Sunday 31 August 2014

The Fear of Uhlans

A German uhlan in ceremonial dress

Monday 31st August 1914: Today the 1st Bedfords have marched to Crépy-en-Valois, around twenty three miles. Our contact with the battalion reports that they had originally advanced much further: “We went through Orrouy and then a scare was raised that Uhlanswere all around us so the Battalion sent scouts out all round".

“We went about twelve miles through Bethisy-Saint-Martin where the billeting party halted as we heard that a squadron of Uhlans were about and that there were some in Bethisy-Saint-Pierre which was only about a mile ahead. We waited about but nothing happened so I formed up the fellows who had bicycles and rifles in the billeting party into a sort of Advanced Guard and we rode off up the road expecting to be attacked with the rest of the part some distance behind. We arrived safely in the village and immediately sent Caulfield in a car with the Requisitioning Party. We also met Alfred Parsons who commanded a squadron of the 19th Hussars who were Divisional Cavalry** and who had been sent on with his squadron to hunt the Uhlans out. He had, I believe, driven a few off and was looking for more”.

“We then heard that owing to the proximity of the Uhlans the billeting area was changed and so we had to go back eight miles to Crépy. Here I did a good forage and got a lot of stuff. Picked up Hanafin (the Medical Officer) but we had lost Pierce. Hanafin and I went off and had a good drink in an estaminet with a lot of French generals”.

“We had a fairly quiet night but heard that a German Army Corps was advancing on Paris and is not so far from us at this time”.

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

German cavalry which were armed with lances.
** Used for scouting.

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