Flag The Hampstead Heavies
138th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery


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German Offensive
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Diary of Events: The Allied Offensive, The Armistice, Demobilisation,
August 1918 - January 1919

8 August 1918 (Ludendorf's Black Day)
The Allied counter-offensive commences and soon results in demoralisation and mass surrenders in the German Ranks. Amiens outer defence line is freed and by evening the Battery has moved forward to east of Sailly Laurette. There are few casualties considering the heavy fighting.

11 August 1918
The Battery moves forward to Chipilly, a strong defensive point, and remains there until 23 August 1918 amid intensive activity.

23 August 1918
Under cover of darkness, the Battery moves forward to Gressaire Wood.

24 August 1918
The Battery again moves forward at night, to Bray-sur-Somme where it remains for four days. Both sides carry out heavy shelling.

28 August 1918
The Battery advances beside the Somme to north of Suzanne.

29 August 1918
A further advance is made to east of Suzanne.

30 August 1918
The Battery continues to advance, reaching Hem, where it remains for three days.

2 September 1918
The advance continues to Clery (4km north west of Peronne). German fighting becomes more desperate as their position weakens causing heavier work for the Battery.

6 September 1918
The Battery leaves the Somme valley and moves to Courcelles, south east of Peronne. A few days rest are enjoyed after a month of heavy fighting.

12 September 1918
The Battery comes into action again at Hamelot where it is badly shelled and bombed but manages to avoid casualties.

18 September 1918
A move is made to Hesbecourt where the Battery remains for a week experiencing intense activity and a steady flow of casualties.

25 September 1918
The Battery advances further to a position close to the quarries at Hargicourt, 15kms north west of St Quentin, where heavy winds and rain along with incessant shelling and little shelter make things very hard for men and horses. The Battery's main target is a portion of the Hindenburg line.

27 September 1918
The six guns fire 897 rounds, the maximum number of rounds during this phase of the fighting.

29-30 September 1918
The Hindenburg line is overcome.

1 October 1918
The Battery moves forward to the Bellicourt tunnel on the Nord canal which is taken after a very stiff fight. The tunnel is found to house billets and a dressing station as well as an ammunition dump.

5 October 1918
The Battery advances to Estrees, an exposed position frequently shelled by hostile batteries.

6 October 1918
Major H G Paris, MC and Bar, Officer Commanding 138 Heavy Battery since March 1917, is killed by enemy shellfire while attending a wounded man.

7 October 1918
Captain Lumley of 137 Heavy Battery takes command of the Hampstead Heavies who move to a new position on the outskirts of Peronne. Captain Paris is buried in the Hargicourt Quarry Military cemetery.

8 October 1918
The Battery moves forward to Montbrehain with German resistance weakening.

10-11 October 1918
Further advances are made by the Battery, first to Premont and then to Busigny.

17 October 1918
Another advance is made, to St Souplet, 8kms south of Le Cateau. The Battery experiences heavy intermittent shelling.

20 October 1918
The Battery makes its final advance, to Mazinheim. Only light artillery is to continue the advance owing to the poor state of the roads and scarcity of intact bridges.

7 November 1918
The guns return to St Souplet where the men are placed in billets.

11 November 1918
The Battery, billeted at St Souplet, celebrates the signing of the Armistice.

Mid November 1918
An influenza epidemic breaks out and 40 men are taken to hospital. There are several deaths including three men who had served with the battery since its formation.

Mid January 1919
Demobilisation begins and finally only a few men are left to hand over guns, horses and equipment.

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