Published By Ben Hillidge
Ypres. Wytschaete. 9 Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers. 18 April 1918.
During Operation Georgette, Kaiser Offensive the 9 Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers were operating in the area around Wytschaete near Kemmel. Over the 7-10 April they were in the line in front of Oostaverne with battalion HQ at Onraet Farm. They were heavily engaged in the opening phase of Georgette and by 11 April had been taken out of the line to rest and regroup. The rest was short lived.
They had a day away from the fighting but were called forward again on 13 April and went into the front between Maedelstone Farm (Map A) and Spanbroekmolen (Map B) with battalion HQ near to Regents Dug-outs (Map C). The fighting was now centred on Bailleul to the south. Bailleul fell on 15 April, the Brigade lines were readjusted and withdrawn to run from the River Steenbeck and along the Wytschaete and Westhoek ridges. As other units withdrew the brigades position became more vulnerable and especially after the village of Neuve Eglise had fallen. The 9Bn RWF and 6Bn Wiltshire’s now felt the full force of the enemy assault with heavy shelling all along their front. On 15 April the battalion was relieved by just one company of 7 Bn West Yorks. – meaning 400+ men were replaced with about 130. The next day the position was attacked and, perhaps inevitably, taken. As a consequence the 9 Bn RWF were sent forward to hold a line running from Lagache Farm (Map D). They held this position until relieved by French troops over the night of 18-19 April. The battalion War Dairy does not list casualties, the regimental history says only ‘In spite of heavy losses, the strength of our battalion, thanks to drafts, was not inconsiderable’.
GOOGLE MAPS Satellite view centres on Wytschaete.
References and Sources WAR DIARY 9 Bn RWF, Regimental History RWF
B&O 1918. KO. Georgette. Wytschaete. 9 Bn RWF. 18 April 1918