Page 390 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE GERMAN ATTACKS IN THE NORTH AND ON THE AISNE
357
At 2.30 a.m. on 4th June, 1918, the Germans opened a furious
bombardment with guns and trench mortars against the front of the
52nd Infantry Brigade south of Beaumont-Hamel. The brunt of it
was borne by the lOth Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel
R.
E. Cotton,
10TH
BM.
7th Yorkshire Regiment). At 2.40 a.m. the barrage lifted to the
support line and, closely following it, parties of Germans who had
used old trenches crossing the new No Man's Land broke into the
battalion's trench on a frontage of several hundred yards, over-
coming the garrison on the left flank. On the right they were met
with vigorous Lewis-gun fire; and Lance-Corporal H.
J.
Colley with
two men bombed along the trench and succeeded in ejecting the
intruders at 2.50 a.m. A good many casualties were inflicted on the
enemy, but the battalion lost an officer and 12 men killed, 21 men
wounded and 2 officers and 13 other ranks missing. Lance-Corporal
H.
J.
Colley, soon to
win
the highest of all decorations, was awarded
the Military Medal.
During the afternoon of 7th June a party of Germans carried out
a silent raid on "D" Company of the 2nd/5th Battalion (Major P. S.
2 ND/ 5TH
Cookson, Royal Sussex Regiment, in temporary command) near
BN.
Givenchy, capturing a N.C.O. and six men. The company did not
take this lying down. At 12.20 a .m. that night it sent out an officer
and 20 men under cover of an artillery barrage to rush some enemy
posts in shell holes. The darkness was intense and the Germans
very alert, so that the party was unable to force an entry and had
to return to its own lines.
On 9th June, Private F. Thirsk, of the 15th Battalion, thoroughly
15TH BM.
earned the Distinguished Conduct Medal which was later awarded to
him
for a very plucky act. When on patrol, he saw a German
machine gun being brought into action. He dashed ahead, engaged
the crew and captured the gun, thereby undoubtedly saving the
lives of his comrades.
"C" Company of the 15th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel H.
K.
15TH BM.
Utterson, D.S.O., Dorsetshire Regiment) sent out two officers and
fifty other ranks, under cover of a barrage laid down by guns,
trench mortars and machine guns, at midnight on the night IIth/
12th June to raid the German lines near Boisleux-au-Mont. Some
opposition was met at the junction of a sap with the main enemy
trench, but this was overcome and the party reached its objective,
capturing three men and killing a number of others, against a loss of
2 men killed and 2 officers and 10 other ranks wounded.
A more elaborate operation was carried out by the 2nd/5th
2ND/ 5TH
Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel G. S. Brighten, D.S.O.) shortly before
BN.
midnight on 19th June. A force of 100 men, consisting of fifteen
sections divided into five parties under Second-Lieutenants W.
R.
Smith, W. Forster, A. Farrow, N. Mahoney and J. Wake, lined up
behind a barrage of artillery, machine guns and mortars and advanced
on an area which proved to contain five, or more probably seven,
German machine guns. Progress was considerably hindered by a
large amount of loose wire lying about in the high grass as well as by