Page 343 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
From early morning on this day the 1st/7th on the brigade's
right flank had had a very gruelling time, fighting many ding-dong
battles on the ridge which runs south and south-west from Sapignies,
and earning many honours under the able and inspiring leadership of
Lieutenant-Colonel G. S. Brewis, D.S.O. Captain A. W. Boyd, M.C.,
commanding "A" Company, was wounded early in the morning, as
was his second-in-command: Second-Lieutenant
J.
E. Ashworth
immediately took over command and hung on to his position under
heavy fire. Lieutenant H. Gould collected scattered troops from
other units, took over command of a company which had lost all its
officers, organized it and led it forward through a heavy barrage to
reinforce a hard-pressed sector of the line. When another battalion
withdrew through his position and its commanding officer ordered
him
to retire, he flatly refused to do so except on Brewis's instructions.
Lieutenant H.
L.
Murgatroyd took over command of "C" Company
when Captain
L.
Morrison, M.C., was killed and handled it in the
most gallant and skilful manner. Another who promptly shouldered
higher responsibilities was Serjeant
J.
G. Ellis, who took command
of his company when all his officers had been knocked out and not
only reorganized parties of men who had lost their leaders but with
great coolness and determination defended his position until he was
wounded. Lieutenant C. Kershaw organized and most gallantly led
a counter-attack which drove the enemy out of a part of his line in
which they had obtained a footing and then, as in later phases of
prolonged operations, skilfully reorganized the position. "B"
Company was in the good hands of Captain B. Shelmerdine, who set
such a fine example of leadership that his sector held firm until a
withdrawal was ordered. One of his subalterns, Second-Lieutenant
A. Elliott, M.C., won the Distinguished Service Order-a rare award
to so junior an officer-for outstanding bravery and good work.
Some men on Elliott's right flank were being driven in: he ran over
to them under heavy machine-gun fire, rallied them and inflicted very
heavy losses on the enemy by firing a Lewis gun himself. He deemed
it wise, however, to withdraw the party he had rescued; and he
covered their move with nine or ten men of his own, ordered the
retirement of these latter and in turn covered their withdrawal
himself with one man. Later, the troops on his right were again
driven back; but he held on for three hours although practically
surrounded and under heavy enfilade fire. Finally he led his men in
a dash for the lines of another unit with which he fought for the
rest of the day. The junior ranks were not behind in initiative.
Lance-Corporal E. Frimstone took his Lewis gun forward, without
waiting for orders, to an advanced position from which he could
enfilade the enemy and stayed there, doing excellent work in spite of
heavy fire (of which he seemed to take no notice), until ordered to
retire by his company commander. Company Serjeant-Major C. W.
Hall, who on his last leave had been given a steel-lined waistcoat by
his wife and in the face of much friendly chaff had carried out his
promise to her that he would always wear it, survived three hits by