Page 95 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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THE OANCASHIRE FUSILIERS,
1914-1918
3 p.m., the battalion came under heavy rifle and shrapnel fire.
Only two officers reached the Turkish trenches, and one of them
was wounded. The signalling serjeant was killed and the telephone
and wire he was carrying forward were destroyed. The patrol
sent to the right was soon forced to retire as the Indian advance
from the Anzac sector had not begun. Nevertheless by 3.10 p.m.
the battalion had taken its objective, all the Turks in the
trenches being killed or wounded. Many spades and a few picks were
found and speedily used to begin the consolidation of the position.
Ferrers-Guy was wounded a few minutes after the attack began,
but insisted on going forward to tell the men how best to make their
position secure. He could not, however, carry on and had to go back
to a dressing station, handing over command to Captain F.
R.
L.
Lowth. Though details are lacking, it is clear that the battalion
clung gallantly to its objective for nineteen hours without any
response to its repeated calls for help and finally had to fall back to
its starting point, with less than 100 men left and no officers or
warrant officers. Of the 29 officers who had embarked for Gallipoli
on 5th July, only 4 were still unhurt by 22nd August.
1ST BN.
The 1st Battalion (Major W. B. Pearson) fared little better.
It
was brought round in s.s.
Clacton
from
"w"
Beach on 19th August
and disembarked by lighters at 4 a.m. next morning in Suvla Bay,
moving to the rear of Chocolate Hill, where it rested till daylight.
On 21st August it moved to brigade reserve while preparations were
made for it to support the 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers in an attack
on Hill II2, a well-marked feature at the end of the Anafarta Sagar
spur, a little to the north of the
"w"
Hills.
It
was known to be
strongly entrenched.
It
lay about fifteen hundred yards to the east
of the British line, but the Turkish front line was some five hundred
yards forward of Hill II2. The wide stretch of No Man's Land was
rough, stony and studded with patches of shrub. The latter caught
fire
in
many places and caused much disorganization amongst the
troops as they advanced and several explosions of ammunition; all
this led to the loss of direction and the mixing of units. The battalion
advanced at 3.30 p.m. and was met by heavy machine-gun and rifle
fire which produced serious casualties, often in scrub to which fire
spread. Private J.
Quinn
showed great bravery, for which he was
awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal,
in
going out and rescuing
a wounded officer who was lying in the midst of a fiercely burning
grass fire.
At 4.12 p.m. Pearson received a message from the Royal Munster
Fusiliers saying that they had been held up owing to losses in
officers. He ordered "A" Company to advance to their support; a
few minutes later "B" was ordered to reinforce
"A";
and somewhat
later "C" was sent forward to pick up the line of
"A"
and "B"
and then press on with the whole. But by 4.30 p.m. the advance
had been held up and no part of the line was within five hundred
yards of the Turkish front line.
An
hour later O.C. "A"
Company reported that he was supporting the Munsters, but