Page 496 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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MACEDONIA
457
men lay by twos and threes in ruts scratched in the rocky soil. No
movement at all was possible by day, and day and night the ground
was swept by machine-gun and shrapnel bullets. One company
commander lay with his runner in a slit whence his predecessor of the
East Lancashire had been carried with both his feet blown off, and
during the night a shell from the same gun tore to pieces the few
sandbags which had been built up as some exiguous shelter. The
troops were paying grimly for that communique which could
announce that "our line was advanced on the P. ridge."
At 9.50 p.m. on 8th May the 26th Division again attacked the
Petit Couronne and the battalion sent out two patrols of an officer and
twenty-five men each to demonstrate against the enemy works on
P+ They returned with two casualties, and heavy fighting con–
tinued on the right and throughout the night.
On 9th May the Bulgars counter-attacked and the 26th Division
was forced back to its original positions.
On the same night the Battalion was relieved by the 9th South
Lancashire Regiment and withdrew to rest at Saida.
RAIDS AND ROUTINE
Not again was the battalion to take part in a great battle, but a
year was to pass before they were to leave the Doiran front and in
the year a record of gallantry and endurance was steadily built up,
based not on outstanding events, but on raids and trench duties, the
fight against disease and discouragement, the daily routine which
makes or breaks a battalion.
How the 12th Battalion came through may best be told by
extracts from the terse jottings of the War Diary, and by the com–
ments of the Generals under whom the battalion served.
1917, 9th August.
"Weather good. The bombardment of P·4
&
P.4t continued
throughout the day. Enemy registered our Fire Trenches
&
Com–
munication Trenches
&
also his own Barrage. At dusk, Patrol
consisting of
I
officer
&
20 other ranks left our wire at
J
ackson Ravine
&
moved up the South slopes of PAt to find out what damage our
bombardment had done to the enemy works. The first belt of wire
was reached
&
found to be cut. . .. As the patrol moved through this
wire they were met by a volley of bombs
&
rifle fire from a line of
Bulgars about 28 strong, who were lying about 10 yards in front of
them. . . . The Bulgars then charged down the slope which was very
steep, into our men. Our patrol, which was under 2nd Lieut. Walton,
stood their ground
&
received the enemy. A desperate hand to hand
fight took place in which 14 Bulgars were killed with the bayonet
&
I
prisoner taken. The remainder threw down their arms
&
ran towards
our line, but the majority of them got away. The enemy works were
then reconnoitred
&
it was found that much damage had been done
by the artillery. On returning, a party under Corporal Woodward