Saturday, 29 September 2018
Stunning Success at the Saint-Quentin Canal
Sunday 29th September 1918
We have heard that 46th (North Midland) Division has, today, achieved something truly remarkable. This body of troops, which spent part of its time in Luton before going over to France, has not had a good reputation since its failure to make progress on the first day of the Battle of the Somme resulted in the sacking of its commanding officer, major-General Montagu-Stuart Wortley. Today that bad reputation has been wiped away. The division was given the task of crossing the Saint-Quentin Canal in small boats. The canal is thirty-five feet wide and defended by belts of barbed wire both on the banks and in the water. Nevertheless, the men of 137th Brigade not only crossed but stormed the enemy trenches, scattering them. The bridge at Riqueval has been seized intact and the village of Belleglise captured. 32nd Division then advanced through the victorious Midlanders and drove the enemy still further back. The much vaunted Hindenburg Line, our enemy's greatest hope for continuing the war, has been breached.
On their left the Americans of 27th and 30th Divisions - men from New York and from North and South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. 27th Division has struggled but 30th Division has done better and the Australians, advancing through the Americans have carried on an advance which has taken Bellicourt.
Further north Third Army has continued its attacks with the redoubtable Kiwis being particularly successful. Advances have been made all along the line and The Canadians, we hear, are only a mile from the town of Cambrai.
In the far north operations have continued around Ypres. Messines, Terhand and Dadizeele have all fallen. Everywhere our foe seems to be in retreat.
In all of this advance on a very broad front the Bedfordshire Regiment has played its part. The 1st Battalion has made progress at minimal cost and 2nd Battalion has returned to the fray at Ronssoy, once more, fighting in Ronssoy Wood.
Sources: X550/2/5; X550/3/wd