Charles W Lynch
Regiment: 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
Parents: Mr E C J & Mrs A C Lynch
Brother: Percy Alexander Lynch
Brother-in-Law: Thomas William Veness
Address: 95a Hughenden Road, Hastings
Other Info: Shot in the leg at the Battle of the Marne. (Oct 1917) In hospital suffering from shell shock.
An article in the Hastings & St Leonards Observer dated 10th October 1914 reports: “Private Percy A. Lynch, 5th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, writing from Dover, sends us an interesting letter from his brother, Private Charles W. Lynch, 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. It is a strange coincidence that the latter was a dispatch rider abroad, while Private Percy Lynch was fulfilling the same duty at Dover.
Private Charles Lynch, writing from the Princess Christian Convalescent Home, Bisley, where he is recovering from a wound in the leg, describes the ‘dust up’ in which he received his wound.
He says: “It was almost day break when we advanced out of the village, easting our breakfast as we trudges along through heavy rain. We marched about two miles, when suddenly we were under rifle fire and machine gun fire. We immediately took cover and scouted for the foe and their position. Two of our cavalry scouts came down the road, one of whom was seriously wounded and the other trying to cheer him up.
Companies extended and advanced with fixed bayonets to the top of the hill and I, being with headquarters of the Battalion, followed on. After about an hour’s fighting I was sent back to the Brigadier-General with a message.
I had about one and a half miles to go, and I had no sooner started than I was under shell fire. I went about 400 yards down the road at breakneck speed on a Government cycle, when I could hear a German machine gun cracking away in the distance, and the shots flying over my head. I lowered my head to the handle bars, and said to myself, ‘Neck or nothing.’ I arrived safely in the village, where I lit up a fag, from the pipe of one of the Black Watch, and told him how I came through a rain of of shells and gun fire.
I had still another half mile or so to go, and with a couple more puffs of my rain sodden fag, I continued the ride. I was now under cover for a while, and I met the Coldstream Guards, and the Officer, see that I was in such a hurry, stopped me and asked me who I wanted, and did my Regiment want help. I said I wanted the General, for whom I had a message, but I could not give him any particulars of my Regiment. I told him they were in action, and that was all I knew. He directed me onto the General, and on I went, only to come under rifle fire again.
I had two or three narrow escapes. The wheels of my cycle were hit twice. At last I saw the General, and he smiled at me as I tried to read the rain sodden message. I waited a few minutes before returning to the firing line, and partook of biscuits and cheese. Shells were dropping close at hand, and I decided to get back if I could, so off I went. I sailed along lovely for about a mile, when I met a wounded man of the King’s Royal Rifles, and he said, ‘For God’s sake mate, don’t go up that road or you will meet with disaster’. I took his advice and waited for a few minutes, but still the shells were falling in the village close by.
I directed my wounded friend to the dressing ambulance and, with another smoke we parted. I took another road, only to find that it led into the same one that I left, but I decided to go on and chance it, which was the only thing I could do. I turned into the corner, and no sooner had I thrown my fag end away away than I was covered by shrapnel and machine gun fire.
I got off my bike, but I got on again, thinking it was best to keep moving. I pedalled about ten or fifteen yards, when I felt a stinger in my left leg, so I fell off the bike and lay still. They must have waited on me coming back, thinking I had a message of some importance.
After I was hit the fire seemed to slow down and I endeavoured to bandage my leg, but I could not. No one being about, I jumped on the bike and rode for all I was worth back to the field ambulance, and was dressed and bandaged, and had to wait two hours before the ambulance took me out of further danger, and during that time the German guns were shelling the village and trying to silence our heavy guns.
When we moved off we had about 4 miles to go, and had to cross over the River Marne by pontoon bridge. I arrived at a barn, and lay there for a day, and was then taken by motor for ten miles to a railway and sent down to base, and from there I was shipped home. Well, I really thought that day was the end of the world, and every night I dream of those shells.”
Published: October 1914, May 1917 & October 1917
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