The great battle

We have entered another period of anxious waiting.

A battle, which could conceivably end decisively, is now in progress.

The Germans are making their last desperate efforts to shatter the defensive lines and to clear a way for the march on Paris.

At the time of writing, the position of affairs is by no means clear and hours, perhaps even days, must elapse before it is possible to get the correct perspective.

We seem to know that, whether of design or because they could not help it, the allies hold a line farther back than the one originally decided upon.

We are at the same time hopefully aware that they are strongly placed and believe it very unlikely that the line would effectively be pierced.

The French, too, appear to have retreated as far as possible.

We have learned that on Thursday the French took possession of the railway from Paris to Amiens and sensibly strengthened the left.

The French success appears to be one of considerable magnitude but we must wait awhile before deciding what bearing it has upon the general operation.

It is clear that the Germans attempt to envelop the British has not been abandoned but is being persisted in with vigour.

So far the gradual retirement of the allies has been effected in a manner which certainly does not indicate defeat. It may, on the other hand, have a significance which, when disclosed, will shake the German empire from one end to the other.

Beirut - mobilisation of troops is being pressed forward here with great activity. The troops are being concentrated at Damascus as being the rail head of the Mecca railway.

Horses, mules, coal, food are being requisitioned and treasury bonds given in payment. The authorities openly manifest their Germanophile sympathies and have given evidence of their partiality by allowing a German steamer to discharge her cargo of dynamite inside the harbour, to allow it to be transported by rail to Rayak and there buried in trenches.

Beirut is deserted and business suspended, Lebanon is crowded with refugees from all parts of Syria and Palestine. Great uneasiness prevails as it is difficult to explain Turkey’s attitude and the object she has in view.