burrows

Burrows August 1917

4457/241520 Pte Harry Browes

Harry enlisted in July 1915 and arrived in France in 1916. He only served overseas with the 1/6th Battalion.

251520 Browse August 1917