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122
THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS, 1914-1918
driven off by vigorous bombing. But the German garrison seemed
cowed and many more prisoners might have been taken but for its
"passive resistance" in dug-outs. Time did not allow of the occu–
pants being dragged forth ; so they were given a few bombs and it is
certain that twenty of them were killed. By 12-45 a.m. the raiders
were all out of the trenches. No casualties had been incurred up to
now, but while the party was lying in a hollow close to its own lines
waiting to re-enter t hem, Captain Smith, Second-Lieutenant
Younger, the machine-gun serj eant and another man were killed and
five men were wounded. Captain E.
C.
MacLaren was awarded the
Military Cross, Serjeant
J.
Pollitt the Distinguished Conduct Medal
and Corporal]. Barbossa the Military Medal.
THE CAPTURE OF "CROSBIE CRATERS"
11TH
Bx.
~Iention
has already been made of the very unsatisfactory
situation of the British lines on the Vimy Ridge, where the enemy
had almost
all
the observation. In May, 1916, it was decided to
undertake a mining operation with the object of securing and
consolidating a strong line of observation near Souchez at a place
where the enemy's mine craters dominated a very wide area. The
operation was entrusted to the 74th Infantry Brigade, at that time
temporarily commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel ]. D. Crosbie of the
IIth Battalion. The latter, commanded by Major G.
H.
Cotterill,
was selected to carry it out. The details were carefully practised
beforehand, even down to the blowing up of a mine behind the line
in order to give the troops an idea of what was involved in seizing
the lip of a newly-made mine crater. The 102nd Tunnelling Company,
Royal Engineers, prepared and charged five mines; and the night
of 15th/16th May was chosen for the operation. For nearly two days
before, the weather had been wet and cloudy. This had impeded the
final preparations, but it had on the other hand made enemyobserva–
tion of them difficult from his craters and impossible from the air.
The IIth Battalion was to seize six craters, to be called, in order
from the right, "Z, " "Y," "X," "W," "V" and
"Q
90.2," the latter
being an old one which the new explosions were expected to improve.
A party of the 9th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment were to seize
a crater on the left of these. Consolidating parties were found by the
10Sth Field Company, Royal Engineers, and the 6th South Wales
Borderers. The assaulting parties detailed for the various craters
were commanded by Second-Lieutenants A.
K.
McFarlan ("Z"),
] . E. Kinna ("Y"), T. W. Wilson ("X") ,
E. H .
]ewell ("W") ,
R.
Barrett ("V") and
R.
Ganly ("Q 90.2"). In most cases, each was
composed of 8 bombers, 4 spade men,
2
loophole men,
I
Lewis-gun
team and
I
signaller with an electric torch. Reserve parties of Lewis–
gunners and bombers were held in readiness under Lieutenant W.
I.
Edwards, Lieutenant F. C.
R.
Dunn and Second-Lieutenant W. F.
Baker. All these parties were placed under the supervision of Major
L.
G. Bird.