The HAC in the Great War - February 1917



February in France was very cold. The 1st Battalion was in and out of the line around the Somme. On the 7th February the Commanding Officer (pictured) was killed, and that evening the Battalion, in spite of this, conducted a spirited attack on Bailescourt Farm and the Sunken Road, taking 86 prisoners, and consolidating as best they could on icy, solid ground.

An illustration of the fierceness of the German counter bombardment is that between 7th and 9th February telephone lines to the rear were cut eighty times. The battalion was finally relieved on 15th February but was back in the line on the 21st, with newly equipped gumboots in response to many cases of trench foot, and conducted another major attack on 25th February.

They were finally relieved on 28th February having, during this month alone, suffered 39 dead and 100 wounded. The 2nd Battalion spent the early part of the month in training, and were inspected by General Nivelle, a French General whose offensives on 1917 were to contribute to a succession of mutinies in the French Army. They moved into the line late in the month for a week.

In Egypt, both A and B Batteries were in bases.