October 1915

Throughout October 1915, 11 DLI were in the trenches at Laventie attached to 60 Brigade, 20 Division. Major Collins took over command of the battalion from Colonel Davidson. Despite the battalion’s role as Pioneers, there was a constant drain on the skilled men in the battalion, with carpenters and blacksmiths being commandeered for other units and miners in constant demand for the newly forming Tunnelling Companies. Less obviously, drivers were also in demand, and on 5 October 1915, Corporal¬†George Richardson found himself ordered out of the battalion to become a driver with the Army Service Corps, with whom he stayed for the rest of the war.

Luckily for him, he missed a rather eccentric piece of action on 13 October, when 11 DLI was manning the front line with 60 Brigade. The German lines were shelled, a smoke screen barrage was put down and dummies were waved above the parapets to make it look like an attack. Needless to say this eminently stupid piece of theatre occasioned a massive artillery response from the Germans. 11 DLI alone lost three killed and fourteen wounded, firing off 36000 rounds of ammunition to no good purpose.

The rest of the month was spent alternating between working parties behind the lines and work in the trenches putting up wiring and straightening the line. Gradually replacements arrived from 16 and 17 DLI to make up for the losses.