Friday, 17 March 2017

Great Bravery and a Successful Attack

Saturday 17th March 1917 from our correspondent in the field

No one can keep a good unit down for long. After their setback on 15th March the 7th Battalion were spoiling for another go. At 5 am yesterday all companies were warned to be prepared to advance at dawn. Active patrolling then took place to determine any enemy activity.

At 8 am C Company was ordered to advance in four open waves, their objectives being the Bihucourt Line again and finally Achiet-le-Grand and the high ridge beyond. D Company was ordered to support C Company. B Company was ordered to make a flank along the railway line as far as Achiet-le-Grand. A Company was in reserve.

The operation was carried out with the greatest skill and urgency, some machine gun fire was experienced at the commencement. Heavy artillery fire was experienced in entering Achiet-le-Grand from which the Battalion suffered casualties.

The Bihucourt Line was occupied by 10 am. By 2 pm Achiet-le-Grand was occupied and an hour later positions round the northern and eastern sides of Achiet-le-Grand and a strong flank position along the railway on the western side were held. These positions were then consolidated.

Christopher Cox, from the Achiet-le-Grand during WW1 website 

Having finished his good news the adjutant then went on to describe the great bravery of one particular soldier - 13908 Private Christopher Augustus Cox. He is a stretcher bearer and on 15th, when the attack stalled and the men sought shell holes to avoid anihilation, Private Cox, with complete disregard for his own safety, went out over the bullet-swept ground and single-handedly rescued four men - Private Cox has great strength, and brought them in on his back. He then went out again to help the wounded from the adjoining battalion. Yesterday and today he undertook similar rescue missions with the same cool bravery(1).

Source: X550/8/1

(1) Private Cox, from King’s Langley in Hertfordshire was gazetted on 11th May 1917 with the award of the Victoria Cross.

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