Published By John Davies
100 Days. Battle of Cambrai, 8-9 October 1918.
Battle of Cambrai. St Quentin. 1 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 8-9 October 1918.
Cambrai is a city on the River Scheldt in France. The city was occupied in 1914 and remained in German hands throughout the war. Battle of Cambrai, 8-9 October 1918 was the continuation of the advance eastward now that the Hindenberg Line had been breached. The operation was a success and the city was captured by Canadian troops.
On the 5 October 1918 the 1 Bn KSLI came into the line at Preselles Farm. Over the next 2 days the position was shelled frequently. On the 8 October the battalion was engaged in action to the north of St Quentin during the Battle for Cambrai.
The battalion would lead the assault and, once the frst objective was captured, following units would pass through them to the second objective, the KSLI woud then act as reserves for the ongoing assault. The KSLI objective was the sunken road to the east of Mannequin Hill. A and B coy would lead with C and D in support.. Zero hour was at 5.10am. They moved forward under a creeping barrage, News came back to Bn HQ that the objective had been gained and that the 1 Bn Buffs had passed through the KSLI men to continue the advance. Many prisoners soon began to come back indicating the forward troops had been successful. By 6.10am. enemy resistance stiffened and the advance to the KSLI right was held up by enemy position at Sequehart. A barrage was brought down, and, coupled with machine gun fire from the KSLI men, after an hour the enemy surrendered and the advance could continue. and the KSLI men were finally able to move back. However, at midnight on the 8th orders were received for the battalion to move forward again. Due to the short notice given the battalion was only just able to reach their assembly point for the attack by the 5am start time. The battalion moved forward towards Fresnoy le Grand which they reached at 6am. They then passed through the village and dug in along the railway line just east of the village. At about 10am the enemy started to shell the village which continued throughout the day. In the early evening they were finally relieved and moved back to the reserves to reequip and rest. The battalion would return to the line on 16 October 1918.
Joshua was probably one of over 110 men of the 1 Bn KSLI wounded during fighting over the 8/10 October 1918.
GOOGLE MAPS Satellite view centres on Preselles Farm, location of 1 Bn KSLI 8 October 1918.
References and Sources War Diary 1 Bn KSLI. Regimental History KSLI
B&O 1918. 100 Days. Battle of Cambrai St Quentin. 1 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 8-9 October 1918.