Battle account from wounded Spalding soldier

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This newspaper received a first-hand account of war from an injured soldier.

Cpl H H Brown of Spalding had spent 13 years in the British Army but had been shot twice in the leg during fierce fighting at the front and so was recuperating at home.

The corporal, who was also a maxim gun instructor and led a maxim gun team, was the son of Mr and Mrs E Brown, the Spalding cemetery keeper.

Since joining the army in 1902 he had served in Gibraltar, Africa and Bermuda.

When the First World War broke out his regiment went out to Mons where “he went into action for the first time in his life” the day after arriving.

The corporal reported that his nerves were at “the highest tension” as he waited to go into action for the first time. He said it was not fear, but “a sort of excitement as to what was going to happen”.

However, there was little time for thought once the shells and bullets began to fall “dealing death and wounds all round you”.

The men were soon down to the “grim business of war”.

He said: “One’s chums fell all round you dead and wounded, but even this left you practically unmoved, your one concern being how many of the enemy you could account for. There was no thought of the fact that you were taking human life. It was simply that it was your duty to do it.”

The men in his regiment had walked into a death trap, attacked on three sides, with bullets falling like rain.

Cpl Brown fell with two bullets in his right leg but managed to roll to the ditch at the side of the road, which probably saved his life as all his comrades were riddled with bullets as they lay wounded on the ground. He lay like that for four hours until picked up by ambulance.