Oldham Historical Research Group

'What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- Only the monstrous anger of the guns.'

from 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' by Wilfred Owen

1914 - 1918

From the National Archives: Unit War Diaries of the British Army 1914 - 1922

"These records are the unit war diaries of the British Army in the First World War. They are not personal diaries (try the Imperial War Museum for those). They are part of a large series of records, WO 95, which contains many more diaries scheduled for digitisation. We are now conserving, sorting, digitising and itemising thousands more diaries from the WO 95 series as part of our First World War 100 programme."
Full details on the National Archives website HERE

1st January - 1st February 1916 ... File WO-95_1663_2

Examples of Diary Pages

© Crown Copyright


© Crown Copyright



November 1916
December 1916
January 1917
February 1917

March 1917

April 1917
May 1917

JANUARY 1916 ... File WO-95_1663_2

WO 95_1663_2-2
1st January - 17th January 1916

Next page : WO 95_1663_2-24

22nd Brigade
7th Division
24th Battalion
Manchester Regiment
January 1916


Next page : WO 95_1663_2-25

To Officer
i/c A. G.s Office

Herewith War diary of the
24th Manchester Regt. for the period
1st - to 31st January 1916

P.M. Magnay, Major
Commandg. 24th Manchester Rgt.


Next page : WO 95_1663_2-26

Volume III, January 1916
Ref map AMIENS Sheet 12, 1/80,000

AUMONT (SOMME) Jan.1st 10pm
Weather - Wind N.W. Occasional heavy showers during day and night.
Training - Training was carried on under Company arrangements. Bombing and Machine Gun classes continued.
Improvement Scheme - Soyer Stoves installed in Bath House. Latrines completed and supplied with seats. Food cupboards in course of provision in men's billets.

AUMONT (SOMME) Jan. 2nd 10pm
Weather - Windy and dull. Occasional rain.
Church services held.
Improvement Scheme - Roads cleaned and refuse carted away.

AUMONT (SOMME) Jan. 3rd 10pm
Weather - Wind changed further south; occasional fine rain.
Training - Company training in Field Work - rapid extensions - Wiring.
Improvement Scheme - Sanitary areas completed for each Company.
Footpaths in course of metalling with chalk.

AUMONT (SOMME) Jan. 4th 10pm
Weather - Occasional sunshine with fine rain at intervals.
Training - Battalion attack scheme on enemy position of 400x frontage from A in AUMONT to 400y north.
Battalion attacked over ground from BELLOY ST. LEONARD.
One-man trenches were dug in captured position and wire entanglements erected.


Next page : WO 95_1663_2-27

AUMONT Jan 4th 10pm
Improvement Scheme - roads swept and mud removed to adjoining fields.
Night latrine tubs in course of provision for billets.
Isolated latrines in course of construction in addition to those already provided.

AUMONT Jan 5th 10pm
Weather - Wind W.S.W. dull
Training - 2 N.C.O.s and three men from 54th Coy. P.E. attached to the Battalion for Wiring and Revetting. Classes were held in these subjects. Bombing and training under Company arrangments.
Improvement Scheme - Roads cleaned and latrine all covered in.

AUMONT Jan 6th 10pm
Weather - Wind S.W. dull - fine rain at intervals in the morning.
Training - Battalion attack on enemy redoubt at pt 140 SELINCOURT. Attack started from pt 113 LINCHEUX.
Night operations - Attack on enemy trenches E. of Mericourt. Flares were fired from enemy trenches to distinguish movements in the ranks for the attackers.


Next page : WO 95_1663_2-28

AUMONT Jan 7th 10 pm.
Weather - Winds W. Fine.
Training - Training under Company arrangements. Bombing and Signalling classes held. Draft of 40 men arrived from the Base.
Improvement Scheme - Grease traps provided for companies.

AUMONT Jan 8th 10 pm.
Weather - Wind S.W. Rain in morning.
Training - Company training in the morning. Football match in the afternoon v. 2nd Bn. R. Warwick Regt. for General Watt's Cup.

AUMONT Jan 9th 10 pm.
Weather - Wind W.S.W. Fine and bright.
Divine Service held.

AUMONT Jan 10th 11 pm.
Weather - Wind S.W. Dull inclined to rain.
Training - Company training in the morning. Football match in the afternoon v. 20th Bn. Manchester Rgt.
Improvement Scheme - A and B Companies provided with Ablution Benches.


Next page : WO 95_1663_2-29

AUMONT Jan 11th 10 pm.
Weather - Wind S.W. Fine
Training - Trenches - Scheme of trenches commenced in village area. Approximate length 150 yds. of enemy trenches opposite equal length of our own trenches. A and D Companies allotted the enemy trenches and C and B Companies the
British trenches.
Improvement Scheme - Ablution bench provided for C Company.

AUMONT Jan 12th 11 pm.
Weather - Wind stronger S.W. Rain in afternoon.
Training - Brigade Tactical Exercise. Advance Guard to a Division Area St. AUBIN - FRICAMPS (ref AMIENS Sheet 12 1/80,000)
The 24th Battalion was in reserve and later took up part of the outpost line as No. 1 Outpost section south of FRICAMPS.

AUMONT Jan 13th 10 pm.
Weather - Wind strong W.S.W. Fine and bright. Colder.
Training - Work on trench scheme continued.
Improvement Scheme - Roads swept and chained. All latrines provided with shelters and box seats. Lids to seats in course of preparation.


WO 95_1663_2-2
18th January - 1st February 1916

Next page : WO 95_1663_2-30

AUMONT Jan 14th 10pm
Weather fine and bright.
Training - Entrenching in the morning.
Battalion day and night outpost scheme with flagged enemy troops in the area BELLOY - AVELESGES.

AUMONT Jan 15th 10pm
Weather - Wind S.W. Fine rain during the day.
Training - Entrenching
Improvement Scheme - Roads cleaned and drains cleared.

AUMONT Jan 16th 9pm
Weather - Wind S.W. Fine rain in the morning.
Divine Services held.

AUMONT Jan, 17th 10pm
Weather - Wind S.W. Some rain during day.
Training - (Scheme attached) Trenches were laid out and dug during the preceeding few days. They were manned at noon on the 17th, two half companies being in the enemy trecnhes and a similar number in the friendly trenches. The scheme continued for 48 hours; reliefs were arranged, attacks and counter attacks with night wiring, were carried out. Gas attacks were arranged and were successful.


Next page . WO 95_1663_2-31
AUMONT Jan 18th 10pm
Weather - Wind strong S.W. Fine.
Training - Trench scheme continued. Draft of 1 Sgt., 19 men arrived from Base.
Improvement Scheme - Shelters in course of provision for ablution benches. Roads drained.

AUMONT Jan 19th 10pm
Weather - Wind S.S.W. Fine
Training - Trench scheme continued until 12 noon. The rest of the day was devoted to inspections and kit cleaning etc.

AUMONT Jan 20th 10pm
Weather - Wind S.W. Fine
Training - Training under Company arrangements.
Improvement Scheme - Half ablution benches provided with covers.

AUMONT Jan 21st 10pm
Weather - Fine - wind S.W.
Training - Training carried out under Company arrangements.


Next page : WO 95_1663_2-32

AUMONT Jan 22nd 9pm
Weather - Fine in morning - rain in afternoon.
Training - Kit inspections etc. held. Classes in Sniping; Machine Gun and Signalling continued.;
League match for General Watt's Cup v. 1st Bn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

AUMONT Jan 23rd 10pm
Weather - Fine. Wind S,W, Misty in the afternoon.
Parades - Divine Service held. Medical inspections for two companies each week.
Football match between officers and N.C.O.s in the afternoon.

AUMONT Jan 24th 10pm
Weather - Fine. Wind S,W,
Training - Training carried on under Company arrangements.
Classes in Signalling, Machine Gunnery and Grenade work.

AUMONT Jan 25th 10pm
Weather - Fine. Wind South
Training - Training under Company arrangements.
Improvement Scheme - Ablution bench shelter completed.
Standing for horses and mules under construction.


Next page : WO 95_1663_2-33

Ref. AMIENS sheet 12, 1/80,000

AUMONT Jan 26th 10 pm
Weather - Wind S.W. Some fine rain in the morning.
Training - Battalion scheme - Escort to a convoy proceeding up the PARIS - CALAIS Road. Escort moved along AUMONT - AVELESGES - AIRAINES road and engaged a flagged enemy. Convoy represented by a mule train.

AUMONT Jan 27th 10 pm
Weather - Fine, wind S.W.
Training - Training under Company arrangements.

AUMONT Jan 28th 10 pm
Weather - Fine, wind S.W.
Training - Completion of trenches preparatory ot trench scheme.

AUMONT Jan 29th 10 pm
Weather - Wind S.W. Fine,
MOVE - The Battalion moved to REINCOURT via WARLUS and MONTAGNE. Distance about 8 miles. the Battalion arrived in billets at RIENCOURT at 4:30 pm.

RIENCOURTJan 30th 10 pm.
Weather - Fine and bright wind S.
Battalion remained in billets at RIENCOURT.


Next page : WO 95_1663_2-34

Ref AMIENS sheet 12 Ref 1/80,000

ST VAST Jan 31st 10pm
Weather - Wind S.E. fine and bright.
MOVE - The Battalion left RIENCOURT at 9 am and marched via CAVILLON - PICQUIGNY - LA CHAUSSEE to ST VAST arriving in billets about 1pm.

PONT-NOYELLES Feb 1st 10pm
Weather - Fine and bright, wind East.
MOVE - The Battalion left ST VAST at 9 am and marched via BERTANGLES - COISY - ALLONVILLE to PONT-NOYELLES arriving at PONT-NOYELLES at 2 pm.

P.M. Magnay, Major
for Lieut. Colonel
Commanding 24th Manchester Regt.


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Transcribed by Sheila Goodyear
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