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Thread: Nery Day

  1. #1
    Admin/Membership Secretary/Treasurer On1on's Avatar
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    Nery Day


    The Affair at Néry
    In 1914 L Battery rode into battle in support of 1st Cavalry Brigade as part of the British Expeditionary Force in the Great War. The greatest exploit in all it's history was to occur during the famous "Retreat from Mons" when the battery took part in an action, referred to as "The Affair at Néry", which was believed by many to be the turning point of that part of the 1st World War. During the action at the village of Néry, about 33 miles north-east of Paris, L Battery suffered heavy losses but fought bravely until the last gun had expended all it's ammunition and held the German 4th Cavalry Division at bay. Three Victoria Crosses were awarded to members of the battery for that action and the battery awarded the battle honor title Néry.

    On the evening of 31 August 1914, the 1st Cavalry Brigade and L Battery bivouacked in the village of Néry. The horses were mostly picketed in enclosures inside the village, and those of L Battery, as usual, tied to long ropes stretched between the parked guns and ammunition wagons. Men and horses, tired from the long marches during the retreat from Mons, slept.
    It had been intended to continue the retreat at 0430 hrs the next day, but a dense fog had formed during the night, so the move was postponed and units told to be ready at 0530hrs. The interval was used to water and feed the horses in rotation. There was a deep ravine to the east of the village and beyond, a plateau which overlooked the village. Unknown to the British, the German 4th Cavalry Division had spent the night just beyond the plateau, about two miles from Néry. German recce patrols discovered the British at first light. An immediate German attack from both flanks was ordered, to be supported by twelve guns firing from the plateau. A British cavalry patrol had in fact discovered the threat when the fog suddenly lifted and the whole village was swept by the fire of the German guns.
    The effect was devastating, men and horses, mostly in the open and closely packed together, were shot down in swathes while the wounded horses broke loose and stampeded. The scene in L Battery lines was even more terrible. Being closest to the enemy on the east side of the village the Battery received the full weight of fire from the twelve guns at a range of eight hundred yards. As the frightened horses plunged in their harnesses, the poles of the limbers embedded themselves in the ground and the horses were pinioned as they were blown to pieces by the enemy fire.
    The Battery Commander had been knocked unconscious by one of the first shells in the action. The Battery Captain, Captain EK Bradbury, and the subalterns were standing in a corner of the field when the action began and saw the Battery being shot to pieces in front of their eyes. Shouting for volunteers Bradbury raced for the guns followed by the subalterns, Sergeant D Nelson and some men and between them managed to unlimber three guns. Bradbury commanded one, Lt Gifford another and the third Lts Campbell and Munday took charge of. The ammunition had be brought through constant fire from twenty yards away and casualties began to mount. First Lt Campbell's gun had a direct hit before firing a round then Lt Giffords gun, after a few rounds, was hit with severe casualties and out of action. Bradbury's gun remained in action reinforced by some of the survivors and soon after Battery Sergeant Major GT Dorrell returning from watering the horses. The remain gun bore a charmed life and despite a constant flow of casualties, Bradbury kept in action against three hostile batteries under a thousand yards away. As the numbers dwindled Bradbury was mortally wounded bringing ammunition to the gun leaving a detachment of just BSM Dorrell and Sgt Nelson. As the available ammunition was expended the gun fell silent at last. This action allowed the 1st Cavalry Brigade to launch a counter attack forcing the Germans to retreat in disorder.
    Hailed by many as the turning point in the war against the Kaiser, the action at Néry brought honour and recognition to the Battery as Bradbury, Dorrell and Nelson were awarded the Victoria Cross and the title L(Néry) Battery RHA bestowed on the battery. Captain EK Bradbury is buried in the village communal cemetery in Néry in a plot close to other fallen soldiers of the Battery, Sergeant D Nelson, he later achieved the rank of major and was killed in action at Lillers, France, on 8 April 1918 and BSM GT Dorrel died naturally in the UK around January 1971
    http://www.1914-1918.net/sacredgroun...lecat/nery.htm
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  2. #2
    Old Warhorse turned Admin. Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 1st Class DeadHorse's Avatar
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    I raise a glass to the lads of 'L' battery and the rest of the boys of 2nd Fld RA who had the dubious honour of my assistance at "The Affair at Belfast 1972"
    RCT & bar (fully licensed)
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    (but the driver has seen it all before)
    You can lead a horse to water - but you cant make me drink the stuff.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadHorse View Post
    I raise a glass to the lads of 'L' battery and the rest of the boys of 2nd Fld RA who had the dubious honour of my assistance at "The Affair at Belfast 1972"
    ....
    Growing Old beats the Alternative.........dying young Death is not the worst that can happen to you........JUST THE LAST

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    Administrator Jock2413's Avatar
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    L (Nery) Battery are still going strong today. Their guns were withdrawn in 2005 and they now perform the role as Tactical Control Battery as part of 1 RHA.
    You cannot fight a war with one hand tied behind your back.

  5. #5
    Association Member slapper's Avatar
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    I didnt know that RA Batteries were named after famous battles. So that makes Onions old mob responsible for shelling someone's house at the 'Battle of the Residency'?? Pity the house wasn't in *spit Yorkshire *spit, although it might have been, most houses in 'that place' look as though they were first sited on The Somme in 1916...........

    Come to think of it, might even be The Somme.


    'For a soldier I listed, to grow great in fame. And be shot at for ninepence a day.'

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  6. #6
    Admin/Membership Secretary/Treasurer On1on's Avatar
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    Unlike you I wasn't at the Somme (thankfully) so wouldn't know...

    Battery honour titles were awarded instead of battle honours that go on flags as the Guns are the colours in the RA.
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  7. #7
    Old Warhorse turned Admin. Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 1st Class DeadHorse's Avatar
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    That'll be 'bronze green' then. Same colours as the RCT.
    But at least ours had a few dents & rust spots to add interest.
    RCT & bar (fully licensed)
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    You can lead a horse to water - but you cant make me drink the stuff.

  8. #8
    Admin/Membership Secretary/Treasurer On1on's Avatar
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    55 (The Residency) Battery, Royal Artillery

    In May 1857 the Battery was quartered at Marioan when the Matice Infantry mutinied. Due to the foresight of the local Chief Commissioner, Sir Henry Lawrence, the European women and children had already been gathered into the Residency building at Lucknow, 3 miles north of Marioan. By June 29th the complete Oush area was in revolt and the revolutionaries had captured an 8 inch Howitzer which they were using to great effect. From the 1st to the 17th November the Residency building was successfully defended by the loyalist troops and the Union Flag kept flying. The Battery now uses the Union Flag as it's Battery flag, the only sub-unit in the British Army with this honour.

    On the 27th September 1857 a force was sent from the Residency building to storm the enemies defences. This force included Bdr Jacob Thomas, one of the Gunners from 4 Company the 1st Battalion the Bengal Artillery (now 55 (The Residency) Battery). During the action Bdr Thomas rescued severely wounded infantryman from the open ground, while under heavy musket fire, and took him to safety. For this act of heroism he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
    In 1889 the Battery was renamed 22 Field Battery.

    In 1908 the Battery sign outside the “Wet Canteen” was continually defaced by an artistic practical joker who painted two ducks in a lake of beer. Eventually the struggle of repainting the sign was given up and the Battery, was given its nickname "The Double Ducks" In 1931 it was given the last Union Flag to fly over the Residency at Lucknow. This flag is now encased on the wall in the Battery History room.


    55_pic.jpg

    Last edited by On1on; 02-09-2013 at 09:09 PM.
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  9. #9
    Association Member slapper's Avatar
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    And very nice to mate.


    'For a soldier I listed, to grow great in fame. And be shot at for ninepence a day.'

    'Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch'

    'It's been hard getting over my addiction to the hokey cokey, but I've turned myself around and that's what it's all about.'

  10. #10
    Admin/Membership Secretary/Treasurer On1on's Avatar
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    So it was you wot done it then?
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