Thursday 26 April 2018

Not Again ...

Friday 26th April 1918

The 1st and the 7th Battalion were both in action yesterday, with considerable success. The 7th Battalion held the line they had taken between Villers-Bretonneux and Aubercourt and last night were relieved by a unit of French Colonial troops. They have lost three officers, including two captains, killed and seven wounded. From resources which were already slender 13 other ranks have been killed, 105 wounded and 70 are missing. About 200 prisoners were taken.

The 1st Battalion was also in action in the darkness last night. Their attack, between Merville and Lamotte, west of Estaires, was to advance their line from les Lauriers and capture a farm dubbed Bedford Farm. The attack was undertaken by A Company and one platoon of B Company and got underway at 9.15 following a barrage. Three prisoners and a machine gun were captured. All objectives were taken by 10.35. The officer in charge, Captain Hague, carried out the attack and then made sure that the new line was secure and it was only on his return to headquarters that it was discovered that he was badly wounded in the thigh and he was sent to the dressing station.

If these two battalions have had a lively couple of days one cannot but sympathise with 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. They were roughly handled during the March retreat and are woefully under-strength, indeed, they form part of a composite battalion with 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment. They are presently in positions on the Yser Canal near Ypres. This morning the enemy attacked them in strength just south of the canal. Battalion Headquarters was at Spoil Bank on the north bank but the position was evacuated as the enemy got closer. They have fallen back to, appropriately enough, Bedford House. The front line of the composite battalion is along the canal facing south and stretches from Lock 8 to Spoil Bank. As I write these lines the enemy are reported to have taken The Bluff and to have crossed the canal at Norfolk Bridge. The composite battalion has this been outflanked on its left. The situation here is, thus, critical.

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

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