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32nd Batt Royal Fusiliers 22/9/17


wulsten
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Wulsten

From H. C. O'Neill's "The Royal Fusiliers in the Great War"

September 20th

"Below the Ypres-Menin road the 26th and 32nd Battalions were engaged, their object being the Tower Hamlets spur. The 26th were on the left and the 32nd on the right of the brigade front, both battalions being in support, with their front on the road running north from the west of Lower Star Post. The approach was characteristic of the time and place. The 26th had to step of the duckboard track to allow the 32nd to get in front. This meant stepping into the mud which clung to several of the men so tightly that they found very great difficulty in getting out again. At zero both battalions moved forward so close to the barrage that the German barrage fell behind them. The 26th ran into heavy machine-gun fire almost at once; but for the first 200 yards the 32nd found no opposition until the fire from the left checked them. Lying out in shell-holes the Germans inflicted heavy casualties on the right of the 26th and the left of the 32nd.

At this point the majority of the officers of the 32nd had become casualties. The front assaulting battalion had been almost wiped out. But A Company, under Second Lieutenant Christie, and B under the C.S.M., pushed right and left, respectively, and the advance was enabled to resume progress. Through the check, the advantage of the barrage had been lost, but the enemy now put up little opposition. Small parties of Germans began to come forward with white flags, and the Fusiliers thus encouraged, made another spurt forward. By 9.0 a.m. the two first objectives had been captured. The 32nd had now lost more than half its strength, and no further progress could be made against the fierce and sustained machine-gun fire."

Regards

Steve

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Hi SteveE,

May I join in re. the 32nd. Bat.RF, they were in action the first week in August 5/8th around Kleine Zillebeke, might I ask if you have any info on this action.?

Thanks.

Colin

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Colin

I'm pretty sure I saw that action mentioned when I was looking through the book last night, I'll have a look for you tonight.

Regards

Steve

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Guys

From H. C. O'Neill's "The Royal Fusiliers in the Great War"

August 5th

"The 32nd, who had moved up to the front near Klein Zillebeke, had a strange experience on August 5th. The Germans had delivered counter-attacks on various parts of the front, and on that day the blow fell to the left of the battalion front. At 4.10 a.m. the enemy barrage lifted and the Germans advanced under cover of fog and smoke bombs. Only half the front was involved; and there the attack was held up by rifle and machine-gun fire. But the Germans broke through the right flank of the battalion further north and a party of them got to the rear of the 32nd Royal Fusiliers. At midday it was ascertained that the enemy were holding 100 yards of Jehovah Trench, which was sited in a strip of wood lying north of Klein Zillebeke road and some 500 yards east of the village. This situation was cleared up by the bold and decisive action of Major Robinson, Captain H. L. Kirby and Second Lieutenant G. W. Murrell, and when the battalion moved back on relief, the next day, the position was restored. Major Robinson led a few men against the German detachment who had got behind the centre post in the forward zone and succeeded in killing part of them and dispersing the rest."

Regards

Steve

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Many thanks Steve, very interesting. By the way Pte. Graves did receive the MM, it is now held by the Royal Fusiliers along with the letter.

Thanks again.

Colin.

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