Battle of the Lys (Hazebrouck)
By noon on the 12th, the situation had deteriorated still further as a result of confusion over where 92nd Brigade should make a stand; the 11th East Yorkshires - expected to extend the brigade line to the left along the Rau du Leet - continued to fall back as far as Merris where they eventually joined a composite battalion formed from brigade details. The yawning gap left between 92nd and 93rd Brigades made the line of the Rau du Leet completely untenable. As 93rd Brigade pulled back to the railway line east of Outtersteene, the 10th East Yorkshires swung around their left to face east. Orders received by the composite battalion of 92nd Brigade at 1.15pm to fill in the line along the railway between the left flank of the 10th East Yorkshires and 93rd Brigade were soon countermanded as it became clear that the enemy were already across the railway and in possession of Outtersteene. As machine gun fire swept over their exposed position along the railway line, the remnants of 93rd Brigade were now in danger of being enveloped from the right and were compelled to withdraw northwards.
Above left: 31542 Pte. Charles Edwin Nutt M.M., in the uniform of the Cheshire Regiment with which he had served previously. Charles was killed in action on 17th May 1918 and lies buried in Caestre Military Cemetery; Above right: The citation for the award of the Military Medal to Charles Nutt; the date on the citation should read 12th April 1918. [Transcript] Images courtesy of Charles' great-niece, Christine Rawson and her daughter, Pennie Cowley.
The brigade front was extended north of the railway by the 10th East Yorkshires and by the composite battalion, which by now was dug in west of Merris.
By 7pm the new line had been established, with forward posts held on the east edge of Celery Copse (Bois de Merris) by the East Lancashires and to the east of Merris by a company of a composite battalion formed from 93rd Brigade. The exhausted battalions took advantage of a relatively quiet night to strengthen their positions.