Page 188 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME, I9I6
I61
In the meanwhile the companies had been advancing, "X" on
the right, "Y" in the centre and
"z"
on the left, dividing the
battalion frontage equally between them, and moving in column of
platoons at twenty paces' distance with the men extended to about
five paces.
"w"
Company, less the platoon allotted to Mouquet
Farm, followed in rear of "Y" Company, with the special roles of
supporting
"z"
Company at the gravel-pit in High Trench and
"X" Company at Zollern Redoubt.
"X" Company (Captain
J.
F. Hoyland, who was killed later
in the day) got into difficulties as soon as it had passed the farm
and suffered severely from enfilade fire coming from High Trench.
The rear platoon, under Second-Lieutenant E.
E.
Lamb, seems to
have been diverted to the right to deal with this threat. Some fire
was also coming from near the fann, and Privates G. Lyon and
B.
Brierley did gallant work singlehanded in subduing it. When
Lyon's supply of bombs was exhausted he used his rifle at close
range and prevented the enemy from firing into the backs of the
advancing troops. But in the meanwhile Lamb and his party had
been killed or wounded to a man, and "X" Company had practically
ceased to exist. A serious gap thus occurred between the battalion
and the 8th Northumberland Fusiliers at a critical place where
Zollern and Stuff Redoubts would later have to be dealt with.
"Y" Company (Lieutenant M. W. B. Deane) in the centre also
suffered severely owing to its right being exposed to enfilade fire
through the destruction of "X" Company, and as it advanced
farther towards the first objective it not only came under fire from
somewhere behind it but was also caught by our own barrage .
"ZOO
Company (Captain
E.
C. Longworth) on the left was more
fortunate and reached the first objective in excellent order and with
slight casualties. The reserve company,
"w"
(Captain E. H .
Davies), following behind "Y," shared the latter's troubles, and
part of it had to be diverted to deal with the Germans who were
still active between Mouquet Fann and the first objective, High
Trench. Just before the company began its advance, Davies
received a message, not intended for him, which caused him
to take command of an advanced dump. When he found out the
mistake he hurried forward in search of his company and blundered
into the Germans holding the Zollern Redoubt, who took him
prisoner.
"Y" and
"z"
Companies reached the first obj ective at about
I2.50
p.m. They found a considerable number of the enemy in High
Trench and dealt with them by bomb and bayonet; but the pause
of ten minutes on this objective allowed in the plan was not long
enough for the "mopping-up" process to be finished, and, even
when special parties were left behind for that purpose, some Germans
were able to fire into the backs of the troops as they advanced to
the second objective. Advantage was taken of the pause to extend
"Y" Company's front somewhat to the right so as to cover part of
the gap left by "X" Company.
M