Hide Articles List

17 articles on this Page

Abergavenny Children Entertained.

The " Abergavenny Chronicle…


[No title]



I j Abergavenny Stock Market.

; Amateur Dramatic Performance

Mr. and Mrs. Vyvian Thomas,I



[No title]




EXPERIENCES AT THE FRONT. I INTERVIEWS WITH LOCAL SOLDIERS I Our representative has had interviews with two Abergavenny soldiers who have. been in- valided home from the frontâPte. Alfred Little, of the ist Devons; and Pte. Reuben Hughes, of the 3rd Batt. S. W. B. Pte. Little will be remembered by Aberga- venny people as a member of our local police force. He was a reservist of the ist Devons, with whom he had served I I years, six years of which were spent in India and Burmah. On mobilisation he rejoined his old regiment. Pte. Little left Southampton on August 19th, but as the regiment had to wait at St. Helier, Jersey, for a number of the men, they did not arrive in France in time to take part in the earlier engage- ments. It was during the advance that they came up with the British Army, and their first experience of fighting was at Yilliers, on the Aisne, where they were in the trenches for three weeks at a stretch without being relieved. It was at Yilliers that Pte. Little was hit in the back by shrapnel, as a result of which he spent five weeks in hospital at Havre. At the end of this time he returned to the firing line again, and had been there about 17 days when lie was again hit by shrapnel, almost in the same place. He again paid a visit to the base hospital, and was afterwards invalided home. When he was examined, the medical men wanted to know how it was that lie was not sent home before. Pte. Little could not be got to say much about his own experiences, but was read y enough to praise the- work of others. He d'd, however, mention one exciting experience he had when lie was 'carryin?? tN%- he was carrying two tins of tea across to the trenches and one was knocked out of his hand bv shrapnel. He said that the N.C.O's of the C Company, to which he belonged, were deserving of the greatest praise. They were always to the fore and were ever ready to do dangerous work which they would not ask the men to do. For instance they put parapets upon th etrenches under heavy fire. Pte. Little had also a good I word to say of Capt. Harris, who with a sergeant and a couple of men went out one night under heavy shell fire to fix up barbed wire entangle- ments, in anticipation of an attack by the Germans. The most fearless of all, however, was the regimental doctor, who showed the utmost contempt of danger and would go out to attend to the wounded while shrapnel was flying all around. Old campaigners said they had never seen anything to equal the doctor's bravery, and if any man earned the V.C. it was this self-sacrificing hero who at last was killed by the explosion of a shell while bandaging a man who had been seriously wounded. The bandsmen, who acted as stretcher-bearers, were also very brave fellows, and however heavy the shell fire was they would go out to rescue the wounded. Pte. Little said he did not think there were more than about 200 left of his battalion of 1,300. They lost about 40 the first day they were in action, and there was no sign of the enemy. He had an experience of a night attack by Germans on two occasions. On both occasions the attack was repulsed and each man fired 700 rounds of ammunition each night. The Germans, considered Pte. Little, were cowards, but their snipers were marvellous. Their firing from haystacks or trees was very deadly, and they would pop anyone off who showed himself. The erstwhile policeman had a good word to say for the work of our artillery at the front. The Germans shelled the British severely on September 26th and 27th, but our artillery replied to them very effectively. It was our artillery which saved us," said Pte. Little, who added, It was John Bull's day." Questioned as to German spies, Pte. Little said that one was discovered out in a field, disguised as a farm labourer, and lie was ob- served to be sending signals with a pitchfork and with his arms. Our Tommies gave him a rough time before he was handed over to be court martialled. About 700 Germans were captured by the Devons. One of them was from Pte. Little's own county of Devonshire. He said the Germans were glad they were captured, and added, We shall get better grub now than what we have been having, and we hope it will soon be over." Pte. Little said the food served out to our troops was very good. We had jam, bacon, cheese and bully beef for breakfast, and hot tea first thing every morning. We were always prepared for emergencies, and carried food in our haversacks. I never went hungry while I was out there." Our representative questioned Pte. Little as to the rum rations issued to the troops, and lie said the men were indignant one day when they saw in an English newspaper of a speaker at a meeting advocating the abolition of the rum ration. The ration, said Pte. Little, was only a tablespoonful every night, and he could say that it was very acceptable and much appre- ciated by the men. He smiled at the idea that this small tot was injurious to the men or detrimental to their efficiency. Though a number of letters and parcels sent out to him went astray, he received a parcel from Mrs. Corfield, The Knoll, at Christ- mas; a box of cigarettes from Mr. Basil Evans, and a parcel from the police force. Pte. Little left Abergavenny on Thursday in last week for Crediton, where on the estate of the late General Sir Redvers Buller a camp has been formed. He is looking forward to getting back among his pals once more, and is much disappointed at being put out of action twice. Borderer's Exciting Experiences. Pte. Reuben Hughes, of the 1st Batt. South Wales Borderers, was unfortunate in his ex- periences at the front, and he was wounded before he saw very much serious fighting. He is now recuperating at his home at 36, West- bourne Place, Pant-lane. He went out on the 27th October, and first came into action at Ypres. Here matters were very quiet during his stay, and there was nothing of any interest to record. They were afterwards transferred to La Bassee on the 21st December, and were ordered to regain at any cost some trenches which had been lost. The battalion advanced in the day time, which was an unusual thing to do. The condition of the ground was so bad that he got stuck in the mud up to the waist, and thought he was never going to get out of it. However, two of the Indians, who were acting as supports, came to his rescue and dug him out. Soon afterwards he got wounded in the arm with a bullet. If he had not been put out of action, he told our representative, he would have been of little use with his rifle, which was wet and covered with mud. All he could have done would have been to "go in and punch them. It was about three o'clock in the afternoon when Pte. Hughes was wounded, and he had an exciting experience afterwards. He lay down in the mud till night time, with the rain pelting down and a cold wind blowing which nearly starved him to death. The shell fire was so terrific that he was afraid to move, and he could hear the bullets and shrapnel whizzing all round. I never witnessed anything like it in my life," he said. Every now and again as the clouds obscured the moon he made a dash towards safety. While running as hard as he was able he fell in a large hole made in the ground by a Jack Johnson," and thought he would be drowned in the water and the mud. Two Indians picked him out, however, and he eventually reached safety and was sent to I hospital, first at l,a Bassee, then at Bethune, and afterwards at Havre, where he arrived on Christmas morning. I On one occasion Pte. Hughes got left behind, and it was four days before he came across his battalion again. He fell in with a Highland regiment, and spent 48 hours with them. The weather was very bad, he said, and he was not warm all the time he was out there except when they were on route marches. The grub," however, was very good. Speaking of the rum ration, he said he never drank rum when at home, but out at the front he could appreciate it and it was a great comfort to the men in the miserable conditions to which they were sub- jected. You feel a different man after the dose of rum," he said, and you fight all the better for it. Some people who talk about rum seem to think that each man is given a bottle to himself. But they don't give you enough to get drunk on. The ration is only a table-  spoonful." I In a village near Vpres Pte. Hughes saw King I George and the Prince of Wales, and General French addressed the men, and paid a high I compliment to their battalion. 1 He returns to duty in a week's time. r TO OUR READERS. Our representative will be glad to hear of other returned soldiers who have interesting experiences to relate. We shall also be pleased to publish interesting extracts from letters sent from the front.