Saturday 7 October 2017

Sixty Ninth Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Sunday 7th October 1917

Here at Ypres there have been two minor attacks by our forces which gained no ground. The adjutant of 6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, to the south of the Menin Road contacted me with news: “Heavy artillery bombarded the German front line throughout the day with success. Our front line companies pushed forward patrols to ascertain if the enemy was still holding his same position. He was!” The adjutant added that everyone is expecting another major attack somewhere in the next few days.

Last evening the 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, in front of Gaza in Palestine sent out another patrol in their cat-and-mouse game with the enemy. This was a strong patrol consisting of three officers, three warrant officers, three Lewis guns and forty-six men and was trying to locate the Turks in Fisher’s Orchard. Finding them, and engaging them, the patrol then withdrew and at a code word our 4.2 inch howitzers and Stokes mortars opened up on the Turkish positions followed ten minutes later by a barrage by eighteen-pounders and machine-guns which lasted for another ten minutes. Shortly after this the patrol pushed out again but met with such strong opposition just outside the battalion’s own wire that Captain F B Hobbs who was commanding the patrol, thought it advisable to withdraw to their own lines and to call on the artillery and Stokes guns to put another barrage down closer to the Battalion’s own trenches thus inflicting many casualties on the enemy. In all this the Battalion lost one man killed and six wounded.

Sources: X550/6/8; X550/7/1

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