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Henry Dundas, Scots Guards, a Memoir
Chapter VIII. July to September 1918


The Division was, when he rejoined his Battalion, in the same spot as when he left them—i.e., the neighbourhood of Boiry, but the general advance of 8th August was not far distant, and of course must have been a subject of military discussion on the spot.

“B.E.F., 26th July.

“The whole Brigade is in the line, but apparently one does about one day in twelve in the front line, so it ought to be all right. At present I am with the details left out in a very pleasant camp. We, Dudley (Coats, the Adjutant), the Commanding Officer, and I go up this afternoon. Every one in very good form, and very glad to see me back. Mitchell’s handshake nearly broke my hand, such was its vigourr

“ Every one seems to be very confident that the Germans are very low, and the fine seems to be very quiet and comfortable.

“Michael (Tennant) and Bobby Abercromby are with me here, and Dalison comes up to relieve the latter in a few days.

“I went over to the Brigade last night to see them. The Brigadier in great form. I’m dining there to-night. Michael is going to be a great success. We discuss ‘B’ with animation. Tony Maynard has done well with Left Flank, but they are all pleased to see me back, I think. I must say I miss old ‘ Sherlock ’ horribly. Poor old Sherlock. What a loss he is.

“The weather still continues vile, though to-day it hasn’t actually rained yet. But I prefer the sun for summer campaigning, though of course it makes it easier for Rupprecht to be offensive.”

“1st Scots Guards, 31st July 1918.

“Your charming letters arrive, the best thing that each day has to bring. What fun we had— and I hope that total ruin is not the result. A wonderful day and an amazingly quiet line, in which we are engaged in the amusing, interesting, and rather arduous task of instructing Americans in the art of war. They are very apt, very keen, and very ignorant. I’ve got two officers up with me, Michael and Dalison who must be reminded very poignantly of Egypt by a day which is African in the splendour of its sun and sky. I think I told you he was an eminent Egyptologist, and is aged thirty-eight. The Brigadier came round this morning — in very good form. I feel a thrill of joy every time I get my ‘Henry’ from him—an honour bestowed on no one else in the Battalion—except, of course, dear Victor—who is more charming than ever. All the chaps are in roaring cue. Macintosh sits in the next room in the dug-out, and to hear him talking to the American Company Commander’s servant is an education.

“Mitchell is enjoying life immensely—telling the Americans all about everything. Now I must stop and go and dine with the Yank Captain.”

This association with our American Allies was very interesting to Henry. A day or two later he refers to them as most amusing, and very bored with the trenches, and full of ardour to get over to the Germans and “do them in.” The line, however, he describes as absolutely quiet, “which makes a very good schoolroom.”

Another piece of news (welcome but unavailing) now came to the effect that his name had just (5th August) gone in for the Staff. “This doesn’t mean that I shall go for several months, but it just puts my name on to the waiting list. Of course leaving the Battalion is vile, but it is not a chance to be missed. Victor was delightful, and said I ought to go : if any one deserved it, I did,” &c.

But it was not to be. Previous experience led me to expect that once Henry had mentioned the matter it would within a very short time become a fait accompli, and from what we subsequently heard from Macintosh I fancy that this was in his own mind also. Whether, however, he for once misjudged his chances, or whether the impending advance determined the authorities to retain meantime a Company Commander who had shown his aptitude as a general utility man, we shall never know. There was more desperate work awaiting him.

“5th - 10th August.

“To-morrow Pip Warner, I, and other youths go into the line with an American Battalion. Pip at Battalion Headquarters, the others one each with a Company. Rather a bore, but it can’t he helped. One will be so hideously uncomfortable, as the Americans know nothing about messing or food or comfort, which are the only things that matter in the line. I go in as a sort of consultant. I shall give excellent advice, but avoid exercise as much as possible. The hot weather makes one very lazy and disinclined for active participation in the War.”

Later—

“B.E.F.,

16th August 1918.

“Me voila in the line with our Allies—who are proving surprisingly competent, which is a blessing, as it leaves me with nothing to do—except sleep and make myself comfortable. The Company I’m with is in the support line—where I spent my last three days before going to the details, and as my Company comes up here again, I shall know the place fairly well by the time I’ve finished. There are four officers—the Company Commander, a charming-looking youth from Virginia; a pleasant youth from New York; a rather Jewish-looking little man from Detroit, I think; and the fourth, a Wild West gentleman, who looks exactly like a professional pugilist. The men are the most surprising mixture of nationalities. I’ve got Macintosh up here, also an orderly named X., an amazingly brave little man from Broxburn, who insisted on coming up with me—rather touching, especially as I had had to reduce him to the ranks when he was a Corporal. He is much more comfortable as an orderly. There are five of us attached to the Battalion—Pip with Battalion Headquarters, and one each of the four corps— self, Scott, N. C. Tufnell (3/G.G.), and Rupert Fellowes an ex-Brakenbury scholar (1/C.G.) The time is 7.30. We are just going to dine—after which I shall go to bed and sleep all night. Rumour has it that we attacked again this morning in the south, to get the Germans out of the Noyon-Roye-Chaulnes Line. If we can do that he will have to go back to the Hindenburg Line again. Expert opinion thinks he will do that in any case. I got a long letter from Marjorie G. yesterday. The little New Yorker is very much in love with some heavenly Marne or Sadie whom he took to ‘ Going Up ’ (in New York) just before coming over here, so we sing the tunes all day. Well, must descend to the dug-out. I’ll continue after dinner. Dinner is not yet on the tapis, so I will finish. The American Commanding Officer is a man of enormous energy, and goes round the line incessantly. Four years hence? 'Boy’ comes back on the 18th, I think. In the meanwliile Jack Brand is more than adequate.

“Our mail is coming up with the American transport, so I hope it gets here all right.”

“20th August.

“Ralph has come back from leave. Marvellous. He and I dined at the Corps Officers’ Club last night. Very pleasant, with a band playing ‘Pinafore.’”

“B.E.F.,

21st August, 5.30 p.m.

“A frightfully hot day. Ye Gods, how hot ! which the British and French signalised by doing an enormous attack, of which we formed the left. I am in with Battalion Headquarters. [He also had specially made in London a Company Headquarters flag and flags for each of his four platoons (Nos. 13, 14, 15, and 16). These he took out with him in July, and they were used whenever the Company •was behind the line. Such things were in his opinion good for the esprit de corps of the Company, and no doubt he was right. The Headquarters flag now in our possession is reproduced on the outside cover of this book.] Two Company Commanders go in, and of the other two not doing the attack one goes in with Battalion Headquarters—and the whole affair has so far been extraordinarily easy. The tanks who were assigned to us were not very helpful; however, the chaps did everything themselves, and the casualties are very light. Left Flank have only had one man slightly wounded. I had a most strenuous night last night taping out 'the chaps’ assembly positions. Ralph was commanding the Left Front Company of the Coldstream, and is all right, thank Heaven! Our Battalion Headquarters are in what used to be my old Company Headquarters. Quite comfortable : Victor, Dudley, and myself. Pip has just appeared—from the details; he is left out—with news. Everything seems to have gone very well, and the French did a rawching show yesterday. The heat is a little trying, but Macintosh is getting the water situation in hand. I must shave, then I shall be more comfortable. The Colonel in excellent form; every one very pleased. The Brigadier has been up—in crashing cue, and pouring with perspiration. Michael2 did most awfully well in the attack, and with a corporal and one orderly captured fifteen Boches. Mitchell also scored heavily, and did in eight Germans emerging from a dug-out. He described the same to me with gusto. Marsham Townshend took Left Flank in. The platoon sergeants too were splendid. Will write again to-morrow.”

Sir Douglas Haig’s Despatch of 13th September 1918 contains the following passage :—

“The Guards Division, which in March and April at Boyelles and Boiry Becquerelle maintained the northern pivot of our defences, on the 21st August attacked at Moyenneville, capturing that village and Hamelincourt. On the 24th August, St Leger was taken.”

This, then, was the beginning of their share in the great advance which only stopped (untimely) at Maubeuge on Armistice Day. The crucial day was 27th September, upon which was made the successful attack on the Hindenburg Line, and on that day Henry’s work finished. It was a different Henry from the one who left us just two months before, for he had meantime been given an insight into things of which before he had been barely conscious, and which are still hidden from the eyes of many of us. Had he been destined to survive another fifty years, the death of his friend Ralph Gamble, which occurred at this time, could not have failed to influence his life. His letters from now onwards evince a steadfast faith in the Hereafter which, however inherent it may he in most of us, seldom finds such confident expression—at least at so early an age. None who knew Henry could suppose him to be capable of being simply carried away by the emotion of the moment. He would write nothing that he did not believe. These letters therefore shall stand, intimate though they are, because they show the true depth of character of which he has otherwise left no written expression. They are also a worthy tribute to a friend who was himself in all respects worthy, and to a friendship which, born indeed at Eton, was truly an outcome of the War, which drew real soldiers so close together.

“1st Scots Guards,

22nd August 1918, 9.45 r.M.

“I can only write about myself to-night. Ralph was killed this evening, and nothing is the same. I loved Ralph more than any one in the world except you two. It was only this afternoon that I had lunch with him in his Company Headquarters, and now I shall never see him again—in this world. He was almost faultless —if any one can be that. Looks such as he had come from inside, and he was absolutely spotless through and through. He was marvellously brave—as brave as any one I have ever seen. But writing is no good. God, how I wish I could talk to you about him; but you will understand everything.

“John and Eric and ‘Sherlock’—I could remain the same because I had him to talk to: they were his friends as well as mine, and now he has gone and I can’t be quite the same.

“I think he was killed at once, so he didn’t feel anything. But I can’t write any more. I can’t see the paper properly.

“My friendship with him was perfect—and life can’t be quite the same, especially out here, where I’m alone. All love from

Henry.”

“1st Scots Guards,

24th August 1918.

“The Brigade is now out of the battle, having lost about 50 per cent of its effectives—but it is going on daily, and we shall probably move forward behind the advance. The 1st and 3rd Brigades have got to do their turn.

“They buried Ralph this afternoon. We came out of the line about 4 this morning, but I managed to get up to the Main Dressing Station, where I saw him—for the last time. He must have been killed instantaneously, thank God. Life without him will be almost unbearable. You can’t realise what it is, and to what extent the War binds people together out here. And he and I used to do everything we could together. From the very first day when he arrived at the 1st Battalion Coldstream—on the day that we came out of the Somme—1st October 1916— seeing him and doing things with him have been the chief objects in my non-official life. I try to think that it’s only seeing him off on a long journey at the end of which we shall meet again as we used to do—but it’s terribly hard. I suppose, like John Dyer, he was too good for this filthy world. He was so marvellously brave and so wonderful with the men—because war and soldiering were no more his aim than they were mine.

I thought I’d forgotten how to cry. Now there are times when I just can’t stop. The pipers come to-morrow, and I shall get my own three right away somewhere, and make them play ‘The Flowers of the Forest.’

“God has taken him now, and I’m left with the memory of him in all the phases and chances of the last unforgettable two years. And so one must just go on, never doubting that the time will come when I shall see him again.

“I wish you’d known him better, but you will some day. Loads of love,

Henry.”

“1st Scots Guards,

25th August 1918.

“I went to see Ralph’s servant to-day. The Coldstream are out next to us.

“What a meeting we should have had after the battle. He would have dined here and I should have lunched there, and this afternoon we should have gone over and had tea with the Brigade. But what’s the use of saying all this? I've got his cap star, and Jeffery Holmesdale is going to get me one of his books. By the way, I’ve got one of them at Redhall. Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnets’ in a reddish cover. I think in my room. Could you look it out for me and send it? The pipers played ‘The Flowers of the Forest’ to-day. It is a wonderful thing, and this evening my own people played it for me after dinner.

“If we don’t move forward I shall go and see his grave to-morrow.

“Thank God I’ve got the Company. It helps to take my mind off. They were perfectly marvellous in these last shows. They captured Hamelincourt single-handed. Fortunately few casualties. Most of them slight gas. Michael did magnificently, and will probably get a D.S.O. How I wish I had taken them in. Delightful men: how marvellous they are.

“How charming the people in the 1st Battalion Coldstream are. Jack Brand is a wonderful man, their Colonel. He understands. So does ‘Boy.’ So does dear Victor.

“I’ve got 'the Goo ’ a steel helmet, and told the transport to send it off. I hope she gets it all right.”

“26th August 1918.

“It’s nice having Michael. There’s just him and me in L.E. now. We had six officers wounded, two sick, so we’re very short in the Battalion. I can talk to him so easily about Ralph. It does help me such a lot going over this last two years. How wonderful they’ve been. John and Eric and ‘Sherlock’ and old Logie Leggatt and he. I shall see them all some day. Till then—out here at least—Left Flank. I’m going to see the Brigadier and ask that should I ever go on the Staff I may always be with him. I couldn’t bear any one who hadn’t known Ralph. L.F. are marvellous.

“The battle goes well. These marvellous Canadians captured Monchy - le - Preux to-day. All the eagles are gathered together for the stroke which is to break the Hindenburg Line for ever. 52nd, 51st, they’re all here. How he would have loved it. We would have discussed the whole thing and gone over all the old ground again— Ribecourt, Flesquieres, Bourlon Wood.

“God bless you all—and him.—Yours,

Henry.

“Poor Mrs Coats; I wrote to her last night. We found Eric’s body when we attacked.”

“1st Scots Guards,

29th August 1918.

"Even looking at a map now is perfectly grim. Every place is so full of associations—especially all the places we are coming to now as we go forward—all the places we retreated through in March the 22nd, when he went up with the Coldstream to Henin, and I went up with the Battalion to Boiry Becquerelle—as liaison from the Brigade at Mercatel.

"Just a week to-day I was sitting with him in the sunken road the other side of Moyenneville, having lunch, and two hours afterwards he was killed. It’s a funny thing. I wonder why a wooden cross and a little plot of earth should mean so much—when he is far away—and yet I don’t suppose so very far.

"Can’t you see the 51st Division once more going through the Chemical Works at Roeux— marvellously romantic! Old Scott has got the 'Mikado’ out here. The gramophone is a great comfort. All the tunes he liked, and we used to play at Arras. I expect he can hear them now.”

“1st Scots Guards,

4th September 1918.

|I’ll make use of a pause in our pursuit of the retreating German to write. I’m at the moment just behind the old Hindenburg Line, looking once more at Bourlon Wood, more to the left than where we were in November. The Germans are retreating, and presumably to the Hindenburg Line, and we are just walking after them to see what happens.

"We had a proper attack on a place Lagnicourt yesterday morning—complete with barrage, &c. —and there was not a soul in the place.

“I got your latest letters written on the 29th —in the middle of the night in a small hole in the ground, where Michael and I were eating a good meal cooked by Macintosh.

“The sight of Bourlon Wood brings Ralph back so tremendously. All these places do. I got a letter last night from Osbert Peake—who was, I think, his greatest friend after me.

“The Coldstream are in reserve this time, and I should just be writing to him via the Brigade to tell him what was happening. Everything did centre round him. All that Cambraitime— I always used to find the Brigade, or he would come along to the Battalion. Every day at Gouzeaucourt he and the Brigadier used to come up—and then when we came out of the line what meetings and arrangements; and most of the time I find myself thinking as if it was all unchanged—and then the truth comes back and hits one a great blow—just like telegraph poles beside the railway lines.

“A wonderful day to-day—how impossible this sort of thing would be in bad weather. We are just going to have lunch—so called. I’m not really very hungry, but I think Michael is rather. Gerald Drummond was killed yesterday. We are frightfully short of officers now, but personally I’d rather do things ’with one like Michael and the sergeants than a lot of people who only take up accommodation and do nil.

“I’ve made a lot of new corporals—all toppers. Still sitting here: just behind Mceuvres. I’ve got a letter from Tuppy Headlam, which I enclose. Just hits off the situation.

“The Brigadier more wonderful than ever. He is practically running the whole advance. What a man.”

“1st Scots Guards,

9th September 1918.

“Just out of the line after a very strenuous and tiring week. In this part of the line the attack has come to a standstill for the moment —chiefly because of the Canal du Nord, which will have to be turned, probably from the south, where we are well across it. They are getting on wonderfully with the railways. The broad gauge is right up here now. The place we captured on the 4th and the Arras-Boylleux railway is nearly through. It’s a tremendous thing getting the Boulogne-Paris direct route through—also Hazebrouck. It gives us so much better elbow-room for next year.

“Torquil Matheson has got the Division. He started the War as second in command of the 3rd Battalion Coldstream, and was the hero of Landrecies. He has since commanded the 4th Division very well too.”

“1st Scots Guards,

14th September 1918.

“Nothing of interest—except heat. We had a fine day to-day, and so trained religiously all the morning. The Brigadier, as usual, appeared and watched us. He always comes to see us—to tell the others how things should be done, I suppose!

“I’ve just read ‘Eminent Victorians’—so good, I thought, and not at all what the criticism had led me to expect. I suppose to the old-fashioned attitude of canonising every remarkable person it would jar horribly, but personally I don’t want to think of Florence Nightingale as a gentle saint moving silently from bed to bed—which she wasn’t.    .

“Gordon again. It doesn’t make me think him any less great to know that on occasions he drank. Read that, and your reverence for Gladstone will be put to the test indeed. Arnold, I think, is probably the one which would outrage preconceived notions more than the others. But I know nothing about him, and so Strachey’s picture of a perfect specimen of a prig leaves me unmoved, except by laughter. Manning I also know nothing about. I think he will interest you more than any. You must get it.

“The Battalion go up to-morrow. As I said, I don’t go up, and L.F. are in reserve, so I shan’t have any misgivings. Mitchell goes in, and Marsham Townshend commands the Company.

“The Americans have started, I see, and quite well too. The Germans must be feeling very queer, I should think.

“Victor is back with the details—about twenty miles away—I shall stay with the transport, and Pip is commanding the Battalion. How more than good he is.

“I’ve got a most charming collection of young corporals now: all quite young, rather wicked, and very keen. They’re going to be thoroughly good.

“Last night we had a very good show. A bombing gentleman was caught by about ten searchlights and then held. Like a great silver moth he moved across the sky, moving every way to escape the light, but it was no good. They held him tight, and then suddenly one saw little points of fire darting out at him from something one couldn’t see, but which we knew was a British aeroplane. Then suddenly roars of applause from all the troops who had come out to watch this; one of the bullets must have got his petrol tank, for there was a sudden burst of flame—and the Boche falls slowly to the ground, a blazing mass. Superb, and of course that sort of thing at night is always much finer.

“Jack Brand has put Ralph in for something, and the Brigadier has made it a D.S.O.—a great thing. He, J. C. B., has given me a copy of the recommendation. It says as much as any words can say. But nothing can describe what he was —always.”

“1st Scots Guards,

18th September 1918.

“We are frightfully short of officers now. I suppose the people at home will do something about the matter soon. We want about twelve junior officers at once, but I don’t suppose we shall get any, also very short of men. The Companies aren’t much above ninety rifles in the line. I have got the most intriguing armlets for my Company orderlies—red, like the ordinary ones they have—but with the S.G. crest in silver, and L.F. in blue—one letter on each side of the crest.

“Also this stamp, for all official correspondence. The money I should spend on smoking I spend on these tilings instead—so it is all square. Isn’t it nice?

“I’ve just heard that Christopher Barclay was very badly wounded yesterday. Ralph’s Company Commander—also Horris Hill and Eton. One more. But gallant A. and intrepid B. are still with us! ”

“1st Scots Guards,

19th September 1918.

“I’ve got some hooks out, which is a mercy, including 'In Memoriam,’ which expresses my present state of mind more perfectly than anything else could. Four weeks ago to-day, and just about now, six o’clock in the evening. We have got no officers. However, I don’t mind very much. But it prevents one relieving ‘ the hoys,’ such as Michael & Co.”

“20th September.

“I went to see Ralph’s grave to-day. All the way round by Arras, where I went into the theatre. My God! how it takes one hack going to a place like that. I went to our old Brigade Headquarters —the house is shut up, and has been badly knocked about. Then down that well-known Arras-Doullens road. It’s a wonderful thing that 'In Memoriam.’ I just sat there and read it, with its almost uncanny power of being applied to one’s own particular case.

“I came hack by the C.C.S., where Christopher Barclay is. He was as badly hit, so the Sister in charge of the ward informed me, as it is possible for any one to he, hut they said he was doing as well as possible. Shot right through the stomach. They took the bullet out of his hack. Poor Christopher. I haven’t been on the Arras-Bapaume road since 22nd March, when I went up with the Battalion and Ralph went up with the Coldstream, to the Army Line just behind the Henin Ridge—and then back we both went to Mercatel.

“What a golden memory.”

“B.E.F.,

21st September 1918.

“We get our mention in ‘The Times’ of the 20th. The 1st Battalion Coldstream had the shoot at the Boche attack. We relieved them that night and came out to-night. L.F. have had at least fifteen casualties, mostly gas. Rather unlucky. Fortunately only one N.C.O.

“Our officer situation is becoming very serious —though, as I’ve said before, I am quite happy with Michael, Marsham Townshend, and my wonderful galaxy of N.C.O.’s.

“I enclose a photograph of ‘Mitch’ and ‘Fred,’ my Company Sergeant-Major on the right, and Company Quartermaster Sergeant. Take care of it. Mitchell is the most typical Guardsman; just look at the set of his cap. What a charming man he is. He is getting the D.C.M. for the 23rd, as is my Aberdonian, Nicol —you remember the man—he was a Corporal then—who sat outside my pill-box before the 9th of October. He’s a great favourite of the Brigadier’s. Younger, the Corporal I wrote to, is getting the D.C.M. He did frightfully well, and got wounded in the leg. Not a bad combination.

“The Battalion comes out to-night, so I’m just going off to see that everything is ready for them. I should think they’d be out for three or four days.

“1st Scots Guards, B.E.F.,

24th September 1918.

“As usual we, Left Flank, are much better off than any one in our mess, &c.—with our blue tablecloth, china, and things. I dined at Battalion Headquarters the night before last. Quite good dinner, but service (as they say in advertisements of hotels) very inferior. Tin plates and mugs. Horrors of every sort. Newspaper on the table instead of a tablecloth, &c. Very odd, because it’s no trouble to have those things. It’s simply because they have no real instinct for comfort. I had tea yesterday with the 7th H.L.I., who are next to us—in the Lowland Division. The people from Palestine. Very good, and more typically Scotch than anything you’ve ever seen. Little sturdy men with tammies and Harry Lauder faces. It did me good to see them. Most tremendously Hech ! There was an excellent clergyman at tea, their Chaplain. A most gloriously Scotch man, and I should think damned good.” 

"B.E.F.,

26th September 1918.

“Darling Mummy and Daddy,—An idle day as regards writing yesterday. No English mail again. However, there’s no news, and therefore no material for epistolage. Weather good again, thank Heaven ! We’re really in very comfortable circumstances here. Two nights ago Hugh and a charming boy called Encombe in the 2nd Battalion dined. Quite pleasant. And last night Alec Robartes—as usual very amusing.

“Reggie Barker in this Company and Bobby Abercromby got fifteen partridges and a hare here yesterday with twenty bores. The place swarms with them. One of the sergeants in ‘C’ Company is, I think, the Duke of Westminster’s head-keeper—so they arranged the most scientific drive with great success.

“The Germans get more and more depressed, and no wonder.

“My God! aren’t these strikers incredible? The time has really come for the shooting of some of them—except that I’m sure they would if they were really a serious menace. I like Air Gompers. How the Snowdenites loathe him. I hope the Naim weather is less depressing.

“Matheson came round to see us to-day. An impressive man. Loads of love,

Henry.”

Early on the morning of the 27th September began the attack upon the Hindenburg Line, which proved to be the opening of the last and crowning phase of the War.

The sector covered by the Guards Division extended from the village of Demicourt northwards to the Bapaume-Cambrai road, to the west of and facing the Canal du Nord. The attack was opened by the 2nd Guards Brigade, with the 1st Scots Guards on the right, the 1st Coldstream in the centre, and the 3rd Grenadiers on the left. In the attack they had to cross the Canal, the bed of which was of course dry, and the first objective was about a mile beyond.

Before zero on that morning Henry had already written a letter to a poor woman in Aberdeen, telling her of the death of her nephew and ward. “He was one of my best men, one whom I could ill afford to lose; and though for him everything is now well, the wrench and emptiness are terrible indeed for those at home.”

Those were probably Henry’s last written words, and undoubtedly they conveyed the expression of a faith and understanding which were really his.

The objective was duly reached, and he led his own Company with complete success through a trying barrage which caused considerable loss. What then happened has been narrated to me by one of his Company who was with him. [James Paul, gamekeeper to Sir Archibald Edmonstone at Dun-treath Castle, Stirlingshire.] He climbed out of the trench to reconnoitre, there being a machine-gun post in the neighbourhood which was inflicting damage on other advancing troops. He was shot by a sniper (probably) when within a few yards of the trench, and four men who gallantly went out to try to bring him in were all killed or wounded. Then Paul and another man with great heroism went out—without their rifles. They were not fired at, and they carried Henry in. It is thought that carrying no rifles they were mistaken by the Germans for ambulance men. Henry was shot through the chest. He lived a very few minutes, and never spoke.

His Life was finished, but his memory will live in the hearts of many friends. Chapters of this book show how many he had in every class, of every age; and there may be some of a wider circle who will read these pages not without interest, recording as they do the life of a boy who died indeed when he was twenty-one, but who had within him (besides the many graces which sweeten life) just those qualities which our country now most requires in her sons— Faith, Courage, Vision, Character.

Hundreds of letters brought us grateful testimony of the admiration he had earned, the love in which he was held by his friends, and the influence which he had on the lives of many of his companions. Only five or six are printed here, and at the end I am setting forth some lines which came to us anonymously, and of which we have never learnt the authorship. In so doing I take the opportunity of thanking our unknown friend for the comfort he sent us in a time of trouble.

“Headquarters, Scots Guards, Buckingham Gate, S.W.,

1st October 1918.

“Dear Mr Dundas,—I can’t tell you how very distressed I am to hear to-day the sad news that your son Henry was killed in action on 27th September with our 1st Battalion. I regret to say I have no details to give you, but I hasten to send these few lines to express on behalf of the whole Regiment our most sincere regrets and heartfelt sympathy with you and yours in your severe loss and great sorrow.

“Henry was one of our most promising officers, and had gained a splendid reputation as a Company Commander—he was in fact the best Commander serving with the 1st Battalion, and was destined to make a great name as a soldier and Scots Guardsman. He was beloved by the men under him, and popular with all his brother officers. His loss to us is indeed a very severe one, and at the present juncture most terribly felt. I have had nothing but the most excellent reports of his gallantry and splendid work during the whole of his service,. and his place will be very hard to fill. I know that his Company had a very trying and difficult task during the fight, and that they suffered very considerably in spite of the grand manner in which Henry led them.

“I can only again assure you that we all mourn the loss of a splendid Scots Guardsman and a most charming brother officer, and can assure you that his memory will always be held in loving regard and esteem by the whole Regiment. —Yours very sincerely,

J. W. Smith-Neill.”

“28th September 1918.

“Dear Mr Dundas,—It is very hard to have to write and tell you that your splendid son Henry was killed yesterday. Death was practically instantaneous, and he could have suffered no pain. He was shot by a sniper, the bullet going through his heart. He was buried to-day in a small British Cemetery at Boursies. All officers of the Battalion, the whole of his Company, and many other men were at the funeral. The Pipers played ‘The Flowers of the Forest’—a lament which he loved—at the end of the service. All will be done to make his grave as nice as possible, and a cross is being made.

“Henry was the life and soul of the Battalion, and was loved by us all. As a soldier he was magnificent, so wonderfully capable, gallant, and cheerful. He was adored by his Company, who would have followed him anywhere. I know that it is the death he would have chosen. He was commanding his Company, of which he was so proud and fond, in an entirely successful attack at the time.

“I cannot tell you how deeply we all sympathise with you and Mrs Dundas, and if any one in this Battalion can do anything to help you at any time, I hope you will let us know.

“I was personally very fond of him, and shall miss him more than I can say, both as a soldier and as a most delightful and charming friend.

“Please accept my very deepest sympathy in the loss of your wonderful, brave boy.—Yours sincerely,

Victor Mackenzie,

(Lieut.-Col. Commanding 1st Bn. Scots Guards).” “28th September 1918.

“Dear Mrs Dundas,—I write to offer my sympathy for the sad loss you have received. I can hardly realise yet that he is gone from amongst us and that we shall never hear his cheery voice again. The Captain died a true soldier’s death, leading his men into action. They had reached their objective when a machine-gun bullet laid the Captain low. I am glad to say he suffered no pain, as he was unconscious, and he only lived a few minutes after being hit. We brought him back with us that night a long distance from the firing line, and we buried him this afternoon on the outside slope of a ruined village. He sleeps in the centre of a little green square of grass, and on ground that he helped to recover during our second last attack. He was liked by every one as a thorough sportsman, and as a leader of men he was hard to beat. His kit will be sent home in due course, but I am going to send you a few small articles by post which I know he valued. The little book of poems has been his constant companion since it arrived a few weeks ago. You must excuse me if my letter seems crude, but it is hard for me to express what I feel for the loss of my Captain. I have been his servant for over a year, and I never had a wrong word from him during that period. The bagpipes, which he loved so well, played the 'Land o’ the Leal’ when he was laid to rest. I beg leave to express my heartfelt sympathy for the loss you have sustained, but you have the consolation of knowing he was a true British gentleman and an extremely brave man, who gave his life for his country and died with a smile on his face. Again offering my deepest sympathy and condolences. —I am, the late Captain’s servant,

J. M'Intosh.”

“1st November 1918.

“Dear Madam,—Just a few lines on behalf of the Company to tell you how sorry we were to lose your son, our Captain; and I cannot tell you how much he is missed by us all, as we had been in many tight corners together, and we always knew when we had your son leading us we would get through if there was a way through at all, and I am sure we shall never get another like him, as he was so good both in the field and when we were out—only he was too brave, and on the 27th he was an example to all, and it was nothing but his disregard for danger and his courage and skill under a terrible fire that pulled us through, but I am sorry to say that we lost a lot of our Company that day; but Captain Dundas led his men to the very last, and was the same as he always was—a hero. I cannot put into words how sorry we all are to be without him, and the whole of the Company send their deepest sympathies. I would have written before, but we have been very busy in the fine, so I hope you won’t think this out of place at this time. We are still getting on very well, but we have a lot to do yet but everything is looking much better. Hoping you are in the very best of health. —I remain, yours truly,

(Sgd.) A. Mitchell, C.S.M., L.F. Coy.”

“15th Bn. Highland Light Infantry,

12th April 1919.

“Dear Mrs Dundas,—You will forgive me writing, I am sure; but after many days I got your address and a living touch with your home. I joined this Battalion a fortnight ago, having served formerly with the 1/5th and l/7th H.L.I. of 52nd Division in Palestine and France, and also in other Units. Talking over experiences at dinner last night young Younger and I happened to mention the Scots Guards. I asked him if by any chance he had known a brilliant lad by the name of Dundas, and it transpired that they had been at school together and had been friends. I met your very gallant son between Noreuil and Quant about the 23rd September last year. His Battalion and ours were in reserve, about a mile apart. Our pipe-band was playing in the afternoon, and I. saw your lad wandering through our lines and then sitting down to listen to the music. He told me that he was very fond of pipe music, and that he had just come across to hear our band. We had tea in our little mess, and a long chat, and he returned two days afterwards. Then our Corps moved towards the Canal du Nord. The Guards were on the right of our Division. Some days later I was burying men at Graincourt and a doctor came along. He told me that he was with the Scots Guards. I asked at once for Dundas, and he told me, to my great sorrow, that he was killed in action a day or two before. We only met twice, and spent in all about two hours together; but I must say that amongst the many officers I have met in various Units I met none like your son. I cannot just say what quality in the lad captivated me. He was to me a Bayard, without fear and without reproach: the efflorescence of magnificent young manhood. He was a brave soldier, admired and loved by his men, for with all his splendid intellectual qualities he possessed a so rare lovableness and the secret of making friends.

“It was no surprise to me to learn later that he was a brilliant scholar of Eton and Oxford. Not that he paraded his learning: the very reverse. He was most unassuming; but one could not mistake the quality of the lad. Such men cannot die. They are for ever in the keeping of our God, Who wastes nothing.

“May God comfort you in your peculiarly sad loss; and may the gracious memory of your beloved and winsome lad grow dearer year by year, until you.meet.

“With regards and sympathy.—Yours sincerely,

Alex. Macinnes, C.F., 15th H.L.I.”

“Adelphi Terrace House, Strand, W.C.,

29th October.

“Dear Mrs Dundas,—I thought so much of your boy that though you don’t know me you will perhaps allow me to say how deeply I sympathise with you. He was a great friend at Eton of my boy, Peter L. Davies, and sometimes came here. The last time I saw him was at Eton in July, and I assure you that I thought him a brave sight. There was an air of the gallant knight about him always that drew one to him, it so well became him. He seemed to me, knowing some little of what lay beneath that, to be marked out for notable things. We must accept that the best of all is to stand the test of manhood.—Yours sincerely,

J. M. Barrie.”

A Tribute to Henry Dundas,

FROM ONE OF HIS BEST ETON FRIENDS.

“I loved Henry—and Henry, I know, returned my devotion. If our tastes were not all mutual, and if our interests were not all the same, these very differences only tended to cement our affection, and increase our mutual respect.

“Henry’s extraordinary power of concentration, his varied interests, and above all his intense enthusiasm, made his personality unique, and his every doing of interest. Nothing he ever did lacked character. That was the secret of his early life. That is what made him what he was, and that is what gives his memory a peculiar and a particular freshness.

“In the broadest and best sense of the word, he was an artist at whatever his hand found to do. The affair of the moment was the one and only thing that mattered—on it he concentrated all his genius, and on it he lavished all his buoyant enthusiasm.

“But far above all else was his great and generous love for those people and things he held most dear. In this he showed a depth of feeling —an honest frank confession of sentiment—which it is rare to meet.

“Such a combination of capacity for taking in, and of generosity for giving out, would surely have been equipment for any future. Henry was not only worthy of these great gifts, but he made the most of them. Blessed by nature with great qualities, he gave freely of them all until he demonstrated ‘ the greatest love of all.’

“It is with gratitude for what he did with his life, no less than for what he gave during his life, that I offer this small tribute.

“It was always more than a pleasure to be with Henry; it is an honour and a privilege to remember him.

V. A. C.”

Henry Dundas,
27th September 1918.

Young Lion-heart is gone,
Who to the end ne’er strove but to attain;
Through death to deathless life he has passed on,
Nor made the crowning sacrifice in vain.

The peace he died to win
Was dawning on those tragic fields he trod,
When through the dawn his gallant soul went in
To the full glory of the Peace of God.

Brilliant distinguished boy!
A boy in years, a proven strong-souled man
In high achievement; his the enthralling joy
Of filling to the brim his fife’s brief span.

For Love’s sake let your courage match his own;
Make no vain lamentation o’er his grave:
Life more than even he has ever known
Thrills through him now: Mourn bravely for the Brave.


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