The Royal Artillery Association published a poem recording the action of L Battery Royal Artillery at Nery on September 1st 1914 when 3 Victoria Crosses were won.
It was written in 1915 by Gunner BS Chandler whilst recovering in an Army Hospital in Cheltenham. It was written in a scrap book collated by recovering soldiers.
The 3 Victoria Crosses were won by Captain Edward Bradbury, Battery Sergeant-Major George Dorrell and Sergeant David Nelson.
Orders had come to battery 'L'
To hold the ridge and hold it well
To cover the march across the plain
Of troops retiring on Compaigne;
The simple orders they received
Were to guard the way till they were relieved
Protecting the rear with trusty guns
From the coming sweep of the myriad "Huns"
The night wore on and the early day
Opened in mist that was dense and grey;
All was silence and none could see
What the movements of troops might be
The men imagined that their task was o'er
And waited the orders to march once more
But signalling plans it seems went wrong
And never a message came along
Higher and higher the sun rose
The mist is melting it slowly goes
The beams of the sun its vapours dispel
For there on the frowning hills around,
Masses of Germans cover the ground
The British and French had got away well
But they'd somehow forgotten Battery 'L'
From the laughing Army over the way
Ten guns and two Maxims come into play;
The first cannonade is direct and dire
The battery's horse fall in the fire.
'Tis a murdering thing to suddenly know
Instead of friend you face a foe;
Buth the battery losing horse and man
Must stay where it is and do what it can.
It’s horses are slain it cannot move
Its guns retreat by labour of love;
Of the guns themselves there are only three
That men can train on the enemy.
Only three guns the duel ti begin
The foe have ten with maxims thrown in !
But there is no complaint from battery 'L'
Not a man jack among them is unnerved
Just as at Woolwich the guns are served
Though whistling shot and shells that screech,
Mow down the gunners at the breech.
Officers served the guns with the men
Every rank was equal then;
And when one fell in a fraction of space
Up stepped another in his place
They fought like heroes they fought like gods
But ten to three are terrible odds:
And spite of all that valour could do,
Of three guns the enemy silenced two.
Two guns gone from poor little three
Well that’s When an Englishman is fine to see
And all the tales our histories tell
In front will be that of Battery 'L'
One gun firing and that the last!
The men who serve are falling fast;
Glad in grim death before they go
To reap high ruin upon the foe:
The aim is true and the range is right
The Germans are in a pitiful plight.
But little they guess across the plain
Only three Englishmen remain
Darrel, Osborne, Derbyshire
They fought for a day, nor ceased to fire
Till killed or retreated were all the Hunns
Leaving behind ten silent guns:
And when help came to that marvellous band
Three wounded men could scarcely stand
A wonderful hush on the regiments fell
As they stood and saluted Battery 'L'