War Diaries – Alick Owen

War Diaries –Alick Owen – Durham Light Infantry

Private Alick Owen, 15th Btn Durham Light Infantry (formerly of the North Staffs)
Died Sunday, 31 March 1918, aged 19
Commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial, France and Remembered in Tutbury Churchyard

Owen was one of the MISSING casualties listed at the end of this page

15th Btn Durham Light Infantry (DLI)

1-31 March 1918 War Diary (Hand Written)


LIERAMONT – in Reserve (Divisional) Working Parties


Lt R Donaldson to England for 6 months leave

At 5.00 am[1] the Battalion moved to the BROWN LINE E of HEUDICOURT.  During the day the BROWN LINE was subjected to heavy shellfire. 

At 7.15pm the battalion moved to an assembly point EAST of the RAILTON CROSS ROADS and ??? attacked the YELLOW LINE and YELLOW SUPPORT, WEST of VAUCELETTE FARM, which lines had been won by the enemy earlier in the day. 

The attack was entirely successful but unfortunately in this operation the Commanding Officer Lt Col HW FESTING was killed.  The battalion obtained touch on their right with the 2nd LINCOLNSHIRE REGT.  Capt SD THORPE MC took over command of the Battn.


Having obtained information as to the whereabouts of the 1st LINCOLNS on our left who were holding CHAPEL HILL, at 3.0am an effort was made to obtain touch with them by a bombing raid but owing to heavy M.G. fire from the dugouts on the RAILTON-VAUCELETTE FARM ROAD it was only possible to gain ground to the road, where a block was established.

From 8 am onwards the positions were subjected to heavy shell fire and during the morning two enemy efforts to gain the YELLOW LINE were repulsed by our own L.G. and rifle fire.

Enemy artillery fire continued and at 12 noon the enemy were observed massing for an attack.  At 12.15pm under orders from the 62nd BRIGADE the YELLOW LINE was evacuated the Battalion withdrawing through the BROWN LINE to PIONEER CAMP. 

Here the Battn. assembled and marched to LIERAMONT & owing to the village being under shell fire the Battn moved to the LIERAMONT-NURLU ROAD.  At 6.30 pm the Battn moved to a position on the GREEN LINE NW of TEMPLEUX-LA-FOSSE


At 8.15 am the enemy attacked and at 8.30 am advice was received that the Battn on our right was withdrawing and the Battn immediately withdrew through C1-DERIERRE WOOD finally taking up a position in LARRES TRENCH ?? NW of AIXECOURT-LE-HAUT.  During this operation the Battn fought a stern Rear-guard action.

At 12.30 pm the enemy attacked our position through a mist and owing to the 2nd LINCOLNS on our left withdrawing the Battn evacuated the line and moved through HAUT ALLAINES to a position N of FEUILLAUCOURT. 

At 2pm the enemy attached the troops holding MOUNT ST QUENTIN.  This place was evacuated and under personal instructions from the G.O.C. 64th BRIGADE the Battn withdrew to a position from CLERY COPSE to the RIVER SOMME EAST of CLERY. 

At 10pm the enemy attacked our right flank gaining a little ground in consequence of which a defensive flank was formed.  Later on, our right flank was moved to the EASTERN edge of CLERY where we obtained touch with the M.G.C.


At 8.00 am the enemy shelled our positions and at 8.30 am attacked in force, the position became untenable and the Battn withdrew under heavy M.G. and artillery fire. A position was taken up NE of HEM from which the Battn withdrew under heavy pressure to a position about 500 yards WEST of the last position. 

Our line was reinforced with new troops and at 2.30 pm a counter attack was successfully made and our position NE of HEM regained.  During these operations Armoured Cars on our left flank materially assisted our withdrawal checking the enemy progress. 

At 5 pm the enemy made a vigorous attack (using large numbers of troops) the brunt of which fell upon our left and we again withdrew to the position 500 yards WEST. 

At night the right flank of the line resting on the N bank of the SOMME was withdrawn to CORLU and the Division being relieved by the 35th Division the Battn marched to SUZANNE where the Battn was billeted for the night.


The Battn was moved to BRAY and a company was formed out of the Battn (under Capt SH HERBERT MC) became a Company of a Composite Battn formed from the 64th BRIGADE under command of MAJOR JH COLES of the 1st EAST YORKS.  The remnants of the Battn moved to a camp N of CHIPILLY where they bivouacked for the night.

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From the remnants of the Battn a Company 70 strong was formed under LEIUT W GOOD was formed and joined LT COL McCULLOCH DCM who was commanding a Composite Battn.  These Composite Battns took up position in BRAY from which they withdrew to RIBEMONT at 2pm where the party were in Reserve.


The Composite Battns moved to HEILLY in Reserve.  Stragglers commenced to join the Battn Transport at BEAUCOURT.


The Composite Battns remained at HEILLY in Reserve.  On the night of the 29th the Stragglers moved to BONNAY in the Reserve.


The composite Battalion moved to FRENCHENCOURT where they billeted for the night.  The Battalion transport moved to ALLONVILLE with the Stragglers Party


The Composite Battalions disbanded, men joining their own Battalions.  Major CER HOLROYD-SMITH MC took over command of the Battalion

Officers OR

Killed in Action            2          29
Died of Wounds          2            4
Wounded & Missing    2
Missing                        4        226
Wounded                    7         227
                                   17       486

[1] The German artillery barrage started at 04:40 – tis troop movement will be in response to the artillery.