100 Years Ago

June 1916 by Lyn Dyson

It was the calm before the storm.

The 1st battalion of the Wiltshires spent the month training and moving. They had instruction in open warfare, bayonet fighting, and advance artillery formation. They also received re-inforcements. Several days were spent in marching and at the end of the month they were at Varennes.

On 11th June the 2nd battalion completed the fire trench which they had started to dig in May, the battalion having worked night and day to do this. They were relieved on 12th June. They spent a week training in training trenches for special operations. And on 24th June they were back in the trenches. Up to the end of the month they mounted a constant bombardment of the enemy, and encountered little retaliation. The Flying Corps was very active over the area, fighting off the odd German plane, and shooting down balloons.

The 5th battalion spent the whole month at Sheikh Saad and saw no enemy action. On 22nd June there was a court of enquiry into the death of one of the officers, and this found that he committed suicide in his tent while of unsound mind. During the last week of the month they were having problems with marauding Arabs who were stealing their rifles. To prevent this happening they resorted to wrapping them in waterproof sheeting at night and laying them in a shallow trench covered with earth. The men then had to sleep on them. By doing this they lost only one rifle; that was on the night of 28th/29th June when Arabs got into the camp and wounded one of the men before stealing his rifle.

It was another quiet month for the 6th battalion. They did a lot of training during the days and there were working parties at night, usually digging. At the end of the month they were in Albert.

At 4am on 5th June, the 7th battalion marched out of Salonika headed for Dremiglava where they started to build a road to Kukus. The weather was very hot. The road making work was stopped at 6pm on 14th June, and at 7.30pm on 18th June the men marched to Summer Hill Camp on the main Salonika Road, where they remained for the rest of the month, undergoing training in continued very hot weather.

 

There were no casualties from our villages during June.

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