NARRATIVE. 19 May H.Q. 23 DIVISION moved from CHERISY to MONCHY le PREOX (N 59) during the night 18/19 May arriving at MONCHY at 0130 hours on 19 May and 8 R.N.F. came to MONCHY from ST. LEGER. The village was still inhabited and on our arrival orders to evacuate the civil populate were given. Captain A.S.C. BROWNE, (G 111) was sent to G.H.Q. ARRAS as Liaison Officer 23 DIVISION was informed that G.H.Q. had moved and that the Division now came under "Petreforce" (Major General PETRE was in command of ARRAS Defences). This was confirmed in G.H.Q. Operation Instruction No. 42 dated 18 May . Divisional H.Q. and 8 R.N.F. set about the task of barricading the roads and took up positions from which the village could be defended against tank attack. One field gun was added to the garrison. Before leaving CHERISY orders had been given for all bridges over the CANAL du NORD to be blown leaving the two main bridges, i.e. those carrying the CAMBRAI - ARRAS Road and the CAMBRAIN - BAUPAUME Road, to the last. At 0600 hours 19 May enemy tanks approached the positions on the canal and opened fire on the demolition parties. Despite this all demolitions were completed without casualties, except that two men of 5 E.Y. were accidentally killed. At 0800 hours on 19 May, General HERBERT and Colonel HARE (G. 1) went into ARRAS and reported the situation to General PETRE. They returned about 1000 hours with orders for 23 DIVISION to move back that evening to the line of the LA BASSEE CANAL between ROBECQ (N. 3435), and LA BASSEE (N. 5125). The Division was to march to THELUS (6 miles North of ARRAS) where it was hoped T.C. Companies ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS would emboss the troops. In anticipation of this move reconnaissance parties were sent to the new positions. Included in these were the C.R.E. (Lieutenant Colonel KENNEDY) and C.R.A. (Major BURNS, ROYAL ARTILLERY) while Colonel GULLAND, A.A. & Q.M.G., went to THELUS to reconnoiter embussing point. At 1600 hours Captain BROWN came to H.Q. 23 DIVISION to say that the situation had materially improved, that ARRAS was to be held at all costs and that the orders to moved back to LA BASSEE CANAL were cancelled. The new role for the Division was to hold the line of the ARRAS - DOULLENS Road from SAULTY (N. 29) to ARRAS and the line of the ARRAS - LENS Road between these two places, with two battalions in ARRAS. It was pointed out that the LENS - ARRAS Road was devoid of tank obstacles and it was suggested that this sector be brought forward to the line of the River SCARPE between ARRAS and BLACHE (N. 5901), to which suggestion "Petreforce" agreed. By this time preliminary moves had been made towards THELUS and it was difficult to direct units of 70 BRIGADE to their new positions West of ARRAS. This was done, however, but with the result that units were only approaching their positions as daylight broke on 20 May. It was then that enemy tanks appeared and overran the greater part of 70 BRIGADE. The move of this Right Brigade (70) to this new position on the ARRAS - DOULLENS Road had entailed a march of at least 17 miles as the crow flies and 25 miles by roads and tracks. It was a move in hours of darkness, with troops already very tired, in unknown country, with no roads leading in the right direction, and with no previous reconnaissance possible. The Left Brigade (69) was in position on the SCARPE by dawn on 20 May and Divisional H.Q. had moved to MONT ST. ELOI. Owing to the great length of the front, it was impossible to spare two battalions for the defences of ARRAS. Of this General PETRE was informed.