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First Name: Horace John Last Name: COLLINS
Date of Death: 01/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Gunnersbury
Rank: Private Unit: Dragoon Guards2
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Born-Brentford

Baron Communal Cemetery, France

 

On 1st September, 1914, during the Great Retreat from Mons by the British Army, a short, sharp action was fought near the French town of Néry. This fight has gone down in the annals of history because of the heroic rear guard action of L Battery, Royal Horse Artillery attached to the 1st Cavalry Brigade. In the early morning, whilst preparing to leave their overnight camp, the 1st Cavalry Brigade was attacked by a much stronger German force. The morning was misty which prevented the British force from moving off from Néry at 4.30am and an hour later, a cavalry patrol rode back to where the main body were breakfasting and reported that they had met German cavalry and that they had been hunted back to Néry.  Immediately high explosive shells and machine gun fire hit the village from the heights, 600 yards away which overlooked the eastern side of Néry causing the horses of the 2nd Dragoon Guards to stampede.  Some of the men and horses of L  Battery were also hit so three guns were unlimbered, turned around and began firing.  One gun was immediately hit and put out of action and very soon a second followed suit but the third gun kept firing against twelve German guns while the 1st Cavalry Brigade secured the northern and southern exits of Néry and manned the eastern face of it. The dismounted German cavalry got to within 500 yards of the village but the machine-guns of 1st Cavalry Brigade prevented any further advance. At 6am two squadrons of 2nd Dragoon Guards  galloped north and then wheeled to the east. Here they dismounted and pushed in close to attack the German right flank.  Reinforcements were hastily summonsed and as I Battery opened up, 2000 yards to the south-west of the Germans,  L Battery stopped firing.  They had used all their shells. Among the casualties suffered during this action was Horace Collins of the 2nd Dragoon Guards.

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