Page 460 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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1918: AUGUST TO THE ARMISTICE
positions between the Menin-Roulers road and the village of
Ledeghem. In spite of intense darkness at first and much German
shelling, the battalion reached its place without casualties by
10.30
p.m.
For the first part of the 29th Division's operations on 14th
October, the battalion was to be in reserve, except "B" Company
(Captain P. D. W. Dunn, M.C.), which was detailed to "mop up"
Ledeghem after its capture by the 2nd
I~oyal
Fusiliers. Zero was at
5.35 a.m., when that unit advanced into Ledeghem. With its first
wave went Dunn, a lance-corporal, Private P . Staton (Dunn's
runner, an ex-member of the 23rd Battalion, four feet eleven inches
in height, with the heart of a lion, especially at night) and another
man. Under heavy shell fire and through gas, they moved down the
main street of the village and captured
40
GeITKans from a "pill-box."
Moving on, they took another 26 prisoners. By the end of this
phase of the action they had taken a total of 74 Gennans and 5
machine guns. All this had been achieved in dense fog, made thicker
by a smoke barrage which had been arranged in order to blind
hostile machine-gun posts. By 7 a.m. "B" Company had fulfilled its
task, losing only 13 men in the process.
Meanwhile, the rest of the battalion had moved off at 6.35 a.m.,
marching on a compass bearing owing to the fog and smoke, with
officers carrying their revolver in one hand and their compass in the
other. So intent was the Commanding Officer on his compass
bearing that, before he knew his peril, he found himself floundering
in a very wet and cold moat! The advance went well; and by
9.20 a.m. the battalion had reached its first objective, the line of the
road, about two miles east of Ledeghem, running north-north-east
from Moorsele towards Winkel St. EloL Attempts to advance
thence were frustrated by machine-gun and trench-mortar fire from
the flanks. But much good work had been done, especially by
Second-Lieutenant F. C. Morgan, who was in command of the
battalion snipers and set a splendid example by his gallantry and
coolness in moving about at all times without any regard to the
severity of the German fire. His actions enabled several machine
guns to be outflanked. At
II
a.m. orders were received for a
reorganization which led to the battalion taking over the whole of
the brigade sector, with "A" Company (Captain C. Wedgwood,
M.C.) on the right, "D" (Lieutenant
J.
C. B. Harris, · M.C.) on the
left and
"c"
(Second-Lieutenant T. Rochester) in close support,
Dunn's "B" Company, which had by now rejoined the battalion,
being kept in reserve. The battalion was to hold the line it had
helped to gain and to conform to the movements of the brigades on
its flanks. As the unit on the left advanced at 12.30 p.m.,
Lieutenant-Colonel Modera ordered the battalion forward. But
progress proved difficult owing to machine-gun and light artillery
fire. Some advance was, however, made and by nightfall the
battalion had reached a line one thousand yards short of its second
objective, which was the Salines-Steenbeck road , east of Ledeghem.