Page 249 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THIRD BATTLE OF YPRES-BATTLE OF CAMBRAI
221
Consolidation of the line gained was pushed on rapidly, though
it was greatly hampered by enemy snipers and by artillery fire which
was probably directed from captive balloons so placed that they had
an excellent view of the ridge. From 9 a.m. to noon the enemy's
shelling was fairly heavy, but there was a period of quiet from then
until 2 p.m. At 3-45 p.m. the Germans put down an intense bombard–
ment, directed by aerial observation, on the line held by "A" and
HC" Companies, which suffered severely. Under cover of this, enemy
snipers established themselves along a bank on the northern side of
the railway and kept the left of the line under constant rifle fire
which caused several casualties. Between 6 and 7 p.m. the Germans
sent some scouts and two platoons forward to attack the post ,
which had been held since the night of 7th/8th August by Grenier
and his party. The attackers were all killed at less than a hundred
yards' range. Corporal F. Robinson contributed much to this
success: he took his section to a hedge from which he was able to
bring enfilade fire with rifles and rifle-grenades on the enemy and
also to deal with a second attack on his other flank. At about
7.15 p.m. Grenier reported that he could see about a battalion of
Germans massing
in
a wood about half a mile in front of the
battalion's line. The
"s
0 S" signal was sent up, but was not
answered till 8.25 p.m. after it had been repeated four times. The
British barrage then opened and caught the Germans as they
advanced; they also suffered severely from enfilade Lewis-gun and
machine-gun fire directed on them by Grenier's party, the Lewis gun
firing nine drums and the machine
gun
four belts, while the rifle
section fired twenty rounds a man and thirteen rifle grenades.
About thirty men succeeded in passing through the shells and
bullets and continued to advance. They came opposite part of "C"
Company, under Lieutenant G. A. Keir, who held his fire till they
were within four hundred yards and then mowed them down with
the fire of a Lewis
gun
and fifteen rifles. Grenier's post was even now
not to be left in peace. During the night several small parties tried to
attack it: thirty-five Germans were killed and a number taken
prisoner. After another day of sniping and intermittent shelling, the
battalion was relieved on the night of IIth/12th August. Its
casualties had been 4 officers wounded,
30
other ranks killed, 42
wounded, and 8 missing, who were known not to have been taken
prisoner; these losses were the lowest in the brigade. The gallantry
and initiative shown by Second-Lieutenant H. P. Grenier were
rewarded with the Military Cross; Corporal F. Robinson received
the Distinguished Conduct Medal; and Company Serjeant-Major
W. Young, Serjeant
H.
Smith, Corporal
J.
Joll, Lance-Corporal F.
Trotter, and Privates W. Boyd,
R.
J.
Hardwick, H. Harrop, W. T.
Hart, E. Haworth, J. Hooson, T. Hopwood and H. Orr were granted
Military Medals.