Page 185 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
consolidate their positions and join up their lines. One machine gun
was allotted to "Y" Company and two to "Z" Company for the
protection of the left flank until contact with the unit on the left
had been firmly established.
The French bombardment opened at 4-45 p.m. and lifted at
5.30 p.m., when the Allies advanced and gained all their objectives.
At 5.32 p.m. "Y" Company (Captain W. Rennison) went forward
over the crest of the slope, followed at their correct distances by
.. W " (Lieutenant W. D. Cheshire) and" Z " (Lieutenant W. E. M.
Curnock) Companies. Captain Rennison's control was so good that
perfect intervals and dressing were preserved throughout, in spite
of considerable rifle and machine-gun fire. Major Crook's plan was
carried out in its entirety and all three companies made themselves
secure, in touch with the French. Fortunately, the German counter–
bombardment came down too far back to cause much trouble. The
troops worked through a hot and stifling night, and they were all
under cover before morning. Throughout this operation perfect
liaison between the battalion and the French (by means of runners
and of corporals exchanged between the headquarters) and between
the battalion and brigade headquarters (by means of carrier pigeons
and runners) had been maintained. Private
J.
H. Birtwell was
particularly successful in keeping touch with the French, showing
untiring energy and detennination under the heaviest shelling.
Within the battalion Private S. Wall displayed great gallantry and
intelligence in carrying messages and orders.
During the night of 24th/25th August the French gained the
impression that Falfemont Farm was unoccupied. The
1Jth
Bat–
talion were ordered to send out a patrol to seize it. Thirty men and
a Lewis-gun section from the reserve company, under Captain
]. M. Cowan, went out at about
10
p.m. Shortly after they had
started they met and captured two German patrols. Later, how–
ever, when within thirty yards of the farm, they suddenly came under
heavy rifle and machine-gun fire and had to fall back, only to find
that they had a concealed German trench behind them, barring
their direct way. Cowan and his non-commissioned officers covered
the retirement until all of them were either killed or wounded, but
only eleven men made their escape. The rest of the party were
taken prisoner.
As a result of this fighting, the Germans put down a heavy
bombardment at 6 a.m. on the 25th on Angle Wood and the new
advanced line. The shelling continued at intervals throughout the
day, culminating in a very heavy burst from 8.15 to 9.30 p.m.
The battalion was relieved that night and went into reserve.
Congratulations on its work were received from the Divisional
Commander, Major-General
R.
J.
Pinney, C.B., and the Brigade
Commander, Brigadier-General ]. W. Sandilands, C.M.G., D.S.O.
Major F.
J.
F. Crook was awarded the Distinguished Service Order,
Captain W. Rennison the Military Cross, and Privates
J.
H. Birtwell
and S. Wall the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Serjeant T. M.