Page 191 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
I9I4-I9I8
Ganly, Second-Lieutenant W. Morris, and Second-Lieutenant
S. O. Hetherington.
The patrols assembled shortly before 6 p.m. Ganly's patrol
moved along a trench to a point where it was badly knocked about,
when they were prevented from advancing farther in that direction
by the fire of our own Stokes mortars which was coming down a
short distance ahead. The patrol thereupon left the trench, followed
by Morris's party, and made a dash towards the German lines.
When about half of Morris's men had left the trench, a German
machine gun was seen coming into action on top of the parapet
some distance away. The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel
L.
G. Bird, who had supervised
all
the preparations for the operation
and was present in the forward trench, at once ordered the rest of
the party to stay in the trench and to open fire. He also ordered
the Lewis-gun section and riflemen of Hetherington's patrol, which
had just come up, to fire on the enemy gun. The latter was soon
silenced and taken down. In the meanwhile Ganly's and the first
half of Morris's patrols had entered the German trench and, working
their way along it, killed the machine gunners and captured their
gun.
They then pushed farther east and established a block at the point
of a salient in the trench known as Pope's Nose. Serjeant A.
E.
Owen did very valuable work in this stage and disposed of a number
of the enemy. The third patrol under Hetherington also went
across the open and entered the German lines still farther to the
east. By about 6-45 p.m. all three patrols had joined hands.
Twenty-one prisoners were taken and sent back. Morris was wounded
in
the leg, but remained at duty until late at night.
The parties exploited their success westward towards the River
Ancre and northward along the communication trenches leading to
the enemy's close-support line, blocks being established at suitable
places and touch gained with the 18th Division. Twenty more
prisoners were captured during the night; and a quantity of maps
and an unopened mail-bag full of letters were found in a dug-out
by the intelligence section under Second-Lieutenant G. A. Potts.
Early on the morning of the 29th the enemy seemed to be holding
their support line strongly, and the most advanced block was therefore
withdrawn slightly so that a strong position might be consolidated.
On his way back at this stage, Captain
R.
Ganly, who haoled the
attack with great coolness and had previously done much excellent
work, especially at Vimy Ridge on 15th May, 1916, was shot through
the head by a sniper. Second-Lieutenant S. O. Hetherington also
died from a shell wound received in the forward trench; and about
twenty-five non-commissioned officers and men were killed or
wounded.
Major-General
E.
G. T. Bainbridge, C.B., commanding the 25th
Division, wrote in the margin of the Commanding Officer's report,
" This was a capital action," and ordered Ganly's name to be put
forward for a Mention in Despatches, which it received
in
January,
1917. Serjeant A. E. Owen was awarded the Distinguished. Conduct