Page 48 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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ARMENTIERES-TRENCH WARFARE-2nd YPRES
33
had been hard pressed all day, the remainder of the battalion moving
up at I a.m. on 3Ist October. On Ist November, two companies
were sent forward under Woodrnan to the Messines road in local
support of the Ist Somerset Light Infantry, the remainder of the
battalion being in brigade reserve at Ploegsteert. Once again
Lieutenant-Colonel Butler was called upon to take control of more
than his own battalion. He fixed his headquarters at a small house
on the Ploegsteert-Messines road, near a spot which was later known
as "Hyde Park Corner."
It
soon became a rallying point for the
remnants of various hard-hit units. Officers of several other bat–
talions would arrive and report themselves and their strength to
Colonel Butler. He made a note of what they told him, and, after
a careful scrutiny of his map, allotted to each party a place where
it would be useful in filling the gaps in the front line. He dictated
his orders to a group of officers, which included his adjutant (Spooner)
his medical officer (Tyrrell), Major Griffin, and Captain (afterwards
Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh) Elles, each of whom took several
copies by means of carbon paper, so that every detachment com–
mander had written confinnation of his instructions. The calmness
and method with which Colonel Butler appreciated the situation
and dealt with it had a very encouraging effect on the tired officers
and men who witnessed his actions. On the following day the whole
battalion was in trenches at St. Yves and was heavily shelled,
Captain T. H. Sneyd and 4 other ranks being killed and I9 other
ranks wounded. One of those killed was Serjeant W. Muddle, an
old Duke of York's School boy, a football player of the 4th and 2nd
Battalions and a skilled musician; he was hit as he was reading a letter
ordering him to return to England on promotion to Bandmaster.
The 2nd November, I9I4, is the date officially fixed as the end
of the Battle of Armentieres, the title given to all the fighting near
that place in October and awarded to the Regiment as one of the
battle honours shown in the Army List.
THE WINTER
OF
I9I4- I9I5
From 3rd November, I9I4, till the end of April, I9I5, the lot
of the 2nd Battalion was "the daily round, the common task,"
endured under conditions of cold, wet and inferiority of weapons,
ammunition and trench stores which would have ruined the morale
of any troops who did not possess a sound training and a strong
esprit de corps,
backed as it was in the case of the 2nd Lancashire
Fusiliers not only by pride in the deeds of their forerunners of
Minden and Inkerman but by the confidence in themselves and in
their skill-at-arms to which their own actions in the autumn of I9I4
had fully entitled them.
It
would be tedious-and there is not the
space-to rehearse
all
the moveS of the battalion into and out of
trenches and billets during this period; they are to be found in detail
in Chapter IV of Volume II; and it must suffice to mention some
of the outstanding events and for the rest to say that trenches were
at various times held at St. Yves, in front of Ploegsteert Wood,
D