Page 436 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

the line to move forward. He then pushed forward again about one
thousand yards towards three German field guns, whose crews
showed every intention of defending them to the last. But Arnold,
with the help of Rewcastle, soon disposed of their opposition,
killing or capturing them all. Second-Lieutenant
Sillitoe, M.M.,
also behaved with great gallantry during the attack, rushing and
capturing a machine gun in the first phase and co-operating
splendidly in the capture of the battery. Another who was in–
strumental in silencing two machine guns was Serjeant R. W.
Temple, M.M., who handled his platoon with great ability. And, as
so often happened, the battalion chaplain, the Reverend J. Sheridan,
showed the most gallant devotion to duty: as soon as the Hill 60
line had been reached, he was one of the very first to arrive and to
help with the evacuation of wounded from the most forward
positions. He was nobly supported by Second-Lieutenant G. Fyfe,
who was taken away from his normal duties with the I04th Trench
Mortar l3attery to command a party of stretcher-bearers and worked
continuously under shell fire at his errand of mercy. By II.30 a.m. a
firm line of posts had been established about a thousand yards to
the south-east of Klein Zillebeke. The battalion's prizes included
200 prisoners, amongst whom was a regimental commander, 13
field guns, more machine guns than could be counted and a con–
siderable quantity of maps and documents. The casualties were
comparatively light at 4 officers and 104 other ranks.
In the meanwhile the 17th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel J.
17TH BN.
Jones, M.C., Durham Light Infantry) had been moving forward with
a view to passing through the 18th Battalion and advancing to
Zandvoorde. At 9-40 a.m. the 17th crossed the Klein Zillebeke
position in attack formation, with "Z" Company (Captain
Heape, M.C. ) at the "point" of the diamond, "X" (Captain
Kitchin) on the right, "Y" (Lieutenant J. A. Shearston) on the
left and "W" (Captain H. G. Leaver, M.C.) in rear, to take Jehovah
Trench, which the battalion's patrols were already exploring.
was found to be occupied, but the enemy soon withdrew and the
trench changed hands before 11.30 a.m. "Y" and "Z" Companies
pushed forward strong reconnaissance parties frontally towards
Zandvoorde, but they were greeted with such heavy machine-gun
fire from the Basservillebeek valley and from the Zandvoorde
ridge that Lieutenant-Colonel J ones decided that a frontal attack
would prove much too costly and that an assault from a flank would
have greater prospects of success. In spite of heavy machine-gun fire
at close range, Lieutenant-Colonel Jones carried out a personal
reconnaissance and, having learnt that the brigade on the left had
found a "soft spot," he led the battalion to the north and launched
an attack southward, with "W" Company leading, "Y" and "Z"
close behind and "X" engaging the enemy with fire. The enemy
were evidently taken by surprise and most did not await the final
assault, though the crew of an anti-aircraft machine
fight until a shower of rifle grenades despatched by a platoon of