Page 182 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME,
1916
153
and into the Gennan trench and working inwards. The right
column reached the trench, but was forced to retire. The left
column passed through the Gennan front line and severely bombed
the support line. Lieutenant M.
R.
Wood, though wounded,
established two Lewis guns in two shell holes, with the help of
Lance-Corporal Plant and twelve men. This party held on for five
hours until it was nearly surrounded by the enemy, inflicting con–
siderable loss on him and dispersing an attempted counter-attack.
For his gallantry and good leadership, Lieutenant M.
R.
Wood was
awarded the Military Cross. Corporal A. Pattie received the
Distinguished Conduct Medal for dressing ten wounded men under
heavy fire and carrying six of them to safety on his back.
On 24th and 25th July the 18th and 20th Battalions were involved
1 8 TH AND
in heavy shelling during a German attack on other units. The
ZOTHBNS.
20th were ordered to send up a company to prolong the line along
the eastern edge of Trones Wood. Captain
R.
A. S. Coke led it out
of the wood into the open. The enemy, evidently thinking tha.t an
attack was intended, put down a heavy bombardment which forced
Coke to dig in. His trench was blown in; but he organized rescue
parties, dug out men who had been buried and personally attended
to the wounded. The Gennan bombardment was in its turn thought
to be the prelude to a Gennan attack and two companies of the
18th were sent up as reinforcements.
It
was not, however, for
thirty hours that Coke's company could be relieved and he stuck to
his post throughout this time although wounded in the back by a
shell splinter. He was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery
and endurance.
On 29th and 30th July the 17th Battalion provided 10 officers
ITfHBN.
and 460 other ranks as carrying parties for the 89th Infantry
Brigade
in
its attack on Guillemont.
On 29th July the 19th Battalion left the 14th Infantry Brigade,
19TH BN.
32nd Division, and was transferred to the 49th (West Riding)
Division as its Pioneer Battalion.
On 1st August the 17th, 18th and 20th Battalions had the good
17TH,
fortune to be at rest
in
the area misca1led " Happy Valley," near
18TH
Bray-sur-Somme, and held a combined Minden Day parade which
::H
was inspected by Brigadier-General Sandilands, who specially
B N S.
than.ked them and congratulated them on their work.
A much less comfortable Minden Day was spent by the 2nd/5th
ZND/ 5 TH
Battalion, which from 31st July to 5th August endured many
BN .
outbursts of heavy shelling in the line near Arrow Head Copse, close
to Guillemont. This tour of duty is, however, remarkable for several
acts of gallantry by non-commissioned officers and men. A signaller,
Private J. Atherton, earned the Distinguished Conduct Medal by
repeatedly and on his own initiative going across the open under
heavy fire in order to repair the only telephone line which was
working
in
the brigade and to arrange lamp signalling with a
neighbouring battalion. Corporal
J.
Newsham and Private T.
Cooper were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry