The Ypres Salient - CWGC

No better evidence of Haig's determination to stay on the offensive (with the immediate aim of capturing Passchendaele village and securing the Passchendaele-Westroosebeke Ridge) is to be found than in his diary entry for Thursday 11 October 1917, recounting his meeting at Lillers Station with the French President M. Poincaré: 'He looked tired. I was asked by him when I thought the operations would stop! He was anxious to know because of taking over more line. I said we ought to have only the one thought now in our minds, namely, to attack. And I hoped that the French Army would soon attack in cooperation with the British. He said he expected the bombardment to begin tomorrow. I thought him a humbug, and anxious to get as much as possible out of us British.’ (‘The Private Papers of Douglas Haig 1914-1919’, edited by Robert Blake, London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1952, p.260).

At a meeting with war correspondents that same day Haig's abounding optimism again shone through: '...we are practically through the enemy's defences...the enemy has only flesh and blood against us not blockhouses; they take a month to make.' (‘Military Operations. France and Belgium, 1917’ (Volume II), compiled by Brigadier-General Sir James E Edmonds, London, HMSO, 1948, p.339).


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