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FUNERAL UNDER FIRE

BRITISH GENERAL'S BURIAL. On October 14 the British general. Sir Hubert Hamilton, commanding the Third Division, was killed while inspecting his lines. He was buried on the field of battle close to where he met his death, although his family afterwards had his body taken back to England, where he was given an imposing military funeral. A French officer attached to the British staff supplied the Paris ‘ Figaro ’ with the following graphic account of the battlefield burial: —■ At dead of night and in the most profound darkness, a feu- groups of men were assembled near the entrance to the litt'e village of' L . There were the staff of the Third British Division, several of the headquarters staff of the Second Army Corps, led by General Smith-Dorrien ;n person, many French officers, and—taking advantage of tho short respite between two of the enemy’s attacks—some soldiers, whose badges were indistinguishable in the intense gloom. Not a light was shown one could not afford to give hints to the all too close enemy !

At this -hour and in this desolated village. all are come to do honor to a brave soldier, gloriously fallen in the common cause. ’lt was morning when Majorgeneral Sir Hubert Hamilton, commanding the Third Division, was riding along inspecting the ground occupied by his troops, when suddenly the German shralane! burst ahead of him. One. shot, only one, reached the general. But, alas! it struck him full in the face and stretched him dead instantly. Not until nightfall was it possible to think of sending an ambulance up to fetch the body. Then it was taken back to L— , where was celebrated in grand simplicity the moving ceremony of a soldier's funeral.

In darkness the procession is formed, and slowly passes down the village street. To right and left one defines, rather than distinguishes, a double row of soldiers, all under arms, all in readiness for the next attack. We enter the little cemetery near that church whose roof has been gutted, whose altar destroyed by the enemy’s shells. Close to this ruined edifice a grave has been dug, and it is there that the mortal remains of the chief are laid. And now just at the moment when the clergyman commences that last sad prayer of all, one hoars first one, then two, then a hundred shots, near by. There is the deafening crash of a violent fusillade ; the bullets whistle overhead, and all around we hear the banging of the pompoms and the x-attle of the mitrailleuses. Needless to say, it is another German attack, this time only a few hundred metres away, which our brave troops are repulsing with their usual valor. Heaven has ruled that the enemy should choose this very minute to make yet another onslaught upon our soldiers, and thus our salute of honor over our leader’s grave lias become at the same time a salute of revenge. The noise of the fusillade continues, now nearer, now farther, but above the din of battle one hears the calm, distinct voice of the clergyman, as, standing in the gloomy shadows, he brings the melancholy service to its impressive conclusion.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19150116.2.10

Bibliographic details

FUNERAL UNDER FIRE, Issue 15702, 16 January 1915

Word Count
528

FUNERAL UNDER FIRE Issue 15702, 16 January 1915

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