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 3 – AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE 1755-83

The 30th, 40th, 47th and the 59th all fought in the American War of Independence. The 47th and 59th were stationed in the colonies at the outbreak of hostilities and took part in the first skirmishes at Lexington and Concord and in the bloody battle of Bunker’s Hill, 1755. The 40th were recalled to North America in 1776 played an active part in the battle of Brooklyn, which led to the capture of New York. In 1777 the 40th were present at the battles of Princeton and Brandywine and the capture of Philadelphia, and particularly distinguished themselves by saving the day at the battle Germantown. Meanwhile the 47th, having relieved Quebec, had the misfortune to be involved in the disastrous Saratoga campaign and the majority were interned for the duration of the war.

 

Britain was now also at war with France. The 40th sailed for the West Indies where they earned the battle honour St Lucia 1778. In 1781 both the 30th and the 40th landed in America. The 30th were engaged at the battle of Eutaw Springs, one the hardest fought actions of the war, while in 1782 the 40th led in the capture of Fort Griswold. But elsewhere the war was drawing to an unsuccessful close and, in 1783, the 40th left New York with the last of the British garrison. Meanwhile, in 1782-83 the 59th took part in the relief of the 3rd siege of Gibraltar.

Chapter 2 | Chapter 4