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144
THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
Fricourt. Attacks in this area on 1st July had been partially
successful; the 7th Division had taken Mametz and the 21st
Division on its left had penetrated half a mile into the German lines.
Fricourt had been
tI
pinched out" on 2nd July, and by 4th July
the British line ran north-west from Mametz, across the valley in
which lay Fricourt Wood and along the spur north of Fricourt,
whence it looked down into the hollow which had to be crossed
before the defences of Mametz Wood and Contalmaison could be
reached. The next scene of the Battle of Albert was to consist of
an attack on Quadrangle Trench, the outer position covering those
10TH BN .
places. The 10th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel T. S. H. Wade)
was cast for a role in it.
After the action at The Bluff in February, 1916, this battalion
had been in the Armentieres sector till May.
It
then went to the
back areas for rest and training till the middle of June, when it
moved down to the Somme and from 23rd to 28th June held a sector
of trenches opposite Mametz. From 29th June to 2nd July it
rested at the Bois des Tailles, near Morlancourt. On 3rd July it
moved up to take over former German trenches about half a mile
north of Fricourt, with one company in reserve in Lonely Copse
and Lonely Trench, one in Lozenge Alley east of Lozenge Wood,
one in Crucifix Trench and one near Birch Tree Wood.
It
was no
easy task as the trenches were occupied by several units of the 21st
Division, and the ground was wholly unknown and unreconnoitred.
Nevertheless, the relief took place without a hitch. Early on 4th
July the battalion sent a patrol up a new communication trench,
which it reported badly damaged by our own shell fire, from Shelter
Wood to Quadrangle Wood. The party reached the latter spot
unseen, but then met a sentry. The Germans in Quadrangle
Trench, which lay two hundred yards behind Quadrangle Wood,
opened fire, but the trench appeared to be lightly held. The patrol
brought back an abandoned German machine
gun.
Later in the day
the battalitm extended its line to the right to include the whole of
Shelter Wood; this was accomplished by 11.45 p.m. with no enemy
interference other than normal shelling.
At 12.15 a.m. on 5th July the artillery opened a bombardment
of Quadrangle Trench, under cover of which the 9th Northumber–
land Fusiliers and 10th Lancashire Fusiliers crept to within a
hundred yards of the enemy position. At 12.45 a.m. the two
battalions charged. In the 10th Battalion,
tiC"
Company (Captain
G. W. Thacker) and "D" Company (Captain H. M. Adcock)
captured Shelter Alley and Quadrangle Trench without much
fighting except on the left, where they were met with rifle and
machine-gun fire. One gun in particular was causing much trouble
to "D" Company; but Serjeant
R.
Hitchings threw a bomb at it,
rushed forward, seized the gunner, and so enabled the objective to
be captured. Unfortunately, the company commander, Captain
Adcock, was killed as he leapt into the German trench.
The position was captured by about
2
a.m., and the day was