Mixed verdicts on German artillery

There were conflicting verdicts on the accuracy of German artillery from local soldiers at the front.

Gunner Horace Gore, of the 6th Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, for instance, described the enemy as "bad shots". In a November 5th letter to his parents, Mr and Mrs A. Gore, of 72 Ridgway Road, Luton, he wrote: "We have been under fire now for six days. We have done great damage to the German artillery and trenches, but they have not done much damage to us, although their shells are bursting all around us with terrible reports. Last night a German aeroplane came over our guns and dropped some signals. I suppose it was to give the Germans our range as the shells are falling right around our guns. They must be bad shots, as they have been firing for four days at our observation tower, but cannot shell it down."

But Corporal W. Byron, a former Luton Borough Police Force office and a reservist with the 2nd Life Guards, found the German artillery coming too close for comfort. He wrote to Insp Hagley: "We have been in the thick of it ever since we landed. I have had my horse blown to pieces by a shell, and the other day I had my rifle smashed by a bullet just as I was going to fire, so you can see I have had some very narrow squeaks. Men have been shot on both sides of me, and I have not had a scratch. We have lost most of our officers."

Boer War veteran Pte Tom Muckleston, who volunteered for service with the 3rd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, wrote in a letter from hospital to his mother at Harlington that whatever their rifle fire, the Germans were "top hole" with big guns. After passing through Ypres, his battalion came under shell fire from the Germans. He wrote: "The range was perfect and the wonder is, not how many are hit, but how they are missed." Pte Muckleston received a shrapnel wound in the leg and was being treated at a hospital in Newcastle.

[The Luton News, November 19th, 1914]