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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Conveying A Field Gun Across The Yser Canal Under Fire



An interesting pistol gun action took place in early 1915,  conducted by a gun from 135 Battery, 32 Brigade RFA, part of the 4th Divisional Artillery.

The 4th Division were located north of Ypres, bounded by the Ypres to Thourout railway. The 32nd Brigade RFA were in support of an assault by 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade which took place on 6th July 1915 south of Boesinghe.



The assault would be conducted in 4 phases with each of 32 Brigade's batteries allotted objectives to engage during the attack. Included in the plan was a task for one gun to engage objective G south and wire during phases 1 and 2.


The war diary of 32 Brigade for 5th July records 
The task for this gun was to destroy the saphead (Target G) with HE & then switch on to the wire to west of sap with time shrapnel.

135 Battery were located at the centre of grid B 16, east of Elverdinghe. (War Diary 6-Jun-1915). In order to deploy to the pistol gun position, it would be necessary for the gun to be taken across the Yser Canal.


32 Brigade's war for diary 5th July 1915 records the events of the night prior to the attach by the Rifle Brigade.

134 Battery shelled trenches to stop sniping. 135 Battery searched for searchlight which was our working parties. 
One gun of 135 Battery under 2Lieut Robinson was taken into action after dark in emplacement in own front trench for tomorrows attack. 

Second-Lieutenant Robinson conveyed under fire from the enemy's guns an eighteen-pounder field gun across the Yser Canal on a raft. 


During the operations south of Pilkem, between the 6th and 8th of July 1915, the British trenches were within sixty yards of a German sap, which had to be destroyed, with about thirty yards of thick wire entanglements, to clear the way for an infantry attack. With great coolness and enterprise. Second-Lieutenant Parr Aldous Robinson, of the 135th Battery Royal Field Artillery, conveyed under fire from the enemy's guns an eighteen-pounder field gun across the Yser Canal on a raft. On being landed, it was removed to the British fire trenches, and in destroying the sap and entanglements, the gun was of great use in the way for a successful infantry attack. 

The events of the Rifle Brigades assault is detailed in 32 Brigade RFA's war diary.

The opening bombardment commenced at 05:00 in accordance with the fire plan. Early morning mist prevented observation till 05:40, however the infantry were able to report that the wire had been successfully cut by Lieutenant Robinson's gun (target G) and 134 Battery (target C and D). The assault was launched at 06:00, and had no difficulty occupying the enemy's first line trenches. The batteries of 32 Brigade continued to fire till 07:00 to aid consolidation of the trenches seized. During the day enemy counter attacks were repulsed aided by fires from 32 Brigade RFA and the objectives were secured.

Robinsons actions were recognised as the 32 Brigade RFA's war diary 25th July records

2Lt Robinson (135) awarded the M.C. for his good work when in charge of detached gun in the trenches on 6th July. 

His Military Cross was gazetted 27th August 1915.  


Edited by ianjonesncl


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