October 1917

On 1 October 1917, 11 DLI, along with the rest of 20th Light Division, was moved out of the Ypres area and sent to Bapaume, where they were attached to Third Army command. The battalion was strengthened by striking off some 240 ‘other ranks’ and bringing in another 280, plus 6 officers.

They then moved south and set up battalion HQ at the mysteriously named “Camp W3C.57” – the war diary gives no other location details. A little more can be deduced from this apparent secrecy, since the diary specified the names of the trenches on which the battalion worked for the whole of October, without respite: Mac Support, Loughborough Lane, Circus Switch, Denning Avenue, Fern Trench and Ashby Lane. Parts of it sound somewhat suburban, but these were in fact a section of the trench systems facing Cambrai. The work would become more interesting the following month and the purpose lying behind it more evident.


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