Inspired by interviews and notes by a member of the 2nd City Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, this site portrays the particular group of volunteer soldiers, from enlistment to their service in the Battle of the Somme. In memory of the contributor of the journal, Private Allan Arthur Bell 8055 and the Pals that served with him. Copyright Bell Family. All rights reserved. Please see acknowledgments and feel free to comment in the Guest Book or individual Posts.
This photograph shows the view from Gird Support Trench as seen by the supporting troops on 12th October 1916.
The British front line was situated at the bottom of the depression close to the vegetation marking the track running across the image from the chalky white storage area next to the road.
The German front line – Bayonet Trench – was located at the top of the rise overlooking the British advance. The 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers assaulted on this section of the line, with the 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment immediately to their left (north). Neither Battalion made much progress in the face of withering machine gun fire from the German defenders.
Arthur Bell was wounded by shrapnel in the foot at this place. He was evacuated home.
This photograph shows the view from Glatz Redoubt towards the village of Montauban. After advancing from the British front line, the 19th Manchester Battalion successfully took the strong point at Glatz Redoubt in the first phase of the assault. The fortified position behind the German first and second lines had deep dugouts in the northern slope; protecting the defensive position from the British artillery bombardment.
The 17th Manchester Battalion – part of 90th Brigade – formed the second phase of the assault, advancing from rear assembly trenches, through the British and German lines to catch up with their City comrades at Glatz. They then progressed into railway valley – at the bottom of the slope – where they waited for the British creeping barrage to progress beyond the village. Some of the men sheltered from enfilade machine gun fire in the sunken section of the lane, bounded by trees.
When the barrage lifted to German positions beyond Montauban, the Royal Engineers laid down a dense smoke screen with trench mortars in Glatz Redoubt. The 16th and 17th Manchesters then advanced up the hill into the village with the 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers. The main German defensive positions were situated in Southern Trench and hedgerows, located in the open field shown on the photograph. Overcoming severe machine gun fire, 90th Brigade advanced into the village. 17th Manchesters progressed to new defensive positions to beyond Montauban and eastwards, towards Bernafay Wood.