Page 225 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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cavalry division which had been moved up the day before to take
part in the battle; both men and horses looked absolutely done.
On the 13th it moved early to some old German trenches which lay
north of Tilloy-lez-Moffiaines and between that village and the
River Scarpe. In the evening it advanced to the "Brown Line" near
Feuchy Chapel, which stood on the Cambrai road a mile and a half
S6uth of the village of that name, with orders to consolidate by means
of strong points on the eastern slopes of Orange Hill. On 14th April
of another brigade carried out an attack against the
German position east of Monchy-Ie-Preux, which was at first
successful. At about noon, however, the 1st Battalion received a
message from the 86th Infantry Brigade stating that the attacking
troops were thought to have been cut off, that the 2nd Hampshire
Regiment had been ordered to occupy the old trench east of Monchy
and that the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers were at once to occupy the
trenches vacated by that unit on the southern slopes of Orange Hill
and to the west of Monchy. This was done, companies moving over
the open in artillery formation. Later in the afternoon, "A"
W. Sheppard, M.C.) and "B" (Captain T. Slingsby)
Companies were sent up to Monchy to reinforce the Hampshire
Regiment, suffering a dozen casualties on the way up. The remaining
companies moved up after dark and relieved part of the 88th
Brigade in the line. The 86th Brigade was to have attacked on 15th
April, but the proposal was abandoned and the battalion remained
in Monchy, carrying on work on the defences. The village was a
horrible sight: it was full of dead horses as a cavalry brigade had
dismounted there and gone forward on foot, leaving their horses
under cover of the buildings. They were, however, seen by the
Germans who swept the village with artillery and machine guns.
Some live horses were found, mostly wounded or in an advanced
state of starvation: the worst cases were at once destroyed. Three
bed-ridden civilians were also found in a cellar and sent down to
Arras on stretchers.
The next few days were comparatively quiet and the battalion
was relieved on 18th April, when it went into billets in Arras until
21st. On that date it relieved the 1st Royal Dublin Fusiliers in
reserve at Monchy. At 7.45 a.m. on 22nd a German aeroplane was
brought down by rifle and Lewis-gun fire from one of the companies.
Private G. Garside tried to reach the machine in daylight. But
though he was unable to do this, he went out again at night, bombed
off the enemy and brought back its maps and guns. Later in the
day the battalion moved back to the "Brown Line"; but at about
12 noon on the 23rd it was ordered forward to occupy the inner
defences of Monchy and to hold the south side of the village as the
Germans had delivered a heavy counter-attack and had succeeded
in driving back the division next on the right and thus exposing
the right of the 29th Division. The advance was carried out in
artillery formation, "C" Company coming under considerable rifle
and machine-gun fire. The rest of the day was spent in digging.