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134
THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
by 8.10 a.m. it was evident that they had been held up. AlIen,
who had kept in touch with events and realized that he would
be wanted to help, ordered his men to dump their engineer material
while he went to consult the Commanding Officer of the Northumber–
land Fusiliers. As a result, he brought his company into the front
line, and, with "CH Company, held it until
II
p.m. in place of the
severely mauled attacking battalion. These companies themselves
suffered heavily from shell fire, as the front line had been badly
battered and gave little protection.
On the left, "BH and "DH Companies saw the failure of the
16th •orthumbedand Fusiliers and realized that all was not going
well with the 96th Brigade's attack. But they also saw the 15th
Lancashire Fusiliers advancing in good order and the 36th Division
on the left making quick progress. A little later their view of the
15th was blocked by some trees in front of the village, but at 7.50 a.m.
they heard tha t the 15th were in Thiepva l and in difficulties.
Tweed immedia tely ordered " BH and "D" Companies forward in
order to help their Salford comrades. The men sprang forward
eagerly, only to be met with a withering machine-gun fire which
played havoc in the ranks. Nevertheless, the troops, though greatly
reduced in numbers, managed to reach the trees near the village.
They then realized that the enemy front line, at any rate, was held
by the Germans and not by the 15th. Seeing a gap in the wire,
they tried to dash through it in order to reach the village, so as to
make quite certain that, if any of the 15th were holding on there,
they should not lack help. But they could not succeed as the
Germans had a machine gun trained on the gap and shot the men
down as they ran towards it . The report that some of the 15th were
in Thiepval seemed to be so definite, however, that the survivors
of these companies were loth to abandon their efforts and stayed
on the fringe of the German wire for another four hours. Second–
Lieutenant
E.
J. Brooman was wounded three times before he could
be persuaded to go to the medical aid post. Tweed crawled forward
himself to reconnoitre a possible line of advance to the north
of the village and tried to work several small parties forward,
but without success. As nothing could be seen of any of the 15th
Battalion in front, he reported the situation to Lieutenant-Colonel
Abercrombie, who ordered him to withdraw and reorganize his
men farther back. This he was able to do with a few further
casualties.
Captain T. F. Tweed and Second-Lieutenant E.
J.
Brooman
were awarded the Military Cross for their work on this day. The
battalion's casualties were 8 officers and 223 other ranks, the
ma jority of them being in the two left companies, "B" and "D."
The battalion was relieved at 3 a.m. on 3rd July and withdrew to
Aveluy Wood, marching back later the same day to Warloy Baillon.
19TH B N.
Though the third Salford battalion of the 32nd Division, the
19th (Lieutenant-Colonel J. M. A. Graham, D.S.O.) was the last in
order of time to take part in the fighting near Thiepval on 1st July,