Thursday 14 September 2017

Forty Sixth Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Friday 14th September 1917

Two more small affairs have taken place today. 58th (2nd/1st London) Division made an attack from the vicinity of Springfield Farm on Winnipeg Farm, sadly they were unsuccessful. Meanwhile 1st/4th East Lancashire Regiment of 42nd Division made an advance of about a hundred yards and consolidated their new position.

Area raided by 8th Battalion

Early this morning  8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, in trenches to the left of Hill 70 east of Loos mounted a raid on the enemy at 1.10 a.m. At 11.40 p.m. on 13th Second Lieutenant Webb reported Bangalore Torpedoes in position under the enemy wire and connected up to explode. At 1.0 a.m. the raiding party (2 officers and 85 other ranks) formed up outside the battalion’s wire. At 1.08 a.m. the torpedoes were successfully fired and at 1.09 a.m. a barrage by artillery, machine guns and mortars opened.

The raiding party advanced under cover of this barrage. The enemy wire was found to have been cut but the enemy themselves were alert and standing to arms shoulder to shoulder. Several attempts were made by the raiders to force their way into the enemy trench, but only a few got in. Hastily erected blocks and obstacles had been made which had not previously been noted by the battalion’s reconnoitring patrols and these caused a good deal of confusion.

The enemy's closely packed trench was heavily bombed by the raiders causing them considerable casualties. All bombs having been used, the raiders withdrew to their trench thirty minutes after the raid started, being guided by a vertical beam from a searchlight in the rear.

The Battalion’s casualties are reported as light. - two other ranks killed and ten wounded. No one is missing and all the killed and wounded have been brought in.

The adjutant told me: “The night was pitch dark and the enemy found in much greater strength than expected, so although we did not obtain an identification our brush with the enemy was not altogether a failure".

Source: X550/9/1

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