Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

10 articles on this Page



--_.----__---SWANSEA'S NEW…

[No title]





VOLUNTEER MANOEUVRES AT MINEHEAD. INTERESTING NIGHT ATTACK ON THE THIRD GLAMORGAN. A BRILLIANT FIELD DAY. LEy OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.] The volunteer manwuvres at Minehead last week were the more instructive because they were one organic whole. Wednesday's sham fight, which was described in last week's issue, had left the raiding force from Porlock in pos- session of North Hill, and here they bivouacked on the Thursday, the defending force having re- tired on Grabbist Hill, some three and a half miles distant, where they occupied a st ongly entrenched position. To the Third Glamorgan fell the duty of sendnig out a line of outposts along the right flank ot the invading force. The extreme right of the actual outpost line rested on a village called Bratton, which was advan- tageously situated, and, from the left outpost, occupying a position at the cross roads on the main highway between Porlock and Minehead, an imaginary line extended northward in a semi- circle until it rested on the sea, an object which could not be turned by any attack from the de fending army. Thursday had been a bard day for the men of the Third, bat there was a novelty and an atmo- sphere ot adventure about a night attack that made everyone anxious to take part in it, and those who had to remain in camp were disap- pointed. Twilight was falling when some 150 men left camp, under Major Langdon, to take up their posts. Delicate clouds of crimson and gold were dotted here and there on the sky-line, and the heather on the mountain slopes took a richer purple and the ferns a deeper green. The companies of infantry looked very pretty march- ing down the hillside into a little dell with a wooded slope on the one Fide and the camp hill on the other, their crimson and white uniforms standiug out in relief against the purple and green of the hillside. The popular adjutant, Captain Forbes, went with the outposts, with the result that admirable positions were occupied by each unit detailed for the duty. By 10 o'clock the picquets were in possession of Bratton and Perriton and the cross-roads near Woodcombe. The night was pitch dark, for the moon had not yet risen, and a silence reigned over country lanes, broken now and then by the weird cry of the owl, by an officer's whistle signalling some command, and by the tramp of the armed patrols that kept up the connection between Major Lang- don's picquet on the left, Lieut. Francis's picquet in the centre, and Lieut. Harries's picquet on the right. From each of these three strong picquets reconnoitring patrols were sent out to the front as well to gather information concerning the enemy, and in the rear Major J. E. Thomas was in command of well-posted supports, the reserves remaining in camp. From the hills on either side the signallers flashed their lamps to establish communication with headquarters, and all along the front a sharp look-out was kept for the enemy, who were represented by the Brigade cyclists. It was a difficult enemy to watch, for the cyclists, especially on a reconnaisance in force, such as Thursday night's was, invariably prove them- selves an enterprising and resourceful lot. Pre- cautions were therefore taken to prevent the patrols and picquets being rushed without warn- ing. The fight was timed to commence at 10.30 p.m., and a friendly moon emerging a few minutes before that hour from a bank of clouds, revealed to the front patrols on the main road to Minehead, the light grey uniforms of the 3rd Glamorgan and the 2nd Somerset Cyclists, under Lieut. Bertie Perkins, close at hand, creeping up cautiously under the shadows of the hedgerows, all lamps out, and all wheels moving noiselessly along. A few dropping shots from the patrols, who imme- mediately fell back on the picquets, indicated that the enemy had been sighted, and simulta- neously the three picquetsbecame engaged. "Enemy attacking in force" was the signal flashed to the Brigade headquarters. A second later the bugles sounded the alarm on the heights above, and all the battalions turned ont on parade to await orders with a promptitude and soldierly conduct that drew admiration from the Quarter- master-General, Sir George White (formerly commander of he troops in India), who happened to be the guest of th9 2nd Somerset officers that night, and who witnessed the whole of the opera- tions. i Meanwhile, all the outposts had been brought into action; On the main road under Lieutenant Perkins, at Bratton under Lieut. Bishop, and at Perriton under Captain James, the cyclists pushed back first the patrols and then the picquets upon their supports, a.nd volleys, regular and correct, were exchanged on either side. By the time the supports were attacked, however, the reserves had come out from camp, and the attacking force had to retire, the attempt to rush the raiders' encampment by night having thna proved unsuc- cessful owing to the watchful pa,trols and picquets. It was past midnight when the Third Glamorgan returned to camp, hungry and tired, but no lunger cold, after the cliinb to the summit of North Hill. The experience had been a usefui and instructive one, giving officers and men an insight into the posting of outpost?, reconnoitr- ing to the front, and patrolling to the right and the left to keep up communications. The sig- nallers, also, did excellent work, sending their messages quickly and correctly to the Brigade headquarters, and altogether the Third Glamorgan behaved splendidly during the nigat attack. FRIDAY'S SHAM FIGHT AND REVIEW. None the sleepier for their midnight brash with the enemy, the 3rd G.V.R. turned out smartly when reveillee sounded at 4.30 a.m. on Friday, with the expectation of another hard day before them. Having, in supposition, but nearly in actuality, been on duty ail night, the Third Glamorgan, at the outset of Friday's field day, naturally marched at the rear of the Brigade. The 3rd V.B. Welsh Regiment, who under the command of Col. Ciesswell, constituted the defending (or English) army from Taunton, left camp earlier and proceeded to Dunster and Grabbist Hill with entrenching tools, two days' supplies, &c., with orders to entrench themselves as strongly as possible on Grabbist Hill. The reconnaisance which the cyclists made on the previous night had enabled them to ascertain the strength and position of the raiders who had landed at Porlock on Tuesday, and the Taunton Army fell back on Grabbist Hill with orders to hold it at all costs. The cyclists left camp early with instructions to clear Minehead of the enemy's troops and force them back beyond Dunster, a duty which, as the day's events showed, they admirably performed. The march out of the raiding force from their encampment on North Hill was very interesting. Marching, as they were supposed to be, through enemy's country, they had to throw out advance and rear guards, and in the front two troops of the Somersetshire Yeomanry furnished a cavalry screen reconnoitring towards the enemy's position at Grabbist Hill. The 1st V.B. Welsh Regiment furnishe-l the advance guard and the column that wound in long snake-like formation down the frteep hill-sides, across fields and through narrow country lanes, consisted of the 1st Gloucester, the Third Somerset and the Third Glamorgan. The Swansea regiment came at the rear, having borne the brunt of the night's work, and they found the rear guard, while the 2nd Somersets were told off to make a flank attack on the enemy's right. From North Hill, with a pair of good glasses, we could distinguish diminutive uniformed men, with now and then an officer's sword gleaming in the hot sun, climbing up the steep flopes of the distant Perriton Hill, whose summit adjoins the undulating slopes of Grabbist. Far out in the front the cavalry screen reconnoitred, and as soon as the column came under the fire of the enemy's artillery, represented by the Cardiff maxim gun, the battalions deployed into long, thin lines stretching, wave after wave, across the hills. The cavalry now withdrew behind the front firing line, formed by the 1st Welsh, and the latter no sooner came within range of the enemy than they opened fire. Crossing from North Hill to the Perriton slopes I was in time to see some splendid work by the 1st Welsh as they advanced in rushes of half companies, finding good cover from the rapid musketry fire of the defenders in the undulating nature of the ground. When still some distance from the entrenchments which the main body of the defenders held, the 1st Welsh halted, and the 3rd Somersets and the 1st Gloucester passed through and took up the attack on the enemy's position. At that moment the flank attack was prettily developed. The enemy's outposts were seen retiring up Grabbist Hill towards their main body before the fire of the 2nd Somersets, who, establishing themselves on Penny Hill under cover of a wood, poured effective volleys into the enemy's position on the height. As the raiding force came nearer to the position it seemed all the more unassailable. It was rendered advantageous by natnre and white tape further indicated that it was strongly entrenched. Its flanks were inaccessible to a storming party. It was on the last spur of the mountain, and between it and the right flank of the attacking force was a little hollow, to venture into which was assuredly certain annihilation for any army. The companies of the 3rd Welsh were arranged under good cover in a sort of paiterre formation, and they returned fire hotly. Towards the end the fight grew warm volleys became independent firing the Third Glamorgan passing through the 1st Welsh now took up its position in the second line, ready, if occasion offered, to become the firing front; and the frontal attack proceeded merrily and rapidly. The bugles sounded the charge and the long line grew thicker as the men came on with a hoarse shout through the smoke. The Maxim gun was disabled at this point and they were met with only musketry fire; but the 3rd Welsh made a. counter charge down the hill and when the two armies were still thirsting for each other's blood the cease fire sounded the termination of a pretty and instructive sham fight which the Quarter- Master General (Sir George White) had watched from Grabbist Hill with tbe keenest interest and appreciation. THE MARCH PAST. After the sham fight the Severn Brigade marched through the picturesque village of Dunster into Dunster Park, where the review was to take place on the extensive lawn. The spectacle here was a brilliant one. Hundreds of carriages lined the row of flags and from the wooded slopes thousands of spectators, brought to Dunster from all parts, had assembled to witness the last ceremonial of the Minehead Volunteer Camp. Behind the lawn rose Dunster Castle amidst thick foliage, a stately Elizabethan pile that overlooks park, hill and coast for miles around. This castle, with its predecessor, of which only a ruined tower remains, rising above the foliage on another mound, has been the ancestral home of the Luttrell" sines the reign of Edward III. On the large flat lawn the regiments were served with refreshments, and after a rest the bugles sounded fir-t for Brigade markers and then the fall in. The regiments had soon marched on their markers and formed in line of quarter columns facing the saluting base. As Sir George White rode on the ground the general salute was given so quickly and simultaneously that the movement could hardly be seen. The march past followed. First came the Bristol Rifles in dark, unpicturesque uniforms; but in unbroken lines and even column. The 3rd Welsh followed, much brighter in colour, and then the dull grey uniforms of the 2nd and 3rd Somersets went by, the spectators, naturally applauding their county representatives. As Major Langdon's company of the 3rd Glamorgan went by, as straight as a wall, with the other companies following in good formation, the spectators raised another clap and the 1st V.B. Welsh brought up the rear of the columns. Then came the cyclists, the Somersets and the smartly- uniformed men of the Third Glamorgan again coming in for the lion's share of the applause. Returning in quarter column, all the regiments were applauded, and it was generally remarked amongst the spectators that the review was not only brilliant from the spectacular point ot view, but that it was a credit to the volunteer forces a.nd to the popular Severn Brigadier, General Patton. After the review the regiments marched back to the camp at North Hill, their hard week's work finished. The 1st V.B. Welsh struck camp on Friday night, and the remainder left on Saturday morning, each departing regiment being heartily cheered as it left the town.

[No title]


---------_._---NOTES & NOTIONS.…