7 Field Company RE War Diary 1915
7 Field Company War Diary 1915
1 Jan 1915: No3 Section started making canvas huts for the 11th Brigade in Ploegsteert Wood. The others were employed as before.                                                                                               This is our last day in the wood, for tomorrow we are to relieve No1 Section. We worked on the pathway again.

2 Jan 1915: No1 Section stopped working for 12th Brigade, being replaced by No 2 Section. No 3 worked primarily on huts. No 4 in Ploegsteert Wood on wooden pathways, breastworks etc. We change billet at 11am and go out to work on the high command trenches at Le Touquet. Sgt Lewis is wounded in the leg.

Sunday 3 Jan 1915: No1 Section, which was now in the Company Billet in Pont De Nieppe, did pontoon drill etc. No 2, now billeted in Le Bizet worked for 12th Brigade. Nos 3                            and 4 as before.
We sandbag the breastworks again it is a beastly night.

4 Jan 1915: No1 Section joined No 4 for work in Ploegsteert Wood. The others worked as before.
We did the same as last night, another wet night.

5-12 Jan 1915: The Sections continued to work as before. Small detachments were employed on roads and several petty Works. No 3 Section moved to billets in Le Bizet on the 8th.Tonight I am in a loop hole party. We have a farm to put in a state of defence.

6 Jan 1915: We continue on the farm as last night

7 Jan 1915:
Tonight we loop hole another farm. I stay all night so as to be able to work by daylight tomorrow

8 Jan 1915:
I could not sleep it was so cold. I made numerous loop holes and returned to billet when dark.

9 Jan 1915:
Paraded at 4am and proceeded to the Railway Fort which is only 40 yds from the Germans. We strengthened the shooting gallery by sand bag revetting.

10 Jan 1915:
We continue strengthening the house

11 Jan 1915:
Revetted up the communication trench and at dark raised  a barricade where a fellow was killed this morning.

12 Jan 1915:
Finished off the trench and barricade, the former fell down owing to the bank at the bank slipping away.

13 Jan 1915:
No 2 Section continued working for the 12th Brigade, assisted by portions of No1 and 3 Sections. No 3 Section worked on huts and No 4 on miscellaneous jobs in Ploegsteert Wood. Part of No1 Section assisted with the huts.
I built up as far as sandbags would allow, another wall . We built in the afternoon a barricade formed of rubble in boxes round a maxim. At night we raised a wall for added protection. Elms, White and Fletcher were wounded.

14 Jan 1915:
The artillery on both sides was very active, we had to stand to, as shells came very close to us. Driver Williams is fatally injured by shrapnel at our billet.

15 Jan 1915:
We revetted a trench and at night heightened a barricade. The Monmouths are progressing with their mine.

16 Jan 1915:
This is our last day thank goodness. We finished off the work and returned to billet at dusk

17 Jan 1915:
The whole section had the day off. In the afternoon we had what was supposed to be a bath, it was a failure as the water was cold and dirty.

18 Jan 1915:
Corporal Collins and myself have a day off as we were the only two who completed 8 days at the Fort.

19 Jan 1915:
Worked in the trenches revetting them up with planks.

20 Jan 1915:
Continued as yesterday.

21 Jan 1915:
Rained all day got wet thro' to the skin, it was the most miserable day I ever spent.

22-31 Jan 1915:
No 2 Section continued to work in 12th Brigade trenches, sending parties before dawn and withdrawing them after dark. Parties from 1 and 3 Sections assisted in this work and also worked on breastworks close behind the front line. Portions of 1 and 2 Sections worked on huts in Ploegsteert Wood. No4 Section worked on pathways etc in Ploegsteert Wood. Small detachments from various sections worked on many miscellaneous jobs. No3 provided men to run a sawmill in Armetieres throughout the month. The greater part of the work undertaken lay within the enemy's zone of fire and as a result the Company lost one man killed and six men wounded during this month. 
Continued  revetting knee deep in water.

Saturday 23 Jan 1915:
We found a drain in the trenches so it saves a lot of pumping.

Sunday 24 Jan 1915:
We have a day off after a clean arms inspection.

25 Jan 1915:
Continued to revet, I greatly angered the "allen" ands' by knocking their tea over.

26 Jan 1915:
Had the day off as I am working tonight at the Fort for it has been badly damaged by shells. One man was killed and 5 wounded. It is the Kaiser's birthday. A spy was publicly shot yesterday.

27 Jan 1915:
Owing to working last night we had the day off, that is Cpl Collins and myself.

28 Jan 1915:
Tonight I am repairing a parapet on my own. I finished about midnight.

29 Jan 1915:
I continued with the parapet finishing at 3am.

30 Jan 1915:
Working with Cpl Jefferson's party at night revetting up a trench.

31 Jan 1915:
Elms and myself were the only two working. Both on seperate jobs. I finish at about 1am.
The Black
Horse Company
Mons Rimbaud the interpreter is seen at
the back near centre.

Major Symons seen in front centre of photo was seriously wounded by shrapnel from a shell while visiting the trenches at Sanctuary Wood on the 20 December 1915. Three others in the group were killed.(infantry) Lt Glubb received a shrapnel wound in his big toe

1-7 Feb 1915: No1 Section continued to send parties daily to work in 12th Brigade trenches. The remainder of it worked on huts etc in Ploegsteert Wood. No2 Section worked partly by day, partly by night in 12th Brigade trenches. No 3 Section worked partly in 12th Brigade trenches, partly in the sawmill etc. No4 Section worked on huts and pathways etc in Ploegsteert Wood. Worked at night sand bagging a parapet.

2 Feb 1915: My birthday - had the night off as I was working on Sunday.

3 Feb 1915:
Got wet thro', fell in two holes owing to it being so dark, we finished at midnight.

4 Feb 1915:
I reported sick I am feeling rotten.

5 Feb 1915:
Still sick.

6 Feb 1915:
Am feeling a bit better.

7 Feb 1915:
The Section have the day off. I am allright again. We have a game of football, our side wins, I score three out of four.

8 Feb 1915:
Work on the huts in Ploegsteert Wood being nearly finished all but a few men of Nos1 and 4 Sections were transferred to work on second lines trenches. Part of No3 worked on these also. The remainder worked as before.

9 Feb 1915:
Work as before. Sick again.

10 Feb1915:
Work finished in Ploegsteert Wood and men working there were transferred to second line trenches. Sick

11 Feb 1915:
Work as before. Sick

12 Feb 1915:
Work as before. Am sent to Armentieres. My feet ache horribly.

13 Feb 1915:
The Company headquarters and Nos 1 and 4 Sections moved their billets to Armentieres in the quarter near L'Attargette Bridge. The majority of the Company were now employed on the second line trenches revetting, draining and superintending infantry and civilian working parties. No2 Section provided parties to work in the first line trenches of the 12th Brigade. Detachments from the other sections worked in the sawmill, engineering works etc. Am sent to Bologne and cross over to England during the afternoon and arrive after a bit of rocking at Dover. We are taken to London to the Royal Free Hospital.(this concludes J E Daniels diary)

14-18 Feb 1915:
Work continued on the above lines throughout the month. On the 18th Lt Bayley joined the Company and took command of No 4 Section on transfer from the E.Yorkshire Regt to the Royal Engineers. On (blank) Feb No2 Section exchanged duties with No4 Section.
1-31 March 1915: During the month the Company has been substantially on the same kind of work day after day so a daily diary has not been written. No1 Section worked daily on the section of the second line (one mile behind the front trenches), which lies between 'Essex Road' and the Le Bizet - Le Touquet Roads, our civilian working party averaging 50 men and military party averaging 100 men also being employed thereon. This section of the line is about 1200 yards long. The main line is a trench about 2' deep with a parapet adjacent making the cover up to 4' 6". Both trench and parapet are revetted and the trench is floored with wood. No2 Section worked on the section of the second line lying between the Le Touquet Road and the River Lyse, a length of about 1000 yards. Civilian and military working parties averaging about 50 men were also employed thereon, usually by night as the ground is within full view of the enemy and only 2000 yards from them. No3 Section was employed on a third section of the second line lying between 'Essex Road' and the Ploegsteert - Le Gheer Road a length of about 1500 yards, a civilian working party averaging 120 men being also employed thereon. Work was done entirely by day. No4 Section was employed almost entirely in first line trenches, breastworks, fortified buildings etc, usually in small parties. A large part of the work was in trenches that could not be reached by day. The Officer Commanding, besides his usual duties was in general charge of two mines which were constructed by detachments of miners from the Monmouth and South Lancashire Regiments. Small detachments from the sections have been employed daily on multifarious jobs. These included running a sawmill and wood yard, which during the month supplied about 50,000 Francs worth of wood to the Division, making special maxim gun mountings, repairing large numbers of pumps, making floorboards for trenches, huts etc.The horses and vehicles of the Company were kept constantly employed in carting large quantities of wood, besides sandbags, barbed wire, and other engineer stores.
Throughout this month the headquarters of the Company and No1and Nos 4 Sections have been billeted in Armentieres. Up until the 13th Nos 2 and 3 Sections billeted in Le Bizet, they then moved to Armentieres. On the 9th March Lt Bayley went home sick and Lt Atkinson took over command 4 Section. Capt Smith took over No2 Section.
1-30 April 1915: During this month the Company again worked on work which differed little in nature and situation from day to day. The sections were allotted to the same sector of the front  as they were in March.and had substantially the same kind of work to do. The fire trenches of the second line were completed in every detail and properly drained. The strong points in its rear were completely constructed and wired, and long communication trenches each leading back several hundred yards from the fire trenches were dug, drained and completely floored with planks. No4 Section was principally employed on miscellaneous work in the trenches and buildings at Le Touquet and flooring, screening communication trenches between Le Touquet and the second line. It and other sections provided labour as neccessary for the wood yard and workshops in Armentieres. Throughout the month the officer commanding had under his command detachments from the Monmouth and South Lanchashre Regiments, working on mines at the Railway Barricade and Le Touquet. Two mines were fired at the latter place, one on the 9th of April, being known to have caused at least 30 German casualties besides damage to their barricade and fortified buildings, and the other later in the month causing considerable damage also.
On the 29th April the Company was transferred to the 'South Midland' Division. As this Division did not, like the 4 Division which it relieved, hold any of the line south of the Railway Barricade, the work of the Company was henceforth not restricted to the district lying to the north of that place. A line running from that place and Le Bizet.
The weather throughout the month generally speaking was excellent. Throughout the month the whole Company was billeted in Armentieres, officers in the Railway Manager's house. Headquarters, No1 and 4 Sections in Rue de Progres Nos 2 and 3 Sections in Rue de Pres and about 30 horses in Pont de L'Attargatte
1 May 1915: The Company shifted billets, Headquarters, No’s 1 and 3 Sections moved to Ploegsteert being billeted in the school. No 2 and 4 Sections billeted in a row of buildings halfway between Ploegsteert and Le Bizet. Each Section took the minimum possible number of horses with them for want of accommodation and in case of shelling. A detachment under Capt Smith remained in Armentieres  (Rue De Progres) consisting of about 50 horses with their drivers and about a dozen NCOs and sappers. These  latter were employed throughout the month in supervising in working on water tanks, machine gun pivoted emplacements, repairs to some scores of trench pumps, repairs to vehicles and numerous wood work jobs. The detachment also ran the wood yard and sawmill, the amount of wood pushing through these amounting to about 2 miles of scantling and planks per driver. During night of 1st May No1 Section were working on wire entanglements on N side of Hill 63.

May 1915: No 4 Section making entanglement frames. No 2 Section on miscellaneous work.

May 1915:  No 1 Section wiring at night on Hill 63. No 4 Section as before with a few men also working at night. No 3 Section on miscellaneous jobs. No 2 Section repairing pumps, making small bridge, repairing roads etc.

4 May 1915: No1 Section in morning on revetting and draining of trench on Hill 63. At night wiring and entrenching near Rossignol. No4 Section had men at Nieppe, on pump repairs and the remainder making wire entanglement frames. No3 worked on roads, revetment hurdles, dug outs in first line etc. No2 had men at work on bridge, on frontline breastworks and communication trenches

5 May 1915:
Works practically the same as the 4th

6 May 1916:
No 1 Section except 3 men resting. No4 Section had 2 men on pumps with CRE at Nieppe, 4 men on wire entanglements and trenches, remainder mending Messines Road. No2 had men on front trenches sapping under parapet, remainder on roads and barricades.

7 May 1915:
No1 Section draining and revetting trench on Hill 63 by day, wiring in front of it by night. No2 on dugouts and communication trenches. No3 making hurdles and repairing board walks in Ploegsteert Wood. No4 draining trenches, repairing roads and making wire entanglement frames

8 May 1915:
No4 Section assisted by some of No1 Section repairing Ploegsteert Road, remainder of No1 working again at night on Hill 63. No2 Section on communication trenches and also superintending civilians working on roads. No3 as day before.

9 May 1915: All Sections resting, visited baths. Ploegsteert village shelled, six casualties in the Company, all but one being slight.

10 May 1915:
No1 again working on Hill 63, part by day, part by night. No4 on roads. No's 2 and 3 on various jobs.

11 May 1915:
As before.

12 May 1915:
No1 as before. No2 part re-draining trenches, and flooring communication trenches by day, remainder working on front line by night. No4 on roads and by night superintending working party in front line. No3 odd jobs.

13 May 1915:
No1 as before. No2 flooring trenches and superintending road work. No3 clearing fields of fire in wood. No4 as before.

14 May 1915:
Nos 1 and 2 Sections plus HQ moved billets to Oosthove Farm. Work as the day before.

15 May 1915:
Work as before.

16 May 1915:
Nos 1 and 3 working on billets. No's2 and 4 as before.

17 May 1915:
Nos 2 and 4 as before. No3 began to build more huts in Ploegsteert Wood. No1 again worked at Hill 63.

18 May 1915:
No 1 worked on trench revetment on Hill 63 by day and barricade near Le Rossignol at night. No3 worked on huts and board walks. No2 began building an officer's hut, flooring and revetting communication trenches, superintending working parties on dugouts and roads, the work continued during the week. No1 on Hill 63 as before. No 4 on various jobs near the trenches.

19 May 1915:
No3 worked on huts, boardwalks and made wider parapets. No's 1, 2 and 3 as before.

20 May1915:
As before.

21-31 May 1915:
Sections generally speaking continued the same work.

On the 10th May a searchlight Section consisting of 2 NCOs, 10 Sappers and a Driver were added to the Company, the establishment being amended accordingly. The Company was provided with six oxy-acetylene searchlights and three light wagons, plus six horses to carry the lights, it being understood that only one of these wagons and two searchlights were to be permanently with the Company.
1-15 Jun 1915: The company continued to work on generally the same work as the previous month, ie, trench work, revetting, boarding communication trenches, preparing billets and points d' appui near the second line etc, besides running the wood yard, sawmill and workshops as before. On June 12th those previously billeted at Ooshove Farm moved to the farm at Point 20, 3/4 mile west of Ploegsteert being joined there by Nos 2 and 4 Sections on June 15. On June 15 the Company received orders to join the 50th Division, V Corps near Vlamiertinghe

16Jun 1915: The detachment in Armentieres joined the remainder of the Company at Point 20 in the morning. In the afternoon the Company was inspected by Brig. General  J.E. Capper, Chief Engineer III Corps.

17 Jun 1915:
The Company marched at 6.15 am arrived  Bailleul 9 am. Paraded in the Grande Place at 0915 am for inspection by Lt. Gen. Pulteney Commanding III Corps who thanked the Company for the work done while under his command. Marched at 9.30 am Locre to a farm one mile SSW of Vlamertinghe arriving there 1.30 pm Company partly in farm, partly in billets.

18 Jun 1915:
The Company remained in billets

19 Jun 1915:
Received a warning to move next day so no work done outside billets.

20 Jun 1915:
Company marched ay 8.30 am and joined the 151st Brigade at Ouderdoom and marched with it via Locre where they bivouaced.

21 Jun 1915:
All officers visited the trenches etc near Wyjchaete, which were to be taken over by 151st Brigade.

22 Jun 1915:
Company worked all day on fortified points near and in Kemmel village

23-25 Jun 1915:
Work as before in Kemmel and few sappers employed in trenches.

26 Jun 1915:
Company moved huts, scattered billets in Kemmel, the majority of the horses being left behind in Dranoutre.

27-28 Jun 1915:
Work as before

29-30 Jun 1915:
Work as before
1-14 Jul 1915: The Company were employed on the following works for 50th Division. Rewiring with knife rest frames and barbed wire. The whole front of the 151st Brigade, strengthening the defences of Kemmel village and of several farms between it and the trenches, supervising large infantry working parties making support trenches, flooring and improving existing trenches , making timber work for dugouts etc. On the 14th the Company received a warning order to move.

15 Jul 1915: Work in and around billets, handing over trench works to 38th Co.

16 Jul 1915:
Company left Kemmel  at 7.45 pm arrived Dranoutre 8.45 and marched with 151st Brigade to Armentieres, arriving 1.30 am. Weather very wet.

17 Jul 1915:
We were unable to get into our new billets at the asylum till the afternoon when the Wessex Field Co. vacated them.

18 Jul 1915:
Officers went round the trenches between Lille Armentieres Railway and Lille Armentieres road. At night Company received orders to move to neighbourhood of Poperinghe to work directly on CE 2nd Army.

19 Jul 1915:
Company left Armentieres at 3pm. Halted for one hour and a quarter near Ballieul for tea and arrived Poperinghe 10.15 pm where it billeted.

20 Jul 1915:
Sections marched independently to their various billets. No1 and 2 billeted to the E of Poperinghe- West Vleteren road at three and half kilometres from Poperinghe. Headquarters and No 3 Section near to the East of Poperinghe-Woesten road  three and a half km from Poperinghe. No 4 Section 2 km SW of Elverdinghe.

21 Jul 1915:
The Company began work on a line of large defended localities, (woods,farms etc) in the neighbourhood of their billets.

22-23 Jul 1915:
Work as before. It should have been stated that most of the horses and transport were left in a billet near Poperinghe under the Mounted Sergeant.

24 Jul 1915:
The first digging battalion arrived for work, under the supervision of the Company.

25-26 Jul 1915:
Work as before. Digging battalion started work.

27 Jul 1915:
Second digging battalion arrived and started work next day.

28-31 Jul 1915:
Work as before.
1-31 Aug 1915: Work on defended localities as last month. Some concrete machine gun emplacements made as an experiment. A 20' well sunk in locality, worked on by No 3 Section.
4th August, No 4 Section shifted bivouac and moved to a farm near No 3 Section.
1-7 Sep 1915: Work on the four strong points continued as last month. GOC 2nd Army inspected the works.

8 Sep 1915: Lt V.P.Smith RE left Company to take over temporary command of 56 Coy RE, III Division.

9 Sep 1915:
Lt Cohen RE from Entrenching Bn was put in charge of VOX VRIE Wood Post. Lt Gourlay took over duties of the captain.

10 Sep 1915:
Lt Tessier RE (TC) joined from base and took command of No3 Section. Lt Latham went on leave to England for 6 days.

12 Sep 1915:
Major Symons went on leave to England for 6 days.

15 Sep 1915:
All Sections with exception of pontoon and headquarter horses shifted billets about 800x to allow of infantry taking up winter quarters.

19Sep 1915:
Lt O. Atkinson went on 6 days leave to England

23 Sep 1915:
Lt E Ashcroft went on 6 days leave to England

27 Sep 1915:
The Coy received orders to join 50th Division at Armentieres. Marched at 9 pm. No4 Section complete, Searchlight Section + Lt K.I.Gourlay left to complete works the Entrenching battalions started sending large drafts of men and officers to the front thus changing the working parties considerably from day to day so hindering work. Weather very unsettled also.

28 Sep 1915:
Headquarters and 3 Sections arrived at Armentieres at 6.30 am, went into billets at Ecole Professionale.

29 Sep 1915:
Took over trenches 81-89 South of Lys and from Lys to x roads G4A North of Lys. Dismantled and rebuilt 2 pontoon bridges between Houplines and Armentieres.

30 Sep 1915:
Preparing schemes for demolition of bridge over Lys and canal. Working in shops and huts for winter quartering and making trench stores.
1-12 Oct 1915: General work on trenches 81-89 South of River Lys including particularly making concrete machine gun emplacements and strong shelters, most of the work being on the subsidiary line. One Section making canvas roofed wooden huts for winter quarters of the Division. When in full work these were turned out at the rate of 5 huts a day, 8 men erected on an average 4 huts a day. One hut could be loaded on a trestle wagon. Each hut was to hold 20 men and had a small stove. No4 Section working on No1 strong point near Poperinghe.

13 Oct 1915: 3 Sections of 126 Coy RE of the 21st Division are attached for work on the subsidiary line.

14 Oct 1915:
General work on front line and other lines by day and night. Two wooden, two span bridges made to carry 5" howitzers over creeks near Le Bizet. Pontoon bridge swung to allow debris through. Ferry repaired, and a lot of screening started.

15-20 Oct 1915:
Work generally as above with the addition of working and erecting several substantial screens to screen several avenues of approach from enemy view. This was rendered necessary owing to grass and weeds dying down notably on the Pont Ballot road. Trench tramway partly in wood, partly with iron rails, started to run from Houplines along the 3 roads leading to our front trenches. No4 Section returned from Poperinghe. Lieut Gourlay temporarily takes up duties of staff officer to CE 2nd Army during absence of Capt C.G. Ling RE.

21-31 Oct 1915:
Work similar to the above on the front line, support line and subsidiary lines. The two large drains called respectively Suez and Panama Canals are completed. (these were started about June last year by the 70th Fd Coy RE and handed over when we came. Excavation has been done by civilian labour who were paid 5 Francs a day, working hours 4 am-2 pm, with half an hour off. 5 were wounded in the trenches) It was considered that the side of these were too steep so the last 10 days have been spent widening the top. 101 huts completed and 75 erected. Throughout the month work was delayed by the difficulty in getting infantry working parties, average number being 50 by day and an occasional party of 100 by night. The Brigade had a very long length of line to hold even when trenches N of Lys were handed over to the 25th Division early in the month (4 Oct) Schemes for demolition of 12 bridges over the Lys prepared. 2 to 3 cases of these actually prepared for demolition. In the others, the charges are prepared and stored near the site of the bridges.
1-5 Nov 1915: The Company were employed working for the 151st Brigade, 50th Division, owing to heavy rain, work on the subsidiary line was suspended and men set to revet the front parapets and parados and the communication trenches. Four of the latter were taken in hand, sumps made + revetted + pumps installed. Work was done also on the Battalion Battle Headquarters for the Centre Section and also 3 strong machine gun emplacements were worked at. About 45 men of Nos 2 & 3 Sections were employed making huts. 3 Section of the 126 Company worked with the Company.

6 Nov 1915:
Lieut Tessier and 33 of 7 sent on detachment to La Creche to erect huts for 151 brigade preparatory to their going into Corps reserve.

7-11 Nov 1915:
Work as during the first week of the month. Two sections of the 42nd Fd Company sent to work repairing shelters in the Support line. Trench 84 almost flooded by field drains. On the 11th one line and all work except that on huts is handed over to the 126th Company the 21st Division having relieved the 50th Division. The mines in 88 were handed over on the night of 9-10th to 64th Brigade Mining Section.

12-13 Nov1915:
Resting on the night of 12/13th. Armentieres heavily shelled by the Germans. 2 fell into officer's billets and 2 into men's billets resulting into 45 casualties, 9 killed, 36  wounded of whom 2 died during the night. 10 of these were buried in Armentieres Military Cemetery at 4pm on the 13th. (see list at end)

14 Nov 1915:
Company started work for the 25th Division N of the River Lys. Billets moved from Ecole Professionel to Rue Molinel.

15-21 Nov 1915:
All available men under Lt Ashcroft working on the 'Long Avenue' along Warneton railway for the 105 Coy RE. (Major Walker) Men sent into workshops to take place of three killed and wounded. On the 18th Armentieres again heavily shelled from 9.30-1, shells all round our billets but no casualties, shells up to 8 inches. Major Symons with Gen Godby CE 11 Corps visits and describes flow of drains plus previous years drainage in Ploegsteert Wood - River Lys area on 15-17th. On 18th 2 officers report 2nd Lt TA Ross from 17th Coy and 2nd Lt Baker from base to take place of Capt Gourlay (home on 2nd) and Lt Latham (home on 13th) On 19th 25 reinforcements arrive from base. Lt Atkinson took over duties of Captain.

21 Nov 1915:
The Company rests

22 Nov 1915:
Lts Baker and Ross working with all 4 sections on subsidiary line N of River Lys with 25 Division also on Lys and La Flaneque farms. Half Company 7th DLI (Pioneers 50 Div) in addition to 1 officer and 2 NCOs are attached to 7 Company for work and instruction.

23 Nov 1915:
Lt Ashcroft went out to La Creche to join 2nd Lt Tessier.

24 Nov 1915:
1 NCO and 7 men went out to La Creche to join hutting party. 2nd Lt T.A. Ross left 7th Company to join 130 Company. 2nd Lt Tessier went on short leave to England.        Lt Atkinson went out to La Creche to join Lt Ashcroft. 2nd Lt Baker still working with remainder of Company on subsidiary line. The Company is divided up into the following parties:
i. About 45 men - La Creche erecting huts
ii About 17 men - Wood Yard - Armentieres
                              making huts
iii Remainder on subsidiary line        

25 Nov 1915 -6 Dec 1915:
Throughout this period the Company was working at repairing the subsdiary line N of River Lys at erecting machine gun emplacements in this area and at erecting the Divisional winter quarters, by this time most of the huts for the men were finished and the chief work in hand was the erecting of bathing establishments each consisting of 5 large huts:
1 at Steeinwercke (begun Nov 30)
2 at Outtersteene (begun Dec2)
3 Near Strazeele (begun Dec2)
The flooring of a YMCA hut at Strazeele and the erection of a YMCA hut near Steenwercke. Up to December 6 the HQ of this party was at La Creche, after that date at Outersteene. 2nd Lt Glubb joined the Company on Nov 28th. Armentieres was shelled on night of Nov 29th throughout the night. The Company suffered no casualties.
2nd Lt Tessier returned from leave Dec 5th. On this date the hutting party was increased by 23 men taking it up to over 70. Lts Atkinson and Ashcroft were in charge of this party, the remaining officers being at Armentieres.

2nd Lt Glubb Joined the Company 28 Nov 1915. (at the time, his father was the C.E of the British 2nd Army and was stationed at its HQ, Cassel, France) During his time in the Company he kept a diary, which starts from the 29th November. His diary is posted in black text together with the Company diary in blue text.

29 and 30 November: I went out with numbers 1 and 4 Sections who are putting a place called La Flancque Farm in a state of defence. Here I received my baptism of fire. A few tired shells, fired at extreme range, dropped into the farm now and again. Sapper Chilvers was wounded in the head.
On 30th, we were shelled from 9.30 to 10 am., and again in the  afternoon. Armentieres - known to the troops as Armenteers has been a good deal knocked about, but the lines of streets and houses remain. A few days before I came, a shell had burst at night in a factory building where the sappers were sleeping and had killed many of them, with the result that they were now distributed round a number of cellars. On the night of the 30th, we were shelled all night at 3/4-hour intervals. The major was up all night checking the men's billets to see they were all safe. I was awake most of the night. Two or three went into the house next to the officer's billet. In the 7th Company, I found H. A. Baker, who had been in my batch at the Shop and Chatham. He was a few months older than I  was and so had got to France before me . We shared a room at Armenteers. There was a shell-hole in the floor and all the windows were broken, but we were very comfortable. I hope we shan't be shifted from here. We are in Rue Jules Bleu, Armentieres. I don't know who blue Jules was, but his street has had a good dusting from Brother Boche. Our officers have two houses. One we eat in and the O.C., Major C. B. O. Symons, sleeps upstairs. Baker and I sleep in the other. All the windows are broken and all the ceilings leak. I saw one of our aeroplanes chase a Boche and give him machine gun fire.
·4 December: I have been given a little liver chestnut cob called Minx as my charger. I rode her today to see the work going on at La Flancque. We were shelled at lunch time and at 3pm. It rained all day. As I was riding back in the evening, the billets were shelled by  a six-inch gun.

6 December: Received orders at 7.30 a.m. to march that day to Nooteboom, three kjlometres west of Bailleu!. Started at 2.30 p.m. in pouring rain, along a pave road. Thousands of passing lorries covered us all with mud. On arrival in the dark, soaked in mud and water and shivering with cold, we found the billets allotted to us were occupied by gunners. After endless complications, the gunners moved out next morning, leaving the place-a large farmyard-absolutely filthy, with straw, clothing, bottles, meat, spurs and rubbish everywhere, and a litter of puppies on the floor of the sergeants' mess. Perpetual rain, everything grey, everyone soaked.

6-12 Dec 1915: On the 6th December the Company left Armentieres at 1pm spending the night in 2 farms near Noote Boom, outside Bailluel. Next day the billets were further split up in the neighbourhood and the Company rested until the 13th with the exception of:
a. A party at Steenwercke erecting a bath hut & YMCA hut.
b. A party at Outersteene erecting a bath hut.
c. A party between Strazeele and Meteren erecting a bath hut.

These parties joined the Company at Noote Boom on the 11 December

8 December: I took the company horses out for exercise Marvellous - a day without rain.

9 December: It made up for yesterday  by perpetual rain. Everything grey, everything soaking wet.

10 December: Exercised the horses in the rain in the morning. North of this place the country is quite hilly towards Mont des Cats and Kenimel. The country is fenced in fields in places, and there is a lot of hops on long poles. No trees, except along main roads. South of this, it is all flat and mostly under water. We are about nine miles from the front here and barely hear the guns. At night, however we can see the gun flashes lighting up the sky and a continuous succession of flare lights.
12 December: Sunday. Church parade.The first in this company for a year. Communion after the service, in a tiny room off the bar of an estaminet. The room was full of old furniture, a basket of meat, vegetables and beer.

13-31 Dec1915: On Dec 13th the Company moved to a billet at a farm H.21.b.22 Sheet 28, near Vlamertinghe. The dismounted sections were conveyed by motor lorry, the mounted  sections marched by road on the next day. Nos 1 & 2 Sections left for dug-outs at Zillebeke from which they worked in the front line. The first held by the 151st Brigade in whose area the Company worked, was from trenches A7 to B7 in Sanctuary Wood from December14- 28th. Nos 1&2 Sections remained up at Zillebeke. Their work consisted chiefly of the following:
1. Revetting and flooring the front line of the A trenches.
2. Revetting the Loop of the B trenches.
3. Revetting and defilading Gourock Road an important communication trench
4. Maintaining the trench tramway.
5. The construction of a new communication trench parallel to Gourock Road from Gordon Road to B4.
There  were also various other small duties undertaken such as occur to a field Company. Nos 3 & 4 Sections at the rear billet were working as follows:
1 section reclaiming and revetting. 2, supporting points HO and HQ, behind Dickebush, and keeping in repair bridges 16 & 17 over the Ypres - Comines canal. The other section was working in the billet, erecting stables, making floor boards etc for the billet and for the trenches. On Dec19th the enemy made a gas attack on our left and shelled Zillebeke heavily in the early morning, and intermittently throughout the 19th and 20th. One dug-out was hit but no casualties occurred. In the front line, two large craters were made in B4 and one in Gourock Road, and a good deal of minor damage was done by whizz - bangs: Zillebeke St and Dormy House Lane were blown in a large number of places. On Dec 20th Major C.B.O. Symons DSO RE commanding 7 Coy received two shrapnel bullets in the left thigh and was sent to hospital. At the same time 2nd Lt Glubb was hit by shrapnel in the left big toe, but remained at duty, 2nd Lt Tessier relieved 2nd Lt Glubb at Zillebeke, temporarily taking command of No1 Section. Lt Atkinson temporarily took command of the Company. Nos 1 & 2 Sections returned to the rear billet on Dec 28th, and Nos 3 & 4 Sections relieved them at Zillebeke, work continuing as before. Attached is a lot of casualties etc for month of December.

13 December: A convoy of lorries took us to Vlamertinghe, two miles west of the notorious town of Ypres; We are billeted in a large farm a little distance south of Vlamertinghe. The horses and wagons followed by road.The farms in this part of Flanders are nearly all built to one design, round a square yard, which was almost entirely filled by a huge manure heap.The house formed one side of the square, and the other three consisted of large barns.
Our Vlamertinghe farm was on this design. The family, consisting of Monsieur and Madame Heugebaart and two daughters, occupied part of the house and our officers the other part. The troops lived in the barns. The 7th Field Company belongs to the 50th Northumberland and Durham Territorial Division. Although we are a regular company, such intermixtures of units are now fairly common. The  division is to take over a sector in the notorious Ypres salient.

14 December: Numbers 1 and 2 sections commanded by me and Baker respectively, moved up today to Zillebeke. We are a little way behind the front line trenches, and are badly overlooked by the Germans, both from the east of Sanctuary Wood, and from Hills 59 and 60 on the south. The village is completely in ruins. All the destroyed villages in the Ypres salient are full of horrors, with dead men and animals barely covered with earth, lying about everywhere.
Every shattered fragment of a house is full of filth, old clothes, rags and bedding, left behind by the original inhabitants when they fled, and since used for sleeping on or torn up to dress wounds. Everything is soaked with rain, blood and dirt. Strewn around are thousands of half-empty jam or  bully-beef tins, the contents putrefying, together with remains of rations,
scraps of bone and meat. There is no living thing visible but rats, big brown rats, who themselves are often mangy, and who barely trouble to get out of your way.
Baker' and I live in a tiny shelter about the size of a large dinner table -nine feet by twelve . It is built under the ruiris of a house, which thus forms a deep layer of bricks and rubble on top of it. It is built of sandbags and corrugated iron and is only five feet high, so you have to enter almost on all fours. The men of our two sections are in a number of similar timber and corrugated iron shelters under the houses along the village street. It is pitch dark day and night in our shelter.

15 December: Today we started work in the front line trenches which are still held by the 9th Division, a senior Kitchener's Army division. My section is working on the left battalion front in Sanctuary Wood, held by the 10th Argyles. Baker is working on the right battalion front. We, the sappers, have moved in before our division. The 50th Division infantry will take over in the next day or two.
The 9th Division was one of the few K Divisions which did well at Loos. The Argyles went into that battle 960 strong, with 22 officers. They came out 200 strong with 4 officers, and are little better even now, and what reinforcements they have had have been almost untrained.

16 December: The work on which we are employed is almost entirely repairing, rebuilding and sandbagging the trenches.The Germans shell them by day and we sappers go up and rebuild them by night. The  German trenches are only twenty -five yards from our front  line.

17 December: We began work in the trenches as usual, but were all sent away at 12 noon, because the gunners wanted to have a beano on the German trenches.The two front lines are so close, that this means evacuating our front trenches while the gunners shoot.

18 December: Again sent back from the front trenches to allow the artillery to bombard . All serious work is impossible in the short intervals between strafes.
Brigade Headquarters are a few hundred yards behind us at the east end of Zillebeke Lake. I went down there, when
the take-over was going on. The brigade commander of our brigade-151 (called one-five-one) Brigade-saw me and asked who I was. When I identified myself, he looked at me and said 'How old are you?' 'Eighteen, sir,' I replied. Turning to his Brigade Major, he said, 'By Jove! that's the age to go to war!'
We have been in expectation of an enemy gas attack for the last ten days. Warning was given by a Russian prisoner, whom the Germans were working in their front line and who escaped.

19 December: We were woken at 5.30 a.m. by the loud krump of a shell bursting close by. Others followed in quick succession and, from 5.30 to 6.15 a.m., Zillebeke was plastered with shells of every calibre from field artillery to about nine-inch. At the same time, there was a beastly, smell of gas, and we were all weeping at the eyes. I dodged out of our shelter and ran along to check the men's shelters, but none had been hit. There was a battery of our field gunners just behind us, who started up also, and the noise was indescribable. Peeping out of our dugout, I could see the Boche krumps bursting one after the other in Zillebeke Street communication trench. At about 6.15, the Boche lengthened his range and we could see the bursts above Brigade Headquarters and Zillebeke Lake. We did not know if there had been an infantry attack, but at 7.5 a.m., we received a message from Brigade Headquarters to stand fast in Zillebeke. During the morning there was a lot of air-fighting overhead and a good deal of Archie fire, making white blobs in the sky like cotton wool. The company commander, Major C.B.O. Symons, arrived from  Vlamertinghe to see if we were still alive, and I went up with him to the front line. Surprisingly little damage had been done, and the Argyles had only twenty casualties. There was no infantry attack, but shelling continued all day on both battalion fronts, and on the l7th Division next to us. I went up at night  with my section to repair Gourock Road Trench, which had been damaged by shellfire. We were badly shelled by 'whizz-bangs'. This name is given to the German field artillery, which fires bursts of high velocity shells into our trenches at intervals. They come in violent tornadoes suddenly, whizz-whizz-whizz-bang-bang-bang­ whizz-bang-whizz-bang! Ceased work early, as it was almost impossible to do anything owing to the shelling. Sanctuary Wood  is connected  to Zillebeke village by a long communication  trench called Zillebeke Street. When we knocked off work, and came out of Maple Copse, a lot of heavy krumps were falling on Zillebeke Street. I accord­ingly sent the sappers back by Dormy House Lane. I went on down Zillebeke Street. I found a man of the D.L.I. (Durham Light Infantry) lying in the trench with a broken thigh. I and Sergeant Frankenburg, two sappers and a D.L.I.sergeant carried the man to the dressing station in Maple Copse. The poor fellow's thigh was smashed and he suffered agony with every movement. He kept crying 'No! No! I can't! O God, leave me alone!' But the D. L. I. sergeant would say to him, 'Hold on, Jack! You're all right! Remember you're a soldier, Jack!' It was a nasty trip, as there were lots of heavy krumps falling all around at first, but then it became quiet and the shelling stopped.  I returned home and tried to sleep, but there were lots of krumps falling around in Zillebeke without a pause until 5.30 a.m. The Boche must have heard that the 50th Division were taking over last night. There was some beautiful artillery shooting by him on Zillebeke Street communication trench. There. were several new 6-inch shell craters round our house in Zillebeke, but no one was hit.

20 December: Was a quiet morning in Zillebeke. I stayed in the, dugout and tried to get some sleep, as I had none last night. The major came up from Vlamertinghe and I went up to the trenches with him in the afternoon. We went round the right battalion front with Colonel Jeffreys of the 6th Durhams, who had. taken over during the previous night. We  were  standing  in  the  front  line  trench,  when  a whizz-bang burst in the middle of the group. Obviously sniping. They probably saw Colonel Jeffreys, who is a very tall man. The shell killed three men instantly. I heard someone say, 'Are you hit, sir?' and Colonel Jeffreys answer, 'I am afraid I am.' Symons, my own O.C., was lying on the floor of the trench with a wound in his thigh. I ran down the trench to get stretcher-bearers, and had Symons carried to the dressing station in Maple Copse. Poor old man! We shall not get such a good O.C. again, I am afraid. The Boches have been whizz-banging for two days, and the dressing station, a dugout in Maple Copse, was crammed with wounded. The doctor dressed Symons' wound, which seemed to be a nasty one.  One poor devil there had had his arm taken clean off at the shoulder by a direct hit from a whizz-bang. He was talking cheerfully. 'Those bloody guns  haven't stopped for forty-eight hours,' he said. I remember an old story that Lord Uxbridge was sitting on his horse beside Wellington at Waterloo, when suddenly
he exclaimed, 'By God! I have lost my leg!' The Duke glanced down at him and said, 'By God! So you have!' and carried on with the battle! I always thought this an absurd story, but today I realized that it was probably true. A direct hit on a limb so shatters the nerves that the victim feels no pain. My left foot had felt numb since the shell burst, but I had been too preoccupied to notice it much. Now I looked down at it and saw that there was a gash in my gumboot and that blood was coming out. I asked the doctor to have a look at it, and he cut off my boot, and told me that my big toe was smashed up and must have been hit by a shell fragment . He tied it up and gave me a tetanus injection. I hobbled back down Zillebeke Street to our dugout.

21December: Occasional shelling during the night. I hopped up to Maple Copse to get my toe dressed, and then stayed still the rest of the day . I don't want to be sent back and leave the men in the line. This place is full of mice inside our dugout and of rats outside. A former poetic occupant of this dugout has written the following poem on a beam supporting the roof.

Come, comrades, now, get on parade, Fall in the pick and shovel brigade,
The day has come, there's work to be done,
And a trench to be dug with a spade.
Through the dust and clatter of Ypres town,
Where the seventeen-inch come shattering down,
Spewing death
With their fiery  breath,
On the red, red road to Hoage.

22December: I got a letter today from Mum 'with a good rhyme  in it.
In beauty I am not a star,
There are others more handsome  by far,
But my face  I don't mind it, For I am behind it,
The people in front get the jar!
22 -24 December: Spent the days quietly in the dugout, hopping up to Maple Copse once a day to have my toe dressed. Dad suddenly turned up on 23rd. On 24th, I came down at night in the forage cart to the company headquarters near Vlamertinghe.

25 -31 December: In the rear billets . I spent the day sitting quite still and fomenting my toe. I was rash enough to write to Mum from Zillebeke to ask for food parcels. Now I've got them! About six parcels a day! I write now imploring them to cease but in vain. I expect we shall soon be reported buried alive. The alternative is that the postal system may suffer that fate first.

Pnr J E Daniels, a member of 7 Field Company in 1914-15 kept a diary up until early 1915 when he was evacuated to the UK. I have included his account in black text after the Company’s entry. I have written the two diaries as per how they are actually written and worded including the '12 hour' clock. In November 1915, 2nd Lt J.B. Glubb joined the Company and he to kept a diary of which is included together with the Company Diary but in black text
Source of information in this page:
7 Field Company War Diary 1915, held at the National Archives,
Into Battle by J.B.Glubb, Formerly Lieutenant/Captain Glubb M.C.of
7 Field Company RE
History of 7 Field Company at War 1914-1918 by H.A. Baker held at the IWM Library London. Formerly Lieutenant Baker M.C.of 7 Field Company RE.
Note: The History of 7 Field Company at War 1914-1918 written by H.A. Baker was written using many notes written by Lt Col J.A. Symons D.S.O., M.C. Formerly Major Symons D.S.O. M.C., Officer Commanding 7 FieldCompany RE
Photos IWM and internet sites
The trench map right is dated after 7 Field Company's time in these trenches and the German lines have moved somewhat, however, the High Command trenches that the Company did so much work on are still shown.
From October 1914 until they left the area 16 June 1915 the Company did a lot of work on these Front Line trenches. Shelling and heavy rain necessitated repairs, maintenance and drainage
Right: Front Line trenches at           The Railway Barrier and Le Touquet
south east of Ploegsteert Wood
Corduroy Path in Ploegsteert Wood 1914. Most likely built by 7 Field Company RE
This photo was taken in 1915 outside Ploegsteert Wood from St Yves looking toward Messines. You can see barbed wire entanglements on the right of the photo. Sections of
7 Field Company built trenches and entanglements in this area  October-December 1914.
British Troops outside shelters In Ploegsteert Wood 19 October 1915.
Right: A trench in the St Yves area.
Photo taken 1917
17 June 1915.The Company joined the 151st Bde at Dranoutre where it billeted. Recces were made of the trenches at Wyschaete which were to be taken over by the 151st Bde.
Here, the Company’s Sections worked in and around Kemmel village strengthening its defences, and the farms between it and the trenches, rewiring knife rests, building concrete gun emplacements in cellars, making timber frames for dugouts, supervising large infantry works parties making support trenches, flooring and improving existing trenches. Some sappers were employed in the trenches.
On the 26 June the Company moved into scattered billets in Kemmel. On the 15th July the Company handed the trenches to the 38th Field Coy RE The weather was fine and there were no casualties
The work commenced on the 21st on a line of defended localities, woods, farms etc., east of Poperinghe, West Vleteren Road and Elverdinghe, for which purpose two entrenching battalions were affiliated. The work continued until the 27 September and included the construction of numerous concrete machine gun emplacements and many wells. The peaceful interlude of two months was refreshing for the officers and men after a year of continuous service in “The Line”

Casualties during this period:
8 July 1915 Spr C. Randall  wounded
18 August 1915 Spr R. Cults  wounded
9 September 1915 Lcpl A Davidson wounded
28 September 1915 the Company returned to Armentieres and was billeted in the Ecole Proffessionale. The following day work on the trench system immediately south of the Lys was taken over. Two pontoon bridges were dismantled and rebuilt between Houplines and Armentieres. Owing to the now settled nature of trench warfare, the distribution and work of the Engineer Companies had become very generally systemized, the Companies were normally allotted to sectors corresponding generally to the number of brigades in the line, with sections working also on rear works, which helped to secure continuity during the successive brigade reliefs. Work in the back areas under direct divisional control (hutting, stabling etc) assumed increased importance with the approach of winter. During this period the line was comparatively quiet, though from time to time Armentieres itself was severely shelled. On the night of 12/13 November the Company met with a severe blow, a salvo of large shells bursting inside the Ecole Professionale where all dismounted sections were billeted. The casualties amounted to 11 killed and 34 wounded. The funeral on the 14th was attended by the G.O.C. Maj Gen S.P. Wilkinson CB, the C.R.E, HQ RE and detachments from the 1st & 2nd Northumbrian Field Companies. A redistribution of personnel throughout the sections became necessary, most of the casualties having occurred in two sections. Lieutenant E Ashcroft and 2nd Lts T.A. Ross, H.A. Baker, and J.B. Glubb joined the Company during this month. The work from September to December was of a varied nature, and included;
Front System; concrete machine gun emplacements, protected shelters for brigade and battalion HQs, supervision of mining operations (handed over to the 64th Bde Mining Section and later to 172 Tunnelling Company RE), revetments and drainage.                                                                                                                                                                                  
Back Area; hutting (101 huts were completed and 75 new huts erected during October) three bathing establishments each consisting of five large huts, divisional HQ.               Miscellaneous; saw yard (production of trench boards etc) completion of two long main land drains (Suez & Panama) entailing excavation in places to a depth of 15 feet. (these had been started in June by the 70th Company RE with Belgium civilian labour, amongst whom casualties from shell fire occurred from time to time) Long lengths of canvas and other screening of roads and approaches east of Armentieres, two bridges (each of 2 spans) near Le Bizet to carry 5” howitzers, trench tramway (both wood and iron rails were used) running along roads leading from Houplines to the front system, and precautionary measures for the demolition of 12 bridges about Houplines.

H.A. Baker MC, 1931 Dover. Formerly Lt H.A Baker MC 7 Field Company RE
14 May: Nos 1 & 2 Sections plus HQ moved from Ploegsteert to Oost Hove Farm to avoid the contstant shelling
Knife rest
7 Field Company
Company Strength

November 1915
Most of the reinforcements come from Base in Rouen
13 December 1915 to 9 March 1916 Ypres Salient - Sanctuary Wood Armagh Wood

On December the 13th the Company moved to the Notorious Ypres Salient. The company billeted in a large farm just south of Vlamertinghe. On the 14th December Nos 1 and 2 Sections moved up to Zillebeke and billeted in dugouts under the piles of rubble that were once houses along the street. It was a very unhealthy place to be and was in view of the Germans. The Germans would even shell one man who exposed himself in daylight, but by careful arrangements to avoid his regular period of strafe, casualties to the RE personnel in the village was avoided. There were however, many other casualties in the village and it was a trying time for the Sections living there. They were to work in Sanctuary Wood trenches, and maintain the trench tramway. The German trenches were in places only 25 yards away from the British front line. The work mainly consisted in improvement to the trenches, revetting, making  traverses, which were few and far between, communication  trenches, and the ever present problem of trench drainage. The water in the trenches on the right sector was, at times, over the top of “gum boots high” the problem was finally solved by letting the water out through the parapet into no-man’s land and possibly into German trenches.                                                                                                                                               The weakness of our artillery and the strength of the German artillery, particularly in 5.9 howitzers was the cause of many casualties amongst the garrison and made working conditions arduous. The Germans were able to concentrate several batteries round the Salient and used to perform on Monday afternoons on the right sector with an intense bombardment from at least three, six gun batteries. This generally had the effect of destroying the week’s work and entailed starting again. Thanks to the regularity of this particular strafe the RE escaped excessive casualties, but the infantry garrison were not so fortunate and suffered severely. A tramway was maintained at Zillebeke to the edge of Sanctuary Wood. This was partly on 9lb rail and partly wooden rail with metal strip runners, a horrible affair which severely taxed the strength and temper of pushing parties. Nothing less than a 16lb rail with stout sleepers was of any use in Flanders, especially as a tramway in those days was used by all and sundry as a road. the left sector known as “birdcage” was very exposed to snipers and a very unpleasant spot. It was however, to get a very good view of the enemy through a telescope set into the parapet - about the only time the enemy were seen at this period. Nos 3 & 4 Sections were in the rear billets doing various jobs in the area, the main work being reclaiming and revetting large support points north of Dickebushe, (GHQ Line) constructing an advanced Divisional HQ in Ypres ramparts, maintain bridges over Ypres-Commines canal and innumerable other back area jobs.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The mounted Section earned the everlasting gratitude of the forward Sections by its splendid devotion to duty in getting supplies and stores forward. It had the unpleasant nightly task of coming up via Lille Gate- Shrapnel Corner and back by Hell Fire Corner - Menin Gate. The names are sufficient to indicate the unpleasantness of this task, which was aggravated by continual “overs” from all directions. Nos 1 & 2 Sections were on the front line about four days before the 151st Bde of the 50th Division officially took over the sector. On the morning of the 19th between 05.30 and 06.15, Zillerbeke was plastered with shells and there was a strong smell of gas, fortunately no one in the Company was hurt. The Germans probably knew the 50th Division was taking over and put down a heavy bombardment in the area.to unsettle them. The O.C. Major Symons came from Vlamertighe to check if everyone was alive. The next day he came back and visited the front line with Lt Glubb and Colonel Jeffreys of the 6th Durhams who had just taken over the trenches. While they were on the front line a Whizz Bang artillery piece exploded in the midst of the group killing 3 men instantly and wounding the O.C. and Colonel Jeffreys. The O.C. suffered a severe wound to the thigh and was initially treated in Maple Copse dugout dressing station. Lt Glubb was hit with a piece of shrapnel on his big toe but was still mobile and brought stretcher bearers. Major Symons was evacuated and Lt Atkinson took over as O.C. of the Company until the arrival of Captain McQueen MC on the 18 January 1916. Lt Glubb eventually had to go into Hazebrouck CCS to have his toe operated on. He was back with the Company three weeks later.                                                                                  On the 11 January 1916, Nos 3 & 4 Sections relieved Nos 1 & 2 Sections until the 29th when the process was repeated.
The Company finished working at this location on the 7 March 1916 and moved a little further south to work behind Hill 60.

H. A. Baker MC, Dover 1931.Formerly Lt Baker MC of 7 Field Company RE

Menin Road Ypres near Zillebeke 1917
C.T. Trench in Sanctuary Wood 1915
The funeral of the 11 men killed on the 13th November in the Ecole Professionale, took place at the Cite Bonjean Cemetery just a short distance away.on the 14th November 1915.
Sanctuary Wood trenches
as at 1915
Map; H.A.Baker MC
Spr E.C. Mathews of 7 Field Company RE, Killed 9 May 1915, is remembered at Menin Gate, Addenda Panel 57
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