Saturday 25 October 2014

Action at the Front

Sunday 25th October 1914: Our contact with the 1st Battalion tells us of a tragic event: “During the day Lance Corporal Warrell of A Company was killed. It happened as follows: He was in charge of a post on my left and I went over to see him. When I was talking to him a bullet came past my left ear, so close that I am still deafened from it in that ear. It appeared to come from the rear so I asked the post if they had many others over. They said that several had been over from that direction”.

“As I knew that quite close behind there was a support trench, I told Lance Corporal Warrell to crawl back to them and find out if they had been shooting at all from there and to say that on no account was there to be any more. He went back a few yards and then bobbed over the parados[1] and started to shout at them. Almost at the same time a bullet came and practically blew off his head. I picked him up and held him until he died, if he was not already dead”.

“I then went back to the reserve trench but there had been no shooting from there at all and I could not discover where the shots came from. German snipers were, however, all over the place and behind us”.

By contrast the 2nd Battalion have been on the move today, ordered to co-operate in an attack on Beselare. This afternoon they advanced from their trenches by executing a wheel to the right. The men behaved very steadily but, due to the onset of darkness the attack was abandoned and the unit returned to its trenches. The adjutant remarked to us: “There were at least two burning houses, one of them Battalion Headquarters which had been shelled during the day and set alight, behind us as we advanced”.

We might remark that today is the 499th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.

Sources: X550/2/7; X550/3/wd

[1]  A raised bank at the back of a trench.

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