Page 175 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
Major H. Harris, found themselves in part of Contalmaison and,
after destroying four German machine guns, brought back twenty
prisoners and a machine-gun lock. At 4 a.m., just as a company
of the 1st Worcestershire Regiment was about to attack, the enemy
delivered a frontal counter-attack which drove it and part of the loth
Lancashire Fusiliers back to Quadrangle Trench.
At 12 noon the Germans launched a heavier counter-attack
which expelled the neighbouring division from its lodgement in
Contalmaison and drove back other units into Quadrangle Trench
and Pearl Alley, where they mixed with the IOth Battalion, and
produced a bewildering medley of regiments. Company Serjeant–
Major
R.
Toms very gallantly took command of his company
when all the officers had become casualties and, after this counter–
attack, held on to his position close to the enemy for several
hours. Lieutenant-Colonel Wade, finding it impossible to get any
information as to what the situation really was, went forward and
took command of the mixed details. He heard that two companies
of the Welsh Regiment were holding on to the edge of Contalrnaison
and, with some difficulty, sent up to them reinforcements consisting
of his own reserve,
"A"
Company of the loth Battalion, and some
men of three other units. The attack was successful and
"A"
Company was withdrawn.
It
is remarkable that throughout the day
almost all the information which reached 52nd Brigade Headquarters
about any part of its front came from Lieutenant-Colonel Wade,
even though it did not relate to the loth Battalion.
At 5 p.m. on 7th July the brigade was withdrawn from the line.
The loth Battalion went to Meaulte. On the 8th it moved to
Ville-sur-Ancre, on the IOth to Riencourt, and from 15th to 23rd July
it enjoyed a rest at Villers-sous-Ailly. Its casualties had been
9 officers killed, 5 officers wounded, and 393 other ranks killed and
wounded. The Military Cross was awarded to Captain G. W. Thacker,
Lieutenant V. H. Clay and Company Serjeant-Major
R.
Toms.
The Distinguished Conduct Medal was awarded to Company
Serjeant-Major H. Harris, to Serjeant
R.
Hitchings, and to Private H.
Hollinshead, who had shown great gallantry as a stretcher-bearer
on numerous occasions. During the fighting just described he was
dressing the wounds of four men in a forward position when he was
attacked by six of the enemy. He drove them off with rifle fire and
successfully brought in the wounded men.
Qvitters, 7th
to
loth
July
11
th
Battalion
The next incident to be recorded follows on from that just
described and,
in
a sense, arose out of it, to the extent that the
attack on Ovillers and round the north flank of Contalmaison could
not have been attempted but for the progress made immediately
to the south
in
the area in which the loth Battalion fought. By