Page 44 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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ARMENTItRES-TRENCH WARFARE-2nd YPRES
29
the battalion scout officer, Second-Lieutenant ]. W. Evatt, to act as
his adjutant.
Early in the morning ,"B" (Captain W. Higgin-Birkett) and "C"
(Captain
R.
Luker) Companies advanced on the left of the Le Bizet–
Le Touquet road, with "A" Company in support and "D" Company
in reserve. The village was strongly held, the houses were loopholed
and trenches were dotted about over the open ground outside the
village. Moreover the enemy was able to bring a cross fire of artillery
and rifles from the east bank of the River Lys and from the loopholed
buildings of Fn\linghien . As a result, progress was very slow, "B"
and "C" Companies lost touch and a platoon of "A" Company under
Second-Lieutenant
L. B. L.
Seclffiam, with Serjeant W. Evans, was
sent up to restore contact. But the enemy fire was so heavy that it
was found necessary to reinforce this platoon by Lieutenant ] . K.
C. Cross's platoon of "D" Company, which moved across count ry
under heavy fire. Though Cross himself was hit in the head by a
piece of shrapnel he rushed forward another thirty yards, but was
then obliged to drop out. While his wound was being bound up
behind a haystack by Seckham, a German shell carried away the top
of the stack.
By 10 a.m. the battalion had crossed the railway and was
approaching the outskirts of Le Touquet, but by 10.30 a .m. its
advance was definitely held up by shrapnel which appeared to be
fired from the direction of Frelinghien at point-blank range. Shortly
after, Woodman sent Evatt along the railway line to O.C. "B"
Company with an order that he must get his company on to the
Le
Touquet-Le Gheerroad, clear the former village at all costs at the point
of the bayonet and if possible push on to Frelinghien. This proved to
be impossible, although gallant and valuable work was done by a
machine gun manned by Serjeant
E.
M. Parkinson and Privates H.
Pulford, ]. Lynn and Yates. The first two were unfortunately
killed by two consecutive shots two days later. When O.C. "B"
Company represented his inability to advance in view of the lack of
artillery support, Evatt was sent to him with an intimation from
Woodman that there was no such word as "can't" in the army!
Nevertheless no further move was in fact feasible, and at 12.35 p.m.
orders were issued by 12th Brigade for a systematic bombardment of
Frelinghien to be carned out and for the attack to be resumed at
2.30 p.m. This time, the Le Touquet-Le Gheer road was reached and
" B" Company established itself precariously on a line just north of
the level crossing. Enemy shelling was by now heavy, particularly
on the crossing; and six men who were sheltering under a culvert
close to it were killed by the concussion of a bursting shell. At about
5 p.m. the battalion received orders not to press its attack unless
further progress was made by the loth Brigade which had been held
up on the right. Some slight advance was, however, possible and by
dusk the battalion had secured a firm grasp of the whole village of Le
Touquet with the except ion of a few houses at the road junction ,
which were at first occupied but had to
be
abandoned as they were