Flag The Diary of Major H G Paris
Royal Garrison Artillery


1914 entries

6 - 9 September

10 - 15 September

35th Heavy Battery R.G.A. (aged 27 at time of writing)

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 6th (fine and clear)

Thank goodness we are at last marching in the right direction and going to have a go at them!  Marched off about 3 a.m. along Chaures-Pezarches Road and halted after about two miles in position of assembly. Battery came into action near Lawe and dug in, but no rounds were fired, observations being very difficult owing to closeness of country and no suitable targets being seen.

Later on we shifted position more west about mile and opened fire on Pazarches and the roads leading from it as German troops were reported to be leaving. Left section fired 18 rounds (10 Shrapnel, 8 Lyddite). Several rounds were reported to have had good effect (right section were still loaded with rounds of shrapnel set at fuze 2, the result of Le Grand Fay panic on August 25th) which would be unsafe to fire with any troops etc. in front. These rounds realized until September 10th when opportunity was found to safely blow them off. Not unnaturally the left section had a good time ragging the right section all the time, and I am afraid the rumour of it reached certain of the Field Artillery. Anyhow, it will be a long time before right section get over the soreness of "Fuze 2".

We stayed in position all day, the country being unsuitable for artillery fire, and about 6 p.m. bivouacked by the side of the road near Chateau de la Plessis.

Day's march: 6 miles. Rounds fired: 18

Everybody's spirits were naturally up 100% on turning round.

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 7th (fine and hot)

Marched off pretty early along the road Pezarches - Maupert - Huis - Beautheil - Chailly. A very slow march and pretty tiring for the horses as it was pretty hot and we got some stiff hills. Also water short as there was a scare that the Germans had poisoned all large ponds. We here first began to see the results of German occupation; their main idea seemed to be to pull all the furniture out of the house and everywhere were tables covered with glasses and bottles. Bottles were strewn thickly all along the line of march. Windows broken and beds upset and most pumps smashed. We got into bivouac fairly late and had a bad place for watering and I remember getting very wet lending a hand. I slept some of the night at headquarters as it was my turn to fetch orders.

Day's march: 15 miles.

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 8th (fine and hot)

We were on the road ready to join the column at 7.30 a.m. but actually did not get moving until 10 a.m. as infantry had to do some fighting in front. Almost immediately we were sent for to come into action and had the pleasure of trotting past the whole column, including a good deal of field artillery who did not appreciate the Heavies R.G.A. going into action before them.

The Major and Shedden had gone on to reconnoitre, but by the time the battery reached La Tretigue a message had come back from them. Sir John French had just arrived and Caldecott received a direct order to bring the battery into action. Battery came into action just east of La Tretigue and left section opened fire on infantry retiring on the other side of the river.

During action the Major arrived and firing was stopped. About 2 p.m. battery came out of action and started to join column advancing to cross River Morin. Very slow progress, infantry fighting fairly hard in front, good many casualties on the road. Delighted to receive a new gun wheel, the first we had seen since the start. Ordinance officer brought it up on a car and I had it off before he had time to get out and say it was for us. Eventually crossed river and slowly climbed other side.

Lots of dead Germans about where we had been shelling. Very late getting into bivouac - north of Boitrem near Pont Villiers. Pretty tired myself - but had to go to Headquarters for orders and did not turn in till about 2 a.m.

Day's march: 10 miles. Fired 8 rounds


Headquarters evidently expected heavy opposition crossing River Maryk. Long artillery reconnaissance carried out while artillery assembled at Bassevelle. Eventually we came into action just sound of Fontaine d'aix, but did not open fire as our infantry got forward quite easily. About midday we were ordered to move down to cross the Marne.

We got down to the river and watered horses and then crossed the bridge when someone got a scare on the staff and we carried on the manoeuvre of "first they marched them down the hill and then they marched them up again", only we completed it by being ordered to march down again as soon as we got to the top.

This move was duly appreciated, the day being particularly hot and the hill very long and steep. This time we were allowed to proceed and eventually got into a dirty little field full of mud and barbed wire about 8 o'clock at night. March via Villiers and Demptin and bivouac half way between Demptin and Coupeu.

Day's march: 8 miles

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