Page 440 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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1918:
AUGUST TO THE ARMISTICE
the 2nd/3rd October with this object in view, possibly on the follow–
ing night. But "D" Company's commander, Captain A. Howarth ,
M.C., decided not to wait for darkness. On the afternoon of
3rd October, therefore, he sent Second-Lieutenant D. Blore, Corporal
P. Beggs and Private T. Lackey, M.M., to reconnoitre the approaches
to the brook. Their report was so encouraging that Howarth led a
reconnaissance party across, and after driving away several German
posts, established a bridgehead which he left under the command of
Blore, with whom was Second-Lieutenant E . ] . H. Orchard. The
bridgehead was reinforced by the greater part of "D" Company
which reached the bridge by sections across the open. Surprisingly
the Germans put down no retaliatory bombardment, the more so
as the activities of Blore, Orchard and Private
J. J.
Taylor with
" some Lewis guns succeeded in setting fire to a dump of flares and
smoke bombs which sent up such a pillar of smoke as must have
advertised the presence of an "unusual occurrence."
But the bombardment had merely been postponed. For while a
carrying party of fifty men under Second-Lieutenants W. E. Ashley
and A. Pickering were crossing the open ground west of the brook
with material with which the Royal Engineers were to build a bridge
across it, such a heavy barrage fell between
I
a.m. and 3 a.m. on
4th October that work had to be postponed, and it was not until
7 a.m. that the bridge was in position, thanks to some extent to the
cover afforded by the ten-foot high eastern bank. The enemy's
infantry had not, however, abandoned all interest in the stream ;
and at about 9 a.m. three Germans crawled forward towards "D"
Company's posts. They were fired at by one of the Lewis gunners
and ran, pursued by Orchard and Serjeant G. E. Williams, who
found a post with a dead German in it some distance from the bank.
At 7 p.m. the German artillery tried to shell the new posts but fired
short, the shells falling amongst their own troops. The latter sent
up their signal to indicate short shooting, but as it was unfortunately
the same as the British
"s
0 S" in this sector they merely got
British shells instead of their own-and more of them into the bar–
gain! During the night two more bridges were thrown across the
stream. On one occasion Blore was blown off the bridge by a shell
but returned to it and personally repaired a gap made in it by shell
fire. At 5.45 a.m. the Germans attacked "D" Company's right post
under a barrage but were driven back in disorder; Private Turner
showed great coolness when about to be bayoneted, grasping the
bayonet with his hand and warding off the thrust; and Private
J.
Beardmore climbed out of his post and got his Lewis
gun
into action
on the side of the bank. Almost throughout the 5th the enemy's
artillery was active and at
7.30
p.m. his infantry attacked. Blore,
who happened to be at company headquarters at the time, was sent
up through the barrage with No. 15 Platoon to reinforce the bridge–
head. The attack was stopped; moreover, to relieve the pressure on
the weary "D" Company, "C" Company (Captain G. N. Stange,
M.C.) sent a party across the brook to patrol to the northwards,