Page 314 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE EARLY WEEKS OF
1918
281
Cambrin to bring in the machine gun and other fittings of a German
aeroplane which had been brought down in No Man's Land by
anti-aircraft fire. This task was successfully accomplished, but
Toomer became separated from his party, lost his way and was
taken prisoner by the Germans.
Very fine initiative and determination were shown on 3rd
February by Second-Lieutenant
J.
Hurst, of the 15th Battalion,15THBN.
who stayed out in a shell hole all day in order to observe the enemy's
movements and spotted a party of some forty Germans preparing
to raid one of the battalion's posts. When they started to advance
he opened fire with a Lewis gun, killing some and scattering the rest.
There was no raid: Hurst got the Military Cross.
The loth Battalion (Captain H. B. Pegrum, M.C., in temporary 10TH BN.
command) was able to claim a German aeroplane to itself, as a
machine flying low over the British lines near Havrincourt on 8th
February was hit in the engine by a machine-gun bullet and crashed
near a detached post of the battalion, who took prisoner the injured
officer and pilot found in it.
A few nights later Second-Lieutenant A. Elliott, of the 1st/7th, 1ST/7TH
extended the work he had done on 1st February. He was sent out BN.
on 12th FebruaIY to blow up the enemy's mineshaft which he had
reconnoitred on the previous occasion. He first carried out another
reconnaissance with four men, then came back to his own lines and
led forward a party of a Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers, and
some men of his own platoon carrying a large weight of explosives.
He helped the tunnellers in their task and guarded the entrance to
the shaft while the charge was laid and the fuse lit. Although there
was a strong German post only a hundred yards away, the shaft
was successfully destroyed, thanks largely to Elliott's careful
preparations. He was awarded a bar to his Military Cross for his
work on this occasion.
A rather bigger operation was carried out by the 18th Battalion 18TH BN.
(Lieutenant-Colonel
L.
M. Stevens, D.S.O., Worcestershire Regiment)
on the outskirts of Houthulst Forest on 15th February, when a
party consisting of Second-Lieutenants H. C. Franks and H .
J.
Plenderleith and fifty N.C.Os. and men, with a covering party of
ten men under Second-Lieutenant
R.
Bauld, raided an enemy post
at Turenne Crossing close to where the 20th Battalion had been
involved on 22nd October, 1917. The main body formed up astride
the road leading from Aden House to Turenne Crossing-and thence
to Staden-with Bauld's party protecting its left . Zero was at
8.30 p.m., when a heavy artillery barrage came down very accurately
supported by machine guns which fired 30,000 rounds during the
operation. The German wire was a formidable obstacle, but a way
through it was partially cut by means of a Bangalore torpedo. A
still more formidable obstacle was then encountered in the shape of
the German barrage which came down on their own wire and on
Turenne Crossing itself. Nevertheless the raiders made their way
through (one of the first being Corporal W. T. Smith), reached the