May 1917          War Diary of the 8th York & Lancaster Regiment ( part of the 70th Brigade of the 23rd Division ) for the period when Tom Houseman was in France.

Wed 9th

BILLETS - Company football. “B” beat H.Q. 4-2


Company football (final) “D” beat “B” 1-0 ( near FLAMERTINGHE)


CAMP - Took over MONTREAL CAMP from 10th R WAR REGIMENT. March route from BOESCHEPE area


YPRES - Relieved 9th CHESHIRE REGIMENT (19th DIV) as reserve Batallion to left Brigade. Batt H.Q. RAMPARTS, YPRES. Companies in or near INFANTRY BARRACKS. L.T W. CAMPEY (wounded on the Somme) rejoined.

Sun 13th

YPRES shelled intermittently - no casualties to us. CAPT. R. TROTTER proceeded to 2nd Army School at WISQUES. Battalion engaged on cable burying during the night. Officers of 8th R WEST KENTS arrived to reconnoitre preparatory to 70th Brigade being relieved by 72nd Brigade.


Fairly quiet in YPRES. Relief by 8th R.W.K commenced at 11pm & finished by about


BILLETS -12.40am today. Battalion entrained at YPRES & went by rail to ABEELE, hence marching to billets previously occupied in BOESCHEPE area, rriving 4.30am. Day spent in rest & cleaning up. C.O returned from leave.


Battalion inspected by Companies by C.O. Company training carried on. 2 LT.COOK returned from hospital.


Took part in Brigade Tactical Scheme (attacking taped trenches) near BOESCHEPE. Marched out 6.45am, returned 4pm.


Same as previous day. Inter Coy football. H.Q - goals. “D2 Coy - goals.                   


Carried on work in billets. Inter Coy football. H.Q 1 goal. “D” Coy 7 goals.

Sun 20th

Church Parade in morning, afternoon B.H.Q moved to “D” Company’s billet. Draft of 47 arrived.


Took part in Brigade Tactical Scheme over same ground near BOESCHEPE. Contact aeroplane in attendance. CORPS COMMANDER present. CAPT KIND went to Signalling lecture.


Carried on Brigade Tactical Scheme. Wet day. Dummy trenches filled in at conclusion of day’s practice.


Battalion Football Final. “A” 3, “D” 1


Entrained from ABEELE to YPRES & took over HILL to Sub Sector from 10th WEST RIDING REGT. Trenches from WINDY CORNER to the RAILWAY CUTTING (ref ZILLEBEKE map). Good relief, tho’ rather late in completion (4.30am).


TRENCHES - Nothing of importance to report. From today up to the conclusion of our tour enemy shelling was very heavy chiefly in retaliation for our continued artillery activity.


As Above  

Sun 27th

As Above             


As Above    


Commanding Officer proceeded to BOESCHEPE to watch a scheme by 69th Bde. CAPT J.W. BARLOW M.C. Took command.


Relieved by 10th NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS, march route to VANCOUVER CAMP, near VLAMERTINGHE, without casualties, where the C.O. Rejoined. Casualties in above tour about 80 O.R, 2 LT BLUMBERG (hospital).


CAMP - CAPT R. TROTTER proceeded to Base on special duty.The camp was shelled during the night of 31st/1st - we vacated for a while. No casualties.




Camp shelled at night by a few 5.9’s.


BIVOUAC - GENERAL SIR J.M. BABINGTON K.C.M.G. COMDR. 23rd Division, addressed all affairs on the subject of the forthcoming push. Camp shelled in afternoon & finally evacuated for bivouacs nearby, where the unit spent the night. The C.O.’S orderly was killed , also an artillery officer.

Sun 3rd

Bivouacs moved to G.18.b.8.4 where we spent 3rd & 4th. Emergency route to front line was reconnoitred by companies.


Day spent in inmterior economy, issuing fighting kit etc. At night we relieved the 13th D.L.I in the MOUNT SORRELL Sector, relief being completed with 3 killed  and 6 wounded



TRENCHES - 4.30am. We had one Company in the front line, one in the MT SORRELL dugouts, one in STAFFORD STREET and one in RITZ STREET passed quietly.


The 9th YORK & LANCASTER took over the line on the night of the 5th/6th. We took up assembly positions - B & C Coys MAPLE ST, A & D MT SORRELL in dugouts, Battalion H.Q. Same place as A & D. Another quiet day.


We shared in the great victory by the 2nd Army. Zero hours 3.10am. The 9th Y & L took their objective in fine style, and at 6.50am we left their new line to attack the final objective (ZILLEBEKE map - IMAGE CRESCENT I.36.b.0.3 to I.30.d.5.1 approx). This we took with a strong-point about 50 yards in advance of the right flank, also the KNOLL, an eminence in NO MAN’S LAND in front of our centre. Our Officer casualties were CAPT. ANDREWS (KILLED), 2 LT HART (believed killed), 2 LT LUCAS (believed killed) and 2 LT’S ASTON, IMISON, VANSENDEN, LT. POPPLEWELL, CAPT. BELL, & 2 LT. BILLINGTON wounded. Estimated O.R. Casualties 300. No counter attacks after the position had once been consolidated.


We held our our gains, tho’ there was a terrific bombardment between 9 & 10.30pm. Our guns broke up an attempted counter-attack. Later we were relieved inthe front line by the 9th YORK & LANCASTER REGIMENT, and the remnant of our unit took up quarters in MT. SORRELL duponts where we spent the night in rest.



On the night of the 9/10 we were relieved by the 1st N STAFFORD REGT. ( 72nd Bde. 4th Div. ) & returned by lorry to M Camp, near BUSSEBOOM where

Sun 10th

CAMP - we lay throughout the 10th June. 2 new Officers joined, 2 LT’s ELSWORTH & MARPLES.


Interior economy, kit inspections etc. Commanding Officer gave a dinner, to those Officers who had been all thro’ the attack in POPERINGHE. Present LT.COL. S.L. WHATFORD D.S.O, CAPT. J.E. BARLOW M.C., CAPT. S.L. KIND, CAPT. A.C. HATFIELD, CAPT. E. HARLEY, CAPT. J.C. RAMPTON, LT. J. HOLLAND (R.A.M.C.), LT. DuVAL M.C. (C.E.), 2 LT M.F.K. FRASER.


BILLETS - 70th Bde was inspected and addressed by MAJOR GEN.SIR J.M. BABINGTON K.C.M.G. Comdg. 23rd Div, afterwards proceeding by march route to billets and camp in METEREN area ( near BAILLEUL), Battalion arrived in billets about 5pm.


Cleaning up, reorganisation etc


Training under Company arrangements, specialists under their own Officers.


As above. The C.O. Was asked to be President of the 70th Bde Horse Show Commitee.


Training as above.


Ditto. Cricket vs 9th YORK & LANCASTER. Result a loss by 70 runs to 49. ( MAJOR A.G. LYNCH 22 ).


Training as above. Concert in METEREN Y.M.C.A. By the TIVOLIES from POPERINGHE. Present - BRIG. GEN. H. GORDON C.B. D.S.O., LT. COL. WATSON C.M.G., LT. COL. WHATFORD D.S.O. and practically the whole battalion with many other officers of the 70th Bde. An excellent programme was submitted.

Tom Houseman was posted to Base depot on the 14th of June and then to the Command depot in Ripon on the 31st of August 1917 .