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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

First British Artilley round fired on Western Front



At 11:00 hours on the 22nd August 1914 at Bray, Belgium,C Sub-section of E Battery Royal Horse Artillery fired the first British Artillery rounds of the First World War on the Western Front. [1]


1914 - First round fired by RA on the Western Front

British cavalry were holding bridges in the area of Peronnes, east of the main BEF positions in the Mons area. In support were the 13 pounder gun batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery. A troop from  16th  Lancers were enraged an enemy patrol, and to cover their withdrawal the guns of E Battery RHA unlimbered and fired the first British Artillery round of the Great War.

The guns of E Battery  engaged the 77mm Guns of the 4th Corps Artillery reserve and an advancing force of enemy Jeager light infantry. [2]

The Battery was under the command of Major Arthur Bacon Forman who would rise to the rank of Brigadier during the war. [3]

The gun detachment were; [4]
Section Commander Lt RL Palmer
No.1:          Sgt W Carter
No.2:          Gnr Jenkins
No.3 :         Gnr Lee (actually fired the gun)
No.4:          Gnr Ifould
No.5:          Bdr King
No.6:          Gnr Andrews
No.7:          Bdr Osborn

The gun was fired by Gunner Lee. Despite the Germans being 3.5 km away, well within the 5km maximum range of the 13 pounder, the rounds could not reach the target. It is thought that the charges which had been manufactured in 1908 had degraded. [5]

A commemorative firing by veterans of that detachment were made in 1964 50th anniversary of the engagement. 


50th Anniversary E Bty RHA firing first round on the Western Front

The location is now  marked by a commemorative plaque.


First round fired on Western Front commemoration Binche Belgium


Northumbrian Gunner - Visit to First Artillery round on Western Front Commmeoration

Northumbrian Gunner: Mons - First British Artilley round on Western Front



Edited by ianjonesncl


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