A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 264

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THE BRITISH RETREAT


The corpc/ral continued the story thus Ourmajorwasahero. Whenwewerehardpressedandthey charged our weak line we were almost on the point of retiring, but he stood up in the midst of the fire and shouted : Never let it be said that a Coldstreamer retired in front of a German dogI ” Weallfeltasone,andwclaydownandneverflinched. They got to us, but never broke our line. One big beast of a sergeant went up to one of our men and said : It is all right, IamaFrencholEcer. TheFrencharehere.” Hethenripped thepoorfellowup. Fourothersattemptedthesamething,but one of our officers shot the four with his revolver. Well, they charged us seven times. Each time their trumpeters soundedwegaveitthemhot. Theywerenearlythroughonce or twice. Wc saved, the remainder of the division. Had wc not been there they would have got into the town and cut up thewholedivision,astheywereasleep. Theylost1,500,and we lost 60 : seven out of one company. The papers siiid w(^ had 700 against 5,000, but wc had only one company that took part in it, as the remainder of the battalion were in the town totherearofus. Ithinkwewillgetaspecialbarforit. A private in a battalion of the King's Royal Rifles in his version of the retreat says: » WedidnotliketheordertoretireatMons. Weknew were doing better than the Germans, and inflicting heavy loss( s onthem. Theofficersloiewweweredisappointed,becauseon the fifth day of retiring—we had had three days at Mons before we began to retreat—our commanding officer came round and spoke to us, saying : “ Stick it, boys, stick it ! To-morrow we shall go the other way, and advance. BifI—biif!” The way he said ” Biff-biff I” delighted the men ; and after that youcouldfrequentlyhearthemenshouting”Biff-biff ” ! We went on retreating, with occasional stops, just to gi\’^e theGermansata.steofwhatwecoulddo. Ononeoccasion I and six others were left to cover a Maxim gun whilst it was being limbered up to be taken back to some other [wsition. The Germans were shelling us all through this, and it was prettyhotwork. Wehadtotakeupthepositionoftlicgun, and we kept firing rapid to make it appear that the Maxim gun was still there. We thought ourselves lucky to get throii gli, because the Germans were shelling the positions on both sides ofus. Thenwohadtogoatthedoubleforaboutfivemiles. It was a hard jog-trot all the way. When the seven of us were hurrying to catch up to the others wo were joined by some stragglers. One was a cavalryman who had lost his horse?. Some were East Surreys and others wdre West Kents. We becamequitealittlearmycorpsallonourown. Towardsthe close of the fifth day of retreat I fell out. I rf?member a big

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