Page 197 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

I7°
THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS, I9I4-I9I8
in which the 2nd Seaforth Highlanders of the lOth Infantry Brigade
were to help. At 6.I5 p.m. he cancelled the attack orders which he
had issued at 5.50 p.m., and went forward to see for himself how
things stood. He found what he described as "a good deal of
debris of units." In the front line he came upon Salt, who had
collected nearly all the unwounded men and had extended them to
link up with the troops on the right and left. Thanks to the
leadership of Salt and Watkins, these survivors were in good spirits.
The situation as regards Rainy and Dewdrop Trenches was still
obscure, and at 7.45 p.m. Watkins took out fifteen men to find out
whether there were any British troops in them. After vigorous
efforts to get information he came back with a definite report that
they were both held by the enemy. During the night the trench dug
by Watkins's party during the afternoon was extended to join that
of the King's Own, with the effect that three hundred yards of
trench were held by eighty men and five Lewis guns. Lieutenant–
Colonel Burke ordered the digging of a communication trench from
the original line to this new trench.
The net result of the day's operations was an advance of a
hundred and fifty yards at the cost of 3 officers and 205 other ranks
killed, wounded and missing. The total casualties between the
IOth October and 25th October-when the battalion was relieved
and marched to the brickworks at Montauban-had been I6 officers
and 542 other ranks. The only officers left on the 24th were
Lieutenant-Colonel C.
J.
Burke, D.S.O., Major A.
J.
W. Blencowe,
M.C., Lieutenant
G.
C. Martin, M.C. (the adjutant), Major W. Bowes
(the quartermaster), Second-Lieutenant
J.
W. Watkins, and Captain
W. P. Salt, who, however, was killed by a shell on the afternoon of
that day together with a captain of the Ist Middlesex Regiment
which was relieving the battalion. The actual number brought out
of the line by Watkins, whose splendid work was a foretaste of his
achievements as commanding officer of this battalion, was forty-six
all ranks.
THE BATTLE OF ANCRE HEIGHTS
IST OCTOBER TO IITH NOVEMBER, I9I6
"ANCRE HEIGHTS"
11th Battalion
11TH BN.
The last important attack
in
the Battle of the Sornme carried
out by the Regiment fell to the lot of the IIth Battalion, commanded
by Lieutenant-Colonel
L.
G.
Bird. After its successful little opera–
tion at Thiepval Wood on 28th and 29th September, I9I6, the
battalion went to Bouzincourt for training until 6th October, when
it relieved nth Cheshire Regiment in Hessian Trench east of
Tbiepval. The next three days were spent in digging during attacks
by the Canadian Corps. From IOth to I3th October it was in
support near Mouquet Farm, and then again took over the line,
"A"
and
"B"
Companies till the I6th, "D" Company till the