Saturday 1st December 1917
The German offensive at Cambrai has been rolling on today but, just like the day after the British attack on 20th November, the steam seems to have gone out of it as our men’s resistance stiffened after the initial surprise. At two o’clock this morning the 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, was ordered to withdraw from the line it had formed yesterday and return to Dead Man’s Corner. During this move all was quiet and the Battalion arrived about six o’clock without suffering any casualties and dug in as shown on the map above.
This position was held until the afternoon when orders were issued to withdraw to Lincoln Avenue prior to a move early tomorrow morning to assist in the defence of Highland Ridge against attacks from the east. The front line companies began their withdrawal at 5 p.m.
In Palestine yesterday the 1st/5th Bedfords were again attacked at Beit Nabala. A party of about fifty Turks attacked with bombs. This attack did not quite reach the Bedfords’ position and the fire of Lewis guns caused the immediate retirement of the enemy to lower slopes of the hill. A small counter-attack was launched by the Yellow Devils without loss of time and the enemy retired precipitately. As a final gesture of farewell the Battalion requested and received a barrage from 4.5 inch howitzers on the spot from which it was thought that the enemy had come. Lieutenant H W Cronin was seriously wounded during this attack(1).
Sources: X550/6/8; X550/9/1
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