'1914 - Le Cateau. Reverse slope positions - massed German infantry mown down by rifle fire!'
Pen and ink and watercolour by Lieutenant Richard Barrett Talbot Kelly MBE, MC, RI (1896-1971), Royal Field Artillery.
Advancing German infantry are fired on from entrenched British positions on the Western Front. The Battle of Le Cateau (26 August 1914) was one of a series of holding actions fought by the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) during the Allies' retreat to the River Marne. Kelly's inscription also states: 'Note: Officers still carried swords, 26 August 1914.'
As part of an 18-pounder gun battery crew, Talbot Kelly took part in many of the major offensives of the Western Front. He regularly served as a Forward Observation Officer, tasked with spotting where the artillery shells were landing. The unique vantage point of the battlefields that this job gave him, inspired him to draw his experiences.
NAM Accession Number
Not NAM Copyright, Artist's Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection