Page 89 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

Basic HTML Version

7
2
THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
above water; and the depth proved to be actually about four feet
six inches-which did not leave much margin for the short Lancashire
men.
Within a few minutes, "X" (Captain E. M. Elwell), "Y"
(Captain F.
R.
L.
Lowth) and "Z" Companies, headed by Tristram,
splashed their way ashore with hoarse cries of "Remember
Minden." Company Serjeant-Major T. Bleackley plunged into the
water at the head of his company and did valuable work
in
leading
his men ashore. The Commanding Officer also stood in deep water
and helped men off the lighter, being slightly wounded in the head
at about this time, though he did not mention it. The Turkish
picket at the battalion's landing point fled, leaving behind two
casualties; but the Turkish guns began to shell the beach.
"Z" Company went straight ahead as ordered (unaware of the
error in course) to attack Hill
10,
but soon found itself on the edge
of the Salt Lake with no sign of its objective. When "X" and "Y"
Companies had formed up on the beach, two platoons of "Y" were
sent forward to cover "Z"'s right, being followed by the remainder
of the company. But there appeared to be a gap between "Z" and
these two platoons of "Y," through which Turkish riflemen were
thought to have penetrated. Lieutenant-Colonel Woodcock therefore
obtained leave to take forward a platoon of "W" Company, with
which he drove back some snipers and established touch with "Z,"
whose line he prolonged to the right, covering the edge of a little
hillock with a
donga
beyond. Some Turks were only about twenty–
five yards away in a rough entrenchment protected by wire. At
daybreak these Turks charged; but there was light enough for a few
minutes' rapid fire to drive them back. Woodcock thereupon
ordered a counter-charge but was seriously wounded as he stood up
to lead it. He made his way back to the beach, where the Com–
manding Officer told him that he had sent the rest of "X" Company
forward under the adjutant, Captain M. C. Ferrers-Guy, and that he
intended to follow shortly himself with more men. Soon afterwards
Lieutenant-Colonel Welstead was killed by a bullet through the
head.
Throughout the night "Z" Company had been under severe
strain, losing all its officers. The adjutant took command of this
part of the battalion's position, helped by Captain F.
R.
L.
Lowth
and Lieutenant H. ]. Brierley. Soon after dawn another battalion
came up on the right of the 9th Lancashire Fusiliers and began to
fire at it but was eventually stopped by an officer. When it was
light enough for the ground to be seen clearly, the 8th Northumber–
land Fusiliers and the 5th Dorsetshire Regiment were ordered to
advance, with the support of the 9th Lancashire Fusiliers, and to
attack Hill
10.
"W" Company went forward, with some of "Y"
under Major
C.
O. Ibbetson, to whom a staff officer pointed out a
mound, about a mile inland, as being Hill
10.
Ibbetson led a charge
which carned the mound at the point of the bayonet. But his party
at once came under heavy fire from a field work in front and from