Ovillers 16 July 1915

The Battalion moved to LA BOISSELLE on 14 July and then into the trenches. That evening they 'reconnoitred LA BOISSELLE' and 2 men (Other Ranks) were wounded.

The 143rd Brigade was ordered to attack OVILLIERS-LA-BOISELLE on the night of 15 July together with the 74th and 75th Infantry Brigades. There had already been gains earlier in the month.

143 Infantry Brigade Operation Order No 69
15 July 1916


The Bde will attack OVILLERS-LA-BOISSELLE tonight in conjunction with 74 and 75 Inf Bdes


74 Inf Bde is attacking at 1am between the lines X8B75 (inclusive) and X8B31 (inclusive). Objective X8B56 (inclusive)-X8B24(exclusive).


5th R War Regt will form up with their right flank on X3C51 and their left flank about X9A55 faxing W by 12.55am


At 1am, at which hour the artillery barrage will lift from their first objective, they will attack between the lines X3C02 and X8B75 (exclusive) to the objective X2D85 and X8B56 (exclusive).


They will move to their place of assembly via X9D58 and X9B4.4

(Bde = Brigade)

From the War Diary

"16th The Battn was ordered to attack as in BD OO 69 para 3
The attack was launched at 2.3 am and the trenches taken without opposition andheld - the Battn being disposed as shown in Map (Red lines). The enemy counter attacked several times at dawn."

The battalion was relieved at midnight on the evening of 16th by the 6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Four officers and 38 other ranks had been killed.
3 officers and 74 other ranks had been wounded and there were 5 ORs missing.

Soldiers Who Died lists

  • 1 Killed in Action 16/7
  • 1 Died of Wounds on 17/7
  • 1 Killed in Action on 17/7
  • 34 Killed in Action on 18/7.

La Boisselle by Michael Stedman in the Battleground Europe series.

Ovillers village finally capitulated on the 15/16th July. By this time it was almost surrounded and its final defence by the 2nd/15th Reserve Regiments has to be regarded as an extraordinary feat of resilience and bravery. At 2.00am on the 15th July, Ovillers was attacked by the 32nd Division from the south-west and by 25thDivision from the north-east, east and south but little progress was made, the men being indeed war weary. After nightfall the 32nd Division's troops were relieved by 144 Brigade of teh 48th Division. At 1.00am, on the 16th July, efforts to capture the village were renewed by the 1/5th Royal Warwicks, and other units belonging to 74 and 144 Brigades. Fighting took place throughout the day until, that evening, two officers and 126 unwounded other ranks finally surrendered to men of the 11th Lancashire Fusiliers and 2nd Royal Irish Rifles. The senior German company officer left stated afterwards that he had only 30 men left, and that his repeated requests for relief or reinforcement had been ignored. The cellars and dug-outs were packed with German wounded. Next morning about 300 yards of trench north of Ovillers also fell to the men of 144 Brigade. In their haste to get out the Germans, who were in danger of being enveloped from the east, were forced to leave a further 80 wounded men behind there.

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