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168
THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
and eighty men left, and that these were unlikely to produce the
desired result. The project was abandoned, and steps were taken
to collect the survivors and to consolidate such progress as had been
possible. Eventually about 130 men were brought together, the
losses having been 4 officers and 62 other ranks killed, 6 officers and
162 other ranks wounded, and
I
officer and 100 other ranks missing.
Amongst the many acts of gallantry performed that day,
mention must be made of Private J . Benson who, with two other
men, carried his machine gun into a shell hole in No Man's Land,
where he fired continuously and inflicted severe casualties on the
enemy. Further, he shot seven Germans with his rifle. He was
awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
The next day was spent
in
the line under heavy shell fire. Patrols
were sent out at night to verify persistent rumours that the small
enemy trench was unoccupied, but they found it still held. At
3 a.m. on 14th October the battalion was relieved and moved to
reserve trenches at Bernafay Wood.
LE
TRANSLOY AGAIN
2nd Battalion
2ND BN.
Yet a third time the 2nd Battalion was to endure destruction in
the Somme battle.
I
ts
losses on 12th October were partly made good by the arrival
on 17th October of a draft of 176 non-commissioned officers and men
from the 5th and 6th (Territorial) Reserve Battalions of the Regi–
ment. On the 19th Major C. J. Burke, D.S.O., Royal Irish Regiment,
took over command of the battalion, which moved forward that day
to reserve trenches known as " John Bull" and" Cow," south-east
of Flers. For three days it was employed in digging trenches.
On 22nd October it moved to Thistle Trench, close to Lesboeufs, its
assembly trenches for the big attack on 23rd October.
The battalion, with the 2nd Essex Regiment on its right and the
1st King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment on its left, was to attack
and take part of Dewdrop Trench to the south-east of the sunken road
which joined Lesboeufs to Le Transloy. Included in this objective
were several subsidiary trenches, one of which was called Rainy
Trench. Dewdrop Trench lay about four hundred and fifty yards
from the British front line. When it had been captured, the other
units were to go forward to another objective, while the 2nd
Lancashire Fusiliers took over and consolidated the whole of
Dewdrop.
The strength of the battalion available for the attack was no
more than 5 officers and 250 other ranks, with 48 more in battalion
reserve. "A" Company was commanded by Second-Lieutenant
T.
E.
Parry, " B" by Second-Lieutenant
R.
N. Rigson, "C" by
Second-Lieutenant F. G. S. Watson-all three of whom were killed
that day-and "D" by Second-Lieutenant J. W. Watkins, who had