Page 47 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his good work during
the attack on Le Touquet and the defence of it. This gallant,
imperturbable and universally respected officer was killed at the
Battle of Loos in September, 1915, while second-in-command of the
12th Northumberland Fusiliers. The part played by the 2nd Lanca–
shire Fusiliers in dealing with the German counter-attacks near Le
Touquet on 20th and 21st October, 1914, earned them a striking
trjbute in a letter addressed by Brigadier-General H. F. M. Wilson,
commanding the 4th Division, to the Headquarters of the
III
Army
Corps, on 23rd October, 1914 :-
"The staunchness of the King's Own and Lancashire Fusiliers
after their flank was turned was most commendable, and I beg to
bring to notice Lieutenant-Colonel Butler, Lancashire Fusiliers,
who commanded these two Battalions with great success during
these two days . . ."
On 22nd October, after a morning of harassing machine-gun fire
which fell chiefly on the trenches of "C" Company, the battalion was
relieved early in the afternoon by "C" Company of the 1st Rifle
Brigade and went into billets at Le Bizet. In the evening of the 23rd,
the 12th Brigade took over a sector of trenches at Rue du Bois near
Chapelle d'Armentieres, south-east of the town of that name, the
battalion relieving the 2nd Leinster Regiment and the 1st North
Staffordshire Regiment. Shortly after the relief, the enemy delivered
a heavy attack on the units farther to the south, but the battalion
was not seriously involved. The 25th was a quiet day; and on the
26th the battalion was relieved at
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a.m. by the King's Own and
arrived in billets in a brewery at Armentieres at 4 a.m. On the 27th,
two companies occupied reserve trenches in the morning in order to
support the 18th Brigade, which had been attacked at 5 a.m., and the
whole battalion relieved the King's Own at night.
Again, scarcely had the relief been completed when, at 2 a.m. on
the 28th, the enemy attacked the 2nd Essex Regiment on the right
of the battalion, which went to its support and helped to repel the
assault. A second attack was made on the 1st East Yorkshire
Regiment of the 18th Brigade, but it was held up in the wire between
the first and second lines of trenches and was driven back by a
counter-attack launched by the East Yorkshire Regiment and "B"
Company of the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers. The enemy's losses were
estimated to be at least 200 killed. The battalion's losses during the
day were 4 men killed and Captain W. Higgin-Birkett and 7 men
wounded. Higgin-Birkett had been hit in the head and started to
walk back to the dressing station alone; nothing was ever heard of
him again.
The next day was quiet and at night the battalion was relieved
by the King's Own and went into billets at Armentieres, where
it also spent most of 30th October. But the battle was not yet over,
for at
II
p.m. on that day two companies were sent under Captain
Woodman to Ploegsteert to help the IIth Infantry Brigade, which