21st Division 1914-18...a divisional history

Trench Raid 30th-31st July 1917.

Extract taken from 62nd Brigade war diary  National Archives WO95.2152 

Appendix VII

SECRET Copy No 1

62nd Infantry Brigade order no 22

Ref Map 51b.17 1/20.000 and

VII Corps Topo. Map. 1/10.000 No.240

 1 A Raid will be carried out by the 10th Yorkshire Regt.

    on 31st July on the following objective:-

    Enemy's post just north of the cross roads at the junction of

    RIVER ROAD and ROTTEN ROW at U.1.d.70.95- U.1.b.63.06

    and the dugouts in the trench in the rear in ROTTEN ROW.

2 Zero hour will be 2.0 am [see amendment doc, later altered to 1.30 am]

3 Strength of raiding party- 2 officer and 45 O.R. With 6 O.R. From

   the 98th field Coy. R.E. To fire Bangalore Torpedoes if the wire is not cut.

4 The Raid will be carried out without Artillery support.

5 The Divisional M.G. officer has arranged for the co-operation

   of the guns of the 62nd and 110th M.G. Coys. A map showing the

   distribution of the guns will be fowarded to O.C. 10th Yorkshire Regt.

6 O.C. 62nd M.T. Battery will co-operate as follows:-

        (a) Two guns in WOOD TRENCH will maintain a very slow rate of fire

              from midnight 30/31 until zero, on following targets:-

                      (i) gun emplacement – U.2.a.0.9

                      (ii) Trenches in ROTTEN ROW- U.1.b.8.0.

        (b) At zero the above two guns will gradually increase their rate of fire

             until Zero plus 14, when they will cease fire at following targets:-

                      (i) Gun emplacement- U.2.a.0.9.

                      (ii) FONTAINE TRENCH (not closer to objective than 250yds.)

          (c) Two further guns will be installed, during darkness, at the junction of

                RIVER ROAD and CONTEST ROAD and will open fire at Zero; one

                of these guns firing on enemy's posts immediately south of RIVER ROAD

                and ROTTEN ROW junction, but no shell to fall nearer this junction

                than a 100 yds. The second gun on enemy's machine gun about U.1.d.95.05

                or on any other gun that may open fire from this direction. Fire to be

                maintained until Zero plus 20 minutes.

7 The time of the entry into the enemy's trenches will be Zero, the time of departure

   will be Zero plus 10.

8 The following code word will be used if necessary,

                                                  LEEDS – Raid cancelled



B.M. 80/12

21st division

12th Northd Fus. (For information)

13th Northd Fus.           “

1st Lincoln R.                “

10th York R.                 “

62nd M.G.Coy.             “

62nd T.M Bty                “

64th Inf. Bde.                “

110th Inf. Bde.              “

98th Fd. Coy. R.E.        “


The raid which was primarily intended for the purpose of obtaining

an identification was quite successful, an unwounded officer being

brought in. The raid was well worked out, skilfully and energetically

led and well withdrawn. Much credit is due to the two young officers

for their initiative and those in charge of the L.T.M. Guns for their

quick grasp of the changed situation. The only point that requires

explination is, how the enemy in large numbers were wiring their front

while the heavy barrage of machine gun firing on the objective and on

the works to the flanks. The prisioner is understood to state that all

bulletts passed overhead. The question is being enquired in to by the

Divisional Machine Gun Officer.


C G Rawling

Brigadier General,

31/7/17 Comdg. 62nd Infantry Brigade.



Report on raid carried out by 10th Yorkshire Regiment on night

30th/31st July 1917.

A raiding party of the 10th Yorkshire Regiment, consisting of Lieut.

J. H. Smith M.C. (O.C.) 2nd Lieut. H.E. Read and 45 O.R., together

with 2nd Lieut. Maclaren and 4 O.R. 98th field Coy. R.E., left SHAFT

TRENCH at 12.45 am 31st July, with the idea of attacking the isolated,

but strongly defended, section of the enemy's line in ROTTEN ROW,

just north of junction of ROTTEN ROW and RIVER ROAD. On

reaching a point U.1.d.0.3. The enemy was found to be in force, working

hard upon his wire, and with a covering party of about 50. At 1.50 am the

enemy sent out patrols. An enemy patrol consisting of one officer and

one man, approaching close was rushed by 2nd Lieut. Read and a small

party. The orderly was killed and the officer captured after a close hand

to hand fight. Much confusion ensued in the enemy's lines. Our L.T.

Mortars quickly grasping the situation opened rapid on the enemy's

trenches, the Machine Guns advanced the Zero hour 10 minutes, and

the raiding party opened with their rifles. The raiding party then charged

and the enemy fled, closely followed by our men who drove them back

through the wire to their lines where they were caught by the barrage put

up by the Stokes and Machine guns. The enemy, now thoroughly confused

omitted to call for artillery support and bombed and trench mortared

their own people.

The Raiding party was back in SHAFT TRENCH by 3-5 am casualties

two, very slightly wounded.

It is estimated that our fire and bayonets caused the enemy a loss of 20.

(sg) T.G. Mathiss Lt. Colonel

Comng, 10th West Yorkshire Regt.



[Amendment document]


B.M. 80/9/2

12th Northd Fus.        110th Inf. Bde

13th Northd Fus.        150th Inf. Bde.

1st Lincoln R.             64th Inf. Bde.

10th York R.              110th M.G.Coy.

62nd M.G.Coy.          95th Bde. R.F.A.

62nd T.M.Bty             51st Bde. R.F.A.

21st division                Staff Captain

97 field Coy. R.E.       Bde. Signal Officer


Ref my B.M. 80/9 dated 27/7/17, para 2.

Zero hour will be 1.30 a.m.


G.M. Sharpe


Bde. Major

28/7/17 62nd Infantry Bde.