Page 214 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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of being the first man to reach the north point of the wood, where he
opened fire with a Lewis gun and so covered the advance of the rest
of his company.
By about 4 p.m. the greater part of the objective of the two
battalions had been captured. But the Germans had posted some
machine guns near the halt which has been mentioned ; and these
commanded much of the ground lying to the east of the wood and
caused many casualties. The I5th Battalion reported at 7 p.m. that
they were still unable to reach the halt, and it was therefore heavily
shelled till 8.30 p.m., when the battalion was able to capture it and
two machine guns . Cantwell again distinguished himself and took a
prominent part in helping to clear the enemy out. Useful work
was
also performed by Lance-Corporal H. Rogerson, who, in spite of the
heavy fire , succeeded in carrying out his orders to keep touch with
the battalion on the right, setting a fine example of devotion to duty.
As soon as the I5th had established itself at the halt it
was
ordered to push on at once and seize a line running eastward from
the north point of Savy Wood and hold it by means of a series of
strong points. This proved to be impossible, but by 9.30 p.m. a
continuous line of posts, in touch with units on the right and left,
had been set out along the north-east and northern faces of the wood
by the I5th and I6th Battalions, who were justly pleased with the
results of their first experience of anything approaching open
warfare. The I5th had lost 7 officers and IOO other ranks, the I6th
5 officers and II9 other ranks. In the former, Lieutenant
A.
W.
Cantwell received the Military Cross, Corporal F . W. Strath the
Distinguished Conduct Medal, and Serjeant ] . P . G. Smith, Lance–
Corporal H. Rogerson, Private L. Brabant the Military Medal. In
the I6th, Corporal A. Heap, Lance-Corporal ]. Welch and Lance–
Corporal G. Mather were awarded the Military Medal.
The Operations near Gricourt
17th, 18th and 20th Battalions
Although the events which
will
now be described fall chrono–
logically after the beginning of the Battle of Arras, it
will
be
convenient to record them here since they form an integral part of
the German retirement to the Hindenburg Line and are closely
linked with the operations at Savy Wood.
The I4th April, I9I7, found the I7th Battalion (Lieutenant-
17TH BN .
Colonel A. M. Mills) in the line at Fresnoy-Ie-Petit, about
4,500 yards north of Savy Wood, with "X" (Second-Lieutenant
W. B.
K.
Glass) and "Z" (Lieutenant
R.
S. Heape) Companies
forward and "W" and "Y" in reserve and support. The 32nd
Division (to which the I5th and I6th Battalions belonged) was
to continue its attacks on the right on that day, while the 35th
Division (which included the I7th, I8th and 20th Battalions) was
to take Gricourt, not by a direct assault but by squeezing it out