Sunday, 3 December 2017

8th Bedfords in Action Again

Monday 3rd December 1917

The enemy attack at Cambrai has reached the sector held by the 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. This morning was fairly quiet except for some slight shelling. At 1.30 this afternoon the two companies in Plush Trench moved up to join the rest of the Battalion astride the Marcoing to Ribecourt road. Fifteen minutes later orders were received for one company to join 14th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, which had been heavily attacked but had repulsed the enemy 

At once A Company under Second Lieutenant Dolman moved off by small parties under a heavy enemy artillery barrage and crossed a railway bridge and barrage bridge to the far side of the Escaut Canal and succeeded in joining up with the 14th DLI, who had again been attacked and lost a small portion of their line. A Company went and counter-attacked along with the Durhams and retook the portion which the Durhams had lost.

Just after three o’clock B Company under Captain Pares was ordered up to reinforce the Durham Light Infantry and A Company, or in any case to hold two bridges over the canal This company moved forward under enemy barrage and succeeded in taking possession of the bridges and holding them. The remaining two companies arrived in Hindenburg Support Line about this time from Plush Trench. The map above shows the respective positions of the Bedfords and DLI in Marcoing.

Captain W T Pares [X550/1/81[

Elsewhere the army has been forced to give up the struggle for Bourlon Wood. This is because the troops there were now in a salient, or bulge into German-held territory, which meant that they could be cut off and surrounded if things went badly. The withdrawal operation, always tricky, has been carried out efficiently and carefully.

Source: X550/9/1

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