Page 167 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
Medals were awarded to Serjeant V. C. D. Froude, Corporal T.
~IdIanus,
and Privates W. Brain, G. W. Capon, J. A. Dickenson,
J. Richardson and
J.
Wilson.
The battalion remained in the front line, strengthening the
defence of the sunken road, until 3rd July, when it was ordered to
move to some rear trenches which were so devoid of shelter or means
of cooking that Lieutenant-Colonel Magniac asked that it should
be allowed to stay where it was. A small party was eventually
sent to the rear trenches as originally ordered, the remainder going
back to bivouacs at Auchonvillers, where it was shelled by 5.9 inch
guns. On 4th July the whole battalion marched to Acheux Wood,
" a very depressed force."
2 N D
B:-I .
Nor was the 2nd Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel G. H. B. Freeth,
C.M.G., D.S.O.) more fortunate in this action. The battalion had
spent the early part of the year in trench routine south of Arras.
Towards the end of May it had been withdrawn from the line and
sent to a training area twenty miles
in
rear. There followed a period
of work in the sector of the front line from which the attack of
1st July was to be launched, and a short period of rehearsals of the
actual attack carried out behind the line over a reproduction of the
German position. The battalion returned to normal duty in the
line in the middle of June. As before, it formed part of the 12th
Infantry Brigade, which was now commanded by Brigadier-General
J.
D. Crosbie, recently in command of the IIth Battalion.
The objective of the 4th Division, as already described, was the
northern part of the Grandcourt-Serre ridge, the remainder being
attacked by the 29th Division. The plan provided for the IIth
Infantry Brigade, increased by two Territorial battalions of the
Royal Warwickshire Regiment, to attack on the whole front of the
4th Division at 7.30 a.m., and for the lOth and 12th Brigades to
leave their assembly trenches about an hour later, advance through
the IIth Brigade and seize the final objective, which was the German
second-line system of trenches about 1,500 yards behind their
front line. The loth Brigade was on the right, the 12th on the left .
Within the 12th Brigade, the 2nd Essex Regiment on the right
and the 2nd King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment on the left
were leading, and the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers on the right and
1st Duke of Wellington's Regiment on the left were in reserve.
Each of the two latter battalions was to detail two companies to
carry engineer material for the consolidation of the objective. The
orders provided that, if the attacking battalions used up
all
their
own supports and still needed help, the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers were
to place not more than one company at the disposal of each. The
2nd Battalion operation orders accordingly instructed "A" Company
(Captain
J.
Collis-Browne) to support the 2nd Essex Regiment
and "B" Company (Captain
L.
B.
L.
Seckham, M.C.) the 2nd King's
Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, sending up such reinforcements as
might be demanded and informing battalion headquarters of the
numbers sent. The battalion's task on reaching the final objective