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MessagePosté le: Lun 19 Juin - 12:38 (2017)    Sujet du message: MONS, ANZAC AND KUT By AUBREY HERBERT Download Epub Mobi Pd Répondre en citant



We were met by a Colonel of the French Reserves, a weak and ineffective man, two Boy Scouts, and a semi-idiotic interpreter. We shed this man as soon as we were given our own two excellent interpreters. We had no wood to cook the men’s dinners, and I was sent off with Jumbo and a hundred men to see what I could find. A French corporal came reluctantly with us. We marched a mile, when we found an English quartermaster at a depot, who let us requisition a heap of great faggots, which we carried back. After breakfast I was sent with Hickie to arrange for billeting the men. Hickie rode a bicycle and lent me his horse, which was the most awful brute I have ever mounted in any country. It walked ordinarily like a crab; when it was frightened it walked backwards, and it was generally frightened. It would go with the troop, but not alone, and neither whip nor reins played any part in guiding the beast. Hickie couldn’t ride it. Some French soldiers threw some stones at it and hit me. Finally we got a crawling cab, then a motor, and went off about 11 kilometres to the Café des Fleurs, where the camp was to be. It was a piping hot day. We got a house for the Colonel and Desmond belonging to Monsieur Saville, who said he was a friend of Mr. Yoxall, M.P. He had a very jolly arbour, where we dined. In the afternoon the troops came marching up the steep hill in great heat. Hickie and I found a man rather drunk, with a very hospitable Frenchman. The Frenchman said: “We have clean sheets and a well-aired bed, coffee, wine or beer for him, if he desires them.” There was no question about the man’s desiring them. Hickie almost wept, and said: “How can you keep an army together if they are going to be treated like this?” The sun had been delightful in the morning at Le Havre, but was cruel on the troops, especially on the Reservists, coming up the long hill. The French had been very hospitable. They had given the men, where they had been able to do so free of observation, wine, coffee and beer. The result was distressing. About twenty of the men collapsed at the top of the hill in a ditch, some of them unconscious, seeming almost dying, like fish out of water. The French behaved very well, especially the women, and stopped giving them spirits. I got hold of cars and carried the men off to their various camps. Jack, Tom and I slept all right in a tent on the ground. The next day I was sent down by the Colonel with the drum-major, to buy beer for the regiment at 1s. 1d. a gallon, which seemed cheap. I met Stephen while I was buying things. He told me we were off that night, that we were to start at ten, but that we should not be entrained till 4.30. I lunched with Churchill, who very kindly tried to help me to get a horse. Long sent me back in his motor. At the camp, the Colonel complained that the beer had not come, and that the drum-major and the men had been lost. I commandeered a private motor and went back at a tremendous rate into the town, all but killing the drum-major at a corner. We had a capital dinner. M. Saville gave us excellent wine, and the Colonel told me to make him a speech. We then lay down before the march. The next camp captured a spy, but nobody paid any attention. About 10.30 we moved off. It was a warm night with faint moonlight. Coming into the town the effect was operatic. As we marched or were halted all the windows opened and the people put their heads out to try and talk to us. At about half-past eleven it began to rain, but the men whistled the Marseillaise and “It’s a long way to Tipperary.” The people came out of the houses, trying to catch the hands of the men and walking along beside them. We were halted in front of the station, and waited endlessly in the rain.






MONS, ANZAC AND KUT by AUBREY HERBERT Aubrey Herbert
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