James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Noel is injured

The retreat had been so rapid that the men now found themselves in a region that until very recently had been well behind the front line. The acting CO described (To The Last Man, p 330-331) how this improved their diet: "During our stay in this bit of the line we had certain unusual luxuries such as rabbits (out of hutches), pigeons (shot off roofs) and chickens – all of which might have starved or been killed by shellfire had we not have saved them! Champagne also was greatly enjoyed (the bottles would certainly have been broken). A certain amount of drinkable red wine and a good supply of vegetables of all kinds were also available."

In April the Brigade moved to La Neuville. It was very hot and they then had a long and tiring route-march to Herissart, thence on to reconnoitre the front line north of Albert and undertake operations around Arras. They found themselves pinned down by a series of enemy machine gun posts and an attack under darkness was planned. At 4.30 a.m. on 20 April 1918 the Regimental diary reports: "A small attack by a party of 25 men under 2/ Lt. W.N.D. Tyson was undertaken with a view to taking and holding an enemy post known to the Battalion as “Lone Tree”. This post had been causing a good deal of trouble by machine gun fire. After a Stokes and rifle grenade bombardment for two minutes, the party set out but unfortunately failed to reach the objective owing to the heavy emplade machine gun fire in the course of which 2 Lt Tyson was wounded, 4 ORs killed and 14 ORs wounded. One enemy post was captured and the garrison killed but as daylight came enemy machine guns and snipers caused heavy casualties. It was too light to work and the post had to be evacuated. A large number of the enemy were killed during this operation. Our stretcher-bearers did splendid work but the enemy fired on them and inflicted severe casualties. All our wounded were eventually got back and evacuated." In fact Noel had been wounded in the head and was fortunate, along with the other casualties, to have been saved by the courage of the stretcher-bearers operating under fire. A telegram was sent to Mary informing her of Noel’s injury.