Page 112 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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GALLIPOLI-SUVLA-EGYPT AND SINAI
and was again used on outpost duty. Great hopes were aroused when
the brigade moved to El Maadan, fifteen miles from El Arish, and it
was announced that it would take part in a rapid advance and a
surprise attack on the Turkish positions covering the latter place.
Unfortunately, the troops were robbed of their prey as the Turks had
decamped; and the brigade returned to El Mazar.
It
was, however, to see its objective of El
Arish
as it moved
thither by stages in the middle of January, 1917. This was the most
easterly point reached by it, except for one company of the 1st/8th
Battalion which accompanied a party of Royal Engineers to El Burj ,
ten miles beyond it. The Units spent their time in training, with
turns of outpost duty. Early in February, 1917, they moved by
rail
to Kantara, going thence on foot to El Ferdan, and on next day to
Moascar, close to Ismailia. As they were rejoined at Kantara by the
unfit men who had been formed into a temporary defence battalion,
and as some of these lacked boots and had to march with puttees
wrapped round their socks, it is not surprising that the numbers who
fell out were higher than had been the case for many months past.
It
was by now known that the rather dull existence to which the
Territorial battalions had been condemned since leaving the
Dardanelles was coming to an end and that they were destined for
France. After farewell inspections by senior officers, including the
Commander-in-Chief, General Sir Archibald Murray, they sailed for
France towards the end of February. During the voyage, at 7.50 a.m.
on 24th February, a torpedo was fired at the ship carrying the 1st/5th
and 1st/6th Battalions: it passed between the stern and the log line
and missed its target by about thirty yards.