1-30 September 1918: the final offensive in Salonika, including the capture of the Roche Noir Salient (1-2 September), the passage of the Vardar river and pursuit to the Strumica valley
The War Diary for the 10th Hampshire Battalion describes the attack as follows:
Pactol Ravine 31st August 1918
0800 All spare kit was dumped in large wooden huts in PACTOL ravine lately used as workshops for Battalion.
930 Battalion H.Q. and A, B, C and D Companies moved off from PACTOL ravine to Parallell II to get into position for the advance. Battalion got into position in Parallel II at midnight. A few hostile shells were put over here, but no damage resulted. Operation orders by Lt. Col. Taylor MC issued
730 10th Hampshire Regiment together with 2nd Gloucester Regiment assaulted and captured the ROCHE NOIRE salient; the following is an account of the Battle:
730 Companies ?jumped off? to attack punctually. The reserve Company (B Company) led off after D Company but for some unknown reason waited about 3½ minutes before jumping off, and then worked over slightly too much to the right, moving on pt. C115. When about half way across, the reserve Company came under enemy's barrage. Lt. SPARROW and several leaders were killed, and before Capt. LOWY could get his Company under control it became badly disorganised with the result that on the arrival of the C.O. at C113a touch with the reserve Company could not be obtained
At 1758 his H.Q. arrived at advanced position at C113a. Situation then as follows:
A Company on point of capturing LES 2 ROCHES, C Company ? LA ROCHE NOIRE, D Company in possession of LA TABLE except for pt. C112b without loss.
t 1810 hrs A & C Companies advanced on final objectives and in places got in front of our 18 pounder barrage. This was unavoidable owing to the heavy shelling at the time, and the great difficulty in observing either our own barrage or the action of troops on either flank.
At 2100 hours report received that DOS DE MULET had fallen into our hands. About 28 prisoners were captured by A Company in LES 2 ROCHES, and about 12 and the machine Gun by C Company in LA ROCHE NOIRE. Owing to the extreme intensity of the enemy shellfire it was found impossible to keep in touch either with Companies or with Brigade H.Q. by vision or phone. Runners had to be used, a very slow method owing to very broken ground and the continuously heavy fire. The artillery liaison officer managed to keep his phone working wonderfully well which was of exceeding great assistance throughout. As soon as it was dusk prisoners were evacuated and consolidation was begun. Owing to continuous heavy gun shellfire consolidation (especially carrying) was very slow, also owing to the unavoidable disorganisation through casualties the working parties took some time to arrange. Numerous flares and hostile searchlights also added to the difficulty of getting consolidation pushed on as quickly as possible.
005 hours B Company collected and reorganised under Capt. LOWY, about 58 Other Ranks and 3 Lewis guns left. A Company then estimated at 59 Other Ranks and 6 Lewis guns, C Company 51 Other ranks and 3 Lewis guns, D Company 42 Other Ranks and 3 Lewis guns. C.O. accordingly issued fresh orders as to garrisoning captured position. Two Platoons of B Company with 2 Lewis guns were attached to A Company and A Company was ordered to occupy the positions as laid down in Preliminary Instructions reinforced by 3 Lewis guns from C Company.
At 2030 hours the remainder of B Company under Capt. LOWY reinforced by 5 Battalion scouts proceeded via TR des ROCHES to reconnoitre TR du SILLANT.