11th EAST LANCASHIRE REGT.
The assembly trenches for the attack on Serre extended from
MARK COPSE to MATTHEW COPSE inclusive with the 12th Battn York &Lancaster Regt on the left and the 93rd Brigade to the right.
The 13th and 14th Battn York and Lancaster Regt was in support
of the 11th E Lancs Regt and 12th York and Lancs Regt. The
battalion was ordered to go forward in 4 waves accompanied by
details from the 94th Machine Gun Company and the 12th
Battalion KDYLI (Pioneers), the hour for attack being 7.30am.
When the infantry advanced, heavy rifle and machine gun
fire was opened from in front an enfilade from the direction
of the POINT and GOMMECOURT WOOD. A heavy artillery barrage
was also placed on our first line trenches. From
information brought back by wounded it appears that only
a few reached the enemy front line and were able to enter
their trenches owing to the intensity of the machine guns.
[Copse = a group of small trees or shrubs
Battn = battalion
Regt = regiment
Details = groups of troops selected for a particular duty
Enfilade = gunfire directed along the length of a target, such as a column of troops]
The 2nd GORDON HIGHLANDERS after crossing "No
Mans Land" came under a very heavy machine gun and rifle
fire and H. E. shrapnel. The enemy in the front line was
preparing to meet the assaulting columns with bombs, but
so quickly were the 2nd GORDON HIGHLANDERS upon them that
the defence was quite ineffective – bombs being thrown
without withdrawing the pins.
Casualties were now heavy but the line pushed
steadily on, with the exception of the left company which
was most unfortunately held up by uncut wire.
This was the only wire on our front which had not
been thoroughly cut through; every effort had been made
to complete it, but it appeared to present special difficulties
to the Artillery. With this exception the cutting of the
wire was most thorough.
This uncut wire undoubtedly caused many casualties
and greatly delayed the advance.
The 9th DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT had advanced at 7'27 a.m.
in touch with 2nd BORDER REGIMENT, but on reaching our front
line in the vicinity of MANSEL COPSE came under a heavy
artillery and machine gun barrage, and suffered severely.
The first two lines of this battalion advanced in extended
order with the 3rd line in small columns.
The battalion moved on steadily at first, but the
leading companies losing all their officers soon after
entering the hostile trenches, and having to pass over trenches
completely wrecked beyond recognition by shell fire, became
somewhat disorganized and remained in the vicinity of TIRPITZ
Trench and SHRINE ALLEY, collected in small parties, and
engaging the enemy in front of and behind them wherever met.
They undoubtedly did great service in keeping the enemy
engaged, and in clearing the trenches, and sent back many
prisoners. They did not however succeed in getting into
touch with the battalions on their right and left, and
failed to carry out the task of clearing the "dug-outs" in
the wooded bank West of the Railway.