Friday, 27 March 2015

Bromham and the Battle of Neuve Chapelle

Bromham Garage c.1925-1930 [Z50/21/11]

Saturday 27th March 1915:  The village of Bromham has suffered a blow with the death of Private Charles Vintner of the Grenadier Guards during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle earlier this month. Private Vintner is the second Bromham man to be killed in the war. He was the brother of P.C. Vintner, the Bromham constable, and leaves a widow and young children.[1] A veteran of the Boer War, he had worked before the war for Mr F. Collins of Bromham Garage.

The son of the Bromham vicar, Canon Browning, writes from the Front where he is serving with the 19th Alberta Dragoons (Canadian Contingent). He describes the battle, during which his unit was part of the mobile reserve:

“The gun-firing was very heavy; there were some big naval guns, very big ones indeed. We watched the aeroplanes being shelled; I don’t know whether they were British or German, as we could not see the guns which were doing the shooting. None of them succeeded in hitting the mark; one of our aeroplanes was brought down, but that was through getting into the line of fire of one of our own ‘Big Lizzies’. We watched the Germans shelling a church about a mile from us the other day: they fired four shots, but none of them hit; they always seem to shell churches. Some of them around are full of shell-holes; one time they scored a bull’s-eye by landing one plum in the middle of a big church clock. This afternoon we are going to play the Yorkshire Hussars, if we can find a football. We have not yet experienced any of the very acute discomforts of war, like the poor fellows in the trenches.”

Souce: Bedfordshire Standard 26th March 1915

[1] It appears that Charles had married Ethel Hardy in 1911. She gave birth to a son, Charles in the summer of 1915, so must have been pregnant at the time of her husband’s death.
[2] Naval guns mounted on railway trucks were located at Croix Blanche

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