Page 233 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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20
5
The pressure maintained on the
Arras
front to distract attention
from activities farther north continued until well into June. The
1ST BK.
1st Battalion (Major
A.
J.
W. Blencowe, M.C.) took part in one of
the last episodes of this process.
It
went into the line near Monchy
in the ordinary course of events on 20th May and spent a reasonably
quiet period of ten days in trench routine. After being warned for an
attack to take place on 27th May, the battalion took part in an
attack on Infantry
Hill,
east of Monchy, late on 30th May, in
conjunction with the 16th Middlesex Regiment on the right and the
8th East Lancashire Regiment on the left. At 10.30 p.m. "D"
Company (Second-Lieutenant
R.
H. Stubbs), which was to carry out
the assault, began crawling forward to a tape laid parallel to the
objective. They were followed by the supports, "A" and "D"
Companies. By 11.15 p.m. they were all in position. But, owing to
the moonlight and his own flares, the enemy evidently detected this
movement; for he put down a heavy barrage with artillery and
machine guns on the front ¥d support lines. At zero, 11.30 p.m., an
intense barrage opened on the German trenches and the battalion
began its advance. The enemy appeared to be leaving his positions
and a premature message was received stating that the objective had
been taken. But in fact the attack was held up on the right and only
the left flank succeeded in reaching the German trench. Three times
Stubbs led his men forward with the utmost disregard of danger ,
rallying and re-forming them under heavy machine-gun fire after
each unsuccessful attempt . He was twice wounded, the second time
severely. In the end the attack had to be abandoned and the original
line reoccupied. Nevertheless the battalion tried, though in vain, to
help with the fire of Stokes mortars, Lewis and machine guns, a
party of the 16th Middlesex Regiment who were isolated between
the two lines. The battalion's casualties were
I
officer missing and 5
wounded, 6 other ranks killed, 43 wounded and 22 missing. Second–
Lieutenant
R.
H. Stubbs was awarded the Military Cross.
A little farther south, at Havrincourt Wood, Serjeant O. Durrans,
of the 1st/6th Battalion, gave an excellent example on 4th June of
1ST/6TH
the sort of individual enterprise which did so much to keep up an
BN.
offensive spirit
in
a "quiet" sector. At great personal risk he crawled
a quarter of a mile into No Man's Land, where he spent two and a
half hours and accounted for four German snipers though he was
under heavy machine-gun and sniping fire all the time. Eventually
he was hit; but he managed to crawl back to his post, with the
satisfaction of knowing that he had silenced all sniping in his part
of the line. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.