Saturday, 4 February 2017

Awards and Diplomatic Relations

Captain Willans [X550/1/82]

Sunday 4th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

We have heard today that yesterday the United States of America broke off diplomatic relations with Germany following Germany’s declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare on Thursday. This news is something of a tonic for the boys at the front as it is seen as a prelude to an declaration of war, with all that entails for new armies on the Western Front.

Today in the theatre at Béthune Sir R B Haking, commander-in-chief of XI Corps presented awards to a number of officers including Military Crosses for Captain H Willans, Captain O A R Beale and Second Lieutenant H S Everett of the 1st Bedfords.

Meanwhile the 4th Battalion, in the front line north of the River Ancre has suffered more casualties. Four men have been killed, one has died of wounds and fifteen have been wounded. Remarkably this is the same “butcher’s bill” as that suffered on 31st January.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/5/3

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