Page 455 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
barrage was being followed too closely with dire results to the
troops: Lieutenant-Colonel Jones at once went forward to impose
caution, with the tragic result that he was hit, dying of wounds next
day-a great loss and a fine character who had risen by sheer merit
from the ranks of the Regular Anny. Atkinson then took command
and led the battalion to its objective by the time laid down, pushing
on and reaching Slunsehoek, one thousand yards east of the railway
and two thousand yards south-west of Moorsele, at 7.5 a.m., having
captured 100 prisoners, 6 field guns, 2 trench mortars and 16 machine
guns at a cost of 130 casualties.
J8TH B N.
The 18th Battalion and the 19th Durham Light Infantry then
passed through under a heavy barrage and in the same mist as had
helped the opening of the attack. The Germans did not offer very
strong resistance once the first line of defence near Moorsele had been
pierced. But this needed sharp fighting, in which Lieutenant–
Colonel Jewels took the lead. Lieutenant F . A. D. Roberts led a
party forward when the advance was checked and succeeded in
dislodging the enemy, securing valuable positions and inflicting
heavy losses on his opponents.
It
was at this stage, too, that
Second-Lieutenant A. E. V. Gallon was conspicuous for bis resource:
his company commander was hit at the start and he promptly took
command and led the company through heavy fire throughout the
operation without the help of any other officer. Amongst other
achievements, he mshed a battery of 5.9-inch guns which were in
action at Herthoek, 1,200 yards south-west of Moorsele, and killed
or took prisoner the whole of the crew. By
II
a.m. the battalion
had reached its objective south-east of Moorsele; and in the after–
noon an outpost line farther east was established. The casualties
were light. Next day, 15th October, a slight further advance was
made and the line pushed up to the Wevelghcm-Gulleghem road,
facing south-south-cas
t.
The two battalions then enjoyed two days' rest before moving
forward during the day of 18th October to the neighbourhood of
Bisseghem, west-south-west of Courtrai, so as to be at hand in case
the 106th Infantry Brigade in the same division needed help in
crossing the River Lys. The move was timely; for the 106th
Brigade, after an unsuccessful attempt the night before, crossed the
river at Marcke, two miles south-west of Courtrai, during the early
part of the night of 18th/19th October. The 104th Brigade got
sudden orders to cross that same night and continue the divisional
attack next day. By 2 a.m. on 19th the whole brigade was over the
river, the 17th Battalion crossing by a single-plank footbridge west
of Marcke, and had reached its assembly positions on the eastern
outskirts of the village, with its three battalions in line, the 17th
Lancashire Fusiliers on the right and the 18th in the centre. Day–
break came in a thick mist at 5.30 a.m.
At that hour the attack was launched in a south-easterly
J7TH
BN.
direction. The 17th met with no opposition and reached its objective,
Marionette Cabaret, by 7 a.m. The success was at once exploited and