Thursday, 5 October 2017

Sixty Seventh Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Friday 5th October 1917

Today has seen little fighting and we now enter the customary lull after a major assault, consolidating against counter-attacks and preparing for the next heave. Today the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment have entered the front line for the first time in this battle relieving the 1st Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment south of Veldhoek and looking towards Gheluvelt, scene of the blooding of the 2nd Bedfords in October 1914.

The 2nd Battalion is also in the line not far away near Hollebeke. A stray shell, we hear, has killed Captain L A L Fink MC, who joined in March last year as a subaltern and fought with them through all the Somme campaign.  

6th Battalion is now in support to 111th Brigade south of the Menin Road. The new adjutant told me that they relieved three other battalions and that there was rather heavy shelling round the support company’s trenches and Battalion Headquarters. Second Lieutenant A R Jones and W B Collins have been wounded, two other ranks killed and eight wounded. He commented: “This relief was extremely difficult, and was much impeded by practice barrages”. Their position is now only a few hundred yards from the 1st Battalion as will be seen from the map above.

Today we have heard from the 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, in the front line at Gaza in Palestine. The adjutant informed us that the enemy fired heavily on the position and Lieutenant E C B Woodhouse was fatally wounded with as many as sixty other ranks also receiving wounds of differing seriousness. The Turks then attacked the battalion’s position and it is thought that some loss was inflicted on the enemy as they were prevented from coming to close quarters by the battalion’s rifle and Lewis gun fire. The day otherwise passed without incident.

At 6 o’clock last night three patrols left the front line at Subket Post. The first patrol's object was to advance into Fisher’s Orchard and draw the Turks to follow them back on to a line held by the second patrol. The Third patrol was to lie up and try to ambush patrols of Turks who might come along. The first patrol under the command of Second Lieutenant Dennis found the enemy and succeeded in drawing them towards the second patrol commanded by Second Lieutenant Gurney. Here the Turks discovered the trap and withdrew, followed by a heavy fire from the patrols’ Lewis gun and rifles. The third patrol, commanded by Second Lieutenant Mander did not encounter any enemy

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/3/wd; X550/6/8; X550/7/1

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