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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS, 19I4-I9I8
1ST/8TH BATTALION
Distinguished Conduct Medal
Company Serjeant-Major
J.
Shackleton.
Serjeant L.
R.
Wild.
Private
J.
Kilgour.
M ilital'Y Medal
Company Serjeant-Major W. Rule.
Serjeant
J.
Birmingham.
Lance-Corporal
J.
H. Hargreaves.
Private
J.
Emmett.
Private L.
J.
Orchard.
THROUGH THE H INDENBURG LINE
The successes gained by the 42nd Division and other troops on
27th and 28th September were exploited and a bridgehead over the
Canal de L'Escaut was established at Marcoing, three miles south -
south-west of Cambrai. The line of the canal was regarded by the
Germans as one of the most valuable natural obstacles in the defences
constituting the Hindenburg Line, and they made very determined
efforts to prevent the British from extending their bridgehead. This
had been foreseen and the next stage in the operations was planned
to turn the canal by crossing it farther south where
it
ran through
two tunnels, at Le Tronquoy and Bellicourt. Long stretches of the
canal had, however, to be crossed
in
the open and, when this phase
of the battle began on 29th September, the 46th (North Midland)
Division achieved immortal fame by its resource and gallantry in
crossing the canal at Bellenglise, between the two tunnels.
It
was
15TH AND
followed by the 15th (Lieutenant-Colonel C.
E.
R.
G. Alban, D.S.O.)
16TH
and the 16th (Lieutenant-Colonel A. Stone, D.S.O.) Battalions. At
BNS .
8 a.m. on 30th September the 15th attacked the village of Joncourt
with the support of an artillery barrage and several tanks. The
Australians on the left had been held up by heavy machine-gun fire
from the west and south of the village and were therefore unable to
secure the key positions which would have enabled the 15th to
advance. The battalion nevertheless made repeated and determined
efforts to enter the village, but without success. Captain P. E.
Townend, although wounded early
in
the attack, on seeing his
leading platoon held up, advanced over very exposed ground to it,
but found it had suffered such heavy casualties that it no longer had
any offensive value. He promptly went back and brought up some
supports. While he was leading them forward he was again hit
twice in the leg and was unable to walk. Even this did not deter him,
for he crawled back to his company headquarters, organized his
reserve and handed over his company correctly to the next senior
before he would allow himself to be carried down to the regimental
aid post. The day had not, however, been in vain, for the battalion
succeeded in establishing itself on the outskirts of the village, in
touch with the units on its flanks, and inflicted many casualties on
the enemy. Very valuable work in reorganizing the unit was done
by its Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Alban.
It
had,
moreover, so shaken the Germans that, when the battalion renewed
its attack at 8.30 a.m. on 1st October, after a most useful recon-