Page 354 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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"MARCH,
1918"
3 21
bridge. Picking up some stragglers and a number of convalescent
men of all regiments who had been in the hospital, he took up
another position which this little force held for fourteen days,
beating off several attacks and inflicting heavy casualties on the
enemy. Logan set a splendid example to his men, almost all of them
strangers to him and to each other, and on one occasion, when the
line on his right was giving way, steadied them to such effect that his
position remained intact. When they were finally relieved by a
brigade of the 16th (Irish) Division, his command consisted of 13
officers of at least eight different regiments, 21 N.C.Os. of the
Fifth Army Musketry School, 33 convalescents and 128 stragglers
of various units. The request for their relief, addressed to the
16th Division, began with the words: "Herewith list of officers
and other ranks which it is believed are now
in
your portion of the
front line." Major Logan received the Military Cross for his
services during these operations.
Local Counter-operations at Ayette
"FIRST SOMME.
1918"
15th and 16th Battalions
The last two representatives of the Regiment to be involved in
the great battle were the two Salford units, the 15th and 16th
15TH AND
Battalions. The latter moved down from Houthulst Forest on 28th
I6THBNS.
March, and took over a sector of the line near Ayette on 31st March.
There had been heavy fighting in this area and the defences had
become considerably disorganized. The situation was particularly
obscure in Ayette itself, where the enemy was said to have a machine
gun in the village and some posts to the east of it, though other
reports affirmed that he occupied it with patrols only. The 96th
Brigade was therefore ordered to find out the true facts. On the
night of 31st March/1st April, three parties of the 16th Battalion
16TH BN.
(Lieutenant-Colonel A. Gillon) entered Ayette from the south, but
were held up by machine-gun fire and a barricade and compelled
to withdraw. "C" Company of the same battalion attacked German
posts south of the village at 2 a.m. on 2nd April, but had to withdraw
as its left flank was seriously enfiladed. At 9 a.m. on 3rd April,
"D" Company resumed the attacks and captured two posts,
consolidating the ground taken. Its right had, however, to content
itself with digging in in front of posts which the enemy still held
in
spite of three attempts at storming them under cover of a barrage
provided by trench mortars. "B" Company made a further effort
at 9 p.m. the same day, launching two strong parties under Second–
Lieutenant
J.
McClymont, M.C., and Second-Lieutenant S. Vasey,
with a platoon under Second-Lieutenant
J.
W. Riley acting as
"moppers-up," to clear a sunken road south of the village. The
operation was successful: the enemy were driven out of the road,
and three machine
guns
were captured. Vasey then pushed boldly
y