Page 336 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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"MARCH,
1918"
out of the line and marched to Biez Wood, west of Bucquoy,
where it bivouacked for what was left of the night. They were not
destined to rest yet, however; for at dawn on 26th March the
battalion moved off in a north-westerly direction to a field half
a mile east of Hannescamps, whence it moved again at
I
p.m.
to a position facing south-east in the old pre-Somme British
front line east of the Hannescamps-Fonquevillers road. This
movement was ordered so as to ensure a strongly held line in the
event of the troops in front falling back, as seemed likely at the
time. Here the battalion received a very welcome reinforcement of
5 officers and 216 other ranks from the 5th Entrenching Battalion.
It
still had two more moves to carry out that day: first, at 6 p.m.
it advanced and occupied the old German line north of Essarts-les–
Bucquoy, facing east; and finally, at
II
p.m., it marched to join
the rest of the brigade just west of Fonquevillers, whence it marched
through Souastre to Couin, where at last it was clear of the battle
and enjoyed a rest of five hours before it moved towards more
comfortable surroundings at St. Leger-Ies-Domart, which it reached
on 28th March.
The battalion's casualties during this period had been
I
officer
and
20
other ranks killed, 12 officers and 151 other ranks wounded
and 2 officers and
go
other ranks missing. The honours awarded
were :-
Distinguished Service Order'
Major F. G. Massey, M.C. (New Zealand Rifle Brigade).
Militar'Y Cr'oss
Captain T. Rufus.
Lieutenant
G.
A.
Keir.
Distinguished Conduct Medal
Company Serjeant-Major
J.
F.
Haslam, M.M.
Bar to Military Medal
Serjeant
1.
Wainman, M.M.
Lance-Corporal
A.
Eastwood, M.M.
Private C.
A.
Rosser, M.M.
Serjeant C. H. Doleman.
Serjeant
R.
F.
Ritchie.
Lance-Corporal
A. F.
Routh.
Private
G.
Deakin.
Military Medal
Serjeant
F.
O'Neill.
Corporal
J.
W.
Tomlinson.
Private
A.
Ashworth.
Private
G.
D. Helm.
Private
J. J.
Mackereth.
"FIRST SOMME, 1918."
"FIRST
BAPAUME.
1918"
17th and 18th
Battalions
The opening of the German offensive found the South-East
18TH BN.
Lancashire battalions on the outskirts of the Houthulst Forest.
Early in March, 1918, the 18th Battalion lost its original Com–
manding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel
R.
A. Irvine, C.M.G., D.S.O.,
who, after just over three years in command, was promoted colonel
and appointed Labour Commandant of the First Army.
His
place
was taken by Lieutenant-Colonel L. M. Stevens, D.S.O (Worcester–
shire Regiment), who had to leave the battalion to the care of Major