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Letters of Lt.-Col. George Brenton Laurie (commanding 1st Battn. Royal Irish Rifles) Dated November 4th, 1914-March 11th, 1915   By: (1867-1915)

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Transcriber's Note: Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. For a complete list, please see the end of this document.

LETTERS

OF

LIEUT. COLONEL GEORGE BRENTON LAURIE

[Illustration: (signed) George Brenton Laurie]

For Private Circulation

LETTERS

OF

Lt. Col. GEORGE BRENTON LAURIE

(Commanding 1st Battn. Royal Irish Rifles)

Dated NOVEMBER 4th, 1914 MARCH 11th, 1915

EDITED BY FLORENCE VERE LAURIE

Printed by GALE & POLDEN, LTD Wellington Works, Aldershot 1921

TO HALIBURTON, BLANCHE, AND SYDNEY.

MY DEAR CHILDREN,

I dedicate this little volume to you in memory of your father, who, as you know, fell on March 12th, 1915, in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. These Letters, which were written to me from France during the first winter of the World War, do not in any way pretend to literary attainment; they are just the simple letters of a soldier recording as a diary the daily doings of his regiment at the front.

Often were they penned under great difficulties, and many a time under a rain of fire. The accounts of the awful loss of life and the discomforts experienced, both by officers and men unused to such severe climatic conditions, are sometimes heart rending, and they make the reading sad.

Touches, however, of his natural cheerfulness relieve the greyness of the situation, and at times one can almost hear the lightheartedness of a schoolboy speaking.

Your father cared for his regiment as a father cares for his child, and was beloved by it. He obtained his commission in 1885 at 18 years of age, and was, curiously enough, the last officer to enter the British Army with the rank of a full Lieutenant. Had he lived till the following September, he would have been 30 years in the Royal Irish Rifles.

A short sketch of his life and military career is given in this book, and reference is made to the pleasure he took in being chosen to write the History of his Regiment, completed in 1914. He was also devoted to all kinds of sport as a pastime; but I will not write of these things; rather would I speak of his great wish to win fresh laurels for his regiment, and of how proud he was when, after the long, dreary winter in the trenches, the Royal Irish Rifles were the first to enter the village of Neuve Chapelle. But above all would I counsel you to follow his example in his faithful attention to duty, fulfilling the French proverb, "Faites ce que doit advienne que pourra."

He died as a true soldier, leading his men, and what better death could be desired? He now lies in the British military cemetery of Pont du Hem, midway between Neuve Chapelle and Estaires, not far from Bethune in Northern France, and a little wooden cross marks the spot.

F. VERE LAURIE.

CARLTON HALL, CARLTON ON TRENT, NOTTS. May 12th, 1921.

FOREWORD

BY LIEUT. COLONEL SIR JOHN ROSS OF BLADENSBURG, K.C.B., K.C.V.O. ( late Coldstream Guards ).

Colonel George Laurie came from a military family. His father a distinguished General, and his uncle both served in the Crimea and elsewhere, and many of his near relations joined the army, and were well known zealous soldiers of their Sovereign. His elder brother fell in the Boer War in the beginning of this century, and he himself saw active service in the Sudan and in South Africa, before he landed in France to take his share in the great World War. On being promoted to the command of his battalion, he joined it at Kamptee in India, and this obliged him to leave his wife and family at home, for young children are not able to live in that tropical, very hot and unhealthy district... Continue reading book >>




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