Page 319 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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position at 12.5 a.m., its casualties being two N.C.Os. killed and
seven men wounded. Leeming made a very gallant attempt to
bring back the bodies of the N.C.Os. under heavy machine-gun fire.
Major A. Stone was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his
coolness and gallantry, while Captains
C. Mandleberg and
Leeming received the Military Cross.
On 23rd March, "B" Company of the 15th Battalion carried out
another raid in much the same area as that of two days before. The
advance began at 2 a.m.; little opposition was met; and the wire
was not difficult to cross. Some German machine guns gave some
trouble, but did not succeed in preventing the company from
entering the German trenches in several places and- obtaining three
prisoners at a cost of one man killed and one officer and one man
wounded. Lieutenant C. H .
Foster performed very useful work
in searching the area under considerable fire and was awarded the
Military Cross.
Two incidents occurred to the 2nd/8th Battalion (Lieutenant-
Colonel A. E. Stokes Roberts, M.C., Worcestershire Regiment) on
17th March which form a link between the minor operations just
described and the critical days which the narrative is approaching.
The battalion was in the line about 1,500 yards north-north-east of
Hargicourt. The situation was quiet. Early in the morning Second–
Lieutenant C. C. Moore took out a fighting patrol of seventeen
N.C.Os. and men, which came into collision with a large German
patrol on the road leading to Bellicourt. A hand-to-hand fight ensued
in which the enemy were beaten off with several casualties and
Moore succeeded in bringing the majority of his party back. He
had, however, lost a man killed and six men wounded, of whom
he had had to abandon three; and he promptly organized another
party with which he returned to the scene of the fight and brought
in the three remaining wounded men. His coolness and pluck
the Military Cross. At 9.30 a.m. the same day a small
party of Germans suddenly appeared in front of one of the 2nd/8th
Battalion's posts, one of them studying a map. They were
challenged and bolted towards their own lines, fire being opened
on them by the sentries. One of the Germans, however, stood
his ground and opened fire. A company serjeant-major and a man
ran out and took him prisoner. He proved to be a warrant officer
of a Is-centimetre howitzer battery of the 28th Foot Artillery
Regiment. The rest of the party had consisted of two officers,
another warrant officer and a man of the same regiment. The
prisoner would say little except that the party had recently returned
from leave and that, not knowing that part of the line very well,
they had lost their way and wandered towards the British lines by
mistake. In view of what happened four days later, it seems more
likely that this was the reconnaissance party of a newly arrived
battery which was trying to find a way forward when the time came
for the unit to follow up the attacking infantry.