Wednesday 23 May 2018

Life in the Front Line Remains Interesting

Thursday 23rd May 1918

"Life in the front line remains interesting" the adjutant of the 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment remarked in a short telephone call to me this afternoon. Early yesterday morning a patrol was sent out, attempting to locate an enemy picquet but owing to a line of twelve enemy skirmishers each side of the railway they were unable to do so. The patrol withdrew to a small knoll and waited until daybreak to get observation but were then shot at by rifles and machine-guns and the skirmishers again appeared so the patrol withdrew their own lines without incident.

Mid morning two rounds of 77 mm calibre landed in front of Isolated Wood and slight shelling continued at intervals during the morning. yesterday evening enemy signalling was observed and all that could be read was "SG" - a prefix denoting that an urgent signal message was coming. A call for light signalled by means of a succession of dots and a long dash was observed. Brigade Headquarters were wired, in accordance with their instructions, on commencement of the signalling.

An hour later a patrol of one officer and thirteen other ranks left their post and moved into no man's land. They came on a hobbled horse. One N.C.O. and five men were sent to the right flank and when these were in position, the patrol commander and the seven men surprised and captured a picquet of eight of the enemy who were sleeping near the horse. After searching the surrounding country  without further result, the patrol returned to their own lines arriving just after three o'clock this morning.

Source: X550/6/8

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