This Day In History

1918 Battle of the Selle. In a carefully-planned attack, rehearsed over 5 days, 5th East Lancashires mount a remarkably successful night assault near Briastre. They move off at 2 a.m., in a heavy downpour which lasted throughout the engagement, to the sound of the Regimental March being played by the battalion band. Met by heavy machine-gun fire and an artillery barrage which causes 50 casualties, they charge through with a yell and are on their final objective well before the 7 a.m. deadline set, taking 300 prisoners in the process. Casualties are 2 officers and 13 men dead, and 6 officers and 109 men wounded. Some 22 German dead were counted on the battalion front. Study of the ground the next day shows that the battalion had gone through no fewer than 6 defensive belts, including a very strongly-held railway embankment, before reaching its final objective. The 300 prisoners were ‘of far better physique and appearance’ than any of the enemy previously encountered, and turn out to be picked troops. They said that they were members of Kaiser Wilhelm’ bodyguard; that they had never before known defeat; and that they had been sent to hold the line at all costs.
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Chapter 12 – SOLDIERS OF THE QUEEN 1856-81

China. In 1857 the 59th were awarded the battle honour Canton for their part in the capture of the city by an international force. As the 59th were the only British Regiment to take part, this honour is unique in the British Army.

 The Indian Mutiny. The 81st were already in India and the 82nd, en route to China, were diverted there when the Mutiny broke out in 1857. The 81st disarmed the mutineers around Lahore, where their presence did much to keep the Punjab loyal, while the 82nd saw considerable fighting at Lucknow, Cawnpore, Shahjehanpore and elsewhere. The 81st saw further active service in 1858 on the North West Frontier.

 The Maori Wars. The 40th took part in many engagements with the Maoris in New Zealand between 1860 and 1866, in one of which Colour Sergeant Lucas earned the Victoria Cross.

 The Fenian Raid. In 1866 the 30th and 47th were in Canada when they were called onto repel an Irish “invasion” across the American frontier.

 2nd Afghan War, The 59th and 81st took part in this campaign. The 81st were in action at Ali Masjid, 1878, while in 1880 the 59th took part in the fierce battle of Ahmad Khel. Captain Sartorius of the 59th was awarded the Victoria Cross

Chapter 11 | Chapter 13