Wednesday 11 April 2018

Backs to the Wall

Thursday 11th April 1918

Here on the Western Front it is felt that the war has reached a tipping point. The German advances south of Ypres in the last few days have raised the ghastly spectre of a drive by the enemy all the way to the English Channel. With this in mind Sir Douglas Haig, commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Force has today issued the following order to all ranks.

"Three weeks ago to-day the enemy began his terrific attacks against us on a fifty-mile front.. His objects are to separate us from the French, to take the Channel ports and to destroy the British Army".

"In spite of throwing already 106 divisions into the battle and enduring the most reckless sacrifice of human life, he has as yet made little progress towards his goals".

"We owe this to the determined fighting and self-sacrifice of our troops. Words fail me to express the admiration which I feel for the splendid resistance offered by all ranks of our Army under the most trying circumstances".

"Many amongst us are now tired. To those I would say that victory will belong to the side which holds out the longest. The French Army is moving rapidly and in great force to our support".

"There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justness of our cause each of us must fight on to the end. The safety of our homes and the Freedom of mankind alike depend upon the conduct of each of us at this critical moment".

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