Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The forcing of the Sambre-Oise Canal took place on November 4, 1918. Participating in the opeartion were the 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex, as well as the 2nd Manchester's, to which the poet Wilfred Owen belonged. The Lancashire Fusiliers also took part in the battle. The British forces were to cross some fields surrounded by high hedges, then cross the canal at a point where there was a lockhouse. The Germans had this area defended with machine guns and rifle teams.
As the 2nd Battalion advanced on the canal, the Royal Engineers placed small foot bridges across the lock. Some Royal Sussex Regiment men actually climbed up onto the lock gates, one of them firing his Lewis gun from the hip as he went! Eventually the British managed to take the lockhouse and pushed on to their final objective near the Etreux road.
Wilfred Owen was killed as he crossed the Sambre-Oise Canal at the head of a raiding party. Ironically, Owen's death occurred only a week before the war ended. Many other brave men were likewise cut down by German defensive fire during this action.
See also: Battle of the Sambre
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