Page 466 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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AUGUST TO THE ARMISTICE
433
to the capture of three more machine guns and many prisoners;
and later still, when his platoon was again held up by German
machine guns, he led a tank against them over very exposed
ground and secured their disposal. Equally determined was Second–
Lieutenant J. Cramer, who, although wounded shortly after the
attack began, refused to leave his men and gallantly led them
forward; they suffered heavily, but he kept on till he reached the
objective though by then he had only one section left. Another
platoon commander who refused to be daunted by opposition or
losses was Second-Lieutenant T. H. Horspool: he led his men with
great ability right up to the objective. Mention must also be made
of Private A. G. Bunce who, finding himself the only survivor of his
Lewis-gun team when his platoon was held up at a strong point, took
his weapon forward to a position from which he could bring fire to
bear on the enemy to such effect that his platoon was able to rush
the position. After a struggle the spur was captured with sixty-two
prisoners; the casualties had not been all on one side, and many
Germans were killed. But many still remained: and at 9 a.m., they
counter-attacked, though unsuccessfully. Five hours later the
Germans again counter-attacked under a heavy barrage which
included many gas shells. They worked their way through gaps in
the line and got
in
behind the centre and the right of it. Casualties had
been heavy; and the line formed a sharp salient on the right.
Lieutenant-Colonel Alban, who had been well served with informa–
tion throughout the day by the reports sent back from the front line
by his intelligence officer, Lieutenant R. C. B. Jones, took up the
reserve company through heavy fire to fill the gap which had
developed towards the centre. But further adjustments proved
necessary and the end of the day saw the battalion back at its
starting line. During the afternoon "B" and "C" Companies and a
platoon of "D" Company of the I6th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel
16TH BN .
J. N. Marshall, M.C., Irish Guards) were sent to be in close support
of the I5th owing to their losses.
The I5th Battalion made another attempt on the Happegarbes
15TH
Bl( .
spur the next day, 3rd November, advancing at 6.I5 a.m. under a
heavy barrage. Once again Lees was conspicuous for the skilful
forming up and handling of his company. Once again Clarke
showed great gallantry and captured many prisoners. Cramer, too,
showed the same determined bravery as on the day before and won
through with only one section left. Thanks to such efforts, the
objective was gained by 7 a .m. Clarke was at once busy skilfully
organizing his part of the line in such a way that it was able to
withstand the Germans soon after. For the enemy, taking
advantage of the long gaps in the line caused by the heavy casualties,
again filtered in be'tween and behind the centre and right companies.
Lieutenant-Colonel Alban took up his reserve company but, though
it succeeded in gaining touch with the companies on its flanks, it
could not force the enemy back. Worse was to come. At I p.m.,
after a very heavy bombardment which contained much gas and
2F