Page 285 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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254
THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS, 1914-1918
The casualties had been heavy though a considerable number of
the missing proved to have been wounded and evacuated by other
units or else killed, the final figure being reduced to thirty-five
in
the
case of the 3rd/Sth Battalion.
3rd /5 th
2nd/6th
2nd17th
2nd/8th
Total
Off.O.R.
Off.
O.R. Off.
O.R.
Off.
O.R. Off. O.R.
Killed
4
42
3
29
I
3
2
3
32
11
135
Wounded
6 18 4
7
146
8 126
9
20
4
3
0
660
Missing
79
56
114
138
4
387
Totals
II
3
0
5
11
23
1
10
27
2
13
374
45 1,182
The Pioneer Battalion
The 19th battalion also earned the battle honour "Poelcappelle"
by being at work on roads and tracks near Frezenberg for the
benefit of the attack of its division (49th) on 9th October, though
its real contribution had been made in that area in the preceding
days.
THE ATTACK AT HOUTHULST FOREST
22ND OCTOBER, 1917
17th, 18th and 20th Battalions
Earlier in this chapter the story has been told of the raids carried
out at Gillemont Farm in September, 1917, by the 17th and 20th
Battalions. Shortly afterwards these two units and their sister
battalion, the 18th, were taken out of the line and moved to a
peaceful area behind the front for ten days' rest and training
in
the
attack. While there, the 17th Battalion received a visit from
Colonel F. Amber, of the Provost Marshal's staff, a former com–
manding officer of the 2nd Battalion, who presented the ribands of
the Military Medal to N.C.Os. and men of the unit recently rewarded.
On ISth October the three battalions went by train to Proven, and
next day into the line just to the south of Houthulst Forest and about
1,000 yards north of the positions reached by the 1st Battalion on 9th
October. On 17th October they were visited by
H.R.H.
the Prince
of Wales, who was at the time a Staff Captain at the headquarters
of the XIVth Corps.
The 104th Infantry Brigade was having its first experience of
the Ypres Salient and was soon to have its first taste of battle in the
changed circumstances of 1917.
It
had received many drafts shortly
before, and to all the conditions were entirely new. As elsewhere in
the battle zone, the front line was a series of shell holes, mostly
filled with water as the result of the frequent rains of August,
September and the first part of October. The approaches to it were
very exposed and consisted chiefly of mud. Indeed, movement to
the brigade's sector was practically confined to two duck-board
tracks.
It
was with this background that the 32nd Division received
orders to deliver an attack on 22nd October with the object of
creating a strong left flank in readiness for later operations farther