Page 469 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
gallantry that he not only reached the objective but inflicted
severe punishment on the enemy. Second-Lieutenant ]. W.
Nicholson did similar good work: when his company commander
was hit he took over and led the men with skill and determination to
all their objectives in spite of heavy losses. During its advance the
battalion captured a battery of high-velocity guns, over two
hundred prisoners and many machine guns. Having achieved its
object, the battalion received orders to send two companies round by
the left to cross the canal by two footbridges which had been put up
by the 25th Division and, by coming up on its right, to complete its
bridgehead covering Landrecies. By dusk these companies were
holding a position facing south with their right on the canal one
thousand yards south-west of Landrecies and their left in touch
with the 25th Division near Pont
a
Beaumetz, one thousand yards
south of the town. Later the whole battalion came round to the
same area, being skilfully led by Lieutenant-Colonel Alban. During
the night the battalion pivoted with its left on the 25th Division's
right and advanced towards the Guise-Landrecies road, where it
established touch with the 2nd Manchester Regiment early the
following moming.
The two battalions had been well served
in
the matter of
administration. The aid post of the 15th Battalion, of which
Lieutenant A. V. Pegge, R.A.M.C., its medical officer, was in charge,
came under very heavy shell fire and was also gassed at intervals.
As we have seen, the battalion's casualties were very heavy: but he
carried on his task in the open, working unceasingly and with
untiring energy.
If
it had not been for his personal example and
devotion to duty under fire, there would have been a complete
stoppage in the evacuation of the wounded of the battalion. To
his
colleague of the 16th Battalion, Lieutenant
E.
R. Batho, R.A.M.C.,
it was equally due that the evacuation of its wounded was rapid.
He dressed wounded under heavy shell fire and established his aid
post close to the line, where, although very exposed, he dealt with a
great number of cases, working for many hours without respite and
under great pressure. And for the hale, the transport officer of the
15th Battalion performed wonders: Second-Lieutenant G. Elding
kept his battalion supplied with rations, ammunition and all its
other needs throughout its most exacting battle.
In
spite of heavy
casualties amongst his drivers and their animals, he made three
journeys a night along the
Le
Cateau-Landrecies road, which was
receiving almost as much shelling as the forward areas; and,
largely owing to the way in which his coolness and devotion
to duty inspired
his
men, the battalion never wanted the essentials
of war.
The honours awarded to the two Salford battalions were on the
high level of their feats :-