Page 427 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

394
THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
battalion was still in possession of its first objective and of 120
prisoners. Serjeant T. W. Bann did magnificent work on this
occasion. When
all
the men of one of his Lewis-gun sections were
knocked out, he seized the gtm and fired it himself. He then
collected enough men to form a section and continued the attack.
Later in the day his company commander became a casualty;
whereupon he took control and led the men to their objective.
Private
J.
Tempest, M.M., also distinguished bimself by remaining
alone in a shell-hole in front of his company and directing the fire
of his Lewis-gun section on to German machine guns and snipers,
in spite of the fact that this inevitably drew fire on himself, as was
indeed his intention.
1ST/8TH
In the meanwhile the 1st/8th had met with much the same
BN.
experiences on the left, though its casualties had been heavier. The
barrage had missed the first objective and the wire in front of it was
uncut, with the result that the leading waves were faced by
devastating machine-gun fire not only from Beaucamp on the
right, as in the case of the 1st/7th, but also from their own objective
immediately in front. Within a few minutes all the officers of "C"
Company (Captain A. Parke, M.C.) were killed or wounded and only
one officer remained in "A" Company (Captain
J.
A. McCulloch).
As usual, the juniors stepped unhesitatingly into the breach.
Company Serjeant-Major ]. Shackleton reorganized his company in
spite of the heavy fire and, leading it forward, became its mainstay
for the rest of the day. Serjeant L.
R.
Wild, a man of many parts
who held a medal for life-saving, did the same for his men, later
rushing a machine-gun post with five men, killing the crew and
capturing the gun. Private]. Kilgour, with the help of Private
J.
Emmett, managed to bomb his way to some of the guns in front
and to put them out of action, killing or wounding the crews and
taking ten prisoners. As a result of these splendid acts of initiative
and in spite of the loss of 9 officers and 132 other ranks in half an
hour, the battalion seized its first objective. The second objective
presented fewer difficulties and was taken in the early afternoon with
the help of a platoon of the 1st/5th under Second-Lieutenant
R.
Stirrup which captured a machine-gun post. Patrols were sent
forward; and one platoon of "A" Company of the 1st/8th succeeded
in reaching the third objective, to the west of Highland Ridge.
It
had, however, to be withdrawn to avoid being hit by the barrage
which has been previously mentioned. The battalion took about
two hundred prisoners during the day.
I t had been intended to organize a further attack for the posses–
sion of Highland Ridge at 6.30 p.m. on 27th September; but it was
postponed, first to 1.30 a.m. and then to 2.30 a.m. on 28th, when
"D" Company (Captain S. D. Harrison, M.C.) of the 1st/8th and
"D" Company (Captain W. Kelly) of the 1st/7th attacked in the
half light of an early dawn, helped by a half moon in a cloudless sky.
Second-Lieutenant F. Wood, of the 1st/7th, led his men under heavy
machine-gun fire with great gallantry, frequently exposing himself