Junction of 149 Bde & the KOSB on the morning of 12th April.
The water filled ditches on the left hand side of the road would have probably been used for cover. Extremely uncomfortable indeed.
My research leads me to believe that my Great Uncle, Private John Bates Pyle of 1/4th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers, was wounded near to this place on the morning of 12th April 1918. Whilst falling back as part of 149 Brigade, he sustained three bullet wounds to the leg, hand and head, most likely from an enemy machine gun operating close by. He was stranded in No Man’s Land for several hours before being rescued by an unknown Irish soldier. I have a theory that he was rescued by a soldier assisting Captain Pryce and his company of Grenadier Guards in their counter-attack towards Genet Corner and their subsequent attempt to hold the British forward line [as it is marked on the Trench Map and shown here in the photograph]. No.3 Company of 2nd Battalion Irish Guards had been assigned to the Grenadiers for this purpose. The War Diary of the 5th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers records that remnants of this Fusilier Battalion also moved forward with the Guards Brigade to re-occupy the positions from which they had been compelled to withdraw earlier that morning. It should be mentioned that 149 Brigade had already been fighting a bloody rearguard for some 20 hours before those Fusiliers joined in the counter-attack. These amalgamated troops held the forward line until forced to withdraw in the face of renewed German bombardment in the mid-afternoon. This Irish soldier, whoever he might be and to whomsoever he belonged, most likely found my Great Uncle lying in “knee-deep young corn” near the smashed up remains of the hamlets between Genet Corner and Pont Rondin. He then carried him back towards the Guards Brigade Lines and undoubtedly saved his life. My Great Uncle was then taken to an Aid Post that he described as being later “set on fire” by the Germans. This must be the Aid Post that was operating in Vieux Berquin on the afternoon of 12th April, and which features on this photographic tour. He was one of the “sitting cases” referred to in the archive material, so-called because he had been tied to a chair to prevent him falling over. He was evacuated from the area tied to a gun limber and survived the War. Any further information on this episode would be much appreciated, if Nick Powley would be willing to act as moderator and to forward comments to me. I thank him in advance.
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