Page 237 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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20
9
two hundred and fifty yards south of Middle Fann. A mixed party
of "A" and "D" Companies, under Second-Lieutenant H. Skelton,
joined the Ist Wiltshire Regiment in ejecting the enemy from Four
Huns Fann, a large building three hundred and fifty yards north of
Middle Farm, and a concrete dug-out on the farther side of the
main road. Private J. Mack displayed great gallantry, frequently
leading assaults and entering German trenches before the barrage
had properly lifted from them.
The battalion's final objective having been taken, other troops
passed through to attack the next positions, and
"c"
Company
began to make a strong point between Four Huns Farm and Middle
Farm, while "A" started to dig a communication trench westwards
from it. "D" Company consolidated its hold on October Support
Trench and "B" reorganized in October Trench itself. At II a.m.
orders were received by the battalion to hand over its dispositions
to the I3th Cheshire and 9th Loyal North Lancashire Regiments,
and to take up a line along Occur Avenue-a continuation south–
eastwards of Occur Trench-lying about six hundred and fifty yards
back from Middle Farm. The rest of that day and the whole of the
next day were spent in the work of consolidating these rear positions
in case the enemy counter-attacked in great strength. At II p.m.
on 9th June the battalion moved forward again to take over October
Trench, October Support Trench and Regina Trench. The battalion
suffered a grievous loss that night in the death of their beloved
Quartermaster, Lieutenant W. Bowyer, who was killed by a shell.
He had been with the battalion from the beginning and had proved
a most devoted administrator whose first thought was ever the
comfort and welfare of the men. The Ioth June was spent in
completing and wiring the new line, and on the IIth the battalion
withdrew to peaceful bivouacs about a mile north-west of Neuve
Eglise.
.
The battalion's achievements drew generous praise from the
Brigade Commander, Brigadier-General H.
K.
Bethell, who frankly
admitted that his previous doubts whether troops with such little
service could successfully carry out an operation of that nature had
been entirely unjustified. The Military Cross was awarded to Captain
M. A. Ward and Second-Lieutenant M. L. Bemstein; the Distin–
guished Conduct Medal to Company Serjeant-Major
J.
W. Nolan and
Private J. Mack ; and Military Medals to Serjeant W. H. Fowden
(attached to the 74th Trench Mortar Battery), Serjeants J. Ashley,
P. Blyth, J. F. Haslam, W. A. Tinckler and G. Turner, Corporals
J.
R.
Farragher and T . Robertson, Lance-Corporals H. Coquard and
T. Hodgkinson, and Privates A. Eastwood, H. Hollywood, A. V.
Lock and C. A. Rosser. The casualties had not been unduly heavy :
out of an attacking strength of 22 officers and 60I other ranks, the
battalion lost I officer and 33 other ranks killed, 7 officers and I36
other ranks wounded, and 6 men missing.
Its
booty totalled 6
machine guns, one 7.S-inch heavy mortar and 242 prisoners.
The other battalion of the Regiment to earn the battle honour
p