Page 46 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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ARMENTlfRE5--TRENCH WARFARE--2nd YPRES
3I
Regiment and a squadron of the I9th Hussars were sent up as
reinforcements and by 6 p.m. the situation had been restored
without the battalion being seriously involved, though Captain S.
Lucas-Tooth, commanding "D" Company, was killed by a sniper at
9.I5 a.m.
At 5.I5 a.m. on 2Ist October, however, heavy shelling fell on the
battalion's position, followed by an infantry attack on the Inniskilling
Fusiliers, who were compelled to give ground, thereby exposing the
left company of the King's Own which had been sent to that flank
the night before and which in its turn had to make a short retirement.
All efforts of the enemy to force the King's Own to a further with–
drawal failed. But a gap had occurred between "B" Company of the
2nd Lancashire Fusiliers and the King's Own which it was imperative
to
fill.
Lieutenant R. Northover and three platoons of the battalion
were accordingly sent, and later Second-Lieutenant
L.
B.
L.
Seckham
and his platoon were withdrawn from the right and sent to
fill
the
remaining gap. The stalwart defence of the front-line companies,
backed by powerful artillery fire, finally broke the attack. The
battalion machine-gun section also played its part. One gun was
established on the level crossing to the north of Le Touquet village
so as to shoot on both sides of the railway. Unfortunately, with the
object of "firing round the left side of cover" as laid down in the
training manual , it was placed alongside a white post which proved
a very good aiming mark for the enemy, with the result that the
team had to retire quickly, though not before two men had been
killed and one slightly wounded. The gun was brought out by
Private] . Lynn (soon to win the battalion's first Victoria Cross) and
Private Grundy and taken to Le Touquet station, being later used
on the right flank. The second gun under Serjeant Randall was then
ordered to take up the position vacated by the first gun. This
proved to be impossible, but it was got into action on the railway
line half-way between the level crossing and the station, a spot which
became a permanent machine-gun emplacement during the winter.
Shortly after, however, this gun jammed and it was then discovered
that the spare parts had not been brought back with the first gun.
Lynn went to the original position to get them; and he brought
them back together with four belt boxes and two rifles, through
heavy fire, quite unperturbed and unhurried. Eventually the
Germans began to retire, and to quote the battalion War Diary, "our
machine guns had the time of their lives," inflicting heavy
casualties.
It
was estimated that several hundred German dead were
lying in front of the battalion lines. During the ensuing night, other
battalions of the Division ejected the last remaining intruders.
The casualties during the five days of fighting had been I officer
(Captain S. Lucas-Tooth) and 29 other ranks killed, 4 officers and 65
other ranks wounded; and 7 other ranks missing. On the 2ISt, "B"
Company lost 32 men in a quarter of an hour. On this day, too,
Second-Lieutenant G. G. Bowen was wounded while very gallantly
bringing a wounded man into a trench. Captain]. E..Woodman was