Visits from War Correspondents William Beech Thomas and Philip Gibbs. - 6th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment
Interesting articles regarding War correspondents ww1 William Beech Thomas and Philip Gibbs, who visited the 6th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment on the 8 June 1917. Link for W Beech Thomas and photograph of him.
Also link for Philip Gibbs and photo of him. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Gibbs He wrote about the mines in his article as under**
** “Suddenly at dawn, as a signal for all of our guns to open fire, there rose out of the dark ridge of Messines and 'Whitesheet' and that ill-famed Hill 60, enormous volumes of scarlet flame throwing up high towers of earth and smoke all lighted by the flame, spilling over into fountains of fierce colour, so that many of our soldiers waiting for the assault were thrown to the ground. The German troops were stunned, dazed and horror-stricken if there were not killed outright. Many of them lay dead in the great craters opened by the mines”. (Different spelling for the pronunciation of Wytschaete)
In a latter work Gibbs exacted a form of revenge for the frustration he suffered in submitting to wartime censorship; published after the armistice The Realities of War painted a most unflattering portrait of Sir Douglas Haig, British Commander-in-Chief in France and Flanders, and his General Headquarters - (See his article). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Gibbs
Coincidence regarding Philip Gibbs. After posting this article I began reading a book concerning Lady Dorothie Fielding who was an Ambulance driver on the Western front for 4 years. She actually met him in October 1914 in Ghent. She managed to obtain for him a Journalist's pass when he could not get one,
erik.schaubroeckscarlet.be has just posted a query and he mentioned his home town of Ghent. another coincidence.
by cyngast moderator
I think "Whitesheet" was probably a nickname given to Wytschaete by the British troops, in the same way they called Ypres "Wipers" and Auchonvillers, in the Somme area, "Ocean Villas."
by David_Underdown moderator
I think I've also seen/heard "wit scatters" for Wytschaete
I imagine their wits did scatter when those mines went up!