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THRILLING STORY

OF FIGHC AGAINST HEAVY ODDS. SUBALTERN'S ADVENTURE. A thrilling incident, or, rather, aeries of incidents, which occurred near Troy on during the prolonged battle of the Aisno is recorded bv the London ‘ Telegraph,’ in which the doggedness, resourcefulness, and cool bravery shown by » detachment of the Northamptonshire Regiment, who played tho central part in the little drama, may be taken as typical of the spirit which prevails amongst the troops at the front. Three officers—one captain and two subalterns—and about 160 men of the regiment had to entrench themselves by the roadside some distance in advance of the main body. In front of this little band was a German entrenchment containing from 400 to 500 men, only a turnip field, something like 250 yds in width, separating the two forces. For five days the British had to remain in their trench, which was knee-deen in water draining in from the road. The men were without their greatcoats, these having been burnt during the retreat from Mens. Sleep was difficult to obtain, nt. apart from the general discomforts end the need lor watchfulness, the trench was shelled at intervals by German guns, situated beyond the enemy's entrenchment. To the rear of the British was a haystack, behind the shelter of which lay some 70 severely-wounded Germans, left there by their countrymen. By crawling on all-fours to this “ hospital ” —where, incidentally, help was given to the wonndod—hay was obtained for the trench, and upon bundles of this, through which the water percolated with annoying persistency, the men- strove to obtain sloep »t fitful intervals. Water and bully beef h*a to be brought up from the rear at night by crawling along the ground, for to show oneself was to invite a shot from thn enemy's trench. In the same way. too, the Gormans dared not make a show above ground, as nicked shots were ever alert on the British side. Ono day the captain showed himself for a moment on the .sky-line from the British trench ; the next he fell dead. On another occasion one of his two subalterns received sever© wounds, to which he ultimately succumbed. This left a subaltern of less than n year's service alone in charge. —Wounded Foes Burned Alive.— One© the haystack sheltering the German wounded was set on fire by a German shell. To go to their wounded foes’ assistance was, owing to heavy fire, out of the question, much as tho English wished to do so. To thsir horror, they could hear the cries of the more dangerously wounded men. who were being burned alive, tbey being unable to crawl away. And to the days passed. Ague made its appearance in the Northampt-anshiro trench, and this, together with men wounded, sadly reduced the numbers of effective combatants. But the true British spirit was not. to be broken. One man, a “ ing a woollen-knitted headgear adorned with turnip leaves, crawled out to different positions on successive nights, and, lying amidst tho growing crop, waited with wonderful patience until a German should show himself. A pull of the trigger. a cry of pain, and there was ono foe the less. At length came the climax. The foe—unaware, of conrse, of the strength of their opponents—pnt up their rifles and arms in token of surrender, and advanced across the field in scattered, formation. The English enhaHcrn left his trench to meet the enemy. A private advanced, but iho eubi.ltrrn demanded that an officer should come forward. The private retired, only to be replaced hr another,private. Again —this time in peremptory tones —came tho request for an officer. A captain then approached, accompanied by a rergeant. and a private. “You are my prisoner/' eaid the English officer. “ No,” replied the German captain, “you are my prisoner!" By this tine the Gorman, officer had been able to obtain a glanoo at the English trencK and it i* I nought that, although th© original intention was to surrender, the German, seeing that the opposing numbers were to few, altered hie mind, and gave a signal to his men on the field. These immediately began to push forward, but the English subaltern, upon bring threatened hv a geriui e from the German •officer, quickly realised the situation, and shot him dead with-his revolver. —Officer'* Rough-and-Tumhle.— He dealt similarly with the sergeant; then the private threw himself into tho fray. A regular rough-and-tumble ensued between the subaltern and the private; shots rang out from the Gentians in the field, and the subaltern lost conaciousne'se. Two shots passed th sough the upper portion of his cap. a third drove the regimental badge of his rap against, hie forehead, stunning him, and a fourth wounded him in the shoulder. At the outect some of the Northamptonshire men. seeing what was afoot, had. left their trench. A number of the Germans had handed over their riflee, and some of the British shook hands with their foe. Following this the Germans pressed forward to the trench, a-nd when on the parapet suddenly opened fire on our men at point-blank range. A meico followed, and of the 400 Germans about 500 were killed, some at the point of the bevenet, and ethen mewed down by mi<Uae gna, II enbseqvMlly transpired that the grn deiaebatejit ef the Queen’s Regiment had besn watering the affair f’om roipe little distance away on one ef the flaaiu, and, realising ths situation, took a. hand in the light. The remaining 100 Germans subsequently surrendered io a detachment of the Coldstream Guards. Of the men of the Northamptonshire Regiment who playt-d so prominent a part hi the five days’ drama there were left at its conclusion hA eight sound men and four wounded who were fit to fight.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141211.2.61

Bibliographic details

THRILLING STORY, Issue 15673, 11 December 1914

Word Count
956

THRILLING STORY Issue 15673, 11 December 1914

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