Friday 2 September 2016

Day Sixty Four on the Somme

Saturday 2nd September 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The 1st Battalion remain in Silesia Trenches, just north of Maricourt, though it is finding working parties digging assembly trenches in the front line ready for the next great attack. Silesia Trenches have been receiving occasional attention from the enemy, one shell this evening wounding nine men of B Company in their trench. The adjutant remarked to me that this particular shell was “of a peculiar type. It burst on the parapet in a reddish light and formed no crater”.

At noon today 24th Division again took up the fight east of Delville Wood. This area is so pockmarked with shell holes as to resemble parts of the Moon visible through a telescope. The fighting was effectively shell-hole to shell-hole and the division were unable to push the enemy back from the eastern edge of the wood.

Over the last two days a curious little incident has been going on in far-off Egypt. The adjutant wired it to our staff due to its unusual nature. A local Bedford man named Ashpole has been in hospital suffering from some unspecified ailment. At five o’clock yesterday afternoon he escaped from hospital and swam across the Suez Canal “evidently quite insane”. He was recaptured in the early hours of this morning and once more sent to hospital, this time under guard, for his own safety.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/6/8.

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