Regimental Association of the Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)

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Guillemont Pt ll Guillemont Pt lll Ginchy

Leinster Regiment Cap Badge

Ginchy

So it was that after being victorious at Guillemont the 7th Leinsters were ordered to move out for the next phase of the battle, the attack on Ginchy, a village north east of Guillemont and the next objective to be taken in the advance on German held France.

A day later, in readiness for another attack on Ginchy following its recapture by the German army from the 7th Division, the 7th Leinster were occupying the Briqueterie, a position held just a week or so before by the 2nd Leinster. The 7th Leinster remained at the Briqueterie until the 8th September 1916 when they were ordered to  'dig in' to the immediate east of Guillemont cemetery, some two hundred yards (280 metres) before the cross roads. Once more they would be joined in battle on the 9th September by the 6th Royal Irish, the 8th Royal Munster, the 6th Connaught, the Hampshire Pioneer Battalion and a field company of the Royal Engineers.

Gruesomely the way forward was significantly obstructed by the corpses of the British fallen would had attempted to advance before the arrival of the Leinsters. The attack was scheduled to commence at 5.45pm in the afternoon.

The troops of the Royal Irish, Royal Munster & Connaught advanced as the first wave followed immediately by the Leinsters in the second wave. The enemy stronghold in Ginchy was heavily defended and the pre-advance barrage onto the German positions by the artillery had not been effective. The outcome was catastrophic when, with little available cover, the Irish Regiments were torn by a hail of machine gun fire. Pinned down with practically all the battalion officers dead it was left to Lieutenants Farrell and Keating to find a way out of the predicament. The whole brigade continued to be swept by deadly machine gun fire for hours on end when finally at 9 p.m. Lieutenant V. J. Farrell managed to lead the remnant of the 7th Leinster back to the Guillemont-Bapaume road. For his courage under fire Lt. Farrell was awarded the Military Cross. The 7th Leinsters left behind a trench full of dead and wounded and all around lay dismembered bodies.

At 10 p.m. at the headquarters of the Munsters located immediately east of the cemetery cross roads, it was concluded that with Ginchy now surrounded by the 47th Brigade, the attack would be suspended until further reinforcements were available. Four hours later the 4th Grenadier Guards arrived to relieve what was left of the 47th Brigade and the 7th Leinsters moved out to return to Carnoy. On the 18 September the 7th Leinsters moved to billets 4 miles south of Abbeville and out of the Battle of the Somme.

written by Don Dickson


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