The Great War Part 175, December 22nd 1917

Conquest of the Wytschaete-Messines Ridge 339 b y Staff orders becam every violent. "To hell to staying here !”said one of the Ulsterm en. “To hell with i t !”said another. “We could ado power of good up there.” They rose and their comrades followed and took the German position on the flank lightened the task of the gallant attackers in front and saved many of their lives. Again the English division closed the gaps in its battle-front and carried it unbroken down from the eastern slope of the ridge. On their left they passed another farm against which their flank and the Ulster flank seemed likely to be checked. aBut party went forward with two Lewis guns stormed into the fortified ruins chased the fleeing Germans and made some of them prisoners. This job was not theirs as they knew from their study of the miniature battle field but like other divisions they were only too glad for an excuse to expand. On the right flank there was another fortified farm outside the divisional objective but again a party detached itself stormed into the wrecked building bombed the cellars and apologetically overhanded the captured position to the troops it had cheated out of a fight. It was the Cheshires who again distinguished themselves in the side-shows on the German W arneton Inline. the silence that followed the end of this phase of the operations an officer of the Cheshires saw a body of Germans trying to escape from On the German Despagne Farm well out in that part Warneton line of the en em ys territory upon which the British barrage was next to play. Some German m achine-gunners were rearguarding the flight of their main body and spraying bullets at three Cheshire men who were reconnoitring. The officer went forward with supports and took the strong point with the bayonet. Then he remembered something and looked at his watch. The dash on the farm had been too late and too premature. It was only a few seconds to the time fixed for the new British barrage. It was too late to try to get back and the infantry attack itself had been premature. The Cheshires knew what their barrage-w as like and reckoned they were under sentence of death. Each of them dived into a shell-hole scratched himself as much as possible into the shelving side and there alike worm under a plough endured the storm of flying steel and liigh explosive. B y happy chance the barrage swept over them quickly, and only tw omen were hurt. Others were somewhat shell-shocked. Men of weaker fibre would then have been well content with what they had achieved. Not so the Cheshires. They followed their A valley o l barrage into the next German defences death and killed part of the garrison and took many prisoners before they dug themselves in on the extreme line of advance in preparation for the en em ys reaction. They were ready for.the foe when he came. Four German battalions debouched' from the gully of B law epoortbeek, that opened in front of D espagne Farm. The Cheshires held back their fire until the German column was at short range. Then with musketry volleys and streams of bullets from machine -guns they shot down the Germans in hundreds and so turned the little ravine into a valley o f death that very few of the enemy were able to escape. The hostile counter-attack had been so quickly organised' and launched that there was no time to warn the British artillery. All the infantry of the Second Army however, had been strictly maintained b y Sir Herbert Plum erin the old and glorious tradition of rapid deadly musketry fire. The hand-bom band the bayonet were rightly regarded as secondary weapons and like the Australians at Lagnicourt,, the Cheshires once more proved that the Lee-Enfield with a hundred rounds for firing a t the fastest speed was still the master instrument of the British soldier. Many fine acts were performed b they other English troops of the division, and in spite of hard fighting at different points their casualties were not distressing. Staff work and general organisation were perfect. The men made good their distant final line of victory exactly HIGHLANDERS STORMING A BRICKW ORKS THAT STEMMED AN ADVANCE NEAR YPRES. During the offensive near Ypres the Highlanders were confronted by a artillery who bombarded the works sending the bricks flying amid clouds ruined brick factory heavily armed with machine-guns which was of red dust and silencing some of the machine-guns. The Highlanders up¦holding the advance. A message was got through to the heavy then advanced and carried the position with magnificent dash.
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