Page 373 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

34
0
THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS, 1914-1918
brigades which had fought near the Berquins were temporarily
amalgamated into one "divisional brigade," of which the Ist
Lancashire Fusiliers formed half a battalion with the Royal Guernsey
Light Infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel Modera, "A" and "B"
Companies being combined under Captain H.
Q.
Rangecroft and
"C" and "D" under Captain T. Newton,
M.C.
The 15th and 16th
April were spent in reorganizing. But at 4 p.m. on 16th orders were
received to "stand to" and at 6 p.m. the battalion moved in fighting
order to a position I,OOO yards south-west of Caestre, where
it came under the orders of General Robillot, commanding the
French II Cavalry Corps. The situation for which it might have been
needed became less acute, however, and at
II
p.m. it returned to its
billets, though not for long. For the next day, 17th, was also a day
of alarms. The battalion "stood to" from 5.15 a.m. to 6 a.m.; and
at
IO
a.m. it moved again to its position of the previous evening
near Caestre. The companies lay under hedges all day and worked
for three hours after dusk on a new line of trenches, returning to their
billets at midnight but resuming work next day, 18th. On 19th
April the battalion moved to Hondeghem and spent the next few
days working on the defences of that place. On one occasion as the
battalion was marching out a German scouting aeroplane came
over; the pilot threw some "egg" bombs at the battalion, but they
exploded harmlessly in a neighbouring turnip field. Otherwise the
battalion's ordeal was over. The units of the 29th Division received
congratulatory messages from Army, Corps and Divisional Com–
manders, all of whom spoke of the important effect which their
gallant resistance had had on the operations as a whole. The Ist
Battalion's losses during these operations up to 15th April had been
I officer and 25 other ranks killed, 4 officers and 167 other ranks
wounded, and 4 officers and 247 other ranks missing, most of whom
proved to be dead or evacuated with wounds through other units.
Lieutenant-Colonel F. S. Modera, M.C., whose cool control of each
successive situation on this first occasion of commanding the
battalion in action had made a valuable impression on all ranks,
received the Distinguished Service Order; and Captain G. S.
Lockwood, M.C., a bar to his decoration and Second-Lieutenant
A. Francis, M.M., the Military Cross; while Regimental Serjeant–
Major W. Lund was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and
Private T. Stanley the Military Medal.
THE PIONEER BATTALION IS
DRAWN
INTO
THE
FIGHT
"LYS." "FIRST KBMKBL"
19th Battalion
As the Germans drove deeper gaps into the British positions,
the line became very strained and it was necessary to use every
available man. The battle reserves were formed into extemporized
units, as has been described in the case of the ISt Battalion; and