Page 406 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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I9I8:
AUGUST TO THE ARMISTICE
373
purpose. "B" Company then passed through and by 7 a.m. had
taken the second objective, though not without some fighting.
It
was here that Lance-Serjeant E. Smith performed the first of the
series of gallant deeds which were to earn for him the Regiment's
fourteenth Victoria Cross of the War. He was commanding a
platoon but personally took a machine-gun post, rushing the
garrison with his rifle and bayonet. The moment the Germans saw
this solitary and apparently reckless attacker, they scattered in
order to throw bombs at him. Regardless of the great danger to
himself, he shot and killed at least six of them. He then led his
platoon forward to the clearing of two more machine-gun posts,
once more killing or capturing some of the garrison himself. Soon
after, he noticed that a neighbouring platoon was in difficulties; he
took control of the situation and led both platoons forward to the
objective, again killing many of the enemy himself. Corporal C.
Greenhalgh also showed conspicuous gallantry and good leader–
ship during this attack. He was in command of a Lewis-gun section;
but the platoon commander and platoon serjeants soon became
casualties and he at once assumed command of the platoon and led it
splendidly to the objective. Another who stepped into a breach
caused by casualties was Private F. Hewson, who took command
of a double Lewis-gun section when his three seniors had aU fallen and
worked forward so skilfully that he captured twenty prisoners
in
addition to his share of the objective. The battalion set to work to
consolidate its objective and held it throughout the day, though
much harassed by persistent German sniping.
At 8.55 a.m. "A" (Lieutenant W.
J.
O'Bryen, M.C.) and "B"
(Captain E. C. Sington) Companies of the 1st/7th, which had begun
to move forward at
z.30
a.m. and had followed the 1st/5th during
the latter's advance, passed through and went forward to the third
objective, which they succeeded
in
capturing with the exception of
Beauregard Dovecot, where the presence of many German machine
guns forbade any close approach. But touch had been lost with the
New Zealanders and, when the great heat which was a marked
feature of the operations on
Zlst
and 22nd August caused the mist
to lift, some men of the 1st/7th found themselves not only on their
own but advancing on a German field battery which opened fire on
them at point-blank range. A gallant attempt was made to hold a
position
in
shell holes, but the enemy was
in
strong force and a
fierce counter-attack practically wiped out the isolated party. At
2 a.m. on
zznd
August, however, "A" Company of the Ist/7th
succeeded
ill
taking the Dovecot. Throughout this phase of the
operation, members of the 1st/7th had displayed great gallantry,
especially Lieutenants W. ]. O'Bryen, M.C., and H. T . A. Ripperger
who, finding their right flank in the air, attacked the enemy in that
quarter and, in conjunction with another company, captured nearly
a hundred prisoners.
At 4.45 a.m. on
zznd
the Germans delivered a vigorous counter–
attack under the protection of a heavy barrage. Both the Ist/sth and