The Letters of George Brenton Laurie: Commanding 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles

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Excerpt from Letters of Lt.-Col. George Brenton Laurie (Commanding 1st Battn; Royal Irish Rifles): Dated November 4th, 1914 March 11th, 1915

Colonel george laurie came from a military family. His father, a distinguished General, and his uncle both served m the Crimea and elsewhere, and many of his near relations joined the army, and were well~known zealous soldiers of their Sovereign. His elder brother fell in the Boer War 1n the beginning of this century, and he himself saw active service in the Sudan and in South Africa, before he landed 1n France to take his share in the great World War. On being promoted to the command of his battalion, he joined it at Kamptee in India, and this obliged him to leave his wife and family at home, for young children are not able to live in that tropical, very hot and un healthy district. From that station, with scarcely any opportunity of seeing them again, he was launched into the severities of a cold and wet winter in a water-logged part of Flanders. His experiences are graphically told in his letters, and they will show how much our gallant troops had to endure when engaged in the terrible conflict which the ambition Of Prussia had provoked, and with what fortitude and courage they defended the country from the serious dangers that then menaced it.

All who have read these interesting letters will, I think, perceive that one dominant feature in Colonel Laurie 3 character was a keen and all-pervading sense of duty, and an earnest determination to discharge it ln every circumstance as thoroughly and as completely as possible. Never did he spare himself. What he had to exact from others, that he sternly imposed upon himself; and he fully shared with his men all the dangers and all the hardships Of the war, with serene good temper and with a cheerful spirit. This fine dis position, which he himself had trained by self-discipline, ensured the prompt and willing obedience of his subordinates, and endeared him to all who were committed to his charge it also secured for him the respect and the confidence of his superiors, who were well aware that every order they gave him would be carried out to the letter with prudence and with strict fidelity.