Once more a thick morning mist covered our attack and the first waves, advancing with the barrage at dawn, quickly got possession of Preselles and the Fonsomme Line, killing many Germans and taking large numbers of prisoners.
Mannequin Ridge was on the right flank with Doon Hill at the end of it, held by the enemy, though we could see the Staffordshires holding the ridge. In the foreground was a valley, and on our left another ridge stretching from Preselles to Ramicourt.
The rendezvous this time was Preselles, some two miles away across country. It was a dark night, but with the aid of a compass he found his way there all right and received orders from General Rowley for an immediate move. The Brigade was to relieve a Brigade of the 6th Division in the right British sector next the French; the Battalion would relieve the West Yorks R. in the right sub-sector.
Our Cavalry, having arrived too late in the morning to pass through when the enemy was really disorganized, waited all day in the valley behind Preselles, and after losing several men and horses in the shelling, had once more to withdraw at dusk.
Fortunately, just as we were wondering what on earth to do, two W. Yorks. guides appeared, led us to their Battalion Headquarters, and soon afterwards the Companies disappeared Eastwards. Battalion Headquarters was in a small cellar under an isolated house just outside Sequehart on the Preselles Road.
The following morning the Brigade would move forward into Mericourt which was supposed to have been evacuated by the enemy; we were to be "squeezed out" by the 5th Line. R. and French joining hands across our front, and would come into support. Guides would meet us for the relief at Preselles at midnight, October 8th/9th.
The French would attack on the right, the 32nd Division would be responsible for Sequehart, and the 46th, with Staffordshires on the right and Sherwood Foresters on the left, would sweep over Preselles, Ramicourt and Montbrehain, and make a break for the cavalry and "whippets." Joncourt had already been captured and the left flank was therefore secure.
General Campbell himself rode up to Battalion Headquarters and after explaining the situation, pointed out the importance of holding a little group of trenches on some high ground three-quarters of a mile E. of Preselles.
"C" was the first to reach the "Fonsomme Line," only to find that the line was nowhere more than six inches deep, and, except for its concrete machine gun posts, was only a "big work" when photographed from the air. Captain Banwell accordingly took up his position in a sunken lane running between Sequehart and Preselles.
The Commanding Officer at once hurried back to the Battalion and verbally issued relief orders while the Companies were falling in. In a little more than half an hour all were ready to move, and Companies marched independently to Preselles, where, under cover of the hill side, the Battalion assembled soon after midnight.