Thursday 22 June 2017

8th Battalion Caught Napping

Friday 22nd June 1917

The adjutant of the 8th Battalion, in the front line near Hulluch, spoke to me on the blower today, admitting that they had been caught unawares by a German patrol. At three o’clock this morning the enemy opened up with concentrated intense mortar fire on B and C Companies in the front line. At 3.10 am an 'S.O.S.' signal flare was observed to go up from the front line which was repeated at Battalion Headquarters and sent through by the Brigade Headquarters by telephone to the artillery.

It transpired later that a small party of one officer and fifteen German other ranks had managed to enter the front line between two of the Battalion’s posts under cover of smoke and darkness. They surprised the inhabitants of the front line trench and are believed to have captured nine of the Battalion’s men. As if that was not enough a patrol of one non-commissioned officer and two men who were in No Man's Land when the bombardment commenced are missing. In their defence, the adjutant stressed that the enemy only managed to enter the front line for a few minutes, although he kept up his intense barrage unil 3.45 a.m.

Second Lieutenant Haywood [X550/1/81]

The 2nd Battalion, in camp at Dickebusch near Ypres, reports that Second Lieutenant C.Haywood has been wounded whilst on a reconnaissance of infantry tracks leading to the trenches.

Sources: X550/3/WD; X550/9/1

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