Diary of Private William James Cording
In the trenches.
We went in the trenches Sheik Abbass ridge on the 2/9/1917, after coming out on the next morning our company `ad seventeen casualties, one killed and two died later on from their wounds. Stayed in the trenches about three weeks, came back for a rest then went in the line again.
On the 6th of November Going a stint started on left, our batt came out from the lines again. On the 23rd after a rest we went to another position called Horse Shoe Ridge on the 26th of December 1917, 15 miles south east of Jaffa. We were relieved by the 2\4 Dorset flag on the 8th February 1918 after having a very wet and cold time and very later rations, as it was a great difficulty to bring them up as the mud was awful. We then came out back to Ludd for a rest.
The surrender of Jerusalem December 9th 1917.
We were at Ludd for about a month having a rest, road making in the day times. About the middle of March another advance was made but we were not in the line this time, we were busy road making for them to get the guns and rations up. The advance was about eight miles; it is very hilly country as we go advance. This advance lasted about two days and then our Batt relieved the 2\4 Devon regiment on the right of the village Bellut on the 18th March 1918.
We `ad to make another advance early in the morning, we `ad to pack our blankets up in bundles, it was three `o؟ clock and it was very cold and dark. We `ad a little to eat before we started but no tea as they would not make it as it was dark. Then we scrambled out in no mans land and we were lined up in sections. Our company D was the only one to advance, in our path. The other companies were on a ridge just behind us, we `ad the order to advance and we got 40 yards from the village and soon after our artillery put about a dozen heavy shells into the village. After they finished we rushed for the village under a red Vary light which is a signal for artillery, a few machines open fire and soon after the enemies artillery open fire on us and they did put some shells over that day. We did not have much artillery, as they could not get it up our sections. There gunners were on the left we got down behind some stone, enough to cover our heads and we started firing at the enemy. Now and again Turkey would fire `is machine gun at us and he was sniping at us all day long. On that day we `ad about seventy casualties in our company. We were in this position until 25th April 1918 then we got relieved by the 1\4 DLIS. Our Colonel got the DSO by this stunt but I should like to know how he `ad been given it. We then went back behind the line for two days.
On the 27th April 1918 we took over another position - the village of El Kafir, where we relieved an Indian regiment. We were there about five weeks, we were then relieved by the 1\4 DLIS and then we marched back to Rentis about nine miles behind the line. The next day our company `ad to pack up and go to a second line position behind El Kafir for one night and came back to Rentis again feeling very tired and fed up. After having about three weeks at Rentis we were all fumigated while we were there. Then we took over another position in front of the village of Bellut where the enemy makes several raids on us while we were there. We relieved an Indian regiment. Here the 2\4 Dorsets were on our left and a Gurkha regiment on our right. In the village of Bafat we `ad previously taken, we were here for a month. In my platoon one morning we `ad two killed and seven wounded by shell fire, we all `ad a shaking up that morning as we did not have no dug outs but we soon started to make some holes to get a little cover. After this position we marched back to Wadi Yerkha where there was plenty of water which we were glad to get for a wash and drink. Here the 2\4 Dorsets got broke up and a lot of them joined our battalion. We were here for a fortnight doing working parties, and then we went back to Rentis on the 10th August.
In the evening we marched to Beit Nabala, we were marching all night and we arrived there very tired. In four days we `ad to go on parades and we went around Wilhelma on several route marches and we `ad several glasses of wine there. On the 18th August there were some sports, camel racing and mule racing and horse racing. On the 21st we saw an enemy aeroplane brought down and one of ours came down in flames.
On Thursday the 22nd we moved out at eight `o؟ clock for Rentis. We arrived at Rentis at twelve and `ad tea and then we turn in bed. The next day we got ready to march to Tin Hat Hill where we went straight on Duty in the line, we stopped here about ten days and then we marched back to Lubin where we stopped about ten days. Then we went on to Beit Nabala, we stopped here about three or four days and we `ad to give in our spare hat.
We started to march to Mulabis where we stopped the rest of that night and all the next day in an orange grove and moved out to the line in the evening when it was dark as we were under observation all the way. Our company moved right in the line and a couple of platoons went on duty. The rest of the battalion was a little way behind a ridge. The next night some of us `ad to fill in some trenches so that they could get the guns and march the troops over quietly. During the night a lot of troops went out in no mans land till it was time to advance. The Turk would open up his machine guns now and again.