The 2nd Bn. of the Wiltshire Regt. was part of 21st Brigade of 30th Division. They took part in attack on Montaubau on the 1st July 1916 (Battle of the Somme). They were in the line or in reserve until the end of July. They returned to the Somme at beginning of October 1916 between Le Sars and Flers.
The weather was very wet and the area had become a quagmire. 2/Wilts went into the line at Pommies Redoubt and advanced to Switch Trench near High Wood on 11 October 1916. Then into the Front Line on 13th October, returning to Flers Trench on 15 October 1916.
In Reserve Trench on 16/17 October 1916, they were heavily shelled and suffered over 80 casualties. 42 O.Rs. from Transport Lines supplemented their strength. There was constant rain.
The attack on GIRD TRENCH 18/19 October 1916. They moved to a position in ADVANCE of the front line during heavy shelling till 3.40 a.m. with C and D Companies forming the 1st wave. A Company were in the 2nd wave. B Company in Support Trench. Captain Clay was with B Company.
3.40 a.m. 19 October 1916 Time of the attack.
C and D companies reached their objective but could not hold it. 8 officers became casualties.
B Company advanced but lost direction. A group under Captain Clay crossed the Sunken Road and entered the German Front Line, bombing their way up a communication trench but were driven back. Regrouping they attacked again but short of bombs they did not take the trench until reinforced by the Cameron Highlanders (9th Division). A block was formed and defended.
The enemy Front Line trench was taken and consolidated. During the reorganisation and consolidation, Captain Clay was killed. His body was never found and he is commemorated on Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.
Content last updated
11 April 2006
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