Page 417 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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company. Fortunately,the enemy had withdrawn from Etaing during
the night, leaving a small rear-guard, of whom a dozen were taken
prisoner. The battalion was able to push forward through the
village and take up a position in the old front line, with posts on the
left flank watching the crossings over the River Sensee. The unit
was relieved that night and marched back to Crater Subway close
to the Arras-Cambrai road, where as usual Lieutenant-Colonel W.
Bowes, D.S.a., the invaluable quartermaster, had ready everything
needful. The casualties during this operation had been 1 officer and
22 other ranks killed and 6 officers and I58 other ranks wounded.
The decorations awarded included:-
Military Cross
Lieutenant A. R. Topping.
2nd Lieutenant D. McIntosh.
Di stinguished Conduct Medal
Corporal S.
J . ]:
B . Currie.
By now the enemy was beginning to fall back rapidly to the
shelter of the Hindenburg Line. Since its successful attacks at
Puisieux-au-Mont and Miraumont on 23rd and 24th August, the
42nd (East Lancashire) Division had been pressing on close behind
the retreating' Gennans, who turned constantly to fight rear-guard
actions. The I25th (Lancashire Fusiliers) Infantry Brigade followed
1ST/ 8TH
in reserve until 2nd September when tbe Ist/8th Battalion
S. MacLeod, Durham Light Infantry) took
over part of the forward line near Riencourt-Ies-Bapaume. Early
next morning its patrols found that Villers-au-Flos had been
evacuated and by 7 a.m. the battalion had seized all the high ground
east of that village. The brigade was thereupon ordered to pass
through the troops holding the line, and the 1st/8th provided the
advanced guard, with a mounted troop of the Royal Scots Greys
attached. By I p.m. the village of Bus had been occupied, and
before 4.30 p.m. the 1st/8th had reached the western edge of Ytres,
being helped by the cavalry who worked round to Lechelle but there
came under such heavy machine-gun fire that they had to be
ordered back to Bus. At 4.30 p.m. "B" (Captain D. Cumming, M.C.)
and "C" (Captain A. Parke, M.C.) Companies passed through the
leading troops and pushed forward to within a few yards of the
enemy's main positions, where the battalion remained until relieved
by New Zealanders on 6th September after undergoing very heavy
shelling with much gas. During the night of 3rd/4th September the
1ST/ 5TH
1st/5th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel G. S. Castle, M.C.) moved to
assembly positions west of the railway between Bus and Ytres,
ready to continue the advance. At 7 a.m. on 4th September "B"
E. Hartley) and
(Captain A. W. Haywood, M.C.)
Companies moved forward but encountered stiff opposition, "B"
being held up
artillery and machine-gun fire and losing all but one
of its officers but managing none the less to establish a line three
hundred yards east of the Canal du Nord. A further attack was