Page 382 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE GERMAN ATIACKS IN THE NORTH AND ON THE AISNE
349
enemy's lines, going along a railway embankment near Blaireville
till they came to a sugar factory, where they skilfully cut off and
brought back two prisoners, returning to their own trenches without
a shot
bein~
fired or the Germans being aware that anything had
happened. Lord was awarded the Military Cross for this clever
exploit.
The 15th Battalion took its revenge for 16th May on 21st May.
15TH BN.
At 3 a.m. a fighting patrol of thirty-five N.C.Os. and men under
Second-Lieutenant G.
L.
Barclay and Second-Lieutenant A. E.
Brice moved out under cover of an artillery barrage-the wire having
been previously cut in part by Stokes mortars-and, after Barclay
had skilfully led them through some unexpectedly remaining wire,
rushed a German post in a sunken road. Three prisoners and one
light machine
gun
were captured. Barclay then brought his patrol
back with a loss of six casualties, none of them fatal. He received the
Military Cross for his coolness, dash and leadership.
Perhaps to keep up his slightly dampened spirits but more
probably to find out what British troops were in front of him so as
to gain early warning of any regrouping which might indicate a
counter-offensive, the enemy continued to be active in raiding. At
IO.35 p.m. on 23rd May about twelve Germans raided a post of
"w"
Company of the 17th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel F. ]. F. Crook,
17TH BN.
D.S.O.) near the middle of Aveluy Wood under cover of machine-
gun fire and of a mortar barrage which included smoke. The
garrison was therefore blinded; two of them were wounded and the
remaining two captured, though one slipped away and returned
to the company. The post's Lewis
gun
also disappeared. The
occupants of the nearest post rushed to the rescue, but the whole
affair was over
in
two minutes and by the time they could arrive the
enemy had left. The division to which the 17th Battalion belonged
had only recently come to this part of the line and the new identifica-
tion secured by this raid must have alarmed the Germans, for they
made a series of similar attacks on various units during the next few
days. On 24th May posts of
"w"
Company of the 17th Battalion
were approached four times by night and once by day, but each
time the raiders were driven off by rifle and Lewis-gun fire.
A
GLORIOUS DISASTER
"AlSNE, 1918"
11
th
Battalion
On 2nd May, 1918, the nth Battalion (Major W.
L.
Crawford,
IITH
BN.
D.S.O.) was relieved in the line near Kemmel and marched by stages
to Esquelbecq, where it spent two days in training.
It
then, on 8th
May, entrained at Waayenburg and, after a tedious journey through
strange scenery, found itself two days later at Fere-en-Tardenois,
fifteen miles south-south-east of Soissons, in the middle of the zone
of the French Army. Four tired British divisions-and no troops