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  Néry Communal Cemetery

Oise

France

 

Pictures courtesy of Conrad Freeling

 

 

 

Location Information

Nery is a village in the Department of the Oise, between Verberie and Crepy-en-Valois. The communal cemetery is at the north-west corner of the village.



Historical Information


There are now nearly thirty Commonwealth casualties of the First World War commemorated at Néry Communal Cemetery. A vault stands on the west side of the cemetery, in which are buried three officers who fell during the action at Néry on the morning of 1 September 1914 and a fourth (brother of one of the three) who was killed in 1918. A Special Memorial in the North-west quarter, records the names of 12 men of "L" Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, who were killed or fatally wounded during the same engagement.


The Action at Néry

In the aftermath of the Battle of Mons, which took place on 23 August 1914, the British forces, along with their French allies, began retreating south west toward Paris. By the evening of 31 August, most British units had crossed the Aisne between Soissons and Compiègne and halted for the night on the south banks of the river. The men of the 1st Cavalry Brigade bivouacked in and around the village of Néry with orders to begin moving again at first light. The Brigade numbered almost 2,000 men and consisted of three cavalry regiments which were supported by L Battery of the Royal Horse Artillery. The cavalry were stationed in Néry while L Battery was billeted in a sugar factory just south of the village.

A heavy mist hung in the valley and visibility was poor as the sun rose on 1 September. The Brigade had awoken at 4.30 but a decision was made to delay departure for an hour and a half until the weather cleared. As they waited, officers and men busied themselves watering the horses and preparing breakfast. At approximately 5.30 a.m. a unit of the 11th Hussars which had been patrolling the woods outside Néry dashed into the village and reported that they had sighted a large enemy force. Just minutes after the patrol arrived on the scene, the Brigade came under heavy shell, machine-gun and rifle fire from the heights overlooking the village to the east.

The attack caught the Brigade almost completely by surprise and the effect of intense fire from above the village was devastating. The horses of L Battery bolted and several gunners were killed or wounded as they tried to take cover. Despite the chaos caused by the attack, Captain Edward Bradbury immediately began issuing orders and managed to get three of the battery’s six guns moved into firing positions. Two of these were soon put out of action by German shell fire, but Bradbury, along with Sergeant David Nelson and two gunners, manned a third gun and kept up a steady rate of fire against the German lines. The gun continued firing for over two hours, and successfully drew German artillery fire away from the British cavalry. The Brigade was able to hold its position and engage the attackers until reinforcements from III Corps arrived and forced the German units on the heights to retreat.

The German force that launched the attack at Néry amounted to over 5,000 men of the 4th Cavalry Division and thus outnumbered the 1st Cavalry Brigade by more than two to one. L Battery was almost completely destroyed during the fighting, but casualties in the rest of the brigade were relatively light. Captain Bradbury was fatally wounded while fetching ammunition and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. Sergeant-Major George Dorrell and Sergeant Nelson both survived the fighting and were awarded Victoria Crosses. The Commander-in-Chief of the BEF, Sir John French, formally mentioned the Brigade in despatches on 14 September.
 

 

Victoria Cross:

EDWARD KINDER BRADBURY

Rank: Captain, Date of Death: 01/09/1914, Age: 33, Regiment/Service: Royal Horse Artillery "L" Bty. , Award: V C, Son of Judge James Kinder Bradbury and Grace Bradbury, of Altrincham, Cheshire.

 Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," dated 24th Nov., 1914, records the following:- For gallantry and ability in organising the defence of "L" Battery against heavy odds at Nery on 1st September.

 

Other Burial Details

 

BROWNE,ERNEST,E,,,01/09/1914,,Driver,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'68866',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,Special Memorial.,SEE CEMETERY INTRODUCTION.


BRYANT,HORACE EDWIN,H E,21,,01/09/1914,,Gunner,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'67928',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,Special Memorial.,"SON OF MR AND MRS J BRYANT OF NEW COTTAGES, STRATTON PARK FARM, BIGGLESWADE, BEDS. SEE CEMETERY INTRODUCTION."


BURTENSHAW,ALBERT EDWARD,A E,,,01/09/1914,,Driver,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'53525',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,Special Memorial.,SEE CEMETERY INTRODUCTION.


CAMPBELL,JOHN DAVIES,J D,31,Mentioned in Despatches,01/09/1914,,Lieutenant,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,,NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,,"SON OF MRS. JENNIE M. CAMPBELL, OF HOWDEN COURT, TIVERTON, DEVON, AND THE LATE MR. J. D. CAMPBELL."


CAWLEY,JOHN STEPHEN,J S,34,Mentioned in Despatches,01/09/1914,,Major,20th Hussars,,France,,NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,,"SON OF SIR FREDERICK CAWLEY, 1ST BART., M.P. (NOW 1ST BARON CAWLEY), AND LADY CAWLEY, OF BERRINGTON HALL, LEOMINSTER, HEREFORDSHIRE. HIS BROTHERS, HAROLD T. AND OSWALD ALSO FELL."


CAWLEY,The Hon. OSWALD,O,35,,22/08/1918,,Captain,King's Shropshire Light Infantry,10th (Shropshire and Cheshire Yeomanry) Bn.,France,,NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,,"SON OF SIR FREDERICK CAWLEY, 1ST BARON CAWLEY OF PRESTWICH, AND BARONESS CAWLEY, OF BERRINGTON HALL, LEOMINSTER, HEREFORDSHIRE. MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR PRESTWICH DIVISION, LANCASHIRE SINCE FEB. 1918. HIS BROTHERS, HAROLD T. AND JOHN S. ALSO FELL."


CLAYTON,SAMUEL,S,,,01/09/1914,,Driver,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'54307',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,25.,


COLLIER,ERNEST EDWARD,E E,,,01/09/1914,,Driver,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'70518',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,Special Memorial.,SEE CEMETERY INTRODUCTION.


COPPLESTONE,,W E,20,,01/09/1914,,Gunner,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'55306',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,Special Memorial.,"SON OF EDWARD AND ELIZABETH COPPLESTONE, OF 20, ANN'S HILL ROAD, GOSPORT, HANTS. SEE CEMETERY INTRODUCTION."


FORTUNE,WALTER WILLIAM,W W,,,01/09/1914,,Serjeant,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'32096',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,21.,


HEATH,ALFRED JOHN HENRY,A J H,,,01/09/1914,,Shoeing Smith,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'43374',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,Special Memorial.,SEE CEMETERY INTRODUCTION.


MARTIN,CHARLES,C,23,,01/09/1914,,Bombardier,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'56849',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,Special Memorial.,"SON OF THE LATE WILLIAM AND JANE MARTIN OF ZEAL MONACHORUM, BOW, DEVON. SEE CEMETERY INTRODUCTION."


MILLER,ALFRED,A,23,,01/09/1914,,Gunner,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'53162',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,23.,"SON OF WILLIAM AND ELIZABETH ELLEN MILLER, OF HAWKSWOOD, HAILSHAM, SUSSEX."


MILLS,CHARLES,C,,,01/09/1914,,Driver,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'51916',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,20.,


PHILLIPS,DANIEL PERCY,D P,,,01/09/1914,,Serjeant,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'19380',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,Special Memorial.,SEE CEMETERY INTRODUCTION.


RAE,THOMAS WILLIAM,T W,26,,01/09/1914,,Gunner,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'29809',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,Special Memorial.,"SON OF ROBERT AND EMMA RAE, OF 9, PRIORY ROAD, SHIREHAMPTON, BRISTOL. SEE CEMETERY INTRODUCTION."


RICHARDS,GEORGE WILLIAM,G W,29,,01/09/1914,,Bombardier,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'39669',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,Special Memorial.,"SON OF GEORGE WILLIS AND KATHLEEN RICHARDS; HUSBAND OF ALICE RICHARDS, OF 49, CHADWICK ROAD, PECKHAM, LONDON. SEE CEMETERY INTRODUCTION."


RICHARDSON,WILLIAM JAMES,W T,21,,01/09/1914,,Gunner,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'61503',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,Special Memorial.,"SON OF JAMES RICHARDSON, OF NEWMARKET ROAD, GREAT CHESTERFORD, ESSEX, AND THE LATE HARRIETT RICHARDSON. SEE CEMETERY INTRODUCTION."


WORNHAM,PERCY,P,,,01/09/1914,,Gunner,Royal Horse Artillery,"""L"" Bty.",France,'63391',NERY COMMUNAL CEMETERY,Special Memorial.,SEE CEMETERY INTRODUCTION.