Page 476 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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1918:
AUGUST TO THE ARMISTICE
443
But next day it took over from the 18th Battalion the duty of
advanced guard with orders to reach the line Everbecq-Kalenberge,
three miles west of the River Dendre, and then if possible to push
on and seize the crossings over the river at Grammont.
It
had under
its command two platoons of cyclists, a battery of the Motor Machine
Gun Corps and a battery of field guns. The battalion moved off at
7 a.m., with "X" Company (Captain
J.
K.
B. Crawford) as its
advanced guard, in two columns, and passed through the outpost
line at 9 a.m.
It
had made good its first objective by 10.30 a.m. ;
and
"X"
Company at once moved on towards Grammont to
support the cyclists who had gone ahead to secure the bridges.
By
II
a .m., when the Armistice came into force, the cyclists had
reached the bridges ; but
"X"
Company had to content itself with
reaching them after hostilities had ceased. The battalion not only
captured eleven Gelmans who had been hiding in cellars, but
received and looked after two hundred liberated British prisoners
of war.
A Fine Finish
2nd/5th Battalion
The distinction of being the last battalion of the Regiment to
be in action in the war fell to the 2nd/5th Battalion (Lieutenant-
2ND/ 5 TH
Colonel G. S. Brighten, D.S.O.).
It
was pulled out of the line on
BN.
26th October to be the infantry of a column of all arms called
"Stockwell's Force" after the commander of 164th Infantry Brigade,
Brigadier-General C. 1. Stockwell, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O. Till 8th
November the column trained for quick pursuit of the enemy.
It
concentrated immediately west of Tournai on 9th November; and
at
1
p.m. on that day began its advance, the advanced guard being
commanded by Major].
R.
Bodington, M.C., of the 2nd/5th Battalion.
The cavalry of the Force met German opposition about two miles
west of Leuze. The Force halted for the night, two companies of the
2nd/5th providing the outposts.
Next day, loth November, the 9th Cavalry Brigade took over
the duties of advanced guard and, after brushing aside slight
opposition on each side of Leuze, succeeded in reaching the western
outskirts of Ath before it was held up at 12.35 p.m. by strong
resistance all along the line of the Dendre river and its canal. The
2nd/5th were ordered to attack and capture the bridges leading into
Ath from the south-west . "C" (Captain C. V. Broadbent, M.C.) and
"D" (Captain H. Waterhouse) Companies were detailed for the task,
with "A" (Captain G. Walsh, M.C.) and "B" (Captain
L.
A. Wilson)
in support. Orders for this operation were not given till so late that,
to attack before dark, the battalion had to take the direct road over
a skyline to its assembly position instead of a covered but longer way.
I t was spotted and came under heavy shelling and machine-gun
fire which caused casualties to men and transport. Wilson showed
conspicuous gallantry: though he was in full view of the Germans