Page 264 - The-West-Yorkshire-Regiment-in-the-War-1914-1918-Volume-II

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The West Yorkshire Regiment in the War
1918
10TH
on the reverse slopes of the
hill
and was using his machine-guns
~;';;:Al\~i~~·H.
with considerable effect from a brickyard just outside Albert and from
buildings on the outskirts of the village . At 12 noon he attacked
the Brigade line but rifle and Lewis-gun fire drove him off and he
did not venture to advance again that day.
On the ridge west of Aveluy there was a rise which was the
highest point
in
the neighbourhood, and the possession of this point
by the enemy would have given him observation over a very large
area behind the Brigade line. During the night of 28th/ 29th
therefore the lOth West Yorkshires secured this
hill
and dug posts
along a sunken road east of it: it
will
be seen later what happened
to these posts.
IS / 17TH
Meanwhile the 15th/ 17th West Yorkshires (of the 31st Division)
BATTALION.
had been heavily engaged with the enemy. On the night of 25th
March the battalion had withdrawn from its position near Judas
2 6TH MARCH.
Farm (near St. Leger) to the Boyelles-Ervillers road. On the 26th
a further withdrawal took place to the Cemetery at Hamelincourt,
though the position was swept by heavy artillery and machine-gun
fire, causing many casualties.
It
is here that a very gallant action
won for the 15th/ 17th Battalion the third Victoria Cross gained by
the West Yorkshire Regiment in the War. The story
is
as follows :
London Gazette,
dated 7th June, 1918: No. I9/ II Sergeant Albert
Mountain, West Yorkshire Regiment (Leeds). "For most con–
spicuous bravery and devotion to duty during an enemy attack,
when his company was in an exposed position on a sunken road,
having hastily dug themselves
in.
Owing to the intense artillery fire,
they were obliged to vacate the road and fall back. The enemy in
the meantime was advancing in mass preceded by an advanced
patrol about 100 strong. The situation was critical, and volunteers
for a counter-attack were called for. Sergeant Mountain immediately
stepped forward, and his party of ten men followed him. He then
advanced on the
flank
with a Lewis gun and brought enfilade fire
to bear on the enemy patrol, killing about 100. In the meantime
the remainder of the company made a frontal attack, and the entire
enemy patrol were cut up and thirty prisoners taken. At this time
the enemy main body appeared and the men, who were numerically
many times weaker than the enemy, began to waver. Sergeant
Mountain rallied and organised his party and formed a defensive
position from which to cover the retirement of the rest of the com–
pany and the prisoners . With this party of one non-commissioned
officer and four men he successfully held at bay 600 of the enemy for