Tuesday 1 August 2017

Second Day of Third Battle of Ypres

Wednesday 1st August 1917

After a successful commencement of the new offensive around Ypres yesterday, today has largely been a day of consolidation. We have been told that this is deliberate. The General Officer Commanding, General Gough, probably wants to make sure that all the units for the next stage of the attack are ready, in place and prepared before the next attack. This applies particularly to the artillery, which needs to register on new targets and, in some places, needs to be brought forward because the front line has gone forward so far.

Today has been another wet day, though decidedly cooler than yesterday, a whole ten degrees according to a fellow correspondent I overheard muttering about it after looking at a thermometer(1). The main action saw a determined German counter-attack against 15th (Scottish) and 8th Divisions, at their boundary, west of Glencorse Wood about 3.30 this afternoon. 15th Division was successful in beating off the attack on their front but 8th Division were pushed back. However, a counter-attack by the Royal Scots Fusiliers and Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders has, we understand almost restored the situation(2). The Australians were also on the receiving end of a counter-attack down near Warneton this morning, around dawn, and beat it off comfortably.

None of the battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment have so far been involved in this offensive. However, 2nd Battalion, part of 30th Division, is at Stirling Caste, just behind the new front line. Early this morning the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Bunbury, carried out a personal reconnaissance to determine where exactly his men were, after the confusion of yesterday when the division as a whole was unable to achieve its objectives and when a hastily called-upon attack by the Bedfords was, just as hastily, cancelled. Just because they are not in the front line does not mean, however, that the Battalion is safe from harm, so close are they to it. During the day enemy shell fire has killed five other ranks as well as  Second Lieutenant C H Shaw.

Source: X550/3/wd

(1) The highest temperature had been 69°F on 31st July (20.5°C), it was 59° on 1st August (15°C).
(2) By 9 pm the German gains had been neutralised.

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