Page 147 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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point of entry had been put out of action by the bombardment as all
the men of these two posts were found killed or wounded. This raid
cost the battalion 1 officer (Lieutenant R. W. Sharratt) and 12 other
ranks killed, 4 officers and 47 other ranks wounded, and 1 officer and
7 other ranks missing.
17TJl BN.
A fortnight later the 17th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel W. ].
McWhinnie) followed up their success of the instructional tour by
undertaking the first raid carried out by the 35th Division after it
had taken over a sector as a complete division. The enterprise was
carefully rehearsed; and at 9.35 p.m. on 24th March, three officers
and fifty other ranks, under Captain E. T. Cowan, left the trenches
near Richebourg L'Avoue, the start having been delayed for half an
hour on account of a German searchlight which was not easily put
out in spite of much artillery and rifle fire. Even as it was, conditions
were against the party as a blizzard was raging when they set out,
but suddenly stopped, leaving them clearly visible against the snow.
Fire was at once opened on them, but they crept forward and
managed to reach the German wire. They could not, however, get
through it as the enemy was very much on the alert; and, after an
exchange of bombs and rifle grenades, they had to withdraw, with
a loss of 1 man killed and 1 officer and
other ranks wounded.
An act of self-sacrificing bravery which should not be forgotten
occurred on 19th April, 1916, when Second-Lieutenant D. Wood,
intelligence officer of the 19th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel]. M. A.
Graham, D.S.O.), was instructing a class in bombing at Warloy–
Baillon . A live bomb was badly thrown and rolled back into the
practice trench. Wood picked it up and tried to throw it away. He
was too late and his right hand was blown off, but his action un–
doubtedlv saved several lives. He was awarded the Albert Medal,
1. .
After staying near the scene of their raids near
Touquet in
December, 1915, till March, 1916, the IIth Battalion (Lieutenant–
D. Crosbie) marched to the Vimy area, where on 26th
April they had a foretaste of what was in store for them later. The
British position near Vimy was highly uncomfortable, being just
below the crest of the famous Vimy Ridge, of which the enemy held
all the advantage. Both sides had indulged in mining in order to
improve their conditions; and mining was almost always actively
in progress on both sides. The nth Battalion took its turn in a
sector near Souchez, where early on 26th April the enemy blew two
mines and attacked under cover of a concentration of trench mortars
and field guns. He was, however, driven back by bombs, rifle and
machine-gun fire at a cost to the battalion of 5 N.C.Os. and men
killed, 3 officers and 23 other ranks wounded and 28 missing,
believed killed. Moreover, the battalion succeeded in making good
the near lip of one of the craters and in inflicting considerable
casualties on the enemy.
Further trouble occurred in this disturbed area on 4th May,
when the Germans made three bombing attacks with the evident