Sergeant Bilcliffe - 1st Northumberland Fusiliers - Benwell

  • Description

    WONDERFUL ESCAPE. 31 BULLETS PASS THROUGH BENWELL FUSILIER'S CLOTHES. BLINDED THROUGH GUN CONCUSSION. Twenty-eight bullets through his coat, and three in his haversack, which will be kept as souvenirs, was the strange experience of Sergeant Bilcliffe, 121, Violet Street, Benwell, who is now at home after a fortnight in hospital at Brighton, with impaired eyesight - due to gun concussion - and frosted feet. The sergeant was for some time absolutely blind, and would have walked straight into the German lines had he not been rescued by Sergt Lloyd. He went through the Boer War, and rejoined the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers just after the Battle of Mons. His regiment had the honour of being the first British unit to cross the Aisne in the advance on Ypres. The sergeant was promoted from the rank of corporal after officering a platoon of 28, who took a trench under formidable difficulties, on Dec.14th. Sergeant's Story. "Water was waist deep," said the sergeant, "so we commandeered barrels from a neighbouring farm to stand - or rather - crouch on. Unnoticed, mine filled with water, and turned over end up, into which I stepped, with what result may be imagined "Dead Germans so choked the trench, that only 17 could find room. For 48 hours, these held the enemy at 15 yards range, until relieved by Wilkes. My men left in perfect line, with bullets pouring like rain. "A man benumbed and helpless with cold, was carried by Tomsett and myself, and being misled by a new construction of barbed wire along our lines, we lost our bearings and narrowly escaped falling into enemy hands. We ultimately reached our lines, but a long way from our regiment. "The snipers are fearful and very clever, managing to get all round us. In my opinion, it is a mistake to allow the inhabitants to return to a town that has been shelled. Snipers and spies come with them. "This was the case at ----- when the pointers if the tower clock were used for signalling, which instantly brought the 'Jack Johnsons' into play. This photograph was published in the Illustrated Chronicle on the 6th of February 1915. During the Great War the Illustrated Chronicle published photographs of soldiers and sailors from Newcastle and the North East of England, which had been in the news. The photographs were sent in by relatives and give us a glimpse into the past. The physical collection held by Newcastle Libraries comprises bound volumes of the newspaper from 1910 to 1925. We are keen to find out more about the people in the photographs. If you recognise anyone in the images please comment below. Copies of this photograph may be ordered from us, for more information see:" > Please make a note of the image reference number above to help speed up your order.
  • Owner

  • Source

    IllustratedChronicles (Flickr)
  • License

    What does this mean? Public Domain Mark
  • Further information

    Resource type: Image
    Last modified: 6 years, 4 months ago
    Viewed: 371 times
    Picture Taken: Unknown
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