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RemembranceCommemoration of Casualties from the Parochial Parish of Kingsdown and Creekside.

 

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Unknown soldiers - photos of soldiers without known names.

< 1917 November >
M T W T F S S
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26 27 28 29 30†    

Artefacts ...

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Despatches from the Front ...

- 27th December 1917 - Account of the "long front" actions by the Allies.

All Despatches transcribed by the Lynsted with Kingsdown Society

Imperial War Museum War Partnership logoFirst World War - Home Front News & Snippets.....
November 1917

World War 1 soldier at rest

As the Centenary unfolds, a range of newspaper and other records will appear here to give an idea of how the war was revealed at home primarily focused on Kent for our purposes .... fairly random. If you have other snippets to share, please let us know using the dedicated email account:
Parish Records Contact Address


The war remained largely at stalemate across the Western Front. The Allies, spend months attempting to break the German hold over Passchedaele (Passendale) and the ridge overlooking the beleaguered Ypres (Ieper). This phase of the war proved enormously costly to the Allies and their soldiers drawn from across the globe. The Battle of Passchendaele (or Third Battle of Ypres) spanned the period from 31st July to 10th November 1917.

In November there were three losses from Lynsted Parish and one each from Newnham and Teynham. The battles for November included the last day of the Battle of La Malmaison (ended 1st November); Village of Passchendaele taken (6th November) and the Battle ends on 10th November; Battle of Cambrai began on 20th November followed by the German counter-attack on 30th November and it finally ended on 3rd December.

"The Army and Navy Gazette" summarised events on the British (Western) Front.

[Note: The language of this publication can be 'florid' and indigestible, but these extracts are a useful "situation report" that fed back to newspapers at home.]

On October 30 a successful operation, with limited objectives, was carried out by the British against the German positions between the Ypres-Roulers railway and the Poelcappelle-Westroosebeke road. In spite of the marsh nature of the ground on the greater part of the front attacked, and notwithstanding heavy rain and gales, which made communication with the troops extremely difficult, important progress was made. On the right of the attack, despite strong opposition, Canadian troops gained all their objectives on the main ridge and reached the outskirts of Passchendaele. Fighting was most severe on the spur west of the village, where five hostile counter-attacks were beaten off. On the left of the British attack, where the ground is low lying and intercepted by flooded streams, the going was particularly bad. None the less, Naval and London Territorial battalions captured a number of fortified farms and strong points after heavy fighting. As a result of the day's operations the British captured 191 prisoners. The gains during the month of October were 9,125 prisoners, including 242 officers, 15 guns, 431 machine-guns, and 42 trench mortars. From October 29 to November 4 inclusive British aircraft brought down 14 hostile machines and drove down three others. During the same period 14 British machines were missing. Military objectives were bombed by the British in or near the following places: Gontrode, Courtrai, Roulers, Thourout, Saarbrucken, Pirmasens, Ingelmunster, Volklingen, and Kaiserslautern.

Operations were undertaken on November 6 by Canadian troops with complete success against the enemy's defences in and around Passchendaele, and on the spur north and north-west of the village. The assault was launched at 6 a.m. The enemy had been ordered to hold this important position on the main ridge at all costs. Hard fighting took place at a number of points, particularly on the high ground north of the village, and for a collection of fortified buildings and strong points on the Goudberg spur. None the less, the Canadians made steady progress, and at an early hour the village of Passchendaele was captured, together with the hamlets of Mosselmarkt and Goudberg. Before midday all the British objectives had been gained and over 400 prisoners captured. The British artillery dealt effectively with the enemy's batteries, and with concentrations of hostile infantry. The British losses were very light. On November 10 British troops attacked the German positions north and north-west of Passchendaele on a front of over a mile on both sides of the Passchendaele on a front of over a mile on both sides of the Passchendaele-Westroosebeke road. Progress was made northwards along the main ridge, and a number of prisoners was taken. On the right of the attack Canadian battalions gained their objectives early in the morning, while British battalions on the left proceeded along the western shoulder of the main ridge, and although impeded by marshy ground in the neighbourhood of the Paddebeek stream successfully overcame the obstacle and reached their objectives beyond. Later in the morning heavy counter-attacks developed against the ground won by the British, and after fierce and obstinate fighting, lasting through the greater part of the day, the enemy succeeded in regaining some of the more advanced of the positions reached by the British. The organisation of the ground captured was continued on November 11. From November 5 to 9 inclusive bombs were dropped on military objectives in the vicinity of Roulers, Courtrai, and the River Lys, and at Gontrade and St. Denis Westrem. During the same period 34 enemy machines were brought down and driven down and 25 British machines were missing. On November 6, during a fair interval, many British aeroplanes, acting in conjunction with the operations on the ground, penetrated well east of the line. While so employed they were caught in a heavy mist which suddenly developed, and seven machines failed to return. These are included in the 25 missing machines.

Since the capture of Passchendaele on November 6 great hostile artillery activity has been directed against the village and the portions of the main ridge held by the British in its vicinity. After the successful attack by the British on November 10 hostile shelling steadily increased in intensity on the whole of this important area, culminating in the early morning of November 13 in a concentrated bombardment of great violence on the British forward positions. The British artillery replied effectively, but heavy hostile shelling continued. At 4.30 p.m. the enemy's bombardment once more became intense, and the British attack was launched. Enemy infantry attempted to advance along the line of the Westroosebeke road. The British artillery again opened, and, combined with the fire of the British infantry, completely broke up the counter-attack. The British line was improved slightly during the night north-west of Passchendaele. At dawn on November 18 a strong hostile raiding party attacked the British trenches in the neighbourhood of Gillemont Farm, south-east of Épehy, and affected an entry at certain points. British troops counter-attacked and, after sharp fighting, ejected the enemy. The enemy also raided the British trenches early in the morning south-east of Havrincourt, capturing a few men. In aerial fighting from November 11 to 15 inclusive eleven hostile machines were destroyed and fourteen were driven down. Six British machines were missing.

From November 20, when a series of operations were commenced between St. Quentin and the River Scarpe, fighting continued up to November 26 and was still proceeding. The account of the breaking of the Hindenburg Line appears on page 776 of our previous issue [unreadable]. In the evening of November 21 British troops, moving forward north of Cantaing, attacked and captured the village of Fontaine-Notre-Dame. The following day the enemy retook the village by a counter-attack. On November 22 the British advanced their line slightly south-east of Ypres, and on the following day operations were continued against the enemy's positions west of Cambrai. On November 23, after severe fighting, in which the enemy offered stubborn resistance, the British stormed the important and dominating high ground about Bourlon Wood. To the east of Bourlon Wood sonic progress was made in the neighbourhood of Fontaine-Notre-Dame. To the west of the wood the British made further progress along the Hindenburg Line astride the Canal du Nord, in the neighbour-hood of Moeuvres. Further west, between Moeuvres and Quéant, an important spur giving observation over the Hindenburg Line to the north and west was captured. In the neighbourhood of Bullecourt the British gained further ground during the night, capturing a hostile strong point with a number of prisoners. Fierce fighting took place in the neighbourhood of Bourlon Wood, where the enemy made several determined attempts with fresh troops to regain possession of the high ground. During the morning of November 24, a strong hostile attack compelled the British to give ground slightly in this area, but later in the day the British counter-attacked and re-established their former line. On the extreme right of the southern battle front we improved our positions in the neighbourhood of Banteux. Fighting in and about Bourlon Wood was continued in the afternoon and evening with great stubbornness on both sides, the enemy counter-attacking several times. On the night of November 23 strong hostile counter-attacks forced the British back from Bourlon Village, which the British had entered, and on the following day a powerful attack delivered by the enemy further east pressed the British back a short distance on the hill in Bourlon Wood. Later in the morning a successful counterattack by the British drove the enemy from the hill, and before midday had re-established the British line on the northern edge of Bourlon Wood. Fighting continued during the afternoon, and at dusk the enemy again attacked with strong forces from the north-east, forcing the British back slightly in the north-eastern -corner of the wood. Early in the night the British again attacked and re-entered Bourlon Village, capturing it after a fierce struggle, in which parties of the enemy offered obstinate resistance in strong points in the village. Bourlon Village and practically the whole of Bourlon Wood, including all the high ground within it, are now in British possession. The number of prisoners taken by the British since the commencement of operations on the morning of November 20 is 9,774, including 182 officers, together with over 100 guns, including several heavy guns of calibres up to 8-inch. In aerial fighting from November 18 to 24, thirteen hostile machines were brought down and three were driven down. Sixteen British machines were missing.

At dawn on November 27 local attacks by British troops in the neighbourhood of the villages of Fontaine-Notre-Dame and Bourlon led to severe fighting. The enemy, strongly reinforced, contested the British advance with great stubbornness, and the fight swayed backwards and forwards during the day. The British advanced their line and took over 500 prisoners. At 8 a.m. on November 30, after a violent bombardment, the enemy attacked with strong forces on a wide front south of Cambrai, between Vendhuile and Creve-Coeur-sur-l'Escaut. Shortly after heavy attacks also developed against the British positions west of Cambrai in the neighbourhood of Bourlon Wood and Moeuvres all the enemy attacks were repulsed after many hours of fierce fighting, in which great loss was inflicted on the attacking German Infantry. South of Masnières village, from the neighbourhood of Bonavis to Villers-Guislain, the enemy succeeded in entering the British positions at different points, and penetrated as far as La Vacquerie and Gouzeaucourt. British counter-attacks regained La Vacquerie and drove the enemy back from Gouzeaucourt and the ridge to the east of that village. At other points the enemy's advance was checked. Reports from the various sectors of the Cambrai battle front, together with captured orders and objective maps, enable the following account to be given of the battle which began in the morning of November 30. –The enemy's intention was to deliver a simultaneous and encircling attack with a large number of divisions and drive our troops from the important position we had gained on November 20. The following order was issued on November 29 by General von der Marwitz, commanding the Second German Army:-

"Soldiers of the Second Army, the English by throwing into the fight countless tanks on November 20 gained a victory near Cambrai. Their intention was to break through, but they did not succeed in going so, thanks to the brilliant resistance of the troops who were put into line to check their advance. We are now going to turn their embryonic victory into a defeat by an encircling counter-attach. The Fatherland is watching you and expects every man to do his duty."

Owing to the magnificent defence and stubborn resistance of the British the enemy's object was completely defeated. From Vendhuile in the south to a point two kilometres west of Moeuvres in the north the enemy advanced in masses in the endeavour to break through the British defences by weight of number. From Masnières northwards the British positions were maintained, and very severe losses were inflicted on the hostile masses by artillery, rifle and machine-gun fire. In places where the enemy had temporarily broken through he was caught by point-blank fire of the British artillery and driven back by immediate counter-attacks. South of Creve-Coeur the enemy succeeded in forcing his way into the British lines on a considerable front, capturing a number of prisoners and in places reaching our gun positions. Our reserve troops in their counter-attack recaptured a great part of the ground taken by the enemy, and on December 1 retook the village of Gonnelieu and the St. Quentin spur to the south of that village. In these operations the British captured several hundred prisoners and many machine-guns in addition to inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. In the course of the fighting in the neighbourhood of Masnières, the enemy delivered no fewer than nine separate attacks upon the British positions in and around the village, all of which were beaten off with heavy losses to the enemy. In the last attack detachments of German infantry succeeded in gaining a foothold in the adjoining village of Les Rues Vertes, on the west bank of the Canal de l'Eascaut, but were driven out by a British counter-attack. Hostile raiding parties were repulsed during the night in the neighbourhood of Avion and south of Armentières. On the Cambrai battle-front the British withdrew from the sharp salient formed by the village of Masnières without molestation from the enemy. In the morning of December 2 the enemy was still continuing to shell the evacuated village. Ten hostile attacks delivered on this front within twenty-four hours were completely repulsed. Fighting took place in and around the village of Gonnelieu. Hostile attacks delivered during the afternoon and evening in the neighbourhood of La Vacquerie and Bourlon were broken by British rifle and machine-gun fire or crushed by the artillery. Concentrations of hostile infantry in the vicinity of Moeuvres were successfully engaged by British artillery. On December 3 the enemy resumed the offensive on the Cambrai battle front with great violence, and the fighting was of an exceptionally severe nature. From Gonnelieu to Marcoing the enemy delivered attacks in great strength and with large force, and was repulsed with heavy losses. The British positions were maintained everywhere, except at La Vacquerie and east of Marcoing, where the British line was slightly withdrawn. South of Marcoing the enemy broke through at one point, but the situation was soon restored by a counter-attack. In the German official report of December 3 it is stated that their toll of British prisoners on the Cambrai front is over 6,000, with 100 guns. The number of German prisoners taken by the British during the month of November is 11,551, including 214 officers. Also were captured 138 guns, including 40 heavy guns, 303 machine-guns, and 64 trench mortars, besides great quantities of engineering stores, ammunition of all natures, and war material of every kind. In aerial fighting from November 26 to December 1, 23 hostile machines were brought down, 11 were driven down, and 2 were shot down from the ground. Fifteen British machines were missing.

[The Battle of Cambrai was not as successful as at first appeared! The powerful German counter-attacks proved very costly to the British forces]

At Sea

During 1917, through the competing navies, there continued the desire to disrupt and strangle supplies to fighting forces, demoralise and starve home populations. 1917 saw significant losses of shipping that included civilian and hospital shipping following the earlier German implementation of a policy of "unrestricted submarine warfare". On 2nd November, there was a raid by British naval light forces in the Kattegat (Jutland). On 17th, there was a light cruiser action off Heligoland.

In the air

During November 4 numerous patrols were carried out by the Royal Naval Air Service. One two-seater enemy machine was brought down in the sea, another two-seater driven down damaged, and a scout probably destroyed. A bombing raid was also carried out in the afternoon on Engel Aerodrome. Bombs were seen to fall among hangars and sheds in the aerodrome. The formation was attacked by enemy machines, two of which were driven down out of control. All the British machines returned safely.

African Adventure. The German authorities laid claim to a new airship record, saying that between 21st-25th November, airship "L59" left Yambol (Bulgaria) destined for East Africa. "L59" reached East Africa without alighting (unsubstantiated at that time) before returning to Yambol.

Attacks on Britain.

In the absence of any attacks on mainland Britain the Dover Express of 23rd November reported and theatrical production at Dover College at Leamington. "Manufacturing an Air Raid"

"In the course of the concert a most amusing skit, entitled, "An Air Raid," was given. This diversion created a great deal of amusement - and perhaps a little alarm - among the crowded audience, for the lights were suddenly extinguished, the siren commended its dismal hooting, and searchlight swept the sky (i.e. the ceiling), while the distant hum of the "Zepps," was heard as they approached through the pitchy night. Bombs now began to fall, the heavy detonations of the bombs being heard above the sharp "ping" of the shrapnel. Finally, however, the "Zepp" was driven back by barrage fire, the "all clear" was sounded, and the lights went up again. At the end of the entertainment three hearty cheers, led by Councillor W.W. Donald, were given for the boys of Dover College.
During the interval, German air raid relics were sold, £5 0s. 9d. being realised for the Y.M.C.A."

Statistics

HOSPITAL REPORTS: FRANCE

(a) In France the accommodation in hospitals on 25th November, 1916, was 42,894 beds, of which 10,604 were vacant, and in convalescent depot 20,851 beds, of which 9,905 were vacant. On 27th November, 1916, there were in hospitals and on ambulance trains 54,550 patients, and in transit 614 patients.

(b) In France the number in medical charge on 24th November, 1917, was 107,275, including 2,490 Germans. The accommodation in hospitals was 68,913 beds, of which 18,073 were vacant, and in convalescent depots 44,625 beds, of which 13,614 were vacant. On 22nd November, 1917, there were in hospitals and on ambulance trains 100,322 patients, and in transit 1,905.

(c) In France the number in medical charge on 21st November, 1918, was 121,604 including 6,378 prisoners of war. The accommodation in hospitals was 82,879 beds, of which 18,998 were vacant, and in convalescent depots 53,125 beds, of which 20,381 were vacant. On 22nd November, 1918, there were in hospitals and on ambulance trains 107,472 patients, and in transit 1,295 patients.

(d) RETURN for week ended 30th April, 1920.

  Number in medical charge Number awaiting evacuation to United Kingdom Number of beds
Officers Other ranks Cot cases Others Equipped Vacant
Officers Other Ranks Officers Other Ranks
United Kingdom 1,037 15,984 - - - - 27,220 10,212
France and Flanders                
British Troops
9 284 - - 1 20 650* 451
Indian Troops
- - - - - - - -
All Others
- 19 - - - - - -
Army of the Rhine                
British Troops
24 929 - 1 - - 1,750* 797
All Others
- 1 - - - - - -
Army of the Black Sea                
British Troops
46 758 1 - 5 161 2,847* 1,268
Indian Troops
2 622 - - - - - -
Russian Troops
- 901 - - - - 1,000 99
All Others
- 281 - - - - - -
Egypt                
British Troops
147 1,609 - 8 14 52 6,688* 2,502
Indian Troops
9 2,487 - - - - - -
All Others
- 305 - - - - - -
Plebiscite Area (Flensburg)                
British Troops
2 50 - - - - 110 33
All Others
- 25 - - - - - -
Plebiscite Area (Danzig)                
British Troops
2 145 - 1 - 4 220 68
All Others
- 11 - - - - - -

* The accommodation in casualty clearing stations and field ambulances not included.
Invalids arrived during the week - From France: 11 Officers, 219 Other Ranks

France and Flanders.

(e) The number of admissions from all causes during the week ending 24th April, 1920, was 7 officer, 211 other ranks; deaths all ranks, 1.

British Army of the Rhine.

(f) The number of admissions from all causes during the week ending 26th May, 1919, was - all ranks, 1,794; deaths, 5.
(g) The number of admissions from all causes during the week ending 8th May, 1920, was - officers, 3; other ranks, 256; deaths other ranks, 1.

Egypt

(h) The number of admissions for all causes during the week ending 10th April, 1920, was - officers, 25; other ranks, 155; deaths all ranks, nil.

Army of the Black Sea.

(j) The number of admissions for all causes during the week ending 24th April, 1920, was - officers, 10; other ranks, 155; deaths all ranks, nil.

Mesopotamia

(k) The number of admissions for all causes during the week ending 24th April, 1920, was - all ranks, 1

 


† - Ninety Second Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 4th November 1917.

Private, Thomas QUAIFE, T/270324, 10th Battalion, The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) and West Kent Yeomanry, (of Lynsted)
Killed in Action: Aged
Memorial: Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
Theatre: Turkish Theatre
Died: Killed in Action,


† - Ninety Third Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 6th November 1917.

Private, George Tappenden HILLS, 116675, "A" Company, 29th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (of Newnham)
Killed in Action: Aged 26
Memorial: Passchendaele New British Cemetery
Theatre: France and Flanders
Died: Killed in Action, while in Support of two other Companies, under a massive enemy barrage that claimed large numbers of his own Company.


Royal Naval Air Service at the Front

On the night of November 6 bombing raids were carried out by the R.N.A.S. on the following military objectives: Thourout railway station; Lichtervelde railway station; on a moving train near Lichtervelde; and several direct hits on track and junctions were reported, but visibility was poor. Large quantities of explosives were dropped. The British machines returned safely.
On the night of November 9 a bombing raid was carried out by the R.N.A.S. on the following military objectives: St. Denis Westrem and Bruges Docks. Large quantities of explosives were dropped with good results, a large fire being caused at the latter place. The British machines returned safely. Bruges dry dock for submarines, the construction of which was begun two years ago, has been damaged so often by bombs that the Germans, we understand, have not been able to make practical use of it.
[Source: Army and Navy Gazette, 17th November - these often found their way into local newspapers]


8th November: Bolshevik coup d'état in Petrograd. M. Lenin and M. Trotski assume power.


Tracking the whereabouts of men thought to be absent without leave

A regular feature of local reporting was the inclusion of long lists of men being sought by the authorities. An example is reported in the Dover Express on 9th November 1917: "It has been brought to notice that the publication of names in the newspaper, even though nothing was said about their being absentees, tends to cast reflection on individual. That there was no such intention will be clear from the wording of the notice which is now being here used.
The Headquarter Recruiting Officer, 3rd Regimental District Recruiting Area, Canterbury, asks for information regarding the following men, as to whether they
(a) Have joined the Army; (b) Are excepted from the provisions of the Military Service Acts, 1916; (c) Are in possession of a definite certificate or badge exempting them from liability for Military Service; (d) Are in a Reserved Occupation; (e) Have moved to another district, etc., etc.
The above information is required to complete records in Recruiting Offices, and any communication will be treated in strict confidence. DAMPIER PALMER, CAPTAIN, Headquarters Recruiting Office, 3rd Recruiting Area. Canterbury, November, November 5th, 1917.
NISPEL, J., Aged 30, Florence Cottage, Lynsted, Sittingbourne.


† - Ninety Fourth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 10th November 1917.

Gunner, Reginald Frank GILBERT, 915504, "D" Battery, 223rd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (of Lynsted)
Killed in Action: Aged
Memorial: Duhallow Advance Dressing Station (A.D.S.) Cemetery
Theatre: France and Flanders
Died: Killed in Action, during a barrage being laid down by this unit.


† - Ninety Fifth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 12th November 1917.

Lieutenant, William Allan SEWELL, 7th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps (Formerly 4th Battalion Border Regiment (of Lynsted)
Killed in Action: Aged
Memorial: Arras Flying Services Memorial
Theatre: France and Flanders
Died: Killed in Action, while familiarising himself with the Front in the Arras Sector


"Shot at Dawn" - brutally short letters to families

[Note: While the Creekside casualties do not include anyone who had a death sentence handed down by a court-martial, nevertheless this was a very sensitive subject that was openly discussed at this time.]

Reported in the Western Times, 14th November 1917. Summary of news from Parliament.
"Soldiers' Executions. Mr. Macpherson informed Mr. King that the names of soldiers executed by sentence of Court-martial were not published in the casualty lists. The next of kin were informed of facts.
Mr Hogge asked if it was not a fact next of kin were informed in a very brutal letter, and whether, in view of the fact that there were very few such cases, he would consider if names could not be published in the casualty lists, so as to avoid the present painful intimation in regard to boys suffering in many cases from shell shock.
Mr. Macpherson said that would involve a statement of the full facts. A polite letter was always sent to the next of kin conveying what was necessarily a very brutal fact."

Mr. Macpherson previously had been asked to intervene in the application of the death penalty......

Reported in the Birmingham Daily Post of 1st November 1917: "DEATH SENTENCE ON SOLDIERS. Mr. MACPHERSON, in an answer to Mr. Snowden (Lab.-Blackburn), said he was not prepared to interfere with the discretion of the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief in dealing with the care of a private in the Royal Scots Fusiliers who was sentenced to death after trial by court-martial for desertion. The Commander-in-Chief only confirmed the proceedings in cases of that character after the fullest consideration.
Mr. SNOWDEN: Is the War Office prepared to allow a scandal like this to go on without enquiry, when a mere boy, overcome with nervousness, was executed?
Mr. MACPHERSON: I have not all the facts at my disposal. In this case every consideration has been given to the relevant facts brought forward. I have gone into the cases very sympathetically, and the utmost consideration has been given to all the facts brought forward by the medical officer.
Mr. CHANCELLOR (L-Haggerston): Does the hon. gentleman think that he is strengthening the army by sending soldiers suffering from shell shock back to the front? Is it true that young lads of tender years who have failed in their duties are shot and the generals are promoted?
Mr. TENNANT (L-Berwickshire): Is it not the case that no execution of this kind takes place without the whole facts being brought before the court-martial.
Mr MACPHERSON: Not only is that true but each case is investigated by the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, who is as anxious for the lives of the soldiers as the hon. member. (Hear, hear)."


Opening of the Battle of Cambrai on 20th November (closed 6th December)

On the day that last week our paper went to press [24th November] news reached us in this country of the wonderfully dramatic and wholly successful commencement of the attack which the Third Army, under General the Hon. Sir Julian Byng had made upon the German Front between St. Quentin and the River Scarpe, an attack which has been continued up to the present, and which has developed into the important operations which we know as the Battle of Cambrai. The line which our troops so suddenly, so bravely, and so successfully assailed is that known as the Hindenburg Line, a position of great natural strength which, with a wise prevision, had been prepared during the course of the last winter in anticipation of the inevitable curtailment of the enemy's front. The new position was grandiloquently described as one which nothing could break, no attack force, as a line constructed with all the resources of permanent fortress architecture. And when, in the middle of March of this year, the Germans retreated thither, shortening their front, and adding, as they believed, to their security of tenure, Hindenburg is said to have assured his dupes that by yielding one step they had gone a thousand on the road to victory. Well, what has happened? The several simultaneous blows dealt but the Third Army were carried out without the usual artillery preparation, the enemy was completely surprised, the defensive system of the much-vaunted Hindenburg line on the whole front was stormed and carried, the Hindenburg support line was captured, and our splendid troops are within a few thousand yards of Cambrai. This is one of the great victories of the campaign, splendidly conceived and splendidly won, a fitting occasion for the ringing of the joy-bells which have for so long been silent. [Source: The Army and Navy Gazette, 1st December 1918]

[Note: This early optimism was reversed by the Germans who mounted a large and successful counter-attack that proved very costly to the Allies. Byng had decided to mount the attack without first strengthening his flank at Bourlon Wood as recommended by Haig! An enquiry followed.]


† - Ninety Sixth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 30th November 1917.

Lance Corporal, Fergus William CHRISTMAS, TP/240830, 1/8th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment (of Teynham)
Killed in Action: Aged 24
Memorial: Cambrai Memorial, Louverval
Theatre: France and Flanders
Died: Killed in Action,

 


Soldiers in trouble

Reported in the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald on 1st December 1917: EAST KENT CASES AT MAIDSTONE ASSIZES
The following cases were heard at the Kent Assizes at Maidstone on Friday:-
HOUSEBREAKING AT WHITSTABLE – JUDGE'S SYMPATHY WITH OLD GAOL BIRD. James Harding, 69, painter, pleaded guilty to feloniously entering the dwelling house of Flora Beeching and stealing therefrom a gold watch and various other articles of the total value of £7.- Superintendent Heard, Home Division, stated that the prisoner in 1865, when the was about 17 years old, was sentenced at the Middlesex Sessions, he received sentence of seven years' penal servitude for stealing an umbrella; and at the Central Criminal Court in 1882 he was sentenced to eight years' penal servitude for burglary.- The Judge said he thought the prisoner had been treated rather badly when he was a boy. Altogether he had served about 20 years in prison, and was entitled to be leniently dealt with now. His lordship then ordered him to be imprisoned for one calendar month.
CONCEALMENT OF BIRTH AT DOVER. Caroline Hughes, 32, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging her with attempting to conceal the firth of her child at Dover. Ernest Walter Coultham, 39, soldier, was indicted for aiding and abetting the woman Hughes in the commission of the offence.- The jury found him guilty, and he was sentenced to one month's hard labour. The female prisoner was sentenced to three weeks' imprisonment in the second division.
BURGLARY AT SITTINGBOURNE
William Mole, alias Haslington, 36, soldier, was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling house of Charles Newton, a licensed victualler, at Sittingbourne, and stealing twelve packets of cheese, a quantity of vegetables, a watch and chain, and other articles, also £1 8s. in money.- Prisoner was found guilty and sentenced to twelve months' hard labour
The following case was tried on Monday:-
RUM DID IT.-SOLDIER'S LIGHT GET OFF.
William Mahurter, 24, soldier, was indicted for the manslaughter of Corporal Frederick Edmund Channell, at Sittingbourne.- He pleaded guilty.- Prisoner and two other men were acting in a disorderly manner in the street, and Corporal Channell remonstrated with them. The prisoner thereupon struck him a blow, which caused the Corporal to fall, and striking his head against a manhole in the road he fractured his skull. He died the next day.-Counsel for the prisoner said that he was drunk at the time, having been drinking rum. The man had been fighting in France and had been wounded several times. He bore a good character in the Army.-Sentence to six weeks' hard labour.