Page 138 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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TRENCH WARFARE,
1915-1916
III
this stage might ruin the whole operation and as their orders were to
avoid engagements with the enemy except in unavoidable self–
defence, they retired and reported the situation. After waiting in vain
to see if the enemy's alertness and activity would die down,
Lieutenant-Colonel Crosbie decided that , as surprise was no longer
possible, the operation should be cancelled, a decision
in
which he was
afterwards supported by his superior commanders. So Beddows and
Keating came back, having been out in the open for three hours and
twenty minutes, of which at least forty minutes had been under fire.
They were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
Serjeant A. Smith, 16th Battalion, earned a Military Medal on
10TH
B~.
19th December at La Boisselle by rescuing four men after a mine
explosion and by making a gallant effort to bring in a wounded man.
He went out under heavy fire more than once, the last time with a
rope attached to him so as to drag the man in. The latter unfortun-
ately proved to be dead by then and could not be moved. Smith went
out on the following night with another man and covered up the
body.
Two days later the loth Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel T . S. H.
10TH
BN .
Wade) met with better fortune in a bombing raid carried out
opposite Hooge in conjunction with the 9th Northumberland
Fusiliers. At 4 a.m. on 21St December the battalion grenadiers,
under Lieutenant G. W. Thacker, moved close to the German lines
and threw about a hundred bombs, working inwards towards a
similar party of the Northumberland Fusiliers who were applying
the same kind of treatment from the other flank. The enemy
trench seemed to be full at the time and there were indications that
many casualties were caused. German retaliation was feeble,
consisting only of a few bombs and rifle shots. The party withdrew,
with the loss of one man wounded, under cover of fifty rounds of
rapid shrapnel fire sent over in the hope of catching the Germans
still standing-to on account of the raid.
The next venture of the IIth Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel
r
ITH BN.
J.
D. Crosbie) was more successful than that of 8th/9th December,
but even so was robbed of its full due through no fault of its own.
The scene was practically the same as that of its previous raid,
namely the crossing of the Le Touquet-Warneton railway over the
Le Touquet-Le Gheer road. The plan was for two parties, "A" and
"B," self-contained and
~dependent
but synchronized, to enter the
German trenches on each side of the level crossing, while a third
party made a feint with bombs so as to distract the enemy. "A"
party, on the left, under Second-Lieutenant
R.
F. MacKinnon,
accompanied by an officer and seven men of the Royal Engineers
and carrying two Bangalore torpedoes, and by Private Glover with a
telephone, crawled out at 9.5 p.m. on 28th December and made their
way to a ditch which ran across No Man's Land. But as soon as they
had got so far, heavy machine-gun and rifle fire was heard some
distance away to the right, which had the effect of rousing the
enemy's suspicions
all
along the line that something was afoot. The