Gunner, J W Sadler

by Mike Sadler

53052 Gunner SADLER J W
28th Siege Battery
Royal Garrison Artillery
B.E F.

The following story as was related to me by the above soldier my grandfather who served from November 1914 to 1919.

After 4 long years of war and having been wounded four times plus one gassing, the eleventh day of the eleventh month arrived. With surprisingly little fanfare and the men of the battery wanted only to get back home, but of course it was not going to be so easy or quick to get the millions of men, horses and equipment back to England and this was made very clear by the commanding officer of the 28th siege battery.

Mid-morning on the 12th November 1918 a junior officer gathered the men from the left and right batteries of the 28th to inform them they would not be permitted to lay idle whilst awaiting their turn for repatriation to England, they would be sent in small groups to assist the local villagers to clean up the roads by filling in shell holes etc.

The officer then went on to ask any of the men that if they could play a musical instrument to form a line and give the details of the type of instrument they could to another junior officer sitting at a small table with pencil in hand.

My grandfather was about to join the labouring group but was cajoled by his mates to join the musical line and when asked what instrument he played he should say the 'triangle' and not to worry as he would get a quick tutoring during rehearsal, after all it beat having to fill in shell holes and other heavy work.

Following the formation of this musical group the officer marched the men to the home of a local dignitary where a full size grand piano was sitting in a living room, their task was not to make music, their task was to haul it manually to the village hall for the forthcoming ceremony for the ending of the war!.

My grandfather would say "that is why they were officers and he was a gunner".

Lest We Forget.