Thursday 13 April 2017

Fifth Day of the Battle of Arras

Friday 13th April 1917

Sadly, the attack by 9th (Scottish) Division yesterday evening against the village of Roeux and its chemical works was a complete failure. Some of my colleagues from newspapers “north of the Border” tell me that the men had suffered severely in the last few days from manning the line in the freezing cold and that some of them had to be hauled to their feet and rubbed down by comrades before they could even move. Today their formation, XVII Corps, has taken no part in the fighting.

Today’s fighting has to devolve, once more, upon VI and VII Corps. On the VII Corps front 21st Division was able to bomb a little way down the Hindenburg Line towards Fontaine-les-Croisilles but was then told to desist and the other operations by VI and VII Corps were cancelled due to difficulties in getting fresh divisions to the front line to make the attacks, the roads in one part of the area behind battlefield being choked with withdrawing cavalry.

The adjutant of 1st Battalion has been in touch on the “blower”. The battalion, part of 5th Division, has moved to the village of Villers-au-Bois and senior officers and Company Sergeant Majors have been reconnoitering Vimy Ridge and Givenchy-en-Gohelle.

Source: X550/2/5

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