Guillemont 1916

On 5 September 1916, 11 DLI were ‘resting’ in shell holes covered in tarpaulins and whatever other debris could be found by way of shelter. It was not much of a rest after several days of exhausting work. On 3 September ‘A’ Company with 59th Brigade and ‘D’ Company with the Irishmen of 47th Brigade made a finally successful attack on the German strongpoint at Guillemont, going in perilously close to a creeping bombardment to increase the level of surprise. The plan worked and the two companies from 11 DLI promptly set to making the trenches good for following troops while the infantrymen pressed on. They were quickly followed by reinforcements from B Company and C Company, who took over from the infantry to both consolidate and hold the line under the command of Major Lloyd. It was an astonishing feat that lasted more than 48 hours before they were relieved, short of water and supplies. Of all the times that 11 DLI went into action this was probably the clearest example of what it meant to be Pioneers – labour and infantry combined. At least 27 were dead and missing. Many more were wounded.

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