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

Friday, September 5, 2014

1914 September 1 - 6

[We] marched at 5:30 a.m. and [it was a] long march to MAROLLE Bridge. [We passed] COMPIEGNE [and found out later that] about a mile in our rear was attacked at dawn, L Battery H [indecipherable] getting knocked out. We moved just in time, but did not know how near we were to be out up, until later.
[Arrived] at 6:30 p.m. and I went to sleep by my saddle, [later] we were aroused by alarm at 11:30 p.m.

[We were asked] to move, for [the] Engineers were waiting to blow up the bridge. We got across, just in time and up went the bridge.

[The] German Cavalry were very close, [so] we marched through the night and halted on the roadside about 3:00 a.m. In less than a minute I was sound asleep on a friendly heap of stones.

Up again, marching again, how I longed for a sleep —anywhere. Continued retirement reached MEAUX at 5:30 a.m.

September 2nd

Marched via VARREDDES, GERMINGNY[1], and bivouacked near JOUARRE, [it was a] long and weary march - very hot.

September 3rd

Halted nearly all day east of SAMMERON [where] the rear guard was slightly engaged – weather hot.

September 4th

Marched to COULOMMIERS, [and] bivouacked early.  [I was able to] washed my underclothing. [i]

[I] thought we were going to have a day’s rest, but had to move quickly in the morning, and take up position SW of COULOMMIERS. We dug in and remained in action all night, leaving position at dawn; marched with Division to ROZNY

September 5th

In position at ROZNY, [but] no contact with enemy. 

We hear that the retreat is over, with the French we are to advance, how glad we were - anything but that continual marching

September 6th

We were advancing, occupied a position east of [the town] of VOINSLES [so that we could] cover advance of [the] 3rd and 5th Cavalry Brigades. [We] moved forward and occupied [the] line [between] Le PLESSIS, and ANDNOY. 

I dismounted behind the house and went inside, there I first saw house sacked by the Germans, [and] everything was destroyed. Outside I saw one of the Coldstream guards, killed by shrapnel, poor chap.

I thought then, I wondered if this means the breaking of a woman’s heart, or had he little children. It was my first close contact with a dead man, and it set me thinking. My thoughts were all with my dear ones at home. I shall always remember that hour, my real first initiation into the horrors of war. I cannot say I was afraid, it all seemed so strange, but we were advancing that was our cry we’ve got’em on the run, and we are going to have our own back. – bivouacked south of VOUDNOY.

[1] Perhaps is now known as Germingny-sous-Coulombs
[2] Perhaps renamed Rosnay-sous-Bois

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