Page 227 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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runners killed or wounded. Captain T . Slingsby was awarded the
Military Cross for holding his trench for two days and two nights
under heavy shell fire although short of food ; and Second–
Downes received it for his cool handling of his
platoon under heavy artillery fire. Private G. Garside received the
Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Medaille Militaire for much
good work and particularly for his gallantry in connection with the
fallen German aeroplane.
After its share
the opening phase of the Battle of Arras, the
2nd Battalion (Major H. W. Glenn, Duke of Wellington's Regiment,
who had replaced Lieutenant-Colonel C. ]. Griffin, D.S.O., on the
latter's promotion to command a brigade) rested in the back area
till 29th April, when it moved to a camp of tents and of tarpaulins
stretched over old trenches between St. Nicholas and St . Laurent–
Blangy, close to Arras, thereby qualifying for the battle honour of
"Arleux." The next day, with a strength of 20 officers and 430
other ranks, it relieved the 22nd Northumberland Fusiliers in the
line to the east of Fampoux and about 1,500 yards north-north-west
of Roeux. The trenches were incomplete, and nowhere were they
deep enough to protect men standing upright. The right of the
sector rested on the Arras-Douai railway, which at this point
ran along an embankment. Not only, however, was part of the
trench line bent back towards the right, but between the end
of the trench actually held by the battalion and the railway was
a gap of about one hundred and twenty yards
which lay a
short trench not held by either side. The relief was complete by
2 a.m. on 1st May. The day was quiet, but at sunset, and at dawn on
the following day, the enemy's guns shelled the position and caused
some casualties. The British "heavies" spent the 2nd, from 8.30 a.m.
to 8.30 p.m., in shelling the buildings in and near Roeux station and
the chemical works which stood two hundred and fifty yards to the
south-east of it. During this bombardment, "D" Company (Captain
Gregory) was moved back and sent to the right to occupy the
refused stretch of the trenches.
At 9.30 p.m. the company moved back to its previous position,
but was later ordered to extend to the right so as to cover the gap
between its right and the railway embankment, and also to occupy
the short trench which has been mentioned and which was reported
by aircraft to be empty. At midnight Gregory sent out a patrol under
Second-Lieutenant A. E. Rogers, who reported that this trench was
held by the enemy. Gregory informed battalion headquarters
accordingly and was ordered to continue with the filling of the gap.
He therefore decided to attempt deployment to the right over open
ground. At 2 a.m. on 3rd May the company began to crawl out
towards the embankment. Unfortunately. this part of the line was
overlooked by the ruins of a building
which some German snipers
were posted. The moon was intensely bright. the movement was
seen, and a number of casualties occurred. Nevertheless, Rogers
with a platoon twelve men strong and Second-Lieutenant W. E.