Page 317 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

German posts and two machine guns. But the latter were active
and, an attempt to rush them being unsuccessful, the patrols
withdrew with a loss of ten killed and nineteen wounded. At
11.22 p.m. the same night, about three hours after the raid of the
2nd Manchester Regiment, the artillery put down a barrage for
15 TH BN.
fifteen minutes, after which a platoon of the 15th Battalion, under
Mandleberg, searched the neighbourhood of Marechal
Farm, but could find nothing as the enemy had evidently not
returned after the raid. Their expedition was, however, not entirely
in vain; for about dawn a party of this patrol captured an officer
and two men of the 4th German Army Storm Troops who had been
sent out to make a special reconnaissance. Some valuable informa–
tion of the enemy's future intentions was obtained from these
The weather at this time was most unfavourable, and on 1st
March the 2nd/8th Battalion marched fifteen miles from Villers
Carbonnel to Rancourt , east of Peronne, ending in a heavy snow–
storm, though it had the consolation of being met by the 66th
Divisional Band on arrival.
The 66th Division was moving up to take over the sector of
trenches near Hargicourt which it was holding when the full blast
of the German attack fell upon it on 21st March. Active patrolling
began and signs were not lacking that the expected German offensive
would not be long delayed. On 8th March, when Lance-Corporal
A. jackson, M.M., of the 6th Battalion and the 197th Trench
Mortar Battery, went to the advanced posts at dawn in accordance
with his usual practice, he saw twelve German officers with maps
engaged in observing the British line. Re at once went back to his
gun, where he waited till the party moved to a spot of which he had
the range accurately. Then single-handed he fired thirty shells
which entirely erased the German officers. "The History of the
2nd/6th Lancashire Fusiliers," from which this account is drawn,
also records that, when the German trenches were raided at this
period, orders required that propaganda leaflets should be left
behind which pointed out how formidable were the British Army
and its defences in front of the Germans and how ill-advised the
latter would be to attempt any attack unless they wished to be
driven back to their starting point with a sore head
Great activity was shown by the 66th Division and Second-
Lieutenants ]. B. Gartside and
Skene, 6th Battalion, were both
awarded the Military Cross for good work in command of fight–
ing patrols sent out between 1st and lOth March in order to
obtain identifications and thus keep the authorities posted up to
date as regards the movements of German divisions and any fresh
arrivals which might throw light on the enemy's intentions. Second-
Lieutenant P. H. Edridge, 2nd/7th Battalion, also earned the
Military Cross at this time for successfully organizing a raid on
the German trenches which resulted in the capture of two prisoners
without any loss to his own party.