11th May 1918: 22nd Bn begin ‘Peaceful Penetration’ operations

The forward positions for both sides were a series of outposts and every night some portion of the AIF line was pushed forward through what became known behind the line as ‘peaceful penetration’. On the night of the 10th/11th May the posts of ‘C’ Company were pushed forward without opposition in front of Marrett Wood. The 22nd Battalion took no small part in this novel warfare and the Australian Corps for nearly four months sustained, unaided, its offensive work while the rest of the British Army re-organised.

6th Bn Lieut. Wall - P06018.003During the night a patrol of ten under Lieut. HHM Wall pushed out in the dark along the bottom of the spur south-west of Ville-sur-Ancre to the Little Caterpillar sunken road. On nearing the German post there, Wall dropped six of his men to cover him and crept ahead with the rest. As he lay watching at a point from which the German machine guns at the sunken road and  a listening post ahead of them could be made out, one of the men in the rear party coughed and shortly afterwards a patrol came out from the German lines in that direction. As it approached, Wall ordered it to halt and then as the Germans were clearly going to fight, fired. Two Germans were hit and a third captured, and the remainder ran off, chased with bombs. Wall brought back his three prisoners of the 357th I.R., 199th Division, without loss to his party. Lieut. Wall (photographed above, middle row, third from left, with other officers from the 6th Battalion) distinguished himself greatly in patrol work for which he was awarded the Military Cross.

 

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