Thursday, 28 August 2014

Nimy Railway Bridge

The first action of 23 August 1914 took place around Nimy railway and road bridges, defended by the Royal Fusiliers. The canal here formed a bend, which created a salient on the right flank of the British II Corps, and the railway bridge was defended by infantry and the Fusiliers two Maxim machine guns, commanded by Lt Maurice Dease. One of these guns was kept in action by Lt Dease and Private Godley, and after Dease had been seriously wounded 5 times (he would die later in the day) Godley manned the gun until he too was badly wounded (he survived to be taken prisoner). Both were awarded the VC, the first of the war to be awarded.

The canal has been concreted over elsewhere to become a motorway, but is still there where the railway bridge is, although the canal has been widened since 1914 and the bridge is not the original. If you saw the first episode of BBC's Our World War this covered this action, but they showed the bridge as a road not a railway bridge (oops!). Here are some photos of the bridge today, and of Lt Dease's grave in St Symphorien cemetery. Also in St Symphorien are the first British casualty of the war Pte Parr, and the last casualties from 1918.

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