Wednesday 1 November 2017

Ninety Fourth Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Thursday 1st November 1917

Today the only action of which we have heard at Ypres has been capture of a German pillbox by Nelson and Hawke Battalions of 63rd (Royal Naval) Division. Lieutenant-Colonel C H de St P Bunbury of 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment was admitted to hospital last night and so Major Reggie Wynne DSO is now in command of the Battalion.

The great news here today has not been actions here, however, but those in far-away Palestine. Yesterday British and Imperial forces attacked the Turks at Beersheba, 25 miles south-east of Gaza. The 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment was not involved in this - the attacking units being 10th (Irish), 60th (London) and 74th (Yeomanry) Divisions along with the ANZAC and Australian Mounted Divisions and the 7th Mounted Brigade of Yeomanry. Cavalry still play an important part in this war on more open battlefields with less trenches and machine guns.

The attack has been a great success. We understand that 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade performed a mounted charge which carried them right into the town of Beersheba, leading to its capture. Losses in the whole battle have been remarkably light by the standards of the Western Front, with less than two hundred of our men believed killed. Around a thousand Turks are believed to have perished with perhaps twice that number being captured.

Tibby Cotter

On a sad note, we hear that the Australian fast bowler Tibby Cotter has been killed. He was a stretcher bearer with 4th Australian Light Horse and, on entering Beersheba with his unit during the charge, he was shot at close range. He had a slinging action which generated great pace, though it is fair to say he was not always accurate. Nevertheless, on his day he was a fearsome opponent, and a fascinating site from the safety of the stands(1)

Source: X550/3/wd

(1) He was 33. His action was reminiscent of Jeff Thomson of latter years and he was probably as fast. Between 1904 and 1912 he played in 21 test matches, taking 89 wickets at an average of 28.64. In first-class matches he took 442 wickets at 24.27. Trooper Albert Cotter is buried in Beersheba War Cemetery.

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