Our Old Dragon correspondent at Winchester has reported that Cyril King, who was due to be a House Prefect this term “is at present unavoidably detained in Germany.”
At the end of July 1914 Cyril was at Schluchsee in the Black Forest with his mother, four sisters and a tutor from New College, Coote. Although there were rumours of war, they were confident that if anything came of it, they would be able to return to England. Instead on August 7th they were arrested. We await further news.
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We have received news from Rupert Lee, a Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. In good OPS tradition, he is keeping a diary, although rather different in content to the usual Dragon offerings at the end of the summer holidays.
“This diary must be read and criticised very leniently, being rather a disjointed sort of narrative. Pieces of it were written in strange postures and places, in varying frames of mind, sometimes left for weeks without an entry and then written up to date… It does not profess to be a connected narrative but merely a conglomeration of statements of happenings as they appeared to me at the moment…”
He writes of a very narrow escape he had during the retreat from Mons:
“Just as I got about twenty yards away from a wood a shell came crashing through the tops of the trees and burst quite close to me. My horse got it badly in the stomach. I got off and shot him to put him out of his agony… I then stood up and looking round saw, just at the end of the ride, two Germans. I bolted for the wood and as it happened it was extraordinarily fortunate that I did so. For they both dismounted and came down the ride looking into the other side to that on which I was hidden. Just as they got opposite me the leading man put his gun up sharply. I shot him and bolted, as did his companion in the opposite direction.
I went about twenty yards and lay down behind a bush. Nothing happened, so after about twenty minutes I went back very quietly, took his shoulder strap off him and walked away.”
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Capt. W.T. Brooks
Tyrrell Brooks (recently promoted to Captain in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and ADC to General Morland) writes:
“We are having a VERY hard time and now the weather has changed to rain it is cold and greatly adds to the discomforts which we are undergoing. Our Infantry has been brilliant and have more than kept up their high traditions, their marching having been really good and their fighting power at the end of the trek has been unimpaired.
We have now started a great forward movement which, though costing many lives, will undoubtedly test our enemy to the utmost and they are, I think, in rather a tight hole from which it will take them all their skill to extricate themselves. However, they are splendid tacticians, but I doubt if they have the material which is worthy of their well planned tactics.
How long this war will last I know not, but one thing is certain and that is it will leave all concerned crippled with regard to fighting material and armaments. Our casualties have been large but the German ones must have been larger.”
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Readers of the “Illustrated London News” may have noticed the photograph below, probably taken during the retreat from Mons, which shows our old boy, Arthur Percival, with a number of notable figures. Arthur, a veteran of the Boer War and the first Old Dragon to have won a DSO, is serving as a General Staff Officer to Major-General Monro.
(Left to Right): Gen. Sir Douglas Haig, Maj-Gen Monro, Lt Col AJB Percival DSO and another.