• Si Biggs

Operations on the River Ancre

Updated: Mar 1

2nd February 1917


Operations on the River Ancre by 63rd (RN) Division The capture of Puisieux Trench.


After a short spell out of the line, the Hood battalion returned on the night of 1-2 February 1917 with the aim of attacking the two German trenches commanding Grancourt. The attack was planned to begin at 23.00. The attacking forces from the RND were given their separate objectives: the Hood was detailed to attack a well defined sector of German trench and an ill defined group of posts in the valley. They were on the extreme right of the attack, closest to the river. An effort had been made to link up the shell holes into a continuous trench in which the attacking sailors could assemble. It gave them little cover, but it was here that the companies lined up at 21.00 on the evening of 03/02/1917.


There was a hard frost (the water froze in their bottles) and a bright moon.


Puisieux trench can be seen to teh East of Bois d'Holland on teh Map running N/S [Original Map here https://maps.nls.uk/view/101723214]

The distance to the German first line (Puisieux trench) was about 300 yards, with barely another 100 yards to the second line in River trench. The Hood probably assembled just downhill from the Bois d'Hollande. There was to be no attack on either flank, so the Germans would be able to rectify very quickly to this assault.


The men set off behind a creeping barrage and soon occupied the first trench without too much opposition. There was, however, a machine gun position in a fortified emplacement to the left of the Hood's attack. In the confusion of the battle, the whole of the Hood ended up attacking the German posts in the valley; the left platoon should have carried on up the hill with the Hawke battalion to their left. The commanding officer of the Hood was wounded and his role was taken by Lt. Commander Asquith. He managed to get the Hood back into the correct alignment by 08.00


0n 04/02/1917 9 Royal Marines were lost in this phase.


RND, 2nd RM Battalion, France:


COOPER, Edward, Private, RMLI, 16393 (Po):

DWYER, Dennis, Private, RMLI, 16200 (Ply):

HAMILTON, Matthew, Private,

RMLI, S 273 (Po):

HOPKINS, Leonard J, Private, RMLI, S 1288 (Po):

SHAW, Robert, Private, RMLI, S 881 (Ply), killed

SHARPE, Herbert, Private, RMLI, S 1441 (Po),

DOW on the 3rd and GOLBY, Thomas E, Sergeant, RMLI, 15512 (Ply), DOW:

MATTHEWS, Wilfred, Private, RMLI, S 1154 (Ply) on the 4th.


RND, 190th Brigade Machine Gun Company, France:


EASTWOOD, Henry H, Colour Sergeant Major, RMLI, 10417 (Ch).


Related posts:


RMLI at Miraumont - 17th to 21st February 1917

Col. Harold Ozanne DSO RMLI

63rd (Royal Naval) Division - Battle of Welsh Ridge

The Royal Marines in World War One

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