HEROIC BRITISH GUNNERS.
GUNS WORKED TILL ONLY THK&EJ MEN LEFT. The thrilling deeds of British gunners during tho baitlo of the Marne havo just como to light. U appears that "L" Battery of the Royal liorso Artillery, with oavalry Mipporfs, was ordered to cover retreat of the Allied forces at Corupiegne. For three, weeks tho battery fought unceasingly, and so tired wero the men that they often fell asleep in their Baddies. Their bravery enabled tho foreo they were covering to retire :!?most unmolested, but on tho evo of tho advance tho battery was called upon to niako its great effort. On this day tho L Battery was told to limber up and await orders. Through tho cutting of tho telegraph wires, or from some other cause, the expected order did not reach them, and a thick mist prevented their 1 seeing the retirement of the French cavalry. The order to retire not having arrived, L Battery waited, limbered up, ready to movo at a moment's notice. Just after 5 o'clock the mist, cleared, and they wero suddenly subjected to a terrific enfilade firo from tho ridge, which they had supposed to ba still occupied by tho French. They learned subsequently that after the French cavalry left thai position in, tho early hours or tho morning a strong German force, with 10 field guns and two Maxims, had, under cover cf the mist, advanced and occupied the position. As soon as the mist lifted sufficiently all 12 guns were brought to bear on tho unsuspecting battery 600 yards away. The first volley lulled nearly all the horses of the gun teams. This, of course, made retirement with the guns impossible, and with all speed tho mm of "L" Battery, inspired by their commanding officer, Captain Bradbury, unlimbercd and commenced to reply to the German fire. Owing to their position I hey were only able to bring three of their guns io bear on the enemy, but these were promptly manned by such or' the men as had not. been killed during the first few moments. "With magnificent coolness and courage these three guns replied to the German lire, with such good effect that one by one the German guns were put out of action. The British gunners were, however, so terribly outnumbered, and the- firing of tho Germans was so effective, that in a very short time two of ihe British guns had been silenced, and only one remained to defend the position. By i bis iime very few men of the battery were iii'i. but the "gallant little band worked the nun Eo skilfully that they continued to silence the German 'guns. 'Many of the offl- ■ ■<••;•* and men had been killed or wounded, :in.l .i! !a-i only three men, Driver Osborne, (inline:- Derbyshire, and Sergeant Darrcll, remained 10 servo (lie gun. Although all wounded, these three men, crouching behind lhe shield, kept up a deadly fire, with such efi'cct that evenUKiily «!1 hut one of tho German guns were put out of action. This equal duel went en for a time, until, as one hi the survivors remarked, "we'd bofh had enough of it," and the enemy and the three bravo British gunners ceased fire, almost at the shield of their last gun, the three- heroes wore found by the strong force of cavalry and infantry who <liort.lv afterwards came io their rescue. Of the four officers with the battery, three (Captain Bradbury, Lieutenant, Mundv, and Lieutenant C*.npbell) were killed. whilst. Lieutenant. Qiffard was wounded. The three who were* killed were "pc-eially mentioned in despatches, and the rleeoraiieii of the Legion of Honor has been conferred unon Lieutenant. Giffard. Tho relieving force advanced to the. German ]y>>itJnn. and found that all who bad survived tho British fire had retired, leaving ail their guns in the bands of the. Allies. For their bravery Driver Osborne and Gunner '.Derbyshire ' have hern recommended for the Victoria Cross.
Permanent link to this item
HEROIC BRITISH GUNNERS., Evening Star, Issue 15686, 28 December 1914
HEROIC BRITISH GUNNERS. Evening Star, Issue 15686, 28 December 1914
Using This Item
Allied Press Ltd is the copyright owner for the Evening Star. You can reproduce in-copyright material from this newspaper for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons New Zealand BY-NC-SA licence. This newspaper is not available for commercial use without the consent of Allied Press Ltd. For advice on reproduction of out-of-copyright material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide.