Monday, 30 October 2017

Ninety Second Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Tuesday 30th October 1917

As expected, 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment has been in action today, for the first time here at Ypres. Altogether four divisions have made attacks towards the village of Passchendaele and its spur.

The southernmost attack was made by 12th Brigade of 4th Canadian Division. The Canadians have suffered heavily, but have taken all their objectives, including Vienna Cottage and Crest Farm. Best of all, patrols pushed into Passchendaele found that the Germans are leaving. No attempt was made to force the village, on the basis that it it wasteful to attack a place the enemy are yielding up. It is hoped that the village can be occupied in the next few days as the division is now consolidating on the western outskirts..

Part of the reason why the Canadians of 4th Division did not advance further is that 3rd Canadian Division, on its left flank, had a more difficult time. Snipe Hill and Duck Lodge were taken, as were Furst Farm, Source and Vapour Farms but they could not advance quite as far as the 4th Division, which tempered its advance to make sure the line kept abreast.

63rd (Royal Naval) Division used its only formation of army troops, 190th Brigade, in its attack. They went over the top at 5.50 this morning and struggled in the vile conditions underfoot, clinging mud and standing water around the stream called Paddebeek. To make matters worse the enemy dropped a barrage just behind the advancing British barrage and right onto the advancing troops. This evening we are hearing that the division has managed to cling on to the line running through Source Trench, Varlet Farm, Bray Farm and Berks Houses which had been taken by the division in the attack of 26th October. Preliminary figures from the Bedfords suggest that two officers have been killed (Captain L C T Gate and Second Lieutenant A E Tee) and seven wounded; amongst the other ranks 52 are reported killed, 150 wounded and 23 missing(1).

On the left flank of the 63rd Division an attack was made by 58th (2nd/1st London) Division using 174th Brigade. An advance of about 100 yards was accomplished and pillboxes around Noble Farm have been taken as has a mound overlooking the Spriet road.

Source: X550/5/3

(1) Lieutenant Cecil Hootton Wareing would die of his wounds on 1st November and is buried at Dozinghem Military Cemetery. A total of 850 Canadians were recorded as dying on that day. Deaths from the British units taking part in the attacks this day number about 500 with 93 men from the Bedfordshire Regiment recorded as dying.

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