The date is August 1914. The British Expeditionary Force is in France and You're in the Royal Field Artillery. You're riding alongside one of the battery's gun limbers on its way to the assigned position on the east side of Mons, Belgium. This begins your journey into the Hell they called World War One. To purchase this historical memoir go to https://createspace.com/3649268

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

99 years ago today

Marched at 6 am, at head of [the] main Body, and was soon in the thick of the fight [that afterwards would be] known as the Battle of the Marne.

We dropped into action in the open, my chum and I deciding to run our telephone wire, over a small ridge from our observing party to the Battery. [Doing so], a French Cavalryman galloped past me with blood running from himself and [his] horse.
I laid out my wire quickly to the guns, and as I was about to connect my instrument, [when] I heard a loud whining sound, [followed by] a horrific explosion, It was our christening of heavy artillery fire. [The bombardment continued] for two continual hours, it was Hell.
I crouched beneath a gun limber, and thought each moment was my last. I was like a jelly man, and must confess my nerves were for the time gone. I wanted to run anywhere, and it was only by the greatest effort of will power, I stood to my work and yelled out the orders to the Battery Leader, for the firing of the guns.
The Northampton and Sussex Regiments retired right through our guns, and drew the enemy’s fire on to us. Their retirement developed into a hopeless rabble and panic, our CRA Gen Finley and Colonel Sharpe with a few more Artillery Officers tried to stop them, and urge them to go forward, but it was no use.
While trying to stop them the genl[sic] was killed and two officers wounded, and both regiments lost very heavily. Nothing was between us and the enemy. The infantry in their mad rush broke my telephone wire [and] I thought my chum at the other end had got knocked over, he thought the same of me. So the Battery for a few moments was out of action, but the orders were passed down by Semaphore by two more chums, and we set out to mend our wire.
[In the] mean time the 60th Rifles advanced where the Northampton’s and Sussex retired, and the enemy continued their retreat, how thankful we [were].

No comments: