Page 38 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE MARNE AND THE AISNE
25
some men could not rejoin for a day or two after the battle. One
such party was caught
in
the open shortly before dusk on I3th and
had to "lie doggo" till darkness made movement possible.
It
then
moved cautiously towards the south-west as being the most likely
direction in which to find British troops. After a while it heard
sounds near by and held a consultation as to what to do :
if,
they
called out and the sounds were made by Germans, all would be up
with them; if they moved nearer without disclosing themselves and
it was the English who were at hand-well, sentries have been known
to shoot first and ask questions afterwards. So everybody listened
yet more intently. First they heard a clinking which seemed like
that made by the "brasses" of British web equipment; so they crept
a little nearer. Then was heard muffled talking which sounded like
English. At last came certainty. A husky and very angry voice
called out "Eh 1 Let oop 1" "What's t' -- fuss
?"
asked another
voice. "Enough -- fuss," answered the first. "Tek thy -- boot
out on my -- earhole.' ,
On the following day, the I4th, the battalion was in reserve,
occupied in digging while the remainder of the 12th Brigade hung on
to its positions astride Ste. Marguerite and the I4th Brigade made a
new but unsuccessful attack on ChiVTes. The village church of Ste.
Marguerite was used as the regimental aid post, the pews being
covered with clean straw and blankets and used as beds. On the
I5th, "C" Company was moved up nearer the Essex lines and dug
in there. On this day Lieutenant-Colonel (afterwards Lieutenant–
General Sir) R.
H.
K. Butler, who as stated in Chapter I had been
promoted from the Dorsetshire Regiment in June, I9I4, but had been
temporarily retained in an important staff appointment , arrived and
assumed command of the battalion. He was still convalescent from
a severe operation made necessary by a wound, the daily dressing of
which was a particularly painful proceeding and continued to be
required for several weeks.
In
spite of this, he showed great fortitude
and inspired all ranks by his example and his soldierly qualities.
Shortly after, the battalion was joined by Lieutenant W. Tyrrell,
Royal Army Medical Corps (afterwards
Air
Vice-Marshal Sir W.
Tyrrell, K.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., Royal
Air
Force Medical Services),
who soon endeared himself to everybody as medical officer and was
later to distinguish himself on many occasions.
The days which followed provided little of moment, except that
on the 22nd two machine guns were received to replace those lost a
month before. The battalion moved from Ste. Marguerite to Missy–
sur-Aisne, digging and being shelled every day, and spent a period of
routine till 7th October, when it was relieved by French troops and
marched to Ciry and Serrnoise, south of the Aisne, in relief of the 2nd
Durham Light Infantry. Here again, on the 8th, the battalion was
relieved by French troops, for the British Expeditionary Force was in
process of being withdrawn from the Aisne in order that, for reasons
political and administrative as much as strategical, it might be sent
to Flanders. The 9th and Ioth were spent at Chacrise, route marching