On 1 July 1916, the 34th Division lost 6,380 casualties during the first day of the battle of the Somme, the highest of any division.  As a result, 102 (Tyneside Scottish) and 103 (Tyneside Irish) Brigades were shattered.  They were exchanged with 111 and 112 Brigades from 37th Division for rest and recuperation.  The 8th East Lancashires were going into the heart of the battle.

 

 

 

In the early hours of 15 July 1916, Lieutenant-Colonel Mackay OC 8th East Lancashire received the specific orders that 112 Brigade would attack at 9.20am after an hours bombardment of the village of Pozieres, the key to the German 2nd line of defence.  The battalion lead the brigade in the assault on the village - the men's first experience of going 'over the top'.  They were to lose over 350 casualties including almost 100 killed outright.  The battalion would never be the same again 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                   8th East Lancashire Officers at Bavincourt 1916

 

At 8.30am on 15 November 1916, after the preliminary bombardment of their objective Frankfurt Trench, the men advanced between Crater Lane and Lager Alley in two waves.  In the fog they got to within 50 yards of Munich Trench, A and  D  Companies leading the way, followed by B and C. Suddenly they were fired upon by machine guns and rifles at very short range.  The men went to ground,  before being forced to pull back.  Ten of their officers were killed in this attack on the Redan Ridge between Serre and Beaumont Hamel.  Allegations were made that many of the 150 casualties were caused by 'friendly-fire'  The battalion's second assault in the Somme battle had ended in failure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(With kind permission

of Mike Wells)

 

 

 

 

 

8th East Lancs

Dedicated to the men of the 8th (Service) Battalion,

East Lancashire Regiment in the Great War.