Page 363 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
that it had had to be withdrawn to Pont Fixe and put in reserve for
the King's Own in the right sector. In readiness for the latter task,
Company Serjeant-Major T. T. Chadwick, who had behaved with
great skill and gallantry throughout the morning, went forward and
reconnoitred. He later sent back very clear reports which enabled
Wild to make such dispositions that a large number of the enemy
were killed or captured.
The two remaining platoons of "B" Company were sent up
Wolfe Road and Orchard Road, communication trenches in the left
and centre of the King's
Own
sector. In command of one of them was
Second-Lieutenant John Schofield, who, at the cost of his life, was
to win the 2nd/5th Battalion's third Victoria Cross. He first led a
party of nine men against a strong-point which was reported to be
strongly held by the enemy and where he was indeed attacked by
about a hundred Germans with bombs. So skilfully did he dispose
his small body and such good use did he make of his rifles and Lewis
gun that he drove the enemy to take cover in dug-outs. Next he
held up and himself captured a party of twenty Germans and, with
the help of other parties, cleared the position which these Germans
had been holding and killed or captured the remainder of its garrison.
He then collected the survivors of his men, made his party up to ten
and, having sent a message back to Lieutenant-Colonel Brighten
explaining the situation and stating that he was proceeding to
retake the front line, advanced towards the latter. He soon met
large numbers of the enemy in a communication trench in front of
him and in a drain on his right and left. His party opened rapid
rifle fire, while he climbed out on to the parapet of the trench under
point-blank machine-gun fire and forced the enemy to surrender, to
the number of several officers and about 120 men. A few minutes
later, as he pressed on towards the front line, this very gallant young
officer was killed. He had been ably helped by Private C. McGill,
who also stood up on the parapet under heavy fire and, by throwing
the enemy into confusion through his unexpected fire, contributed
much to Schofield's big capture.
Fine work during the advance of these two platoons of "B"
Company was also done by Second-Lieutenant W. E. Rider and
Lance-Corporal
C.
Old. The former moved about amongst his men
with great coolness and encouraged them under violent fire. Three
bullets from snipers tore holes in his clothes, though he was not
actually wounded. Farther forward, he led his platoon in an
encircling movement and succeeded in getting behind a large number
of the enemy, helping to capture several hundred of them. Old was
leader of a bombing party and ran into a nest of Germans who fired
on them with two machine guns at point-blank range. A little
later, he was the first man to reach and reoccupy certain points of
the original front line, and throughout the day showed great coolness
and determination.
Throughout the afternoon, Lieutenant-Colonel Brighten sent
parties up, as he could make them available, to help the forward
battalions in clearing the trenches of Germans and re-establishing