Wednesday, 3 September 2014

1st Bedfords Retire to Mont Pichet

Thursday 3rd September 1914: Today the 1st Bedfords continued their long march in the direction of Paris, reaching the town of Quincy-Voisins, a distance of nearly fifteen miles, via Esbly and Couilly. In doing so they crossed the River Marne. Our source with the battalion tells us that they "arrived at a Red Cross dispensary at 5.30 pm. The Company went into billets in the Dispensary which was kept by nuns and we hauled down the Red Cross flag. We had a most amusing time with an unfortunate French cavalry soldier who was brought in by some civilians to us and accused of being a spy. He couldn't give a satisfactory account of himself and Allason cross-examined him upside down fully convinced he was a spy. The people in the place and the nuns gave him a rotten time, chasing him round the place, pulling at him and shouting: "Vous êtes un espion" all the time. They almost pulled him to pieces and tore most of his clothes off. They treated him so badly that he was really quite incapable of saying anything. As a matter of fact he turned out to be quite OK".[1]

In the ten days since the Battle of Mons the 1st Battalion has marched about 150 miles.

Sources: X550/2/5; X5550/2/7.

[1] This Americanism seems to have been used as early as the first half of the 19th century. In France it is often followed by the French phrase "d'accord" - the origin of the English "okey-dokey"? 

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