Sunday, 19 August 2018

6/2545 Sergeant George Black 20/4/1895-14/8/1918


George Black, son of G. Black, sen., Waimate, was killed in action about August 15th. He was employed in Mr. C. Taaffe’s mercery business prior to enlisting in one of the first reinforcements. After an illness which detained him at Albany, he reached the front, where he served for a long term. “George” was a youth with endearing qualities. As a Boy Scout he may be recollected by his performance in a camp-fire sketch or demonstration in the Oddfellows’ Hall some eight years ago.
-Waimate Daily Advertiser, 29/8/1918.

In the meantime, the 2nd Canterbury Battalion had remained in the line till August 10th/11th, and on relief that night by the 1st Otago Battalion had occupied billets in and around Sailly-au-Bois. Working-parties were supplied daily, and while they were out on the morning of the 14th, information came from brigade headquarters that the enemy was withdrawing on the Divisional front, and that the 1st Otago Battalion had moved up to regain touch. At 10 a.m. the Brigadier sent orders that one company of the 2nd Canterbury Battalion was to be sent up, to pass through the outpost line established by the 1st Otago Battalion. As all the men were then still away, it was noon before any company was ready to start. At that hour the 2nd Company, under Major D. A. Dron, left Sailly: it arrived at the outpost line at 3 p.m., and rested there for an hour. Meanwhile, the other companies had been assembled and had left Sailly between 2.30 and 3 p.m.

The outpost line established by the 1st otago Battalion included the German trench called on our maps "Kaiser's Lane," and ran from there north-east to Box Wood—roughly parallel to, and seven hundred yards north-west of, the Serre-Puisieux road. The enemy's posts were about this road, and on the high ground to the south-east of it.
At 4 p.m. the 2nd Company pushed out fighting patrols from the outpost line, on a frontage of two thousand yards, with the object of capturing an enemy trench running from Serre to Puisieux, and lying to the south-east of the road which connected these villages. The enemy's posts were strongly held, and offered determined resistance, so that by 6 p.m. the 2nd Company had not reached its objectives. The Commanding Officer thereupon decided to put in the 1st Company on the right and the 12th Company on the left; and at 7.50 p.m. these companies left the outpost line, in line of sections in file. A heavy enemy barrage came down between the advancing sections and the Serre-Puisieux road, but it lasted for five minutes only, and caused no casualties.
Meanwhile, the 2nd Company patrols had outflanked the enemy posts, killed or captured the gunners, and were on their objectives. The three companies consolidated on a line from four hundred yards to six hundred yards south-east of the Serre-Puisieux road, and were relieved there, during the night, by the 1st Otago Battalion and the 317th U.S.A. Regiment. Besides pushing the enemy off the high ground, the operation had resulted in the capture of thirty-five prisoners, three machine-guns, and one light minnenwerfer gun, at a cost of five other ranks killed and ten other ranks wounded.  -The History of the Canterbury Regiment, 1914-1919.
Waimate Cemetery

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