Page 385 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

Lieutenant-Colonel G. P. Pollitt, D.S.O. (who had given a
magnificent example of courage and leadership throughout), I3
other officers and 3I9 other ranks were missing. The party which
had been left in reserve as a matter of routine and which consisted of
Beswick, M.C., and r6 N.C.Os. and men now represented
the IIth Lancashire Fusiliers, though they were joined by a few
others, as
shortly be seen. Many other units of the four British
divisions had been badly, though few so severely, mauled; and
'Composite battalions and brigades had to be formed, a "brigade"
being usually all the infantry of one division and a "battalion" the
survivors of a complete brigade.
was manifestly impossible to
reconstitute units as they had been and, after many moves, what
was left of the IIth Battalion moved on I9th ] uly to Rouxmesnil
Camp, Dieppe, where the battalion was disbanded on I2th August,
I9I8, having lost 4 commanding officers, 84 other officers and I,250
other ranks between 2ISt March and 28th May.
As the Commanding Officer and most of the battalion were
prisoners, many acts of individual gallantry went unrewarded
through the lack of anybody to initiate a recommendation and only
the following honours were awarded :-
Victoria Cross
HaIliwell .
Second Bar to Distinguished Service Order
Lieutenant-Colonel G. P. Pollitt, D.S.O.
Serjeant W. Barnett.
Corporal S. Greenwood.
Private H. Mansell.
Military Medal
Corporal T.
Lance-Corporal H. Thompson.
Major-General H. C. Jackson, D.S.O., of the 50th Division,
under whom the 74th Infantry Brigade fought on 28th May, wrote
to the commander of the 25th Division :-
"I do not wish to pick out one unit more than another for
special mention. But
it is desired to bring to the notice of the
Army Commander one individual unit I would mention the fine
fighting qualities shown by the Commanding Officer and all
ranks of the IIth Lancashire Fusiliers on the morning of
28th May."
On the day after this disaster, an officer of the IIth Battalion,
Second-Lieutenant E. G. Wylie, M.C., who was intelligence officer
of the 74th Infantry Brigade, showed that the spirit of the lost unit
was still alive. During the retreat across the Vesle he collected
parties of leaderless men and held up the advancing enemy who had
broken through and crossed the river. These parties and a few
machine guns held up the Germans at this point for four hours and
made it possible for the remnants of the brigade to take up a good
position on the high ground south of the river. Wylie's valuable