Page 146 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

TRE)lCH WARFARE,
1915-1916
II9
Gregory took up fifty men of
"c"
Company and joined Captain
M. P. Gamon, who was organizing bombing parties in the support
line. The parties advanced together. The enemy evacuated the
posts they had occupied, leaving behind them one dead officer (who
carried a bomb containing some burning liquid and wore khaki
puttees, very old boots and a green uniform with red stripes down
the breeches) and a number of bombs, wire-cutters and other stores.
During this confused fighting, Second-Lieutenant H. McMullan went
up from battalion headquarters to the front line and met the
Germans who had entered No. 6 post. They tried to take him
prisoner but, though he had lost his revolver and was unarmed, he
struggled to such an extent that they gave up their efforts and left
him lying with a bayonet wound in the lung and severe bruises on his
head. The casualties throughout the day had been 2 officers wounded,
I
officer missing,
II
other ranks killed, 30 wounded and 17 missing.
Lieutenant-General Sir T . D'O. Snow, commanding VII Corps, sent
a telegram in which he said: "The Corps Commander congratulates
all concerned on last night's fighting.. .. The counter-attack was
delivered promptly and was well led. Both those in the trenches and
those in the counter-attack fought as officers and men of the
Lancashire Fusiliers always have fought and always will fight."
The battalion was also mentioned in the Commander-in-Chiefs
despatch of I9th May, 1916, for its good work.
It
was generally
believed at the time that this raid, one of a series on a wide front,
was partly undertaken with the object of capturing a specimen of
the Lewis gun which had recently been introduced.
By this time the two Bantam Battalions, I7th and 18th, had
17TH BN
arrived in France, where they landed on 29th and 30th January,
1916. The I7th (Lieutenant-Colonel W.
J.
McWhinnie) had not long
to wait for a chance to make its presence felt. For on its instructional
tour in the line near Givenchy, a listening patrol with great coolness
allowed an enemy party to come quite close to them so that they
were able to deal with it the more effectively. Details are lacking ;
but Brigadier-General
L.
A. E. Price-Davies, V.C., who was com–
manding the brigade to which the battalion was attached, sent a very
complimentary note to the Commanding Officer.
The 16th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel C. M. Abercrombie) was
1 6TH
Br-I".
not so fortunate in its first encounter with the enemy. Since its
arrival in France in November, 19I5, it had spent several months of
trench routine near Authuille on the River Ancre. Here, at about
II
p.m. on 9th March, I916, a wiring party was driven back into the
trenches by a very heavy bombardment of several calibres over an
extensive front,
ISO
shells being counted in the first ten minutes.
Some of this fell on the front line of the 16th Battalion, killing or
wounding many of the sentries. But much of it fell on support and
communication trenches and on reserve dug-outs; and under cover
of it the Germans raided the front line. When this was reoccupied
later, there were signs of a severe hand-to-hand struggle and it was
evident that the Lewis-gun post and the sentry-post close to the