After the success of Messines, the troops were in the "hold" phase of the "bite and hold" strategy. From research, there is a strong opinion that it would have been better to continue with the momentum from that first attack and to press on while the Germans were in disarray, with their morale badly dented.
However, that was not the strategy adopted. Consequently, in the two week pause, the Germans had an opportunity to establish new defensive positions.
On 31st July, a new offensive was started with objective being the small village of Passchendaele. Harry would have been involved in this dreadful phase of the war.
The weather was not kind. The big problem was mud. The picture included here was taken on 1st August 1917, shows a stretcher party struggling through the mud.
Extract from the London Times 1st August 1917 "LONDON, Both British and French troops gained further ground today along their new front in Belgium, in spite of the heavy rain, which, falling since early yesterday afternoon, has turned the battlefield into a sea of mud and rendered major operations impossible."
In an earlier letter, Harry mentions going for a bath "two weeks ago".
- "I died in Hell
- (they called it Passchendaele); my wound was slight
- and I was hobbling back; and then a shell
- burst slick upon the duckboards; so I fell
- into the bottomless mud, and lost the light"