Page 27 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-19I8
a few hours later by Serjeant H . Bibby, the Officers' Mess Serjeant.
As he lay wounded at the bottom of the Essex trench, German Jager
arrived and lined the outer edge of the parapet. He saw a German
crawl over the parapet, come right up to him, take his revolver from
its case and fire at
him
twice. Nevertheless, Roffey managed to
crawl away into a field of corn stooks and later in the day was helped
along by the adjutant and some men of the Essex.
It
was now about 8 a.m. and Ward's company and Cross's
platoon were being seriously harassed by machine-gun fire from
behind, which Lieutenant D. E. Boyle and Cross tried to correct.
Very shortly after, Ward and Boyle, two devoted friends, were
killed instantaneously. Casualties were mounting: Lieutenant F. F.
Corbett-Winder and Second-Lieutenant W. J. Rowley were wounded;
"D" Company was without an officer; Lieutenant C. H. Bass was
seen to be lying wounded in the open and Corporal Walsh disappeared
in a fruitless effort to bring him in. The Germans...-were Greeping
round the flank and a retirement became necessary. "A" and "D"
Companies (the latter now taken over by Captain R.
Y.
Sidebottom)
withdrew to the cover of a hedge, suffering in so doing. Sidebottom
gathered as many men as he could reach with his energetic voice,
but fell with many wounds. Privates Bannister and Hanson tried
to remove his body, but the enemy were too close, and the former was
dangerously wounded. In the meanwhile, Humfrey was carrying
back part of the surviving machine gun when he stopped to help a
wounded man and fell mortally wounded. Serjeant Roch, who was
carrying the tripod of the gun, was hit in the wrist. Both of the only
two guns in the battalion were lost that day, and the battalion was
without machine guns until nearly the end of September.
Later in the day, after several gallant counter-attacks made by
small parties with some success, the whole of this part of the line fell
back, by the brigadier's order, across the stream running behind the
original position, to a saddle-back ridge running south-west from
Haucourt, where the Battalion was rallied by Major Griffin, Captains
Woodman and A. H. Spooner (adjutant) and Second-Lieutenant
Cross. The latter organized fire upon closely pursuing Germans who
fired as they advanced. The withdrawal was helped by the fire of
two companies of the Essex. The holding of this new line was
assisted by the artillery; but the enemy had pushed ahead all the
artillery of their IV Reserve Corps, which joined with that of the
Cavalry Corps in heavily shelling this line and the plain behind it
as far as Selvigny, to which the bulk of the brigade was ordered to
withdraw. The shelling caused some dispersion and mixing with the
Inniskilling Fusiliers on the left. Captain J. A. Davenport was
wounded
in
the arm and later taken prisoner, with others, in a
temporary hospital in Haucourt. Lieutenant
C.
E. Stuart went to
this building and advised all men able to walk to leave at once, as the
enemy were beginning to shell the village. He put Serjeant Whittaker
(who had been hit
in
the head) on a borrowed horse and with others
left the village, being picked up later by lorries. In the meanwhile,