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LETTERS FROM THE FRONT, Issue 15704, 19 January 1915
LETTERS FROM THE FRONT
.Never Oive in. Courage, care of hi-a men, and an absence »i thought tor self were the characteristics of" Captain C'hoa. Campbell JVmlev. of the Royal Warwickshire*, the story ..if whose- death has been told by Private Harper, of the same regiment. Captain Bent ley look splendid care of his men, and was ever so kind to them. He always -.vent well ahead, cheering thorn on. We said he mast.have a charmed "life, for no matter how fierce- tho .firing- was nothing lever harmed him. He did not seem to ! know want fear was, and that, made thorn j all bravo, too. It was at the little vil- ! la3e ——, near Armentieres, where, he i was killed. The Warwick* wore told | this village must be taken at any cost, so four com panics were sent out, and Captain Beulioy's company had to lead. They hr.tl to make a turning movement to gel round the village. Two hundred and" seventy set out to do it. and when they took the place there* were only 20 left—lCo wero killed and ISO wounded. The captain we.s at the head of the 20 when he fell. He was "sniped" in three places. He never seemed to think of his wounds, cud just went on cheering tho men, end almost the last words be said were: "Go on, my men. Keep up the pood v.zrr.e of the Warwick's. Don't give in." They took the village, and they held it against 800 Germans until the Fusiliers came up to help them. They were not i able to take lv.vn straight- to- the doctors ' when he re!/. When he was lying there wounded he gave no thought at all to himself, but only to what the regiment was doiisg. Ho lived for a. few hours after he was wounded. Captain Bent ley. who had gone through the Bner War with the Seots-'Greys (Queens Medal with six King's with two), was present with his regiment during the retreat from Motis on Paris, and thence during the I victorious return to the Belgian frontier, j He left- a wife and three little- children, to whom he was devoted. —"Ladies from Hell." Kow Captain Lord Richard Wellesley, of. the Ist Grenadier Guards, met his death in action is told in a letter from I Lance-corporal G. C. Blakemore, Ist Grenadier Guards, to his parents at Berkeley. Gloucestershire. He writes thus from hospital at Rotten :-- Lord Wellesley and about 20 men of his company (the 3rd) went- off to try to keep the Germans busy on our left, fo as to give us the chance to surround them. When going between some farm buildin.es they suddenly commenced to beat a- retreat, firing as they came, and then wo could see that hordes, of the- enemy were advancing, covered by thick smoke. They fell before our fire, and. of course, we, too, suffered heavily. 'For quite- two hours we had it "as we like it." Then the word came that- those "ladies from hell," as the Germans call the kilted Highlanders., bed come to our assistance.» We gave throe hearty cheers. As soon as the Gordons had lined up with us we heard that our gallant captain had gone down, and it. made us boil with race. I believe that was why we all kept firing- when ordered to retire-. —"Died in Their Arms."— A pathetic story connected with the Ist Life Guards' share in the recent fighting has been written by Private Frank Powell to his heme in Wycombe : Tho air was thick like London fog.,,ami there were weird screams of pieces of flying shells. We had the order to retire with our gun, and under a terrific: stream of lead from the enemy's machine, guns managed to get it away. There were three of us and the corporal-major, and, unfortunately, he suffered from a. weak heart. We retired about a. hundred yards, and thou he. could not- move, and begged to lie down. It was no use, staying there with, him, as it was like hell on earth, so we took it in turns to carry him back, if possible-, out of range. We succeeded for about, a, mile, or so, and shells burst all around us. and ploughed lingo holes in the- ground, but still wo went on untouched. I had the corporal-major on my back, and came to a. ditch., about 4ft deep, filled with water. I was just about fr> lower the major, so as the other fellows could give ino a hand to get- him across, when a. shell burst and cut through my puttee lace, and boot-. Wo struggled on farther, and reached a. wood, where we rested awhile. Hero the corporal-major was. too far gone, and he died in our arms. We covered his face and laid him out, but wo had to leave him. as the fire was too hot. —Tn a, Hot Corner.— Private Harvey, of the Ist Connanght Hangers, pave tribute to the bravery of the enemy. " Tho German snipers are, splendid, and you have only to show a hand, or even a finger, feu- it to bo fired -at. We were using Lee-Mot ford rifles, but through firing so much and so .rapidly , our weapons became jammed, and we could not go on any longer. Of 160 men in our lot we. lost at least 40, and we had to retire. On another occasion the Germans worked their trenches to within 25 yards of us. They threw three bombs into our trench, but fortunately nobody was killed, and then they charged our machine gun. Although, outnumbered, we were able"to hold it, and drove tho enemy back. Wo were in the. trenches for three weeks at a, sti'-teh, and were only able lo obtain our food after dark. There, was a. farmhouse about, 20 yards behind our trench, and I have seen three or four of our men knocked out whilst proceeding there- to obtain food, one man being shot clean through the heart. Last Saturday week the German tionches were very close to ours, and thought they were" going to undermine our position. They charged us, but wo beat them Via ok with the loss of onlv three men. The Gennans., however, were lying in heaps outside. We had the pick of therr regiments against ns, under tho command of General Von iv'uclt, and I can assure you it was the hottest corner I have ever been in, althomrh T have had six years' service, in India. In one engagement tho Gurkhas were, in the. next trench to us. and they were very badlv cut up, although wo wore doing our best "to reinforce them." ! -—The Charge a- Belief.— S jii id i ot the mil lings ot out bnvc a 'lici in 1 * b f th d f rrn tho story t m u V iv U<, Ma on Hot al 1 icld \,tdl i Hi on hj t it ihi \ upeur 0 K t v> sa * hj ci t i- ml v.c ad vmul <i-.uu->t *i m i id Om n < s \ eie i d In J le eol I and our limb-, wnc as tift -> .ro-nite btP thut n > icason win i «= > Hirr thou 1 1 hj ng hi k 1 or a „ P e jn ced 1 1 1 mds ieiux.d to dr their \ oil tvd on tc £,ot the cu nl tun ti) inl th ( v nans get it more tl in u=iuh It li n « cime to a point flat "• he rot 1 <eiap of cvvci I tl i win mi in grc it f nc W > llu g mi iu <u> n in toe <-lcet dialed u d id ktvtan our chattering t*ti piucl bill ti th nuts would liotit u icmist hj d HietmitiMii id iU the o)ho tl that make hj 11 fo the ?lniu gun., thrrui i i wmtei mip ihioivh. uu cl thei tho c lect wdtd" u d \< c udd have hwltd with tiie di com >i ot the cold Still, we had our dutv, and we knew it, so we kept iir ng aw foi ov r hah an hour When tin old r cime to chir ( theie wa a tn, \tnt li-mi' ( 1 I) it hi like i n u ■.in* 'i i ii' clothes t-» us and wo tore , ri tie f-'i h\ n>d to t,ct to g lp-, nitli th Liicin\ Vi< flung tl m biek itli i nui hj 'totble md I in ued them for about half a mile as hard as wo could 3U- t % aim ur elves In that j m lit I "'o' 1 i f and t'nt irti the end t n\ = Hiei uig 1 n th p es nt Writing to his little daughter at f'c ' ""mn T O Willi i of the Vrni) q ei\ co Co pf t-i\i ' AM en vou gi to i"l ill sav torn ptuw jut be tin L f ul tn v. vou mine i good sound •It--?].- and no terrific noise from tho canno it- We- ai ■> ghing tho Geitmns T will tell you some very pathetic stories of the refugees, and T will also tell you of glorious, "deeds performed by our Tommies out here. For instance, ono of ihe Sea forth Highlanders was badly wounded when firing h ; s maihin» gun, but he would not stop until lie ha-d fired all his rounds of ammunition. Then the brave fellow dropped dead. It is grand to belong to a. Uvo-v-a \Ve play hide-nnil-seek with the German flirehips, Enclosed ,flnc| a hair nltbgn given t<)jn§.J?X *^W"
littlo Belgian refugee girl for a iin of bully boo! I gave her. It was my dinner, but*l did not mind. Keep it till 1 come home again." An officer of tho Ist Battalion' of Will-, shires throws .some light on tho heroic part played by that regiment in Ihe fightin;? at Ypres": "We got it very badly when we were near La- liabsoo, where we had terrible knocking about.. We did 18 days' continuous fighting. It took us weeks io advance four miies ; then the (Unmans were heavily reinforced, so wo were pushed back a mile or so, and there wo hold on. After some tremendous shelling in front of Xouvo Capelle they fired on the- Wiltshites at a distance of 200 yard?. Twice tho Wiltshire* had lo tako* adjacent trenches. Next day tho Germans got Tight- in behind Steddari's company. Our people had to hook it. and were, badly cut up. Stoddart was killed, several others were wounded, and a small commando captured. Those 18 days cost the. Wilt-shires 16 officers and nearly SGO men." "I was not in our big charge," modestly observed Private Stuart Ouckei), of the London Scottish, "but was w-ith a haifrompany of our men held in reserve at Ypres. We were stationed in the '['own Hall, one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever. seen, and stormed, shelled, and bombarded as wo were from dawn iill dusk, it was a terrible- sight to see the town reduced to ruin?, and thousands of refugees fleeing for their lives. Shells worn rained upon the historic old Town \[;\\\ and. the. Vne.nrdwg cathedral adjoining, t!ie snire of which um« liluwn to atom*, and "horses were killed in the cellar* -underneath the Town Hall. Threefourths of cur battalion have been put out of action." Concerning the fighting at Mossines, Private Brookes, of the" First Connaught Rangers, wrote: "In some instances the, enemy's trenches were only 23 yards away, and xlio bully beef can could be hinled. from one trench to the other. It, was dangerous, however, to <diow even a fnieo.r. and 'dummies' which were exhibited in order to draw the German fire were shot down immediately. On one occasion,'' he added, 'Svc had to get out of our trenches under heavy fire, and with a. spade in one hand and a rifle in the other we crawled on our stomachs 5 or 10 yards at a. time until we gained another "position. The Germans fired ioeket-s, or what we railed 'star fire,' and these illuminated our positions and helped them considerably."
LETTERS FROM THE FRONT, Issue 15704, 19 January 1915
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