Page 393 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
On moving to Flanders, the 17th and 18th Battalions took their
turn of duty in the Locre sector. There at 4.15 a.m. on 7th July
17TH
BN.
about thirty Germans tried to raid a post of the 17th Battalion
(Lieutenant-Colonel F. J. F. Crook, D.S.O.). but after a sharp hand–
to-hand struggle they were driven off, leaving identifications
behind them. At 11.45 p.m. on 14th July Second-Lieutenant T. C. A.
Hill, Second-Lieutenant
J.
Sillitoe,
M.M.,
and fifty other ranks of
18TH BN.
"z"
Company of the 18th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel C. E.
Jewels, D.S.O., M.C.) carried out a raid on the German positions
north of Locre Farm. The party formed up on tapes behind a
covering party commanded by Second-Lieutenant D. Kidd and
advanced under a Stokes-mortar and artillery barrage. On the
right, where Hill was in command, progress was held up owing to
the mortars firing
~hort,
one Lewis gun being blown up shortly
after zero. After a delay, however, Hill succeeded
in
getting through
the enemy wire alone, as a gap was blown by a Bangalore torpedo.
He was followed by his section towards the German line, which was
about thirty yards farther on and was found to be manned by a
machine gun and some riflemen. These at once opened fire and
threw bombs. Hill was wounded in the arm and blown over by
the burst of a bomb; but he took his men on and succeeded in
bombing the German trench and silencing the gun.
It
was then
time to withdraw. On the left, Sillitoe forced an entry with two
sections but without the help of a Bangalore torpedo which had
been broken, and reached a German dug-out underneath a road.
It
was empty, but the trench near it was bombed. After a quarter of an
hour the whole party withdrew to its own lines, its casualties being
one officer and nine men wounded and one man missing. Later the
same night, a patrol under Captain W.
E.
Rigby,
M.C.,
went out to
search for killed and wounded. He went through the gap
in
the
enemy wire and examined the latter, finding that very little damage
had been done to it by the Stokes mortars. Indeed, it was the short–
firings of the latter which prevented the raid having more important
results.
The scene of the gallant attempt of the 17th and 18th Battalions
on 1st June, 1918, saw an exciting patrol fight on 16th July. Second-
10TH
BN.
Lieutenant
R.
Graharn and
his
platoon of the lOth Battalion (Major
T. B. Forwood, Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry, temporarily in
command) left the line south of Martinsart at 10-45 p.m. to obtain an
identification. When some twenty yards from the German trenches
and while forming up to rush a post, the party was seen. A shot was
fired and a large number of bombs thrown which, however, fell in
rear of the platoon. While the remainder engaged the enemy with
Mills bombs, one section made a determined effort to work round
the left flank of the post. This movement was, however, detected by
the Germans, of whom there seemed to be about forty at the spot,
and heavy rifle and machine-gun fire was opened. As the supply of
bombs was rapidly becoming exhausted, Graharn realized that it was
impossible to rush the post and accordingly gave the order to retire.