Published By Ben Hillidge
Battle of Cambrai.
Marnieres. 6 Bn King’ Shropshire Light Infantry. 29 November 1917.
October 1917 found the 6 BN King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in trenches facing the German Hindenburg line south west of Cambrai. Towards the end of October preparations for the Battle of Cambrai were underway. The battalion was retired to back areas for training with the new ‘tanks’. The battalion was to be in support of the assaulting battalion, 6 Oxfordshire and Bucks. Light Infantry, going over the top north west of Villers-Plouich. The battle began on 20 November and lasted until 7 December. The assault was largely successful and on 21 November the battalion took over a salient in the line opposite Crevecœur on the western bank of the Saint Quentin Canal. There was heavy shelling.
On 25 November 1917 the battalion was relieved in the front line by 7 Bn Durham Light Infantry and moved back into support on the west bank of the St Quentin Canal south of Marnieres where they dug themselves in. The weather was wet, enemy activity was normal. The men spent 2 days on working parties digging a new front line on the other side of the Canal to the right of Marnieres. They would then occupy the line until 29 November when they were relieved and went to a camp to the south of Villers Plouich. At about 10.30pm, shortly after they had arrived and settled in, the camp was shelled and they had to evacuate, they moved back in when the shelling had ceased. No casualty figures are given in the War Diary or the Regimental History. The shelling was the start of an enemy barrage in preparation for a strong counter attack that would come a few hours later and for the next days the battalion would be heavily engaged to halt and turn the enemy attack.
GOOGLE MAPS – satellite view centres on Marnieres.
References and Sources WAR DIARY 6 Bn KSLI. Regimental History KSLI
B&O 1917. Battle of Cambrai. Marnieres. 6 Bn KSLI. 29 November 1917.