How we reported the Great War
The first of Spalding’s war heroes returned home at the start of October 1914 and spoke to the Lincolnshire Free Press about what they had encountered.
Sergt. George Mackman and Pte. Creasey were both serving with 1st Lincoln Batallion and were both wounded during severe fighting in France.
Sergt. Mackman talked of his first visit to France.
He said: “I was much struck with the Havre as the first place in that country I had ever been to.
“All the French people were very kind to us as to all the English troops and we spent a happy time.
“We then moved on to Rouen, then Le Mans where we were enthusiastically received by the French soldiers at the French Artillery Barracks.
“On September 2 we received a sudden order and we spent 32 continuous hours travelling on the train to Collumieres.
“It was here that we first heard firing, sounds of artillery in action reaching us.
“On September 14, as dawn broke, we were rudely awoken in the trenches in Chartres as bullets dropped like rain all around but for a while no sight of the Germans could be obtained.
“Then the enemy’s artillery started and we were in as hot a shop as could be imagined.
“I saw one shell burst in the face of a corporal, the sight was absolutely awful.
“Men fell in scores and the sight of the havoc wrought by the shrapnel can never be forgotten.
“Wounded men were crawling on hands and knees to get away from the Germans.
“With only 150 yards to go for cover, I was struck at the back of my head by a bullet.
“My head felt to swim round but I kept going, tearing out the bandage each man carries with him to stop the bleeding.
“My leg was also throbbing from where my rifle had caught it.
“We were removed in an ambulance and embarked on an exciting 36 hour ride through the very teeth of shells and bullets to Rouen.
“Two of the men in the ambulance died and their bodies were handed over to the Mayor of the town.
“My journey continued to Devonport hospital on the other side of the channel and I was comfortably fitted up there after a rough journey across the channel.”
Sergt. Mackman was on leave for just 14 days.