Monday 26th August 2018
On 1st July 1916 the village of Montauban-de-Picardie was captured by the men from Manchester and Liverpool of 30th Division. A few hundred yards to the west the 18th Division took all its objectives. Today the 18th Division, of Fourth Army, has been in action here again, when 7th Battalion, East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) assisted by 11th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers took the village. The main differences in today's attack were that two years ago the division was attacking south to north whereas today it has been moving west to east. Back then, although successful, roughly one man in ten was killed. mercifully, today's tally of the gallant fallen is nowhere remotely near that number.
Then it was the 7th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment in action. Today it was 2nd Battalion, which was part of 30th Division two years ago, and held in reserve in case the attack by the northern battalions, whose first major action this was, faltered. In the event the Bedfords were not needed then, nor were they today, simply holding the line in case of a counter-attack which did not materialise.
Further north First Army today undertook an attack around Arras. Between the First and Fourth Armies, Third Army continues to undertake operations around Bapaume. The line has gone forward by another thousand yards during the day. The gallant New Zealanders have now encircled the north of the town, though to the south of the ruins the fighting has been severe where 63rd (Royal Naval) Division has been up against the strongpoint of Thilloy. The 4th Bedfords were to take part in the second wave of the attack on Thilloy and Ligny-Thilloy but never came into action as the initial attack could make no headway. Enemy resistance seems very patchy - in some places the troops are facing the tenacious German army of old, elsewhere the defenders seem to put up little fight.
Meanwhile 5th Division has taken a troublesome hamlet north-east of Bapaume. There thus seems, despite the problems with Thilloy, every hope that the remains of the town may soon be in allied hands.
Sources: X550/3/wd; X550/5/3