Page 357 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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rallied a number of stragglers and led his unit's share of the attack
very gallantly through much shelling and machine-gun fire. The
advance was held up at the Bucquoy cross-roads. Sutton went to
reconnoitre but, while looking at his map, was seriously wounded.
When Lieutenant-Colonel
heard of this, he brought forward
some stretcher-bearers and came to Sutton to learn the situation on
the front of the Ist/8th. As he turned away after getting the
infonnation and ensuring that the stretcher-bearers had begun to
carry Sutton to the rear, he was killed. Castle, who was now the
senior officer in the Ist/5th, had meanwhile gone forward on the
left with two platoons of its "C" Company and got in touch with
Stringer, who was one hundred and fifty yards west of the Bucquoy–
Ablainzeville road and was held up there. Castle ordered the whole
line forward in order to establish it on the road itself; after which
he went over still farther to the left and ordered Lieutenant
K. S.
Page to push on. He then went over to the Ist/7th to confer with
Lieutenant-Colonel Brewis.
Meanwhile, "C" Company of the 1st/5th had advanced to within
fifty yards of the road before it was held up by machine guns and
snipers. Lance-Serjeant T. Leeming, who had taken over a platoon
in the previous action when his officer and serjeant had been hit, led
his platoon with great dash through the village and, on gaining
objective, skilfully organized its defence and gained touch with.the
troops on his right flank. "D" Company, which had come up on the
right of "C," had been forced to withdraw from the line it had reached
because the British artillery were shelling the cross-roads.
was wounded and Lieutenant H.
Waugh was sent up from the
battle reserve to take over "D" Company. Castle then ordered the
residue of the Ist/5th, under North, to take up a position in the
village so as to fonn a defensive flank, with the result that the line,
in touch with the Ist/7th, ran due west to the Essarts-Bucquoy
road. All three battalions were able to stabilize their positions during
the evening and night, though members of battalion headquarters
had in all cases to be used to make and man strong posts. The next
day was spent in consolidation; on the day after, 7th April, attack
preparations were seen, but nothing developed; and the brigade
was relieved that night.
As usual in such operations, much depends on the administration
and communications of a unit. Throughout the whole anxious ten
days in which the 1st/7th was involved in March and April, its
transport officer, Captain F. H. Mainprice, had never once failed to
get his limbers up to the battalion with its rations. He led
transport personally at night along heavily shelled roads and,
largely by his splendid example, got it safely through. He was
wounded (and lost an arm) on the eleventh night while returning
from the line. Regimental Serjeant-Major A.
Waller, of the same
battalion, was invaluable throughout both actions in helping to
deliver rations, ammunition, water and many other things with
complete disregard of danger. Mention must also be made of