Published By John Davies
100 Days. Battle of River Selle, 17-25 October 1918
Battle of River Selle. Saint Benin. 3 Bn Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) 16-19 October 1918.
Following the capture of Cambrai the pursuit of the enemy continued speedily. By 13 October the British reached the western bank of the River Selle, the Germans were on the east bank. The river crossing was forced on 17 October and, after a pause to bring up he artillery, recommenced on 23 October.
The 3 Bn Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) left billets at Honnechy at 3.00am on 17 October 1918 and proceeded to their Assembly point on the west bank of the River Selle to the south of Le Cateau. The enemy were holding the line of the railway which runs parallel to the River Selle with advanced posts in the eastern portion of Le Cateau and between the railway and as far south as St Souplet. The battalion was tasked with establishing a flanking guard to 151 Brigade on their left.
They moved forward and crossed the River Selle near to Saint Benin and concentrated at Y Nullah (Ravin de Baudival). The advance was made under a creeping barrage. Their objectives were Le Quennlet and La Roux Farms. Four tanks were assigned to assist the battalion. The objective was reached and work was begun to consolidate the position. The men had been issued with flares – these were to be set off so that troops following them would know where they were. The flares were also to be used to make contact with friendly aircraft when the men were also to wave their helmets as a recognition signal. They were also to detail a liaison officer to keep touch with the 27 American Division to their right and a liaison post was set up at La Roux Farm.
The battalion achieved their objectives but no other detail is known about the action. Casualties were Officers, 1 missing and 4 wounded, ORs 8 KIA, 10 missing, 69 wounded and 8 Gassed. The battalion was withdrawn on 19 October and went into billets at Honnechy.
GOOGLE MAPS Satellite view centres on Saint Benin – Y Nullah (Ravin de Baudival) just to the south west.
References and Sources War Diary for 3 Bn Royal Fusiliers (City of London)
B&O 1918. 100 Days. Battle of River Selle. 3 Bn Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) 16-19 October 1918.