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Our officer raced to certain death

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Our officer raced to certain death
Lieutenant Everett, of the Norfolk Regiment was the first British officer to be killed on the Western front. The story of his horrific end was told by a non commissioned officer, who accompanied him on his last patrol, to Richard McMillan, News of the World war correspondent.

In positions beyond the Maginot line. I met a non commissioned officer who formed one of a patrol party under the young Lieutenant Everett, of the Norfolk Regiment, described by my informant as the most courageous soldier he had ever met.
This is the story of the NCO related in a deserted village occupied by our troops on a hillside overlooking no man's land. Our patrol was detailed to collect information from the German lines, and we set off about midday in mist and over snow covered ground.
Lieutenant Everett, carrying an automatic pistol, led us a walk towards the crest of a hill dominating, the German lines. As we reached the top we pause to survey the situation. In the valley below, in the outpost, we could plainly see the Nazi's moving around, and apparently unaware of proximity. The Lieutenant went ahead, walking upright, and as we followed. I called to him, keep down Sir. He did so and crouched, but I knew. He scorned the danger, and only took my advice because of the safety of the men.
As we got nearer to the German trenches I called to him again to lie low, his gun at the ready, and watching on every side were a sign of the first enemy outpost.
at that moment a burst of machine-gun fire came rat a tat from the German lines. They had seen us, and in a second their guns opened with covering fire. Down I yelled, and fell flat. The rest of the patrol followed suit. We all managed to crawl into hollows as bullets, whistling into the earth with a dull phut, sent snow and stones whirling above us. I peered over the edge of my own little hollow, and to my father saw Lieutenant Everett begin to run towards the Germans, firing as he went. His intention was obvious he was bent on reaching the German lines and silencing the machine guns. We called to him again knowing he was racing to certain death. Too late! He dropped to the ground and rolled over, gave a cry which we heard distinctively, and may still. The men then debated on our next move. An attempt to reach the stricken officer was made, but the fire was deadly and incessant. The next in command therefore decided that his duty was to preserve the lives of the remainder of the patrol. Instead of risking them in a hopeless attempt to bring in the bullet riddled body of the leader.
It was a shocking business getting back. We had to scramble up the side of the hill in full view of the enemy, and were lucky to find an occasional hollow. With the bullets still whistling about us, we reached the crest and threw ourselves over the other side. Two days later the German radio recorded the death of Lieutenant Everett, still breathing he had been taken in from the edge of the German trenches, but died soon afterwards.

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Sources

The Second Great War.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

The War Illustrated.
Edited by Sir John Hamilton

2194 Days Of War.
ISBN-10: 086136614X

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