Captain E.L. Bowring led C Company as the 2nd Worcesters cleared the final hedge and ran into the grounds of Gheluvelt Chateau, shooting and stabbing.
After the end of the war, in 1918 – shortly after Major Hankey, by then Colonel, had received the Freedom of Worcester City – Capt Bowring wrote these notes to complement those written by his commanding officer:
2nd Worcesters showed discipline of high standard
The account of the action given by Colonel Hankey is so excellent and presents such an accurate record of the events as they happened, that one could not attempt to improve upon it.
I noted that he mentioned his own part as little as possible. No doubt he would have effaced himself altogether it he could. It may, therefore, be permissible to emphasise a point which he only touched on i.e., the difficulties of forming up and putting in motion and afterwards controlling the counter-attack.
A view from the charge: Captain EL Bowring (photo with kind permission of www.worcestershireregiment.com)
It is only those who were actually present who are in a position to know what a delicate operation this was and fully to appreciate the fact that, had the manoeuvre been planned or executed in any other way, both in respect of time and formation, &c., (sic) the result would almost certainly have been disastrous.
The fact that the discipline of the battalion was of such a high standard, that after all it had gone through, it was still to be relied upon, is, I am sure, the most gratifying feature to every officer who was present, and of which they have great cause to be proud.
The above points are among those which count for most with soldiers, and the plain unvarnished facts, as given by Colonel Hankey, would appear to be sufficient.
I think, therefore, we should strive to eliminate small inaccuracies which from time to time have appeared in accounts of the counter-attack on Gheluvelt in various papers and magazines since October 1914.
Among these I have noticed that the poor old, and many time defeated, Prussian Guard were our victims. This is not the case – the troops opposed to us were Bavarians.
I have also read accounts of much street fighting in the village, and of machine-guns fired from the church tower, etc.
There was really very little street fighting, as the battalion came through the Chateau grounds which lie to the north of Gheluvelt, and the bulk of the Germans retired as we came up.
Sergeant Sutton with a small party cleared out such as were left at that end of the village on which our right rested at first, and in which A Company afterwards took up a position prolonging our line as far as the church.
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