Royal Field Artillery Postcard

This week’s postcard is a delightful image of a gunner standing in front of a stone barrack block ‘somewhere in Britain’: SKM_C45817091209230What makes this particularly nice is that, not only do we have an exact date for the postcard, but also a lovely drawing of his cap badge, on the back: SKM_C45817091209240From this we can see that the postcard dates to May 1916 and he was a member of the Royal Field Artillery. The same badge is worn on his cap: SKM_C45817091209230 - CopyOther distinctive artillery features include the white lanyard: SKM_C45817091209230 - Copy (2)1903 pattern bandolier slung over his shoulder: SKM_C45817091209230 - Copy (4)And the distinctive spurs and lace protectors worn over his boots: SKM_C45817091209230 - Copy (5)In his hands he carries a riding crop (and a cigarette!): SKM_C45817091209230 - Copy (6)The Royal Field Artillery were involved in fighting from the very start of the war, right through until the end and this account of the Battle of Mons by an officer of the Royal Field Artillery gives a flavour of what life was like in action:

We came in to action at the top of a hill. There were a few infantry entrenched down the far side of the hill and a German horse battery shelling the plateau.

The major, poor chap, this was the last I saw of him, went ahead down the hillside towards the Germans to observe. He gained a shallow trench, but he was shot by a shrapnel bullet between the eyes and killed outright.

Things were by no means comfortable with the battery and were not improved by the infantry on our right all coming back on the double. We tried to stop them and make them form up again, but of course had our own work to do. Captain Newlands took command, and gave us the line and range of 800 yards, as the Germans were apparently coming up the slope.

Owing to a wagon having stuck in a ditch at the side of a road and ammunition having to be fetched up to the gun from it, my detachment was very short-handed. So I served the gun during the action and was dammed glad to have something to do which took my mind off the bursting German shrapnel which was making a most horribly uncomfortable whistling and singing noise… We finished every round we had, searching and sweeping and then got the order to retire. The horses and teams were brought up extraordinarily well under the quarter-master sergeant who was acting captain.

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