The Great War Part 182, February 9th 1918

506 The Great War Canadian War Jtccords. B U IL DING DUG -OUTS WITH D SPATE C H .Canadian soldiers unloading trench materials in a village near the line. Standardised sections of iron roofing on which sand-bags could be superimposed greatly facilitated the rapid provision of safe cover. prisoneis and then fought downward into the brook valley with Yorkshiremen the Northumber­ land Fusiliers Durhams and other North Country regiments swinging forward on their right. The long stretches of fire-swept water at Dumbarton Lakes were a dreadful obstacle to the final movement of the English southern wing. The bogs into which the inundations had oozed toadded the complications of the ground. The men who managed to struggle across emerged soaked and plastered with mud and filth. Some of them carried their passion for cleanliness to extreme lengths. They stopped to clean their clothes and puttees with the bayonet wiped the bayonet on the grass at the English deliberation foot of the ridge they were scares Bavarians set to climb and then went forward. An eye-witness reported that this extravagance in regard to appearances affected the Bavarians on the ridge in a strange manner. twoSome hundred sur­rendered others turned and retreated in haste to the redoubts at Gheluyelt. They were appalled by the curious deliberate calmness with which the Englishmen prepared for the clinch of battle. The legend of the Spartans combing their hair in the Pass of Thermopylae was matched by the modern tale of English soldiers smartening themselves up for the storming of Tower Hamlets Ridge. The larger part of the North Country troops worked around the quarter of a mile of moat at Dumbarton Lakes while the Southern battalions crossed the stream British oJJlcUU photograph. A T “THE HOLE IN THE WALL .”With a quick eye for opportunity the soldiers here setup a canteen in a damaged house where a window enlarged b y a shell provided convenient access to the counter. lower down. In front of both of them was the most formidable defensive system in the battle-line. It con­sisted of a large quadrilateral work with wing trenches and redoubts on either side made of steel girders overlaid with concrete. British shells of the largest size had made no impression upon the thick roofs and walls of this great fortress. It rose on a spur of the Tower Hamlets Ridge and commanded the approaches to the high ground. The English infantry could not capture this great modem stronghold. Every rush they made upon it with bombs and machine-guns was broken by a stream of bullets from the loopholes in the castle of armoured concrete. Crawling darting from shell-hole to shell-hole, the unconquerable Englishmen managed to form a “pocket ”around the position and in reduced strength worked forward on either side of it and occupied the Tower Hamlets Ridge. The Tower Hamlets position on the southern side of the Menin road was about half a mile below the village of Veldhoek. Being a hundred and ninety feet high it overlooked the Gheluvelt Hill which was a hundred and eighty feet high and it still more com­pletely dominated the Zandvoorde Ridge British capture indirect line with it -southward which Tower Hamlets was one hundred and forty-four feet high. On the southern side of the Menin road Tower Hamlets Hill was the supreme summit on the enemys remaining portion of the Passchendaele Ridge pillars. Its rapid and definite conquest in the morning of September 20th would have consummated the Anglo-Australian advance along the highest positions of the Menin Gate to Lille and Zeebrugge. Owing however to the fire which the enemy kept up from the Bassevillebeek where the quadrilateral fortress was still unreduced the attacking troops had to fallback later in the day from the Tower Hamlets height. The German counter-attacks in this area were fortu­nately ill-prepared and prisoners captured in them stated that their forces were inconsiderable confusion, owing to the commanding officers of the fresh forces having no maps of the ground. The Englishmen on the other hand were well aware— by experience as well as study of aerial photographs— of the lie of the land and the position of hostile points. They resumed their attack upon the great quadrilateral system on the spur of the ridge and by capturing it on the morning of Friday September 21st recovered the Tower
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