Captain Fearenside, “Under Fire”
(Best read in conjunction with the 17th
Battalion’s account of the
On the 30th July, as the 17th
Battalion took part in the assault on the
OC “Kitty” (The Battalion nickname)
“Lt Miller killed, 2Lt Owen rather gassed. 2Lt Holt does not appear to have turned up yet, but almost all of the Company is present in so far as can be ascertained. I cannot check them owing to the heavy shelling. We lost touch a good deal on the way up. Numbers of gas shells are coming over. Can you get a stretcher up for Lt Owen ?. I cannot get hold of mine”.
By 1.10 am, the situation had worsened.
“Confirming my E F(?) . Miller killed, Owen gassed, Holt (with 1 section) still missing. Stretcher badly needed for Owen. I don’t know where any bearers are. Have been along trench to some extent- it takes time and morale of Men is very fair, but the continued stream of gas and other shells is having a rather weakening effect”
“Lt Holt has reported with about 30 Men who are mixed, with B and some of D (Companies). Will reorganise as soon as it is light”.
“ Have advanced to certain trenches which appear to me too much south and too little east of Trones. Reconnaissance forward has so far produced no others. Will try again. These are very shallow. Owing to mist, orientation is very difficult. I seem to be 100 yds due south of Trones. No knowledge of happenings in front”.
“Situation both on right and left in Guillemont
obscure. Appears to be some withdrawal on right at present.
Cannot advance northward owing to enfiladed rifle and machine
gun fire from quarry, which should be shelled. Have my Men, at present
in Park Lane (SW), but it is not a good place. No room in the trenches, now