Page 209 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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182
THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
J. A. Kathan, who was in command of "D" Company in the centre
of the battalion's line, thus had an enemy party on each flank. But
he at once collected
all
the men near him and, although wounded in
the foot by a bomb, continued to hold off the Gennans until re–
inforcements arrived. In the meanwhile, Second-Lieutenant T.
Rufus, who commanded "C" Company on the right, hearing that the
enemy had gained a footing in the trenches to his left, put up the
IfS 0 S" signal, fonned a bombing party and led it towards the
scene of action. Captain
R.
K. Beswick, M.C., of "B" Company,
in reserve, had simultaneously first sent up a platoon and a Lewis–
gun team and then brought forward the remainder of his command.
These parties converged on the Germans at about 5.25 p.m., but the
raiders did not stay for close fighting and withdrew. Posts were
re-established and the repair of the trenches was begun. During the
day the battalion lost
I
officer and 18 other ranks killed and 2
officers and 29 other ranks wounded. They lost neither prisoners
nor booty, but the enemy left behind him three rifles, two caps and a
number of stick grenades.
Earlier in the month, Second-Lieutenant G. Hartley, of the
l ND/ 5TH
2nd/5th Battalion, had earned the Military Cross by a fine piece of
BN.
work. On 8th January he took out a patrol at Railway Wood, near
Ypres, to locate an enemy machine gun. Two of his men were
wounded and he himself received a nasty injury to
his
head. He
helped one of the wounded men back and then, finding that the
other had lost his way, had his own head quickly bandaged before
going in search of him. He stayed out in No Man's Land for an hour
and a half in a vain but gallant effort to find the missing man.
It
has been mentioned earlier in this chapter that the last
mutterings of the thunder of the Battle of the Somme did not die
16TH B N .
away until March of 1917. On loth February the 16th Battalion
spent an uncomfortable day holding the front line under heavy
shell fire while two battalions of another brigade delivered an attack
on Ten Tree Alley, Beaumont Hamel, with the object of improving
still further the positions gained in that struggle. And on 28th
) T
B~ .
February the 1st Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel M. Magniac, D.S.O.)
took part in an attack at Sailly-Saillisel, farther to the south,
in
order to maintain pressure on an enemy who was showing signs of
weakening his hold over his most advanced positions and to secure
observation over the village of Rocquigny. "C" Company (Captain
D. H. Smith), with elements of "B" (Captain T. Slingsby) and "D"
(Second-Lieutenant
I.
Gorfunkle) Companies, were detailed to form
a flank to protect the left of the 1st Royal Dublin Fusiliers and 2nd
Royal Fusiliers, who were delivering the main assault. The barrage
fell at 5.25 a.m. The Dublins and the Royal Fusiliers gained their
objectives. Smith's force was at first successful; but when their
supply of bombs was exhausted they had to fall back a short distance
to an intermediate position which they consolidated with the help of a
reinforcement of bombs, and of the courageous example of Corporal
W. Brain, for which he received the Distinguished Conduct Medal.