Photographs and history of the Royal Artillery, during the reign of Queen Victoria.
Though the name of Master General of the Ordnance occurs as far back as 1483, in the person of Rauf Bigod, little attention was paid to guns and their requirements until 1672, when the Royal Laboratory was inaugurated by Charles II. His successor, James, only succeeded in collecting an imposing force of guns, with which to meet the Prince of Orange, but they were not used; and the new sovereign did not materially increase the efficiency or popularity of the arm by introducing foreign gunners. Thanks to Marlborough, Master-General of the Ordnance in his turn, who appreciated the tactical value of artillery, and used it at Blenheim and Malplaquet, where he had 40 guns in the centre of his line, the value of a better organisation was recognised.
Up to the early days of the 18th century armies in the field had been provided with artillery by "artillery trains". There was little or no permanent organisation of these bodies in peace. They were collected for a campaign, much as the rest of the army massed to fight in it was; but the collapse of this system, during the Rebellion of 1715, led eventually to the formation of the "Royal Regiment of Artillery", which, in 1722, was command by its first formally appointed colonel, Albert Borgard, a Danish officer of distinguished reputation.
Practically, as the late Colonel Duncan in his admirable and exhaustive history of the regiment points out, the royal regiment first came into being with the establishment of "two companies without any staff", in 1716. The uniform was blue, as it is now, with red facings; but at first waistcoat and breeches of the same colour as the facings were worn by the officers. So it practically remained until 1727, when it was increased to four companies, "each consisting of a captain, a captain's lieutenant, one first and one second lieutenant, three lieutenant fire workers, three sergeants, three corporals, eight bombardiers, twenty gunners, sixty four matrosses, and two drummers." The uniform was blue with scarlet facings, and the head dress three cornered cocked hat with lace, for both officers and men; unlike the rest of the army, which wore the conical sugar loaf hat of felt. "Fusils without bayonets were the arm of the officers; halberds and long swords with brass hilts the weapons of the non-commissioned officers. The privates or matrosses bore common muskets and pouches. The gunners carried staves longer than the halberds, with spearheads and linstocks branching out of them at either side, and over their left shoulders hung a powder horn, the brass mountings of which were kept highly polished. A sword, similar to that of sergeants and corporals, completed the equipment of each gunner. The cocked hats were looped up at the left side so as to leave room for the musket or halberd at the shoulder. White cravats and clean white shirts or shirt fronts constituted the remainder of the costume".
In 1741 the Royal Military Academy was founded, but the cadet company was not formed until four years later. Cadets were then much what they are now, judging from the regulations formed for their governance. They were evidently sufficiently light hearted, for they were "strictly forbid to cut or carve their names or initial letters of names on any part of their desks, or in any way to spoil them". "The Lieutenant-Governor expects that henceforward no gentleman cadet will be guilty of even attempting to open or spoil any of the desks or drawers of the inspectors, professors, or masters, or of another cadet; or even attempt to take anything out of them, under the name of 'smouching', as they may be fully assured such base and vile crimes will be pardoned no more". "The Lieutenant-Governor expresses the highest satisfaction in the genteel behaviour of the company during the hours of dancing, in a great measure owing to the care of the present corporals"; and so on.
In 1743 the pay of the Royal Regiment (six companies strong by then) first appears in the estimates, and soon after Culloden it was augmented to two battalions; but it was not until 1751 that the officers were commissioned generally by the Sovereign.
It was growing in usefulness and value, however, and was winning golden opinions on the Continent. Both Decker and Tempelhoff, skilled writers and soldiers of the eighteenth century, praised its work. "It was distinguished by its lightness, its elegance, and the good qualities of its material". Tempelhoff says of it that, "The English artillery could not have been better served; it followed the enemy with such vivacity and maintained its fire so well, that it was impossible for the latter to reform".
But, like the army generally, if praised in war it was neglected in peace. After the Peace of Versailles in 1783, it was reduced, starved, and ruthlessly cut down in pay and allowances; yet the energy of the officers never flagged, and the arms and equipments were steadily improved. Military drivers replaced the smock - frocked country lads who had hitherto driven the teams. The year 1793 saw the introduction of Horse Artillery; as 1813 saw the rocket detachments, one of which was present at Leipzig, organised into troops. In the Peninsula, with every disadvantage against them, the Artillery did good service, even though the Duke of Wellington showed them so little favour as to display but scanty appreciation of them. He had no word of praise for Norman Ramsay, when, at Fuentes d'Onor, he rent asunder the French column and "burst forth, sword in hand, at the head of his troop, his horses breathing fire, stretched like greyhounds along the plain, the guns bounding behind them like things of no weight, and the mounted gunners followed close with heads bent low and pointed weapons in desperate career"; but placed him in arrest the next day for misunderstanding verbal orders!
His criticism of the artillery at Waterloo to Lord Musgrave is simply unfair, as his own public despatch of the 19th June 1815 proves. Even the enemy spoke better of them than their own chief. Foy writes : "Les cannoniers Anglais se distinguent entre les autres soldats par le bon esprit que les anime. En bataille leur activite est judicieuse, leur coup d'oeil parfait, et leur bravoure stoique".
No more vivid description of a battle has been penned than that of Waterloo, by Mercer, an artillery officer, whose battery did much to check the charge of the French Cuirassiers, with the result that "of 200 fine horses, with which we had entered the battle, upwards of 140 lay dead, dying, or severely wounded", while, "of the men, scarcely two thirds of those necessary for four guns remained; and those so completely exhausted as to be totally incapable of further exertion".
The long peace saw a steady depreciation in the Artillery, owing to false economy and parsimony, so that the Crimean War found the army badly furnished with guns. None the less its work there was admirable. It was the artillery which Lord Raglan called up upon the knoll to the left of the bridge over the Alma, that contributed materially in helping the British infantry to advance. It was Gambier's heavy guns, whose timely assistance at Inkerman helped tot turn the tide, and the Victoria Cross list with the names of Captain Dixon, Gunner Arthur, Collingwood Dickson, Gronow Davis, Cambridge, Miller, and Teesdale, shows instances of gallantry and bravery equal to any noted elsewhere. Similarly, the Mutiny gave the Cross to Captain Maude and Bombardier Brennan, and to Sir Frederick Roberts, the present Commander-in-Chief in India; while the New Zealand campaign bestowed it on Doctors Manley and Temple, and Lieutenant Pickard.
But it would be impossible in a short space to detail the services of the Royal Regiment. The war services of the different batteries were admirably tabulated by Major H. W. L. Hime, in 1886, and comprise those of the Indian batteries before the amalgamation, as well as those of the remainder of the force.
The Royal Artillery is organised in one regiment, which, until recently, was divided into two brigades of Horse Artillery (distinguished by a letter), consisting of ten and eleven service batteries, with double depots at Woolwich; four brigades of Field Artillery (distinguished by a number), two of twenty four batteries and two of nineteen batteries each, one half in each case being in India; and eleven territorial divisions of Garrison Artillery, containing one garrison brigade and the regiments of Artillery Militia. For special service there are also ten mountain batteries.
Up to 1859 the Royal Horse Artillery were formed in troops, altered in that year to battalions, and in 1862 to brigades. The oldest batteries are A, B, C, of the N Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery, as they were formed in 1793; B and N of the 1st Brigade, Field Artillery, 1790-5; and No 3 Battery, Cinque Ports Division; No 7, of the London Division; and No 2, of the Scottish Division, also organised in 1805. The D Battery, A Brigade, was at one time a rocket troop.
The Royal Irish Artillery was incorporated with the regiment in 1801, and the Indian Artillery after the Mutiny of 1858. But the three branches in one regiment were deemed cumbrous and unwieldy; and more than that, it was felt that the difference between the work of the garrison and the field gunners was yearly becoming greater, as the heavy guns and their equipment became more complex. It was therefore, divided into branches, the promotion on each going on different lists, and not, as heretofore , on one generally interchangeable list.
The crest of the Royal Artillery is the royal arms and supporters with a gun. The motto, "Ubique", is above, and "Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt", below the gun. The blue uniform has scarlet facings; the busby bag is scarlet, and the plume white. Its only nickname is "The Gunners".
Extract from "The British Army and Auxiliary Forces" Colonel C. Cooper King, R.M.A. , 1894
Field Artillery Awaiting Orders to go to the Front (1896)
The gun detachment in the picture are some of the men in one of the Aldershot batteries which took part in the New Forest Maneouvres in 1895. The are in Field Service order, and are shown drawn up just before going forward to come into action, in fact, whilst waiting for orders to take up position and unlimber. The detachment is under a non-commissioned officer, shown on the left of the leading driver. Every two guns in a field battery in the British Service - six guns in all - is commanded by a Lieutenant; the battery itself as a whole being under a Major, with a Captain under him as second in command.
||Gunners of Field Artillery Drilling with a
Here we have a 12-pounder gun, which a squad of gunners, in field service uniform, are pointing at an imaginary enemy during the New Forest operations of August 1895. This is one of the weapons with which the Royal Artillery, both field and horse batteries, have recently been supplied. It is claimed for the 12-pounder that as a light field gun it is second to none. It weighs under the third of a ton, and with a service charge of 4lbs, if given 25 degrees of elevation, has a range just under five miles. The calibre of the piece or size of the bore is three inches. The drill is taking place in camp.
|Trumpeters of the Royal Horse Artillery, c.1894|
|Sergeant Major of the Royal Horse Artillery, c.1894|
|Battery Sergeant Major - Royal Horse Artillery|
|Officer - Royal Horse Artillery|
How Captain Charles Herbert Mansfield Sturges Of The Royal Garrison Artillery Won The D.S.O.
How Captain Douglas Reynolds And Drivers T. H. C. Drain And F. Luke, Of The Royal Field Artillery, Won The Victoria Cross By Saving a Gun At Le Cateau.
As the day wore on, Von Kluck began to use superior numbers in a great enveloping movement on both flanks, and between three and four o?clock in the afternoon the British received orders to retire. Our artillery with the most splendid courage, but at a terrible cost covered the movement, and it was at this moment that the incident we are about to relate occurred. Captain Douglas Reynolds, of the 37th Battery R.F.A., perceiving that the horses attached to several guns had all been killed or disabled, brought up two teams, driven by men who had volunteered their services, in a desperate attempt to save a couple of them. Though exposed to very heavy shell and rifle fire-the advancing German infantry were scarcely a hundred yards distant-these brave men contrived to limber up two guns. But the next moment one entire team was shot down, while Driver Gobley, the driver of the centre pair of the other team, fell dead from his saddle. Captain Reynolds, however, rode alongside the unguided pair, and kept them in hand, with, Driver Luke driving the leaders and Driver Drain the wheelers; the gun was brought safely out of action. Each of these three heroes was awarded the Victoria Cross, and one of them, Captain Reynolds, had the satisfaction of distinguishing himself again a fortnight later at the battle of the Marne, when, reconnoitring at close range, he located a battery which was holding up our advance and silenced it. Unhappily, he was severely wounded at the Aisne on September 15th 1914. Extracted from "Deed That Thrill The Empire"
How Bombardier Ernest George Cooper, Of The Royal Field Artillery Won The D.C.M. At The Ploegsteert Wood
Throwing off his coat, Cooper began to dig as he had never dug before in his life, and succeeded in extricating his comrade from his perilous situation, though not before the unfortunate man?s face was already blue with suffocation. He saw that the neck of the unconscious soldier?s shirt, Cooper hoisted him on to his back and set off for a chateau about two hundred yards away, where the surgeon attached to the battery had taken refuge until his services should be required. Both on his way to the chateau and on his return journey, the brave bombardier had to run the gauntlet of a very heavy shellfire-it was afterwards computed that on that day over three hundred shells were discharged against his battery alone but happily he passed through it unscathed. The comrade for whom he had risked his life soon revived under the surgeon?s care and was none the worse for his terrible experience. Bombardier Cooper, who is twenty-three years of age, is a Londoner, his home being in Lambeth. Extracted from "Deed That Thrill The Empire"
How Bombardier George King, Of The Royal Field Artillery, Won the D.C.M. At Le Touquet
Towards noon on the day in question, the battery of the R.F.A. to which Bombardier George King belonged received orders to support the 10th Infantry Brigade in their attack on the German position. The major commanding the battery proceeded to the observation post, which was on the roof of a barn situated on the left bank of the river Lys, to observe and control the fire of his men, and Bombardier King accompanied him at his telephone operator. On reaching the barn, it was found that the only way to get into communication with the first line trenches was to get a wire laid across the river, as no boat was available, Bombardier King recognized that the difficulty could only be overcome by swimming, and though the river was deep and rapid, he without a moment?s hesitation threw of his cap and tunic and picking up a coil of wire, plunged into the water and swam across. On reaching the farther bank he had to ascend a slope on which high explosive shells from the German batteries were continually bursting, and make his way to within five hundred yards of the first line trenches, in order to connect the coil of wire he carried with the infantry wire. But this dangerous task he accomplished without mishap, and the communication having been thus established, he ran down the slope, swam back to the barn, and resuming his cap and tunic, took up the telephone and occupied himself with despatching the observation officer?s instructions to the gunners. In the course of the afternoon the barn was completely demolished by German shellfire, but happily none of the observation party was hit. Bombardier King was awarded the D.C.M. ?for conspicuous enterprise.? This however was not the only honour, which awaited him, as not long afterwards the Czar conferred upon him the Cross of St. George (3rd class). Bombardier-now Corporal-King is twenty-four years of age and a resident of Leicester.
How Battery Quartermaster, Sergeant George Mitchell, Of The Royal Field Artillery, Won The D.C.M.
On Monday, September 21st, a day on which, to the great relief of our troops, who had been drenched to the skin by days of incessant rain, the weather took a turn for the better, the 135th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, which during the advance to the Marne and Aisne, had been attached to our 1st Cavalry Division as Horse Artillery, received orders to send a section of guns to report to the officer in command of a Battery of Royal Horse Artillery at the village of Paissy. On arriving there, the officer in question informed Lieutenant Rogers, who was in charge of the section, that his battery had been so mercilessly shelled that he had been obliged to order the men to leave their guns and take shelter in caves in the cliffs, and told him that he had better take his guns back, as it would be simply suicide to go out into the open. The section was on their way back to rejoin their battery, when a Staff Colonel of Artillery, who ordered them to return to Paissy, met them. He and Lieutenant Rogers took the two guns into action in the open to the right of the village, and then proceeded to a haystack, from which they observed and corrected the firing, leaving the section in charge of Battery Quartermaster Sergeant George Mitchell. Mitchell took the horses and the first line wagons into the village, and placed them under shelter of the cliffs, and then returned to the guns and took charge of one of them. The village of Paissy stands not far from a ridge where some of the most severe close fighting of the past week had taken place, and all over the No Man?s Land between the opposing lines the dead bodies of the German infantry were still lying in heaps where they had fallen. The guns had been placed in the open on some ploughed land, as there was no cover thereabouts to afford them concealment. Behind them the ground was level for about twenty paces; then there was a drop of five or six feet into a sunken road, and on the far side of the road a steep grass slope. This slope and the ground all round the guns were so pitted with shell holes that it resembled the lid of a pepperbox.
The guns had not been long in action, when they were ?spotted? by a German observation balloon, and while field guns shelled them with shrapnel from their front, two batteries of heavy howitzers enfiladed them from the direction of Cerny-en-Laon, the huge shells screaming through the air with a noise like the rush of an express train. It may here be mentioned that two or three days later four 6-inch howitzer batteries, which Sir John French had asked for, arrived from England, but for every shell of this type that we were able to fire the Germans fired twenty. Nevertheless, though shells were bursting all about them, Mitchell and his men gallantly kept their 18-pounders in action, and continued to fire for nearly two hours, when the task which had been allotted them-that of drawing the fire from some of our infantry who were digging themselves in a new position-having been performed, they were ordered to leave the and take shelter in the village. The order to retire came not a moment too soon, for scarcely had the men crossed the sunken road in their rear and begun to descend the slope, when a howitzer shell fell right upon one of the guns which they had just left, smashing it to pieces. Had its crew been still working it, every one of them must have been instantly killed. However the section was not to come off scathes that day, for though the fire of the British guns had been silenced, the salvos from the howitzer batteries continued, and our men had just reached the ammunition wagons which Mitchell had left in the village, when a shell struck the house outside of which one of them stood, blowing half the building down, burying the wagon beneath the falling masonry, and wounding five men. Early in April 1915, Battery Quartermaster Sergeant Mitchell again displayed great courage and coolness under fire at Petit Port, in Flanders, in dressing the wounded when the wagon line of his battery was being heavily shelled, and for his consistent gallantry, the Distinguished Conduct Medal was awarded him. He is a Scotsman, his home being at Hawick, and is thirty years of age.
How Gunner George Leonard Pond Of The Royal Field Artillery,Won The D.C.M. At The Battle Of The Aisne
Pond then returned to his battery, whose 18-pounders had been p[luckily endeavouring, though with but scant success, to keep down the fire of the huge howitzers behind the opposite hill, but had now abandoned the task as hopeless, the major in command having been killed, and the captain stunned by a piece of shell. As he came up, he saw a ?coal box? burst under the pole of an ammunition wagon, knocking the wagon over; but, hurrying forward, he picked up the shells that had fallen out, replaced them and closed the lid for safety. This done, he reported himself to one of his surviving officers, and learned that all his comrades but two had reached cover at the foot of the hill. The officer sent him down the hill to tell a sergeant to collect as many as possible and withdraw the guns and wagons by hand. The right and left sections-four guns and four wagons were successfully removed without any casualties, although every few seconds the men had to leave them and make a bolt for cover to dodge the shells. But it was not until darkness fell that the centre section could be got away, some of the wheels having been damaged. Gunner-now Corporal Pond, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, ?for conspicuous gallantry,? is twenty-seven years of age, and his home is at Landport, Portsmouth.
How second Lieutenant Henry Morrant Stanford, Of The Royal Field Artillery, Won The Military Cross At Neuve Chapelle And Rouges Bancs.
From his post he could see the British front line trenches, situated about one hundred yards away on the south-eastern outskirts of the village and eight hundred yards beyond them, across open fields, those of the enemy, while two or three hundred yards behind these was the Bois du Biez, where more than one German battery was concealed. He was far from being allowed to perform his work unmolested, for the enemy soon became aware that the house was being used as an observation station, and at times it was pretty badly shelled, while rifle bullets pattered frequently against the outer walls. In the course of the day the telephone wire was cut in several places, and the lieutenant and a gunner went out to repair it. They were on a hedged road, with a couple of partially ruined houses on either side, when four 6-inch shells came along, two of which landed on the houses on their right and two on those on their left. They had a narrow escape, but coolly went on their work, and notwithstanding that the first shells were soon followed by others, mended six other breaks before they left this very unhealthy spot. This brave young officer again performed excellent work during the attack on the German position at Rouges Bancs on May 9th 1915, when, according to the Gazette, ?the accuracy of the wire cutting by the 32nd Battery Royal Artillery was due to his precise observations.? He is only twenty-one years of age, and his home is at Aldringham, Suffolk.
How Sergeant Horace Albert Shooting Thompson, Of The Royal Field Artillery Won The D.C.M. Near Neuve Chapelle
How Major Haig, Of The Royal Garrison Artillery, Won The D.S.O.,And Corporal William Scothern The D.C.M., At Frezenberg
Scarcely a thousand yards separated them from the Germans, and between them and the enemy there was not a single British soldier. All day long the ground was heavily shelled, while at intervals the deadly gas clouds, which had served the Huns so well in the morning, came floating towards them. Yet all day long these two brave men-the major, with his field glasses to his eyes, observing the effect of his battery?s fire, the corporal at the telephone, communicating his officer?s instructions to the gunners in the rear-stuck to their work. The fire of the enemy damaged Several times the telephone wires, and corporal Scothern was obliged to go out into the open to repair them. On one of these occasions he was hit in the thigh, but, happily, the wound was only a slight one, and did not prevent him from completing his work and re-establishing the interrupted communication with his battery. And soon he had the satisfaction of seeing the great howitzer shells once more come sailing over his head, to drop with deadly effect upon the German trenches. At length, about 6 p.m. they received orders to retire,, and packing up, returned to the battery which, thanks to their heroism, had rendered such good service that day. The official report of the award of the D.C.M. to Corporal Scothern states that it was bestowed ?for conspicuous gallantry on many occasion, and especially on the 23rd-24th April 1915, near Frezenberg,? to duty to all.? Major Haig was awarded the D.S.O. Corporal Scothern, who is thirty years of age is a resident of Nottingham. Extracted from "Deed That Thrill The Empire"
How Trumpeter Waldron, Of The Royal Field Artillery,Won The D.C.M. At Le Cateau
How Acting Corporal David Tom Jones, Of The Honourable Artillery Company (T.F.), Won The D.C.M. Near Kemmel
On a raw, wet night at the beginning of January 1915, the infantry of the Honourable Artillery Company were in the trenches about two miles from Kemmel, between Messines and Wytschaete. Just as the grey, wintry dawn was beginning to break, Acting Corporal Tom Jones noticed a man of his own company, Private Bruce, crawling along some high ground about one hundred yards behind the trenches, for which he was making. As he was watching him, he heard the crack of a rifle from the German lines, and Bruce went down like a log. Heedless of his own danger, Jones at once climbed over the parados and ran towards his fallen comrade. When he reached him, he found him half sunk in the mud-the rain had reduced parts of the ground hereabouts to the condition of a quagmuire-and far too big and heavy a man for him to move unaided. He therefore decided to summon assistance, and, with bullets singing past his head, ran back to the trenches, and he and three other men got a wooden door from the top of a dug out, and carried it out to where Bruce lay. Placing the wounded man on the door, they endeavoured to make for some dead ground about two hundred yards away, while their comrades in the trenches began blazing away to keep down the fire of the Germans. The "going" was terribly difficult, however, and the door continually slipped from their hands, and they had not proceeded more than fifty yards when one of the party, Private White, was severely wounded in two places by snipers bullets. They then all lay down flat on the ground, and it was decided that, while Jones remained with the wounded, the other two men should go back for assistance. They accordingly crawled away on their stomachs and managed to get safely into a communication trench, and so into the fire trench. Meantime Jones started to bind up the wounds of the two injured men, though so hot was the fire that the enemy kept up that he did not dare to raise his head. About a quarter of an hour later he was joined by Bugler Stiffin of his company, who had passed the first aid test, and gallantly crawled out from his trench, under a storm of bullets, to dress his unfortunate comrades wounds.
Not long afterwards it came on to rain in torrents, and Stiffin crawled back to the trench for some ground sheets; but, as he had been heavily fired upon and had been very fortunate to get back safely, the officer in charge would not allow him to take any further risks. Jones remained with the two wounded men for the remainder of the day-some twelve hours in all-and, when darkness fell, crawled back for the stretcher-bearers, who managed to remove Bruce and White. The latter, however, died of his wounds. While Bruce was being brought in, Captain Neton, second in command of the H.A.C. infantry at this time, who was directing the fire from the trench against the snipers, was truck by a bullet and killed.
Acting Corporal-now Second Lieutenant David Tom Jones, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, "for conspicuous gallantry," is twenty-six ears of age, and his home is at Harrow-on-the-Hill. Although he escaped without injury on the occasion of this brave deed, he was wounded at St. Eloi towards the end of the following April and invalided home. In July he received a commission in the 9th Battalion Duke of Cornwall?s Light Infantry. Bugler Stiffin was also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The Honourable Artillery Company, the oldest regiment in the British Army, has worthily maintained its traditions during the war. Two new battalions ad four additional batteries have been raised, and over the one thousand members of the company have been gazetted to other regiments. Up to the end of 1915 the honours which had fallen to its share comprised one C.M.G., one D.S.O., three Military Crosses and seven D.C.M.?s. Extracted from "Deed That Thrill The Empire"
How Bombardier John Edward William Samuels, Of The 9th Battery, Royal field Artillery, Won The D.C.M. At Richebourg L?Avoue
During the British offensive in the Festubert district in May 1915, the 9th Battery of the Royal Field Artillery performed admirable work, and a Distinguished Service Order and two Distinguished Conduct Medals were awarded its members. One of the recipients of the latter decoration was Bombardier John Edward William Samuels, and well indeed did he deserve it, since it was won in circumstances calculated to test the courage of even the boldest.
The first operations in the Festubert fighting took place on May 9th and 10th, but the battle known by that name did not properly begin until late on the night of the 15th, the weather during the intervening days being too dull and misty to permit of accurate artillery observation. Just after dawn on the following morning, after a heavy artillery bombardment of the German position, our infantry advanced to the attack, he movement being entrusted to two brigades of the 7th Division and part of the 2nd Division and the Indian Corps. The 9th Battery R.F.A. was posted in an orchard rather more than two thousand yards behind our first line trenches, and its observation station was a ruined house in the Rue du Bois, about a mile from the battery. The Indian Corps, which was attacking on the left, near Richebourg l?Avoue, found its advance held up by a tangle of fortified farms; but the 2nd Division, which the 9th Battery was supporting, quickly captured two lines of trenches. About seven o?clock a mass of Germans emerged from behind a farm, with the object of retaking the captured trenches; but so accurate was the battery?s first that the counter attack melted away before it had advanced very far, and the enemy retired hastily to the shelter of the farm buildings. Shortly afterwards, however, a telephone message reached the gunners that the roof of their observation station in the Rue du Bois had been blown away by "Jack Johnsons."
The observing party retired to another house some little distance away, which however, soon shared the fate of the first, and they were obliged to seek a third post. About ten o?clock that part of the Rue du Bois was very heavily shelled, and a message came through that the new observation station was a heap of ruins. A few minutes later communication ceased, all the wires having been cut by the enemy?s fire. It was imperative that communication should be re-established with the least possible delay, for the British were still advancing, and so close in some places to the German trenches that the slightest shortage in the flight of a shell might cause devastation among our own men. Bombardier Samuels and two of his comrades at once offered to go out and undertake the perilous duty of locating and repairing the damage, and taking with them portable telephones and reels of wire, they set off. The ground in which they had to traverse was entirely open, for the most part level grass or corn land, affording no cover whatever, and as they approached the Rue du Bois, shells began to fall thickly about them, while bullets hummed continuously past their heads. Having located the damage, they set to work, Samuels undertaking the repair of two wires, while his comrades attended to two others, a little distance away; but so thick was the smoke from the bursting shells that they could scarcely see, and made but slow progress.
Presently, a huge high explosive shell came screaming through the air, and burst right between Samuel?s two comrades; and when the smoke lifted, he saw both lying on the ground. As he ran towards them, one staggered to his feet with blood streaming from his hands, several of his fingers having been torn away; but the other lay where he had fallen and, on reaching him, Samuels found, to his horror, that both the unfortunate man?s legs had been smashed to a pulp. He did what little he could for the injured men, and then, undismayed by the fate which had befallen them, returned to his work, which he completed without mishap, though the shells continued to fall all about him. He then returned to the battery, but about 2.30 that afternoon, when a successful assault was delivered on another line of the enemy?s trenches, he and Captain Lee-Warner, the officer commanding the 9th Battery, who was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Order, accompanied the infantry, and Samuels laid out a telephone wire from the captured trenches to the guns. About four o?clock the Rue du Bois was again fiercely shelled, and the house which was being used as the fourth observation-station of the 9th Battery was completely demolished, while the telephone wires were again cut. For the remainder of the day communication was maintained chiefly by means of electric torches from a barricade in the rear of the Rue du Bois. Of the two men who had accompanied Samuels to repair the wires, the ones whose legs had been shattered died of his injuries, but the other recovered and also received the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Bombardier Samuels, who is twenty-six years of age, is a Londoner, his home being at Rotherhithe. Extracted from "Deed That Thrill The Empire"
COLLINGWOOD DICKSON (Brevet Lieut. -Colonel, now General, G.C.B.) Royal Artillery General Sir Collingwood Dickson son of the late Major-General Sir A. Dickson, G.C.B., was born on November 20th 1817. Educated at R.M.A., Woolwich. Entered R.A., 1835, and was promoted Captain 1846; Brevet Lieut. ?Colonel 1854; Colonel, June 1855; General, October 1877; Inspector-General of Artillery 1870-75; colonel Commandant R.A., 1875. Retired in 1885.
ANDREW HNERY (Sergeant Major, afterwards Captain, Land Transport Corps) Royal Artillery A the battle of Inkerman on November 5th 1854, sergeant-Major Henry displayed great bravery in defending the guns of his battery against overwhelming numbers of the enemy, during which he was terribly wounded. His undaunted courage is thus referred to in Kinglake?s Crimea-
?When the foremost of the enemy?s troops had so closely surrounded Henry?s guns as to be already but a few paces off, they charged in with loud shouts, undertaking to bayonet the gunners; but by Henry himself, and one at least of his people, they were encountered with desperate valour. Henry called upon the men to defend the gun. He and a valiant gunner named James Taylor drew their swords and stood firm. The throng of the Russians came closing in, very many of them for some reason bareheaded, and numbers of them, in the words of a victim, ?howling like mad dogs.? Henry with his left wrested a bayonet from one of the Russians and found means to throw the man down, fighting hard all the time with his sword arm against some of his other assailants. Soon both Henry and Taylor were closed in upon from all sides and bayoneted again and again, Taylor then receiving his death wounds. Henry received in his chest the up-thrust of a bayonet, delivered with such power as to lift him almost from the ground, and at the same time he was stabbed in the back and stabbed in the arms. Then, from loss of blood, he became unconscious, but the raging soldiery, inflamed by religion, did not cease from stabbing his heretic body. He received twelve wounds, yet survived.? Andrew Henry ?rose from the ranks? to Lieutenant in the Artillery, May 15th 1855. Becoming Captain six months later. Possessed four clasps for the Crimea in addition to the Sultan?s medal.
MATTHEW CHARLES DIXON (Captain, now Major General, retired) Royal Artillery Knight of the Legion of Honour Colonel Dixon was in command of a battery before Sebastopol, on April 17th 1855. On the afternoon of that date, during a terrible cannonade, a shell fom the enemy blew up his magazines, destroyed the parapet, killed and wounded ten men, dismounted or otherwise disabled five guns, and covered a sixth with earth. One solitary gun remained. With this he encouraged and helped his few remaining men to open fire on the enemy, keeping it in action, working as a gunner himself, until the sun went down, and being all the time (some seven hours) exposed to the concentrated fire of the enemy?s line of batteries. Major-General Dixon, son of General Matthew Dixon, R.E., was born at Avranches in Brittany in 1821. Educated R.M.A., Woolwich. Joined the R.A. on March 19th 1839; became Captain 1848; Major 1855; colonel 1860, and Major General 1869.
GEORGE SYMONS (Lieutenant, 5th Battalion Military Train) (Late Sergeant Royal Artillery)
THOMAS ARTHUR (Gunner and Driver) Royal Artillery
DANIEL CAMBRIDGE (Sergeant) Royal Artillery
GRONOW DAVIS (Captain, afterwards Major General) Royal Artillery Captain Davis, son of Dr. Davis, at one time house physician at St. Peter?s Hospital, was born at Bristol May 16th 1828. Educated by Mr. Exley, of Cotham, and at Bishop?s College (a school with preceded Clifton college), he passed direct into the Royal Academy, Woolwich, joining the royal Artillery, June 1847; became Lieutenant1848; Captain 1855; Major 1857; Lieut. ?Colonel 1868; Colonel 1876, Major General 1881. Served through the Crimean War from July 6th 1855, including the siege and fall of Sebastopol and battle of Tchernaya, obtaining medal and clasp, 5th class Medjidie, Turkish Medal, and Brevet of Major. For five years was Inspector of the Auxiliary Forces of the Western District, and represented the Council of the Primrose League for many years at Clifton, where he died on October 18th 1891.
CHRISTOPHER CHARLES TEESDALE (Lieutenant, afterwards Major General, K.C.M.G.) Royal Artillery Knight of the Legion of Honour The enemy had forced their way into the redoubt, whereupon he flung himself into their midst, and so encouraged the garrison by his splendid example, that, after a hard struggle, the Russians were driven out and the position saved from capture. During the crisis of the action, when the fury of the Russian fire was such that the Turkish artillerymen were driven from the guns, he rallied them, and, by his gallant conduct and leading, induced them to return to their post. He led the final charge, which completed the victory for the day, and afterwards, at a terrible risk to himself, flung himself among several infuriated Turkish soldiers and prevented them from killing wounded Russians lying outside the works. This marvellous act of humanity and courage was witnessed, and gratefully acknowledged, by the Russian Commander, General Mouravieff. Son of Lieut. ?General H. G. Teesdale, he was born on June 1st 1883, entered the Royal Artillery 1851, and served as A.D.C. to Sir Fenwick Williams, at Kars and Erzeroun, in 1854. Was also Colonel in the Turkish army and received the second class Medjidie. Had been, since 1890, Master of the Ceremonies to the Queen. He entered the army in 1851, becoming Captain 188; Brevet-Major 1858; Major 1862; Lieut. ?Colonel 1868; colonel 1877; and attained the rank of Major General on April 22nd 1887. He died at Bognor on November 1st 1893.
FRANCIS CORNWALLIS MAUDE (Captain, afterwards Colonel, C.B.) Royal Artillery He was entrusted with the terrible duty of blowing the mutineers from the guns, when that drastic and frightful punishment was meted out to the murderers of our helpless women and children. Sir James Outram, in his report, referring to the splendid conduct of Captain Maude during the relief says, ?This attack appeared to him to indicate no reckless foolhardy daring, but the calm heroism of a true soldier, who fully appreciates the difficulties and dangers of the task he has undertaken, and that, but for Captain Maude?s nerve and coolness on this trying occasion, the army could not have advanced.? Born in October 1828, Colonel Maude was the son of Captain the Honourable Francis Maude, R.N. After retiring from the service, was Consul-General at Warsaw from 1876 to 1886. He died at Windsor Castle, of which he was a Military Knight, on October 19th 1900.
FREDERICK MILLER (Major, afterwards Lieut. ?Colonel) Royal Artillery Knight of The Legion of Honour At Inkerman, November 5th 1854, the Russians had surrounded a battery, driving part of one of our infantry Regiments through it. Major Miller, however, afterwards personally attacked three Russians, and led his men in charging the occupants of the battery, successfully preventing them from doing any damage to the guns. Entered the Royal Artillery in December 1848, and became Captain in April 1855.
JOSEPH BRENNAN (Bombardier) Royal Artillery Decorated for great bravery at the assault of Jhansi on April 3rd 1858. He brought up two guns of the Hyderabad Contingent, manned by natives, from a position open to a heavy fire from the enemy, and directed them so well that Sepoys were forced to abandon their battery.
WILLIAM TEMPLE (Assist-Surgeon,
now Brigade-surgeon, B.A., M.B., L.R.C.S.I., Retired) Royal
Associated with Lieutenant Pickard (V.C.), in most nobly exposing
his life at Rangiriri, New Zealand, on November 20th 1863, to
render assistance to Captain Mercer, R.A., and others who had fallen
wounded in the assault on the Maori stronghold.
To reach them he was obliged to cross the entrance of the Keep,
upon which the enemy were concentrating a terrific fire. Born
on November 7th 1833, son of the late William Temple, M.D.,
of Monaghan. Educated
privately and at Trinity College, Dublin Entered the Army 1858.
Has served in the Taranaki (New Zealand) Campaign 1860-1, and in
that in which he won the Victoria Cross.
Was present at the actions of Teairei and Rangeawhia.
ARTHUR FREDERICK PICKARD (Lieutenant, afterwards Colonel, C.B.) Royal Artillery On November 20th 1863, during the assault at Rangiriri, New Zealand, Captain Mercer, R.A., and many other officers and men were wounded, and lying in an exposed position. Lieutenant Pickard and Surgeon Temple (V.C.), in imminent danger of their lives, crossed the entrance of the Maori Keep, a point upon which the enemy had concentrated their fire, and rendered great assistance to the injured. Lieutenant Pickard crossed and recrossed the parapet, exposed all the while to a heavy cross fire, to procure water for them, when none of the other men could be induced to perform this service, and testimony id borne to the calmness displayed by him, and also by surgeon Temple, under the trying circumstances in which they were placed.
WILLIAM GEORGE NICHOLAS MANLEY (Assistant-Surgeon, afterwards Surgeon-General, C.B.) Royal Artillery On April 29th 1864, at the attack on the Maori Pah near Tauranga, New Zealand, Surgeon Manley risked his life in a most noble manner in an endeavour to save that of Commander Hay, R.N., and others. He volunteered to accompany the storming party into the stronghold, and when (as is stated in the record of Samuel Mitchell, V.C.) the mortally wounded officer was carried away, he attended to him, and afterwards volunteered to return to see if he could find any more requiring assistance. The natives were swarming around at the time, keeping up a heavy fire, and Surgeon Manley was one of the last to quit the place. Surgeon-General Manley, son of the Rev. Wm. Nicholas Manley, was born in Dublin, in 1831. Served through the Crimean War 1854-5; Afghan War 1878-9; Egyptian War 1882, taking part in the battle of Tel-el-Kebir (3rd Class Osmanieh), retiring 1884. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, accompanied the British Ambulance, and for his devotion to the wounded and unflinching courage on all occasions received the thanks of the Prussian General in command of the division to which he was attached. For his devoted conduct during the action at Chateauneuf and Bretoncelles, and at Orleans and Cravant, he was granted the Steel War Medal and 2nd Class of the Iron Cross. He also obtained the Bavarian Order of Merit, and possessed the R.H.S. Medal, for saving the life of a man of the R.A., who had fallen overboard in the Waitotara River, New Zealand on July 21st 1865.
ALBERT SMITH (Gunner) Royal Artillery On January 17th 1885, the Soudanese broke our square, and the soldiers were compelled to fall back slightly. By this a gun was left in a comparatively unprotected position, and a native rushed at Lieutenant Guthrie, who was in command of it, and who, at that moment was superintending its working. Being unarmed, he would certainly have been speared had not Smith warded off the blow with a handspike, which momentary diversion gave the officer time to draw his sword and by a blow bring the Soudanee to the ground. In falling, however the savage cut at him with a long knife, which Smith again warded off, not however, in time to prevent the infliction of a severe wound in the officer?s thigh. The native was then killed by Smith, but Lieutenant Guthrie died a few days afterwards from his wound.
HAMILTON LYSTER REED (Captain) 7th Battery, Royal Field Artillery The Victoria Cross was awarded to Captain Reed for his conspicuous bravery during heroic attempt to save the guns at Colenso, December 15th 1899, and a detailed account of the affair will be found in the record of Captain Congreve (V.C.). Captain Reed, son of Sir Andrew Reed, K.C.B., C.V.O., late inspector-General Royal Irish Constabularly, was borne on May 23rd 1869, and after graduating at Woolwich, entered the Royal artillery February 17th 1888, becoming Captain in 1898. During the Boer War was, at first, Adjutant of Brigade division R.F.A. and later D.A.A.G. on the Staff of the G.O.C. Orange River Colony. Took part in the operations in Natal, including action at Colenso, where he gained the Victoria Cross, the relief of Ladysmith, actions of Spion Kop, Vaalkranz, Tugela Heights, Pieter?s Hill, Laing?s Nek, Belfast and Lydenburg. Was presented with the Victoria Cross at Ladysmith on March 4th 1900, by Sir Redvers Buller, V.C.
HARRY NORTON SCHOFIELD (Captain, now Major) Royal Field Artillery The act for which Captain Schofield was awarded the Victoria Cross is given in greater detail in the record of Captain Congreve, together with whom and Lieutenant Roberts, Cosporal Nurse and Captain Reed he made a heroic attempt to save the guns at Colenso, December 15th 1899. Born on January 29th 1865, Major Scholfield entered the Royal Artillery Febraury 15th 1884, becoming Captain February 1893, and Major February 1900. He was in the first instance, gazetted to the Order for distinguished service, but, in the Gazette of August 30th 1901-nearly two years after his brave conduct at Colenso-the bronze Victoria Cross was substituted for that of the Gold Cross of the D.S.O.
GEORGE EDWARD NURSE (Corporal, now Sergeant) 66th Battery, Royal Field Artillery The heroic action in which Corporal Nurse gained the Victoria Cross is described in the account given of Captain Congreve, with whom he was associated in attempting the rescue of the guns at Colenso. In addition to the first battle on the Tugela, he has fought almost through the whole four Colonies, from Durban on the east to Majeking (Releif) on the northwest. Born at Enniskillen, Ireland April 14th 1873, and son of Charles Nurse, of Cobo Hotel, Guernsey. After undergoing a course of higher-class education at the Chamberlain Academy, Guernsey joined the Royal Artillery, enlisting at St. George?s Barracks, London, January 6th 1892; served in Ireland till May 1879, proceeding to South Africa with his unit, which was commanded on ?Black Friday,? December 15th 1899, by Major W. foster, under Colonel Long, with General Hildyard in brigade command. His Cross-was presented to him at Ladysmith by General Sir Redevers Buller, V.C., under whose supreme command it was so nobly gained.
F. G. BRADLEY (Driver) 69th Battery Royal Field Artillery The oprations during the latter part of the Boer War were estended even into Zululand (where so many Crosses were won in 1879), and a sharp action was fought at Itala, on September 26th 1901. Ammunition was running short among those posted at the top of a steep hill, and, to get the necessary supply to them involving great risk of life, Major Chapman called for volunteers for the work. Driver ancashire and Gunner Bull instantly answered to the call and started across the open space of about one hundred and fifty yards, swept by a pitiless fire. Half-way across, Lancashire was shot, and fell, whereupon Bradley and Gunner Raab rushed out from their cover, and carried him under shelter. Bradley then started in his turn and endeavoured to carry up the ammunition, succeeding with the help of Gunner Boddy in accomplishing the task. Lancashire, Bull, Rabb and Boddy, for their brave services were awarded the medal for distinguished Conduct in the Field.
THOMAS WILKINSON (Bombardier) Royal Marine Artillery Knight of the Legion of Honour Thomas Wilkinson was specially recommended for his brave conduct on June 5th 1855. He was in the advanced batteries, and when the breast-work was much injured by the Russian Artillery, most courageously repaired it under a very galling fire. He died at York on September 22nd 1877.
GEORGE DARE DOWELL (Lieutenant, now Lieut. ?Colonel) Royal Marine Artillery An explosion took place on a rocket boat belonging to the Arrogant at the naval attack on the forts near Viborg on July 13th 1855. Lieutenant Dowell was at the time on board the Ruby. Springing into one of her boats, with three volunteers, he pulled to the assistance of the damaged boat?s crew, the Russians directing a heavy fire of grape and musketry upon them. In spite of this, Lieutenant Dowell rescued three men and took them on to the Ruby, and pulling back to the cutter, kept her afloat until she could be towed into safety. Lieutenant Dowell was born on February 15th 1831, at Chichester, and joined the Royal Marine Artillery on June 25th 1848; was promoted First Lieutenant October 6th 1851; Captain September 22nd 1859; Brevet-Major September 17th 1861; Brevet-Lieut. -Colonel April 23rd 1872. Took part in the action with the Russian batteries at Hangorhead, May 22nd 1854. During the Baltic Expedition 1855, was present at the actions of June 18th, 23rd and 30th, on which latter date thirty vessels were destroyed; at Lovisa July 5th, when the Government houses were burnt; and at the shelling of a Cossack encampment and destruction of their barracks on July 10th and 12th respectively.
JAMES HILLS (Lieutenant, now Lieut. ?General Sir James-Hills Jones, G.C.B.) Royal (Bengal) Artillery This distinguished officer was the second gazetted for the protracted and trying siege of Delhi, which was invested shortly after the outbreak at Meerut on May 10th, and only captured, on September 20th, after seven days of hard fighting, day and night. On July 9th 1857, Lieutenant Hills was placed in command of two guns of his battery in a specially selected and dangerous position to be ready at a moment?s notice to move to any given point in case of a sortie by the garrison, or to repel outside attack, or an attempt to raise the siege. Here this young officer, then hardly twenty-four, was attacked, frequently, by cavalry at close quarters, on each occasion defending the post more gallantly, being aided by his commanding officer, Major late Major-General-Sir Henry Tombs, V.C., K.C.B. The following is his own account of another incident on the same day, when the late Sir Henry Tombs, for which the latter was awarded the Victoria Cross, heroically saved his life. The official despatch of Lieutenant Colonel MacKenzie to Brigadier Wilson reporting the bravery of Lieutenant Hills and Major Tombs is given in the record of the latter officer ?I thought that by charging them I might make a commotion, and give the gun time to load, so in I went at the front rank, cut down the first fellow, slashed the next across the face as hard as I could, when two Sowars charged me. Both their horses crashed into mine at the same moment, and, of course, both horse and myself were sent flying. We went down at such a pace that I escaped the cuts made at me, one of them giving my jacket an awful slice just below the left arm; it only, however, cut the jacket. Well, I lay quite snug until all had passed over me, and then got up and looked about for my sword. I found it full ten yards off. I had hardly got hold of it when three fellows returned, two on horseback. The first I wounded, and dropped him from his horse. The second charged me with a lance. I put it aside and caught him an awful gash on the head and face. I thought I had killed him. Apparently he must have clung to his horse, for he disappeared. The wounded men then came up, but got his skull split. Then came on the third man-a young active fellow. I found myself getting very weak from want of breath, the fall from my horse having pumped me considerably; and my cloak, somehow or other, had got tightly fixed round my throat, and was actually choking me. I went, however, at the fellow, and cut him on the shoulder, but some cloth on it apparently turned the blow. He managed to seize the hilt of my sword, and twisted it out of my hand, and then we had a hand-to-hand fight, I punching his head with my fists, and he trying to cut me, but I was too close to him. Somehow or other I fell, and then was the time, fortunately for me, that Tombs came up and shot the fellow. I was so choked by my cloak that move I could not until I got loosened. By the bye, I forgot to say that I fired at this chap twice, but the pistol snapped, and I was so enraged I drove it at the fellow?s head, missing him however.? Lieut. ?General Sir James Hills-Johnes, son of the late James Hills, of Neechindipore, Bengal, was born on August 20th 1833. After the Indian Mutiny he served in Abyssinia 1868, and the Looshai Expedition 1871; in 1880 was military Governor of Cabul; commanded the 3rd Division Field Force in Northern Afghanistan 1879-1880; took part, during Afghan War, in actions of Kurrum Valley, Charasiab, Padkoa Valley, and received thanks of Houses of Parliament for his services. Retired 1888.
Tug of War Teams of the Western Division Royal Artillery
Left : Team of Nos. 3 and 19 Companies
Right : Light-Weight Team of No. 14 Company
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