Page 454 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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1918:
AUGUST TO THE ARMISTICE
South-east Lancashire to the Scheldt
17th and 18th Battalions
42I
On IIth October the 17th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel J.
Jones, M.C.) and the 18th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel C. E.
J ewels, D.S.O., M.C.) marched up to an area south and south-east of
Becelaere. On the following day an assembly position
was
reconnoitred. During that night a patrol of "W" Company of the
17th under Second-Lieutenant H . Cook went out towards Goldfiake
Farm, 1,500 yards south of Dadizeele, met a German post and
attacked it, Cook shooting two of the enemy. Late on the 13th, a
very wet day, the two units moved forward to assembly positions
about Vijtwegen, also south of Dadizeele. Whilst forming up
under a heavy German bombardment, the whole of a Lewis-gun
team of the 17th was wounded. One of its members, Private A.
Walmsley, though himself hit in the arm, carried the rest to a place
of safety, got a man from another section to carry the spare-parts
bag and magazines for the gun and did some very useful work in the
initial stages of the attack in the morning. He remained at duty till
he was very badly wounded a second time and his gun was put out
of action.
At 5.35 a.m. on 14th October, in a dense mist, the 17th Battalion
17T H BN.
led the attack of the I04th Infantry Brigade from a starting line
running south-west to north-east about a mile south-east of
Dadizeele, with the task of attaining the brigade's first objective,
the Menin-Roulers railway about 4,500 yards away. "Y" Company
(Captain
c.
S. Atkinson, M.C.) was on the right, "W" (Captain H. G.
Leaver, M.C.) on the left, with
"z"
(Lieutenant M. D. Walker, M.C.)
and "X" (Lieutenant
J.
K.
B. Crawford) in right and left support.
Many German machine-gun posts were encountered and put out of
action. Especially good work was done at this stage by Second–
Lieutenants F. Aspden (who was killed later in the day), H.
Drummond and A. C. Stephenson whose coolness, dash and ability
accounted for the capture of several machine guns with a minimum
of loss to his platoon. Captain Atkinson at one point found a party
of fifteen Germans firing four field guns: with one man he charged
the party, put them to flight and captured the guns.
(It
is significant
of the demoralization which was already sapping the German Army
that guns were often captured at this time complete with their
sights and ammunition.) Another who did valuable work was
Lieutenant P. J. McKevitt, who, in spite of the mist, managed to
keep his men under control and close 'behind the barrage right up to
the objective, setting a most encouraging example to all. The
Commanding Officer was kept well informed on the situation,
largely thanks to Lieutenant C. Huntly, who moved continually up
and down the line and found out how the attack was progressing.
Whilst so employed, accompanied by only two men, he came upon
a party of twelve Germans in a trench, rushed at them and captured
the lot. Unfortunately, he had to report that, in some places, the