Battle of Lys, 15th April 1918
“A more serious attack, in which the 4th Division upon our right was intended to co-operate, was made by B Company at 7.30 p.m. on April 15 against the same cottages, which formed part of the hamlet called La Pierre au Beurre. Our bombardment in support of this attack was almost due to start, when an urgent message from the line announced that large forces of the enemy were massing opposite our front. To have called for S.O.S. fire by the artillery would totally have upset the programme of attack, and one could only hope that our zero would be the earlier. Luck was in our favour. Whatever else happened that night, it is certain that the enemy received a severe shelling from our guns.
The attack, carried out by B Company under Stanley, with D in support, was quite successful in its plan but not in its result. From a cause such as every series of complicated operations in open warfare threatened to introduce, the troops of the 4th Division on our right failed to co-operate as we expected. O’Meara, whom Stanley had placed in charge of his leading troops, after securing the cottages named as his objective, found himself attacked by the enemy from the very direction whence he had counted on assistance. After
ineffectual attempts by our ‘liaison’ officer, Kirk, to get our neighbours to do their share, B Company had to be withdrawn to their original position. The 4th Division at this time were the flank division of one corps while we were of another. To reach the Battalion acting on our right a notice of our plan had to climb up through our Brigade, Division, and Corps to Army and down again as many steps the other side. A staff officer from Army or from Corps should have been on the spot. Coucher and Kemp, two capital officers, were killed during the evening when this attack took place. Our other casualties were Killed, 2;
Wounded, 18; Missing, 1.”
Killed in Action:
Second Lieutenant Sydney Frank Kemp, MC, age 34.
Lance Corporal Thomas Bishop, 267413, age 36.
From the War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire
Monday 15th April 1918, France, Robecq
Nothing unusual occurred during the day. There was the usual shelling.At 7.30pm the 2/4th Bn OXF and BUCKS LI and the LEFT BATTALION of the 4th Div attacked on our RIGHT. They captured their objectives and consolidated a line from BAQUEROLLES FARM. to Q.20.c.9.6. and thence to Q.26.Central. However, a message from the 184th INF BDE at 12.1am (16/4/18), reported that they had been driven out and were back on their original line. During the day 1 man was wounded and 2 were reported missing.