Page 397 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
M.C.) were able to occupy the enemy's advanced trench. Through·
out the next twenty-four hours patrols continued to creep forward
and the line was advanced by nearly five hundred yards at the
maximum depth. Two prisoners of the Royal Grenadier Guards
were captured by
"c"
Company at
I
a.m. on 7th. They were
French-speaking Alsatians and stated that the enemy, although
still then holding the northern edge of Pacaut Wood, intended to
withdraw before morning. Brigade headquarters were at once
informed and orders issued for the enemy to be pursued by "peaceful
penetration," beginning at 8 a.m., when
"c"
Company moved
forward, closely followed by "B" and "D" (Captain S. Clarke, M.C.).
The first objective was reached at 9.30 a.m. with few casualties. In
the meanwhile, in spite of considerable shelling, "A" Company
(Second-Lieutenant C. Dunlevy, M.C.), which was in battalion
reserve, had stepped up into the original front line. The division
next on the right had taken no part in the advance and the right
flanks of
"c"
and "B" Companies were therefore so exposed that it
became necessary to send up a platoon of
"A"
Company under
Second-Lieutenant ]. E. S. Malpass to
fill
the gap. This was done
and the rest of the day passed quietly, although there was con–
siderable shelling in the middle of the night. Orders were received
during the morning of 8th August-fateful day elsewhere-to push
forward posts if possible to the Turbeaute stream. On the right the
neighbouring division had still not moved and opposition was met
almost at once from
Le
Vert Bois Farm.
On
the left an advance
was found to be possible for two hundred yards, when it was held up
by the garrison of a farm, soon to be called Bracewell Farm.
Hitherto the brigadier had insisted that the troops were to advance
only where there was no resistance; but in this case he suggested that
the farm should be taken. The task was allotted to a young officer,
Second-Lieutenant C. C. Bracewell, who, sending one section to the
right and leaving one in position to occupy the garrison's attention
in front, led a third section round towards the rear of the building.
The Germans soon saw what was being prepared and decamped,
enabling Bracewell to seize the farm and the rest of the company to
resume the advance. He was himself wounded and had to go back
to battalion headquarters. By now Macdonald had lost all his
officers and many men, and his company was very exhausted after
three days and nights of constant pressure on the enemy.
It
was
therefore relieved by "A" Company, though not before the latter's
advance party had unwittingly overstepped the sketchy front line
and stumbled into an enemy post, losing Second-Lieutenant C. V.
Longland and Company Serjeant-Major S. Brown, M.M. By the
morning of 9th August the division on the right had come up, so that
Le Vert Bois Farm was the only obstacle to be overcome in order to
reach the Turbeaute stream. Dunlevy was ordered to push a patrol
into the farm; if this proved to be impossible, a barrage lasting ten
minutes would be put down on the place every hour until entry was
effected. After one or two doses of this medicine, the neighbouring