D.C.M (VR, Driver R.A.), Q.S.A, 5 clasps C.C, Tug. Hts, O.F.S, Rel. Of Ladysmith, Tr., (Br. , 66th Bty. R.F.A.), K.S.A, 2 clasps SA’01, SA’02: (Bomb.. R.F.A.),
1914/15 trio (Cpl. E.W. R.F.A.)
With original photo in WW1 uniform, an original photo cut from ‘Black & White’ o’Heroes of Colens’ of Lucas with Nurse , V.C. and Petts, Young and Taylor. Also newspaper cutting detailing his letters home. Copy service papers, recipient came from St. Pauls, Chichester
D.C.M. L.G. 2/2/1900 In recognition in services at Colenso.
His recommendation from Redvers Buller, December, 16th 1899 and citation in the Gazette
Lieutenant the Honourable F. Roberts, Kings Royal Rifles assisted Captain Congreve, he was wounded in three places. Corporal Nurse, 66th Battery also assisted I recommend the above three for the Victoria Cross. Drivers H Taylor, Young, Petts, Rockall, Lucas and F Williams, all of the 66th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, rode the teams, each team brought in a gun. I recommend all six for the Medal for Distinguished Conduct in the Field.’
One cutting records a letter home to his father records the details of the action , he wrote: I think the war will soon come to a finish now. But I don’t want any more like it was on the 15th of December . We were nine hours in the hottest fire that was ever known……..a Corporal has got the V.C. I saw Lord Roberts’ son and I was close to him when he was killed.’
The following narrative is taken from Schofield’s pocket diary:
‘We went back to the donga where all the horses and drivers were, which was under a hot fire and the General tried to get some of them (men and horses) out to try and recover the guns but there were no officers there; so General and Congreve (RB.) and self-set to work to get some out and we got 2 teams and a corporal and hooked in the teams to limbers just in front; doing this was no easy matter as it was difficult without N.C.O’s to get men on foot to come and help to hook in; Gerard was coming out when I shouted to him to send me a man or two to help; we got the teams hooked in somehow, I forget how (except I saw Congreve doing his) and then I started off at a gallop with the limbers for the two guns on the right and Roberts, 60th, joined in; also Congreve came on tho ‘I did not find this out till after; the impression I had going on was galloping on a carpet spotted thick with spots, it was a very hot fire; after we had gone about 400 yards Roberts on my left was shot, he had just before been looking at me and smiling, waving his stick in a circular motion like one does one’s crop sometimes when one goes away from covert, thinking to have a good burst; Congreve tells me he was shot just before this and also his horse and the latter plunging badly, threw him; so the Corporal and self were left.
When on the way, I saw the lead driver riding very wildly; I shouted to him to keep his horse in hand, which I think took them off thinking of the bullets; on getting to the guns I howled out ‘wheel about on your guns’, which they did as if on parade; Corp. Nurse and self jumped off our horses and ran to hook on the guns, I found mine too far off to drag up alone so told the Corporal to come and help me, which he did and then he put his own gun on which was just in the right place; while he was doing this my wheel driver turned round and said ‘elevate the muzzle Sir’, which I did; they all kept their heads; we then mounted, galloped for the centre sunken road running across the far donga and I left them in a place of safety some way behind; after crossing the Donga a spent bullet hit me on the thigh, only a tap and didn’t leave a mark. Corporal Nurse, drivers Henry Taylor, Young, Potts, Rockall, Lucas and Williams, all of the 66th battery were not touched; 3 or 4 horses got hit; luckily not enough to make them falter or we should not have got off that particular plain, I think. The corporal and drivers behaved most admirably and no doubt if they had bungled in their driving on to the guns we could not have got out, they were nailers.’
Congreve had crawled into the donga to seek shelter and later went out to bring in Roberts. He eventually remained in the donga with the other wounded until the Boers, who took the position, allowed their evacuation. A second attempt to recover the remaining guns was mounted by Lieutenants Grylls and Schreiber of the 66th Battery but their efforts were unavailing and both officers were killed.
A third dash for the guns by Captain Reed of the 7th Battery ended with the loss of half his men and two-thirds of his horses. Eventually Buller, resigning himself to the loss of the guns, forbade any further attempts. Later, he went to the survivors of the abandoned batteries and personally thanked them for their gallantry.
Lucas did WWI service as Corporal in the RGA as well as the RFA, entering the French Theatre of War on 17 June 1915.