A horrible little house


3rd September 1914

The 15th Brigade remained as flank and rearguard to the 5th Division. They set off at 5:30am, crossing the Marne at Trilbardou on their way to Esbly on the southern banks. The weather was fearfully hot. Many stragglers dropped out during the day complaining of bad stomachs. Hot sun and unripe fruit do not mix.

Gleichen reports that they finally arrived for the night in the “beastly little” hamlet of Montpichet. This is 3 miles north west of Crécy. Yes, that Crécy. The British were here once again, a small ragtag force in a foreign land, with the odds stack against them.

Gleichen got his knickers in a twist because his “wretched” pony refused to cross a stream while on patrol. The Brigadier-General was forced to walk “four miles on foot”. What a hero. Not for the first time he takes the only decent room in the lodgings, “a horrible little house”, only to complain that he wished he’d slept outside with the rest. I don’t think you’d have wanted to cross his path that evening, when he returned to the Brigade HQ.

The Dorsets bivouacked in Montpichet for the night. The Brigade hadn’t received any orders so a “good night’s rest” was enjoyed by all. They’d marched 15 miles.

The crossing of the Marne was significant. It acted as a defensive barrier between the Allies and the approaching Germans. During their march the 15th Brigade had passed a Royal Engineer who was waiting for the troops to cross the river so that he could blow the bridge. They were blowing all the bridges across the Marne.