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Military: The Retreat From Mons

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
 from 'T.P.'s Journal of Great Deeds of the Great War' October 17, 1914

'The Retreat from Mons'

by W. Douglas Newton

This is, I believe, the first attempt which has appeared in print to give a full, clear, and connected account of the great Battle of Mons. Studying maps, reading between the lines of Sir John French's historic dispatch, analysing and comparing the sparse and lean accounts of the war correspondents, above all, picking- up bits here and there from the soldiers' letters, my brilliant contributor, Mr. Douglas Newton, has succeeded, I believe, in giving a picture of the battle, not merely dramatic and moving, but full and accurate. Unfortunately, he has had to break off the story at one of the most critical points ; but the story will be continued in the next number, and brought to a conclusion. This is my method of carrying out what I regard as the purpose of this publication — namely, to substitute a clear for a chaotic picture of the chief events in the story of our own army. I trust that such a narrative, brilliant, accurate, and...

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Military: With the British Army in August 1914

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
A Soldiers tale of the Great War

'Tales of the First British Expeditionary Force to France'

'Impressions of a Subaltern'

Told by "Casualty" (Name of Soldier Suppressed)

With the British Army in August 1914

I — When The First Battalion Swung Out

No cheers, no handkerchiefs, no bands. Nothing that even suggested the time-honored scene of soldiers leaving home to fight the Empire's battles. Parade was at midnight. Except for the lighted windows of the barracks, and the rush of hurrying feet, all was dark and quiet. It was more like ordinary night operations than the dramatic departure of a Unit of the First British Expeditionary Force to France.

As the Battalion swung into the road, the Subaltern could not help thinking that this was indeed a queer send-off. A few sergeants' wives, standing at the corner of the Parade ground, were saying good-bye to their friends as they passed. "Good-bye, Bill;" "Good luck, Sam!" Not a hint of emotion in their voices. One might have thought that husbands and fathers went away to risk their lives in war...

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Military: With the English Hospital at Furnes, December 1914

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle

'A British Reporter at the Yser’ with a Volunteer Hospital' from the book 'the Soul of the War' 1915 by Philip Gibbs

 

I had a job to do on my first night in Furnes, and earned a dinner, for a change, by honest work. The staff of an English hospital with a mobile column attached to the Belgian cavalry for picking up the wounded on the field, had come into the town before dusk with a convoy of ambulances and motorcars. They established themselves in an old convent with large courtyards and many rooms, and they worked hurriedly as long as light would allow, and afterwards in darkness, to get things ready for their tasks next day, when many wounded were expected. This party of doctors and nurses, stretcher- bearers and chauffeurs, had done splendid work in Belgium.

Many of them were in the siege of Antwerp, where they stayed until the wounded had to be taken away in a hurry; and others, even more daring, had retreated from town to town, a few kilometres in advance of the hostile troops. I had met some of the party...

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Military: November by Irene Snatt

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle


In Preston Parkthere is a tank.
Relic of the Battleof Cambrai.
Its rusty treads loom over,
Threatening.

I play with Army buttons,
Unwind some tattered puttees.

On corners of the shopping streets
The blind and maimed
Are selling matches.

Some veterans march.
A brass band plays
Sussexby the sea,
And Mother sighs and says
Before the Marne,
Before the Somme,
She watched the boys in khaki
March away.

By Irene Snatt.



Military: Ruhleben Camp

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
In the book “My Four Years in Germany”, James W. Gerard describes the prisoner of war camp for British civilians at Ruhleben.

In his own words - “On September ninth, 1913, having resigned as Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, I sailed for Germany, stopping on the way in London in order to make the acquaintance of Ambassador Page, certain wise people in Washington having expressed the belief that a personal acquaintance of our Ambassadors made it easier for them to work together.

Two cares assail a newly appointed Ambassador. He must first take thought of what he shall wear and where he shall live. All other nations have beautiful Embassies or Legations in Berlin, but I found that my two immediate predecessors had occupied a villa originally built as a two-family house, pleasantly enough situated, but two miles from the centre of Berlin and entirely unsuitable for an Embassy.”

Working for the American Government he paints a realistic picture of conditions for the prisoners of war.

“In the autumn of 1914, the British Government...

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Military: Ruhleben Camp

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
In the book “My Four Years in Germany”, James W. Gerard describes the prisoner of war camp for British civilians at Ruhleben.

In his own words - “On September ninth, 1913, having resigned as Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, I sailed for Germany, stopping on the way in London in order to make the acquaintance of Ambassador Page, certain wise people in Washington having expressed the belief that a personal acquaintance of our Ambassadors made it easier for them to work together.

Two cares assail a newly appointed Ambassador. He must first take thought of what he shall wear and where he shall live. All other nations have beautiful Embassies or Legations in Berlin, but I found that my two immediate predecessors had occupied a villa originally built as a two-family house, pleasantly enough situated, but two miles from the centre of Berlin and entirely unsuitable for an Embassy.”

Working for the American Government he paints a realistic picture of conditions for the prisoners of war.

“In the autumn of 1914, the British Government...

Continues, Read More...


Military: An Australian at Messines Ridge

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
In his book “WITH OUR SOLDIERS IN FRANCE” - Sherwood Eddy paints some brief sketches of his impression of the work of the war.

Here reflecting on the battle of Messines Ridge in 1917 he recalls an account of a simple Australian boy in the front trench:


"Fritz had a machine gun to nearly every ten yards. I don't know what became of my friends Hugh and Bill. They were just beside me, but when I looked around both were gone. A shell landed just at the side of me, and I think Hugh and Bill were blown to pieces. I got my wound in the chest and the fragment came out through my back. I thought my last day had come. I dropped into a hole, and no sooner had I got in, than Mack got it through the face. He was able to go back, but I was simply helpless, as my legs refused to move. Anyhow, I pulled the shovel off my back and dug a little ridge in the side of the trench. No sooner had I done this than Fritz started to bombard. One shell fell in the hole in which I was, but exploded in the opposite direction. Then another came and landed just above...

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Military: An Australian at Messines Ridge

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
In his book “WITH OUR SOLDIERS IN FRANCE” - Sherwood Eddy paints some brief sketches of his impression of the work of the war.

Here reflecting on the battle of Messines Ridge in 1917 he recalls an account of a simple Australian boy in the front trench:


"Fritz had a machine gun to nearly every ten yards. I don't know what became of my friends Hugh and Bill. They were just beside me, but when I looked around both were gone. A shell landed just at the side of me, and I think Hugh and Bill were blown to pieces. I got my wound in the chest and the fragment came out through my back. I thought my last day had come. I dropped into a hole, and no sooner had I got in, than Mack got it through the face. He was able to go back, but I was simply helpless, as my legs refused to move. Anyhow, I pulled the shovel off my back and dug a little ridge in the side of the trench. No sooner had I done this than Fritz started to bombard. One shell fell in the hole in which I was, but exploded in the opposite direction. Then another came and landed just...

Continues, Read More...


Military: The General Inspection

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
This excellent chapter comes from the book "The Amateur Army" by Patrick MacGill.

For the volunteer soldier who joined up to do his bit, general inspection was one of the least agreeable trials. Patrick MacGill paints an excellent and vivid picture of the monthly chore.


THE GENERAL INSPECTION

One of our greatest trials is the general inspection, which takes place every month, and once Lord Kitchener inspected the battalion, in company with the division quartered in our town. But that was before I joined. It involves much labour in the way of preparation. On one occasion, midnight the night before, a Friday, found us still busy with our work. My cot-mate was in difficulties with his rifle--the cloth of the pull-through stuck in the barrel, and he could not move
it, although he broke a bamboo cane and bent a poker in the attempt.

"It's a case for the armoury," he remarked gloomily. "What a nuisance that ramrods are done away with! We've been at it since eight o'clock, and getting along A1. Now that beastly pull-through!"

What an evening's work! On the...

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Military: Collecting the wounded at night

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
This letter was published in the Eastbourne Gazette early in October 1914. Captain Arthur Habgood conveys the terrifying circumstances of evacuating the wounded.

During the war he gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the service of the Royal Army Medical Corps (Special Reserve).


Collecting the wounded at night

R.A.M.C . At work under shell-fire.

Dr. Arthur Habgood (son of Dr. Henry Habgood Stafford House, Upperton, Eastbourne) Captain in the R.A.M.C., Special Reserve and attached to No. 9 Field Ambulance, 3rd Division, has been on service with the British Expeditionary Force since August 18.

Writing home recently from the field of battle, Captain Habgood says: -

“My dear Father – This is a great hurry, as a Red Cross car is waiting to take it into Paris.

We are at present in billets and are very busy day and night, evacuating wounded and sick - about 1,500 in three days – so you will see we are very busy. Am quite well, but have had a pretty rough time.

A big battle is starting, and we have had a little lull in the fighting. For the...

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Latest Out Of Battle Stories

The Retreat From Mons
With the British Army in August 1914
With the English Hospital at Furnes, December 1914
November by Irene Snatt
Ruhleben Camp

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