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WAR NOTES, Issue 15677, 16 December 1914
[By Ex-Yeomax.] [WBITTENf FOR THE ' STA.B.'] LONDON, October 30. —The Right Spirit.— Of the many brave stories regarding plucky conduct at the front, few better illustrate the spirit animating the British soldiery than the following, related by a correspondent of the 'Daily Telegraph': Three officers and 160 men of tho Northamptonshire Regiment were holding a trench during the lengthy battle of the Aime, the opposing German trench (about 2Eoyds distant) being manned by nearly 500 man. After fivo days of this the Germans put up their rifles as a sign of surrender, and an officer, a sergeant, and a private approached the English trench. The English party had been reduced to a jun'-or Mibalteru and 17 men, and the former stepped forward and said "You are my prisoner." The German officer evidently changed his mind about surrendering when he saw the few English, and ha answered "No, you are my prisoner." At the same time he signalled, to his men to advance, whereon the English subaltern shot the German officer and the sergeant with, his revolver. The G«rman private closed with hint, and they had a regular rough-and-tumble scrap, until the English officer was knocked out by a rifle bullet. Meanwhile the advancing Germans had tired on the men in the English trenches, but the;- paid dearly for it, as the machine gun section of tho Queens Regiment, who had witnessed the incident, promptly took a hand. Of the, 400 Germans, only 100 were left when it was over, and they surrendered to a party of the Coldstream Guards. —Joking Under Fire.— The coolness of many soldiers under fire is really astonishing, and there are no end of stories of our soldiers shaving, reading, writing, and playing cards under a hot fire from close range. Practical joker:, must also keep up their reputation, war or not. The jokes are not confined to the British, and a young French officer has been relating somo quaint incidents which came under his personal observation. At tho particular point of the Aisne hattla front where he was stationed, thc< opposing trenches were less than 50yds away, and tha exchange of pleasantries was frequent. On one occasion the Germans drove a horse into thei French lines, and they had tied a big placard round the. animal's neck which read: " Antwerp is taken and the Russians are heaten." Later on they sent .a goat as a messenger, the placard reading "Well, messieurs, how are you?" The goat evidently preferred the French lines, for all efforts to coax him back failed.
—The Boy Scouts.— In tbe great struggle the Empire is now engaged in the Boy Scouts are bearing » noble part. Their'most valuable, work is being performed as watchers on the sea coast, upwards of 1,500 being engaged in this. They patrol by day and. night and in all weathers, their mission being to report, any suspicious happening to the nearest coastguard or other station. The boys glory in being able to render assistance, and there are no end of ways they show their value. Not the lea.st is by acting as guides to the Belgian refugees, and tho Boy Scouts are to bo seen on duty at tho stations and ports where the homeless Belgians arrive, and also at the big concentration centres. The refugees much appreciate tho kindness of the Scouts, and try to show it even when the language difficulty crops up. Tho writer saw an instance of this a few days ago. A Boy Scout had piloted a party'of Belgian men, women, and children from tho Central London Schools (near Hanwell), where they are quartered, to the nearest railway station. and put them safely in their proper train. Though unable to speak each other's language, there was no mistaking how pleased the refugees were, as they testified by smiles and the waving of little flags whilst the train drew out. Meanwhile the Boy Scout stood at the salute, and seemed pleased to be of some use. The chief defender of Mafeking builded better than ho knew when he started the Boy Scout movement, and the organisation will play a great part in the future development of the British race. —Women in tho Trenches.— During the week the writer has had some interesting chats with one of the Rcyal Marines who was in the trenches outside Antwerp when the city was invested by the. Germans. He relates how he relieved a Belgian woman who stood by her husband's side in a trench at Lierre, whilst she relieved him (tho marine) for a spell in the. morning. Other Belgian women wero found in the trenches, and in one instance it was because she came there for shelter. Her cottage close, by was under shell fire, and tho dug-outs in tha trenches offered move safety. The English soldiers contrived to make a protection for her head out of a tin biscuit box, which was good enough to protect her from splinters and pieces of gravel thrown ep by bursting shells. —Loyal to Her Friend.— The devotion 1 of cne old' Belgian woman to another nakes another touching story. The old ladies were about 70 and 80 >*sspectivelv, one being too ill to move. When the British had to fall back the younger of tbe two women would not leave her friend, in spite of the Germans being close at hand. Major Price Brown, of tho Marines, gev« 6b»,ett ladies a few francs, and spoke » few chemsg words. Be. poor man, wcMved. hi> <if&th, wound soon
after. Mention of this kind action is a reminder that the l'.ritish officers inspire their nwii to brave deeds hy kindness and action. Private 'J'. H. Hoskins, of the Marines, who gave tlio writer these particulars, well expressed the general feeling when he remarked : " Our officers are just grand, and we have, such confidence and respect for them that we feel we could stand still and be shot down if they ordered ns to do so." The marine meant that no matter how dangerous a position they might he in, the confidence in their officers was such that they would "stick it." Such KenUiwrits are. good to hear, and are complimentary alike, to officers and men.
WAR NOTES, Issue 15677, 16 December 1914
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