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AN ALSATIAN HERO, Issue 15667, 4 December 1914
AN ALSATIAN HERO
SUCCORING THE WOUNDED
THE UHLAN'S SALUTI
In a message from Angers Mr Alfred J. Rorke, of the Central News, says: "Lying in the military hospital here, recovering from severe wounds, is the hero of one of the most wonderful stories of solfsacritico, patient suffering, and bravery that this war is likely to produce His rmrao is Jean Berger, private soldier, 2nd Regiment of- Infantry. Ho is a volunteer, is of Alsatian origin, and is only 18 years of age. He himself will say nothing, but the story his comrades tell is the following one :
" During one of the engagements which went to make up the battle of the Marne a day of furious fighting was succeeded by a" relatively calm night. Berger, who had come through the awful ordeal of the day without a scratch, was crossing the battlefield, now covered with dead and wounded men, British, French, and German, when he found his own colonel lying wounded, and started to carry him to the rear.
"As he was doing so a wounded British officer, one of tho Grenadiers, it is saidcalled out that he was thirsty, and Berger shouted back some encouraging words, promising to return to him in a few minutes. He removed his chief to safety, and. procuring some food and a flask of wine. turned back to the field. Bullets from rifles and machine guns were still whistling past him. but he picked his way towards where the British officer lay, and was actually raising the officer's head to give, him some wine when a bullet took away three of his fingers.
"Berger. suffering intense pain as he was. retained his hold, and managed to nut his flask to the Englishman's lips, but lie was almost immediately afterwards struck by a second bullet, which entered his back and came out above the groin. lie fell, groaning, beside him he had -o faithfnllv tended.
"The two lay there, suffering side by side, for some time, when their attention wa-s, attracted by the moans of another man near at hand. He proved to be a German soldier, and was calling feebly for something to drink. Berger and the Englishman both managed to drat: themselves to the side of the prostrate German and to force sonic wine, and water down his throat, but the effort was such that, they both fainted. When they recovered consciousness the German was dead and the night was far advanced. They lay on the sodden field until dawn came, heralded in by the shrieking projectiles which told them the battle had again begun. "Soon ihey saw- the Germans advancing, and a body' of Uhlans rode by. Berger hailed the officer in command, who dismounted, and. with revolver pointed, asked what he wanted. "We want something to drink." was the reply. The German officer at that moment noticed the dead body of his fellow-countryman, with the empty French flask beside it, telling it> own noble tale. He was profoundly moved. lie knelt by the side of the wounded men, gave them with his own hands all they Wanted to drink, and, saluting them both, went back to his own command with that in his eyes to which his tongue could not give expression. " For almost the entire day the two wounded men lay in what was veritably a swamp, while the battle raged round them. As the afternoon wore on they saw the Germans retiring; but. if the position of their comrades in arms was improving, their own was rapidly becoming more grave. The continued exposure was telling, especially upon the Englishman, who showed signs of delirium. Berger realised that something had to be done—and done quickly. " In spite of his own wounds, ho partly dragged, partly pushed, and partly carried his fellow-sufferer towards the Allies' lines. A Red Cross hie found them when they had almost reached their goal. .\s the British officer was placed on a -.trotchcr to he removed to the field hospital he asked to be taken to the young Frenchman's side. •If T live through this.' he said, grasping his hand. 'T wii! do my best to get you the V.C. if ever a man deserved it. vou do.' "
AN ALSATIAN HERO, Issue 15667, 4 December 1914
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