Benjamin Clouting was once simply 16 years previous whilst he embarked with the British Expeditionary strength for France in August 1914. The youngest guy within the 4th Dragoon Guards, he took half within the BEF's celebrated first motion at Casteau on August twenty second, and, days later, had his horse shot from lower than him in the course of the well-known cavalry cost of the 4th Dragoon Guards and the ninth Lancers at Audregnies. Ben served at the Western entrance in the course of each significant engagement of the warfare other than bogs, used to be wounded two times, and in 1919 went with the military of career to Cologne.
The son of a reliable groom, Ben was once cited within the attractive Sussex nation-state close to Lewes and from his earliest years was once, as he frequently stated himself, "crazy to be a soldier". He labored in short as a strong boy ahead of becoming a member of up in 1913; his education was once slightly accomplished whilst conflict broke out. The Regiment, realizing Ben to be below age, attempted to prevent him embarking for France, yet he flatly refused to be left in the back of. through the subsequent 4 years, he served lower than officials immortalized in nice struggle historical past, together with significant Tom Bridges, Captain Hornby, and Lieutenant-Colonel Adrien Carton de Wiart VC.
Teenage Tommy is an in depth account of a trooper's lifestyles on the entrance, vividly recalling, for instance, the privations suffered throughout the retreat from Mons. and later, the determined battling to carry again the German onslaught at 2d Ypres. yet this is often greater than only a memoir approximately trench struggle. Ben's full of life humorousness and fit disrespect for petty regulations make this an interesting in addition to a relocating tale of lifestyles on the entrance.
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There have been one or others, ex-soldiers who remained on the camp and made a dwelling doing abnormal jobs. the best recognized was once Hoppy Martin, a fifty-year-old civilian allotted one in every of 4 small rooms connected to the barrack blocks and as a rule reserved for the Orderly Sergeants. Hoppy, so-called due to a wood leg which he swung from the hip down, used to be the troops’ legit photographer and toured the regiments trying to find commissions. His bread and butter paintings used to be crew photographs on the stables, on the ship's galley, or on church parade, the soldiers splitting the prices among them. Hoppy additionally took images, and carried with him a powerful photo of a Dragoon in complete gown uniform astride a stunning horse. He would provide to take your photograph, superimposing it at the picture of the Dragoon with such services that it used to be most unlikely to work out the subscribe to. lots of his photographs have been taken whereas we labored on the stables or as we undertook a number of fatigues. one of many central fatigues was once carting round the coal wanted everywhere in the camp; within the barracks, the ship's galley, the married quarters. Coal used to be drawn from the sell off, adequate for the barrack room for per week, even supposing no longer enough to maintain the fireplace going at evening which, in the course of iciness, necessitated our slumbering in cotton shirts and lengthy johns. In twos, we carried coal to the ship's galley or married quarters, utilizing double-handed steel cauldrons, making journeys to the bunker behind each one domestic. Potato peeling used to be a regular regimen, with twelve folks peeling potatoes for the complete Squadron. each person used his personal knife, with these who’d by no means peeled ahead of leaving as a lot spud at the epidermis as at the potato itself. To whereas away the time, we often broke right into a tune, specifically favourites similar to ‘Nellie Dean’. For fatigues, we wore canvas trousers with turn-ups. operating within the muck of the stables, those turn-ups grew to become filthy, and through the tip of the week seemed in a true country. It used to be our activity, despite the fact that, to maintain them fresh for the Monday morning inspection. because it was once nigh very unlikely to clean them via hand, such a lot rubbed cleaning soap into the sodden trousers, then scrubbed them vigorously with the bass broom from the stables, swilling them off with clean water earlier than pinning them as much as dry. Even then, it was once tricky to forestall the turn-ups from turning into ragged on the edges, as Sergeant significant metal coarsely mentioned one morning, whereas we have been coated up for inspection. ’That canvas of yours! there's extra bloody lace round the backside of these than my previous girl has around her drawers. ’ This guy were married for not more than 3 weeks, and was once announcing such things as that, i presumed. The language we heard from the NCOs did beggar trust occasionally, yet this used to be varied and my estimation of the fellow by no means went again up back. paintings used to be strenuous throughout the week, while sleep was once all we would have liked. lighting out was once at 10pm and selection phrases from the Orderly Sergeant if we have been sluggish to reply. At weekends, we occasionally performed playing cards beneath the barrack room tables, pulling a blanket excessive earlier than lighting fixtures a candle and starting a couple of fingers.