Page 98 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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GALLIPOLI-SUVLA-EGYPT AND SINAI
8r
without being observed. In addition to the electric wire for firing
the explosive, a thin rope was attached to the charge so that a
slight jerk would cause the latter to fall into the shaft. As
it
was
essential that the rope should be laid in a straight line, Mottershead
had to return to the British trench over the top of the Turkish wire,
moving upright and in full view of the enemy. All this was safely
accomplished, the rope was jerked and the gelignite fired. Hartley,
who was killed three days later, went out and confirmed that the
entrance to the shaft was completely filled: the battalion's War
Diary added: "Mine now a thing of the past. " Congratulations
poured in from higher commanders and Private F. Mottershead was
awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
The evacuation of the Suvla and Anzac fronts was now imminent
and the Ist/7th was ordered to undertake one of several small
attacks on I9th December which succeeded in their object of
distracting Turkish attention from that difficult operation. Two
mines were laid at "The Gridiron" with the intention that advant age
should be taken of their explosion to establish bombing stations in
the craters formed. The Ist/6th Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel
A. E. F. Fawcus, Ist/7th Manchester Regiment) held the original
front line and supplied catapult parties to fire from behind the
attackers. Major W.
J.
Law was to have directed the whole operation
but was unfortunately killed two hours before the time fixed for the
attack. Captain A. W. Boyd thereupon assumed command of the
[ ST / 7TH
attacking party, found by the rst/7th, while Captain M.
R.
P. W.
BN.
Gledhill took over command of the battalion. At 2.I5 p .m. one of
the two mines exploded on the far side of a great crater which held
a Turkish and an English trench on either side. The explosion blew
in the Turkish trench and extended the crater, which the attacking
party, led by Boyd and including a bombing squad under Second–
Lieutenant
L.
Morrison, crossed. They then pressed on down the
horns of the Turkish trench and constructed barricades, Private
C.
Bent being conspicuous for his gallantry and useful work. The
artillery had given good support to the operation, but had provoked
Turkish retaliation which was very heavy for an hour and a half,
though it did little damage.
It
did, however, knock out two men and
damage the gun of a machine-gun team led by Serjeant A. Harvey,
who withdrew to another position and got his gun into action again .
By 6 p.m. the new line was well established in spite of rifle fire and
enfilade machine-gun fire which caused some casualties. A Turkish
counter-attack at 9.40 p.m. drove the party back. But · Boyd
organized a counter-attack with great promptness and, putting
himself at the head of a party of bombers and with the support of
Morrison, succeeded in retaking the lost ground by 9.55 p.m. and
in
making a further gain . Bent was again to the fore. Indeed,
bombing parties had to be restrained from going too far in pursuit
of the Turks. Later in the night the party was withdrawn to a
position of safety and the second mine fired, catching a number of
Turks seen moving up a sap, probably in order to deliver a further
G