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SUPERB VALOR OF THE BRITISH

MAXIMS VERSUS ARTILLERY. Trace "of death. It it probable that the stories of many of the wonderful feats performed early in September—tales of marvellous courage and superb heroism—ou the part of tlio British Expeditionary Force will never bo adequately told, but nevertheless they will be handed down from father to son in those French villages where Sir John French's command battled for the salvation of France and obviously for tho liberties of all Europe. Perhaps, after all. tho best way to tell some of these stories is to tell them in tho language of soldiers who took part in these affairs, many of whom aro now lying wounded over hero waiting to bo transported to England. Most of the regiments that have been engaged will bo able at the end of this war to embroider tho names of many history-making battlefields on their banners, but hardly any of them, no matter how long the duration of tho campaign, will be able to hand down in their regimental messes such a story as the officers and jnen of tho 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) will bn able to hold up to recruits as an example of what will be expected of them should they ever find themselves in the field. “ I don't quite remember the date," said tho wounded private who told the story, " because wo have not hud time to think of dates or count of days lately, but It was over a week ago, and we wore somewhere in tho neighborhood of Saint Quentin. We had been fighting all day, and had picketed and watered our horses late at night. We thought we had seen the last of the Gormans, at least for a while, but at 5.45 a.m. tho colonel suddenly gave orders to saddle up. We sprang to our horses, but at that moment shells began to burst over us, and the horses stampeded. The enemy's sharpshooters were already in position, and while we were capturing tho horses, shrapnel, canister, and mitrailleuse shot were just making tho air sing and scream about us. “ The German artillery fire grew in intensity, and wo began to wait anxiously for our own R.F.A. battery to get in position, but we found we should have to wait some little time, because at the moment, the Germans opened fire our artillery drivers were watering their horses. Well, something had to be done. So we got out our maxims, and, in spite of the withering fire, our boys quickly got busy. It would have done you good to see how calmly and quietly they went about their work; when for a few seconds (ho German shells were not screaming around ti» you could hear the orders of our officers as they were getting the range. Our men who were working the guns knew they bad only one thing to do, and that was to hold ou until the artillery came up; in other words, their job was to save tho regiment from annihilation! Well, in a few minutes they wore sending thousands of shots amongst the Germans, and shortly afterwards our artillery arrive;!. "The R.F.A. had four guns against the Germans’ 11, bfn it was not long before they had silence! many of t.ho enemy’s weapons. Our gunners showed extraordinary courage. Between the artillery and Queen’s Bays you can bet the Germans did not have much of a chance, and it was not long before the Bays wore itching to try a charge. We did not have long to wait, and almost before we expected it tho bugle sounded. Off we went ’hell for leather y at tho guns, and the net result of that, little engagement was that wo captured 11 Krupp guns and took many prisoner#.’’ —Thrilling Talc of the Engineers.— Unfortunately my informant and a gunner of the Royal Field Artillery were left wounded on the field and wore made prisoners by the Germans. The two lived for five days on bread and water, which was all the Germans would give them; but on the fifth day French cavalry rescued them and took prisoners the German troops w ho were guarding them. The Britishers were taken by (be French to Pcronnc, where their wounds were attended to. Gaston Bossier, private in the 6th Cuirassiers, known in civil life as Darino, lyrical artist of tho Comcdic Francaisc. and favorite of the Parisian ladies*, tolls mo the following story, which for splendid heroism seems to nfford a parallel to tho blowing up of the Delhi Gate during the Indian Mutiny. Bossier is lying wounded in Normandy. When be tclls'bis story, in the true Gallic fashion he tries to get up and illustrate it. by gestures, and he generally falls back on Ids bed with a groan. Wo were together, tho Cuirassiers of Franco and tho Royal Engineers of Great Britain, and we had retreated across the Aisne at Sotssons. The Germans were, advancing rapidly, and were trying to rush I heir masses across tho bridge after ns. 'Pile bridge had to be blown up. Gorman sharpshooters were firing at us from a clump of irces*. and their mitrailleuses were working havoc among the Allies. The whole- place tvas an inferno of mitrailleuse and rifle fire. Into this • Gate of Hell ’ your Royal Engineers suddenly went. A party of them dashed towards the bridge, and. although losing heavily, managed to lay a charge sufficient to destroy it. But before they could light the. fuse, they were all killed. Then Vo waited. Another body of these brave fellows had crept, near the bridge and liad taken cover, but the German sharpshooters bad somehow got the range, ami were pouring in a deadly fire upon them. Tn the next few minutes we. Frenchmen saw something which we will remember to our dying day. One of (lm Engineers made a rush nlono towards the fuse. He was killed before ho got halfway, but immediately ho was down allot her man dashed up, and ran on until he. mo. fell dead almost over tho body of his comrade. A (hint, a. fourth, a fifth attempted to iiui ilie gauntlet of (he German ride five, and nil of them met their deaths in ihe same way. Others dashed on) after (hem one by one until tho death roll numbered 11. Then for an instant the. German rifle fire slackened, and in that instant. Iho bridge, was blown up, for the twelfth man, racing across the space where the dead bodies of his comrades lay, lit the fuse and sent the bridge up wiih a roar as a. German rifleman brought him down dead. —Fiondi-h German .Soldiery.— Bossier was a prisoner among the Germans for some iimo, but was rescued by the English. He told me an astounding tale of German atrocities, of women lying dead along the route of the Gentian advance with their breasts cut off and the bodies of their children by them, killed by ilinisls from bayonet or lance, and of worse things which T prefer not to repeat hero, though I am convinced that Bossier was speaking what ho at least believed to bo true. Ho is able to speak at. first hand of the way in which (he Germans treat their wounded enemies, for, although ho himself was wounded by a shell, his hands were tied behind his back, and he was dragged along on his knees while German Lancers thrust their lauccs into his back and passing drivers lashed him with their whips. He was thrown into a cellar near N . and was almost starved. When he heard firing in- the streets and in tho house above hinn after a. while there came to his ears the sounds of voices speaking in English. and English soldiers responded to his cries of “An seconrs.” —Alfred J. Korltc.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141123.2.76

Bibliographic details

SUPERB VALOR OF THE BRITISH, Evening Star, Issue 15657, 23 November 1914

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1,309

SUPERB VALOR OF THE BRITISH Evening Star, Issue 15657, 23 November 1914

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