In February 1917, five days after his arrival at Flesselles, Noel experienced his first spell in the rain and mud of the front line trenches at Rosieres. His battalion returned to these trenches less than a month later, after training, etc. at Vremy.
With the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line (14 March - 5 April 1917) his battalion advanced to occupy the vacated German trenches. It then spent some time improving lines of communication to the new front (repairing roads & the Chaulnes-Nesle Railway), whilst billeted at Lihons, at Curchy, at Voyennes and finally at Trefcon. This was followed by another stint in the new trenches east of Maissemy.
In early May there were spells in support near Fresnoy and then in the Maissemy-Fresnay front line. Soon after that, the whole brigade moved to Peronne. In August there was a major attack on an enemy stronghold, “The Knoll”, east of Lempire.
Noel went on leave for eleven days in mid-September & returned to the front line near Epehy until 30 September, when 35th Division left the Somme and returned to the Ypres salient via Peronne, Arras, Wanquentin where they had a week’s training, Cassel and Proven.