Page 211 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS, 19I4-I9I8
German was killed on the wire and another was taken prisoner; the
latter was very badly wounded and died at the dressing station. On
31st March a heavy German trench-mortar bomb of the kind known
as a "rum jar" dropped on the front-line ammunition store of "D"
Company of the 3rd/5th and set it on fire . Captain
C.
W. Laughlin,
Second-Lieutenant S. E. Reid, Company Serjeant-Major S.
Pend1e~
bury, Serjeant
E.
Morris, Lance-Corporal T. Higgs, Private
J.
WilIiams and Private
J.
W. Pickup were warmly congratulated by
the Divisional Commander (Major-General The Hon. Sir H . A.
Lawrence,
K.c.B.)
on their coolness in putting out the fire with wet
sandbags.
The tale of the Territorial battalions in France was finally
completed by the transfer from Egypt of the original first-line units,
1ST/ 5 TH ,
the Ist/5th (Lieutenant-Colonel F. A. Woodcock, T .D.), Ist/6th
~~:;t:;~'
(Lieutenant-Colonel
R.
L.
Lees, D.S.O) and 1st/7th (Lieutenant–
AND
Colonel H. C. Woodcock) and 1st/8th (LIeutenant-Colonel O. St.
L.
1s T / 8TH
Davies) Battalions. After disembarking at Marseilles, the division
BNS.
went by train to near Amiens and moved forward to the new line
north-east of peronne. In the case of the second-line division it was
the 2nd/7th Battalion which led the way into the front line: by a
1ST/ 7T H
curious coincidence, the Ist/7th was the first battalion of the first-
BN.
line division to hold a sector of trenches in France, its tour beginning
on 8th April at Epehy.
THE ADVANCE TO THE HINDENBURG LINE
15th, 16th, 17th, 18th
and
20th
Battalions
Early in 1917 it was agreed between the British and French
Governments and Commanders-in-Chief that the British Army
should take over more of the front.
In
consequence, at various
dates from 20th February onwards, the 15th, I6th, 17th, I8th and
20th Battalions found themselves in strange trenches, between
the Amiens- Bapaume road and the Amiens-Noyon road, which had
15TH ,
previously been held by the French. The 15th and 16th Battalions
16TH ,
took their turn in trenches at Bouchoir and Rouvroy-en-Santerre,
18~~T~D
near Roye, while the 17th, 18th and 20th held sectors farther north
2oTHBNs.
at Chilly and Lihons, near Chaulnes.
But they were not to remain there long. One of the effects of the
Battle of the Somme had been to leave the German forces south of
Arras in several dangerous salients. Ludendorff, who, with Hin–
denburg as his titular chief, had succeeded Falkenhayn in the
supreme direction of the German Army in the summer of 19I6,
decided to evacuate them and to shorten his line. A very formidable
set of defences, known to the British as the Hindenburg Line, was
prepared to the south-east of Arras and completed early in I9I7.
The area to be given up was systematically laid waste so that the
Allies should derive as little benefit and comfort from it as possible
when they advanced into it . Ingenious booby t raps were left
in