Tuesday 9 October 2018

Cambrai Falls

Wednesday 9th October 1918

The city of Cambrai, so nearly liberated in November last year has finally been yielded up by the enemy after just over four years of occupation. The German troops left managed to sneak out during the night though almost entirely surrounded. At least, this way, a potentially very costly fight has been avoided. Sadly the centre of the city and much of the suburbs has been almost totally destroyed but, as one local has been reported as saying, sadly shaking his head, "At least they are our ruins now".

The capture of Cambrai has not caused any pause in the advance.  Resistance was fierce at times yesterday, with a number of enemy counter-attacks utilising tanks they had captured from our armies in weeks and months past. All these were beaten off and today there have been none to speak of. Cavalrymen have even been in action on the army's left, or northern, flank where no barbed wire has impeded their progress. The Canadian Cavalry Brigade mounted a successful charge south of Cambrai and took the village of Reumont only four miles or so from le Cateau.

First Army also advanced today and all three British and Imperial armies have achieved stunning advances. Few can now doubt that the end of German resistance is near. This evening it has been announced that the Prime Minister, Mr Lloyd-George has sent a length congratulatory telegram to Field Marshal Haig: "I have just heard from Marshal Foch of the brilliant victory won buy the First, Third and Fourth Armies and I wish to express to yourself, Generals Horne, Byng and Rawlinson and all the officers and men under your command my sincerest congratulations on the great and significant success which the British Armies, with their American brothers in arms have gained during the two past days. The courage and tenacity with which the troops of the Empire, after withstanding the terrific enemy onslaught of the spring of this year, have again resumed the offensive with such decisive results is the greatest chapter in our island history. The smashing of the great defensive system erected by the enemy in the west and claimed by him to be impregnable is a feat of which we are justly proud and for which the Empire will always be grateful".

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