5th Apr 1918: 22nd Bn arrive in deserted Amiens

Amiens 1918The 22nd Battalion detrained at 5.15am at St. Roch Station, Amiens, and marched 11kms to the village of Bertangles packed with troops, arriving there about 11am. ‘A’ Company was left temporarily behind at St. Roch to assist in the detraining process, while the other three companies enjoyed a fairly good rest in the afternoon. By the time the Battalion returned to the Somme, Albert and the villages to the east including Pozieres and Bullecourt now lay in German hands and its forces were now placing artillery fire and danger on the pivotal city of Amiens. Amiens was now deserted except for a few scattered groups of civilians passing and making for the railway station, its streets now littered with debris and tangled wire. For the men of the Twenty-Second their morale was high, exalted by the emergency and by his knowledge of the seriousness of the situation.

2nd Apr 1918: 22nd Bn view Ypres battlefields for last time

The men rested and spent the time cleaning equipment in preparation for the move to the Somme. At 4.40pm motor buses were boarded at Neuve Eglise and the 22nd Battalion moved to billets at Berthen, about nine kilometres from Bailleul. From the big hill outside Berthen (Mont Kemmel, photograph right) a last view for the men of the 22nd was obtainable of Ypres and the Flanders battlefields.

31st Mar 1918: 22nd Bn begin move to the Somme

By now word had reached the battalion that tremendous German offensive had been launched on the Somme, and that within a few days all the old battlefields that had been won at such a heavy cost were now in German hands. A move south was expected and at 10.30pm the 10th Cheshire Battalion (25th Division) that had been fighting on the Somme in the German Offensive arrived to effect the relief.

31st Mar 1918: Gas barrage placed on Germans at Warneton in front of 22nd Bn

At 1am a planned large scale gas attack using 4 inch Stokes Mortars and Livens Projectors took place, but the barrage put down was weak. However with clear skies observation was good and continuous streams of gassed Germans could be seen carried out of Warneton.

23rd Mar 1918: 22nd Bn return to front line

The 22nd Battalion once again took up position in the front line posts as previously, relieving the 21st Battalion, and where the gigantic ‘minnies’ were even more active than on the previous tour causing a number of casualties. Major Dooley became Commanding Officer at La Basse Ville and Lieut. Braithwaite took over his ‘C’ Company.

22nd Mar 1918: 22nd Bn on front line fatigues shelled with gas

With the start on the previous morning of the German Spring Offensive on the Somme to the south, enemy artillery and raiding was active across the whole front. Owing to the 24th Battalion losing 150 men to gas shells the previous day the 22nd Battalion had extra work on strengthening the line, with nine officers and 250 men working at night. The men from the 22nd were too subject to these gas shells which caused a number of casualties.

15th Mar 1918: 22nd Bn relieved and return to the Catacombs

At 9pm the 22nd Battalion was relieved by the 21st Battalion who two nights later were raided by the Germans after a heavy Minnenwerfer barrage. The Battalion spent the next eight days in reserve with B, C, & D Companies at the Catacombs and A Coy plus Battalion HQ at Red Lodge, though every night spent working around the front line posts. The accommodation at the Catacombs ‘underground city’ was very comfortable and offered a good nights rest.