Page 152 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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TRENCH WARFARE,
1915-1916
12
5
put up ·a notice on the 19th saying that Uren was dead and that they
had buried
him
and asking for news of their missing warrant officer,
which was given them in the same tenns.
Before the end of May, the 17th (Lieutenant-Colonel A. M. Mills)
17TH AND
and 18th (Lieutenant-Colonel
R.
A. Irvine) Battalions had been
18TH
BNS .
involved in a local operation near Richebourg L'Avoue. On the
evening of 30th May, the 18th Battalion was in the line and was
about to be relieved by the 17th. But the relief was postponed until
there was a lull in a heavy bombardment which fell chiefly on the
sector held by lo5th Infantry Brigade on the left where a relief was
actually carried out. All telephone lines were cut except on the
right. As no infonnation could be obtained as to the situation on
the left, Corporal H. Bloor and Private Dunn went up through the
barrage in order to re-establish communication. Bloor was wounded,
but they reached the left company and brought a message back.
This showed that the battalion immediately on the left had vacated
about two hundred yards of front line. Second-Lieutenant
R.
J.
S.
Tyhurst, Lewis-gun officer of the 17th Battalion, whose guns were
already in the line in view of the relief, had already on his own
initiative put a
gun
to cover this gap. On receipt of this news, the
Commanding Officer of the 18th Battalion sent his adjutant,
Lieutenant
E.
G. Gardiner, to find out exactly how matters stood.
Gardiner went over the open under heavy fire and, having verified
that the gap still existed, led the reserve company up to fill it. He
left Lieutenant
J.
W. Strong in command of this extension of the
battalion's line and returned to report to Lieutenant-Colonel Mills.
Strong reorganized the defences and held the line until relieved by
the 14th Gloucestershire Regiment at 4 a.m. on 31st May. Several
unexploded Gennan'bombs were found in the empty trench, evidence
that a hostile raid had taken place. The General Officer Commanding
l05th Brigade sent a very cordial message of thanks to the 18th
Battalion for saving and holding his line, and congratulations were
also sent by the Divisional Commander. Lieutenant
E.
G. Gardiner
(18th) and Second-Lieutenant
R.
J. S. Tyhurst (17th) received the
Military Cross and Corporal H. Bloor (18th) the Distinguished
Conduct Medal.
A few days later it was the turn of the 1st Battalion (Lieutenant-
1ST BN.
Colonel M. Magniac, D.S.O.) once more, when it brought off a
successful raid, its first, at Beaumont Hamel. The raiding party,
consisting of Second-Lieutenants G.
R.
Craig, C. H. C. Rudd and
F . ] . Whittam and forty other ranks, all under the command of
Second-Lieutenant E. W. Sheppard, left its billets at Louvencourt
by motor bus at 6.30 p.m. on 3rd June and went up to the trenches
of the 1st Essex Regiment. At II.30 p.m. the party left the trenches,
moved forward one hundred and twenty yards, extended and lay
down, protected by a covering party under Whittam. At midnight
a heavy bombardment was opened with the object of cutting the
enemy wire. The Germans replied by playing a searchlight and
putting up flares; but the party was not seen. When, however,