Sunday 29 January 2017

A Successful Raid

Little Willie Trench in red and Hindenburg Trench in blue

Monday 29th January 1917 from our correspondent in the field

The adjutant of the 8th Battalion was on the “blower” to me this morning to tell me what happened in the trench raid which took place just in front of the Hohenzollern Redoubt near Loos in the early hours. The two positions under attack were those called Little Willie and Hindenburg Trench by our troops. Both are shown on the map above.

Our artillery prepared the way at 3.30 and seven minutes later 150 men from C Company under Captain Brewster went over the top. They quickly moved into the enemy’s front line and took it as it was very lightly held. Captain Brewster had strict instructions to limit the raid to 35 minutes duration so he thought it imprudent to penetrate the enemy’s second line trench (Hindenburg Trench).

The captain and his men took two prisoners as well as killing a number of Germans. The men used mobile charges to bomb six German dug-outs so the enemy casualty figures may be much higher. Our own men had one officer very slightly wounded, one man killed(1), one severely wounded and three lightly wounded. Captain Brewster reported that the enemy put up “very poor resistance”. After the raid the Battalion returned to billets.

Source: X550/9/1

(1) This is probably 31133 Private Alfred Edward Hewitt. He is recorded as being killed on 28th January but has no known grave and so was, presumably, left behind in the enemy trenches. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the Missing. No 8th Battalion deaths are recorded for 29th January. 

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