Page 444 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

river, whose crossings were held by "C," "B" and "A" Companies
of the Lancashire Fusiliers, the whole battalion being relieved at
5 a.m. on 13th October and returning very tired to Inchy. Its
losses had been 5 officers and 182 other ranks; it had captured 2
officers, 58 other ranks and a number of machine guns, though many
were retaken by the enemy in their counter-attack. In addition to
Lester's V.c., the battalion's good work was recognized by the
award of the Military Cross to Lieutenant
Graham and Second–
Lieutenant S. W. Manning, of the Distinguished Conduct Medal to
Serjeant ]. H. Gott for cutting gaps in a series of wire fences under
intense machine-gun fire and continuing this work in spite of
wounds until he collapsed through exhaustion and loss of blood, and
of the Military Medal to Privates
B. Hughes and J. Willcocks.
Somewhat farther to the right, the reconstituted 6th Battalion
F. Gross, D.S.O., South Wales Borderers)
made its first appearance in action. Leaving the American training
area, where the amalgamation of the 6th and 12th Battalions had
taken place, at the end of September, the battalion moved up through
Corbie, Harbonnieres, Montauban, Ronssoy and Gouy to Le Hamage
farm, 2,700 yards south-east of Villers Outreaux, which it
reached early on 9th October. At 2.30 a.m. that day the battalion
received orders to clear the eastern outskirts of Elincourt and
capture Pinon Wood to the north-east of it. The unit moved off
at 3 a.m., formed up north-west of Elincourt at 4.50 a.m. and
opened its attack at 5.20 a.m. Unfortunately, the barrage was
late and caused many casualties amongst the leading troops. The
advance was also stopped by mist from 6 a.m. to 7.15 a.m., after
which, however, events moved rapidly: Pinon Wood was taken by
8.45 a.m. and the battalion pushed on to the Maretz-Clary road,
which it reached at 10.50 a.m. At 4 p.m. the battalion was placed in
divisional reserve. At 3-45 a.m. on loth October it joined the rest of
the 198th Infantry Brigade at Maretz and marched along the old
Roman road to Reumont, where at 6.15 a.m. it formed up for an
attack with "B" Company (Captain W. Vestey Jones) on the right,
"C" (Captain
Seckham, M.C.) in the centre, "D" (Captain
D. Pennington, M.C.) on the left and "A" (Captain
A. V. White)
in reserve. The advance began at 6.45 a.m. and almost at once the
battalion came under heavy shelling; but it pushed on and reached
the Le Cateau-Inchy road at 8.16 a.m. In spite of heavy casualties,
particularly in "D" Company which had the difficult task of keeping
touch with the division on its left, the leading companies pushed on
to a sunken road some 1,000 yards west of Montay, where they
reorgq.nized. At 5 p.m. the battalion was ordered to attack Montay
and to join up with the King's Liverpool on the high ground
beyond it. As the orders were not received till darkness was about
to fall, the company commanders could not carry out a reconnais-
sance before being involved in the attack. "A" Company at once
came under heavy machine-gun fire; but, in spite of this, of the
darkness and of the exhaustion of troops, it gained a footing