25th August – 1st, 3rd and 4th Cavalry Brigades under increasing shell fire from the enemy fell back along the third of the ridges between the Selle and the Harpies.

At one time the pressure upon the British cavalry seemed so heavy that the 19th Brigade was brought up on to the ridge from Haussy and deployed in order to relieve it.

The Germans however were checked with no great difficulty, while the bulk of the cavalry and horse artillery, having for the time-being shaken off the enemy, was collected and massed to the east of Vertain (3 miles north of Solesmes).

Here, between 3 and 4 pm, they were suddenly assailed by a storm of German shells from the north-east as well as from the north; whereupon the Cavalry Division, being cramped for space, moved across country by brigades and still smaller bodies, after detailing rear guards to cover the passage of the infantry through Vertain and Solesmes.

The 3rd Cavalry Brigade drew off south-east, leaving behind the greater part of the 4th Hussars with instructions to gain touch with the I Corps…’

28th August – Learning from [French Territorials] that they had been surprised by German cavalry and artillery at Bellenglise, Br-General Gough withdrew his right, the 4th Hussars, southwards from near Essigny to Benay, to cover their retreat.

After a time, his patrols reported a brigade of Uhlans to be advancing on Essigny and a second column of all arms further to the east, moving on Cerizy. About 1 pm an advanced party of Uhlans was caught in ambush by the 4th Hussars and dispersed with loss, their killed being identified as of the Guard Cavalry Division.’

1 September – It was the western flank that was first engaged, the 3rd Cavalry Brigade being attacked on reaching Taillefontaine (5 miles NNW of Villers Cotterets) by a force of all arms advancing from the north.

As the brigade drew back to the north-western corner of the Forest of Villers Cotterets, the 4th Hussars were continuously engaged until past noon, and lost their commanding officer, Lt Col Hogg, in the sharp fighting in the woodlands.’

12th September – 3rd and 5th Cavalry Brigades had proceeded to Serches and pushed out advanced parties northward of Ciry, and thence north-eastward to the bridge over the Vesle leading to the village of Chassemy. The bridge was not destroyed, and so lightly held that the 4th Hussars soon cleared it, and pushed on to Chassemy.

Being shelled, however, when in column of route, they sought shelter in the woods to the eastward, and advanced dismounted, against the chateau on the heights north of the village. The rest of the 3rd Cavalry Brigade then moved to the high ground north-east of Chassemy; and on reaching it the 4th Hussars, together with two guns, were sent down into the valley of the Aisne to seize the bridge of Vailly.

It was not between 3 and 4 pm. The British horse batteries were just picking up the range of the German guns which had been shelling the 4th Hussars, when two companies of German infantry were reported moving south of Brenelle. The bridge of Vailly was reported destroyed.’

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 3rd Hussars
  2. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  3. The Western Front 1914-18 timeline