Our troops maintained their position until dark and then slowly withdrew to the main trenches which had been previously occupied, some 1,300 yards from those of the enemy.
As far as possible all the wounded were brought in during the withdrawal, but their sufferings and hardships were acute under the existing climatic conditions, when vehicles and stretcher-bearers could scarcely move in the deep mud.
To renew the attack on the 22nd was not practicable. The losses on the 21st had been heavy, the ground was still a quagmire and the troops exhausted. A six hours’ armistice was arranged in order to bury the dead and remove the wounded to shelter.
I cannot sufficiently express my admiration for the courage and dogged determination of the force engaged. For days they bivouacked in driving rain on soaked and sodden ground. Three times they were called upon to advance over a perfectly flat country, deep in mud, and absolutely devoid of cover, against well-constructed and well-planned trenches, manned by a brave and stubborn enemy approximately their equal in numbers. They showed a spirit of endurance and self-sacrifice of which their country may well be proud.
* * * * *
EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS FROM OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE 6TH HANTS.
Your son was universally liked and respected by all ranks in this Battalion, and one and all will regret his death and loss as much as I do, who knew his sterling worth. His memory will be ever cherished by his brother officers with whom he was so popular.
(Signed) F.H. PLAYFAIR, Col.
I was indeed sorry to receive your letter which my brother sent on to me, giving the news of your son’s death from his wounds in the Turkish trenches. I had great hopes that his wound might have been a slight one.
May I offer Lady Selborne and yourself the most sincere sympathy both of the Regiment and myself in this most sad loss which has come to you. I can assure you both officers and men of the Regiment will miss him tremendously as he was so popular with all.
(Signed) W. B. STILWELL, Major.
—— shewed me the wire about Robert yesterday morning. I can’t tell you how sorry I feel for you all. I know I have never lost anyone who meant anything like so much to me, and I am sure that his friendship was one of the greatest blessings for me, in every way, that God could have given me.
When a fellow not only has such ideals but actually lives up to them with the determination and consistency with which Robert did, I think there is something very triumphant about his life. Anyway I know that his influence will live on, not in his friends alone, but in everyone with whom he came in contact. I wish you could know what a tremendous lot people thought of him in the Regiment, both officers and men, some of whom had little in common with him.